In partnership with The Fresh Toast
Main character syndrome is a term growing more and more popular. Here’s what it means and how to spot it in yourself.
The majority of us go through life believing we’re the protagonist. Like when you listen to music and dramatically look out the window. There’s reason to believe that social media has made this problem into a more serious one — one that affects your health and the people that surround you.
Main character syndrome isn’t a medical condition, but it is a condition that is being discussed by medical professionals. It refers to a wide range of behaviors, principally when someone presents themselves as the lead of their own life or someone else’s. Often, this life is presented through social medial.
Behaviors of this kind are nothing new, but now that social media exists, they are much more common. In an interview with Newsweek, Dr. Michael G. Wetter called main character syndrome the “inevitable consequence of the natural human desire to be recognized and validated merging with the rapidly evolving technology that allows for immediate and widespread self-promotion.”
Still, this all sounds pretty difficult to diagnose. How do you know if you or someone in your life struggles with this?
A healthy dose of main character syndrome shouldn’t be bad. It might help you appreciate the little moments in your life, like finding that a song speaks directly to you or thinking that your friendships and relationships are fulfilling and special. It grows into a problem when you think that these experiences make you unique and that other people don’t know what that’s like.
“Unhealthy narcissism is behaving as if others are minor characters in one’s own drama rather than main characters in their own intersecting dramas,” professor Michael Karson of the University of Denver told Newsweek. “My view is that it is healthy to see oneself as the main character of one’s own life, and it is also healthy to realize that one is not the main character of all humanity.”
So don’t stress if your Instagram or Twitter is solely about you. It is your account. In order to battle main character syndrome, try to remember that other people are as complicated as you are and that everyone is coping with their own problems, no matter how idyllic their lives look on social media.