What is main character syndrome and do you have it?


In collaboration with The Fresh Toast

Main character syndrome is a term that is becoming more and more popular. Here’s what it means and how to spot it in yourself.

Most of us spend our lives believing that we are the protagonists. Like when you listen to music and look dramatically out the window. There is reason to believe that social media has turned this problem into a more serious one, affecting your health and the people around you.

Main Character Syndrome is not a medical condition, but … And a condition that is discussed by medical professionals. It refers to a wide range of behaviors, mainly when someone presents themselves as the protagonist of their own life or that of someone else. Often, this life is presented through social media.

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Photo by Josh Rose via Unsplash

Behavior of this type is nothing new, but now that social media exists it is 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 that merges with rapidly evolving technology that allows for immediate and widespread self-promotion.”

However, this all seems rather difficult to diagnose. How do you know if you or someone in your life struggle with this?

A good dose of protagonist syndrome shouldn’t be bad. It might help you appreciate the little moments in your life, like finding out that a song speaks to you directly or thinking your friendships and relationships are fulfilling and special. It becomes a problem when you think these experiences make you unique and other people don’t know what it is like.

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“Unhealthy narcissism behaves as if others are minor characters in their own drama rather than main characters in their own intersecting plays,” said Professor Michael Karson of the University of Denver. Newsweek. “My opinion is that it is healthy to see yourself as the main character in your life, and it is also healthy to realize that you are not the main character of all humanity.”

So don’t stress if your Instagram or Twitter is all about you. It’s your account. To combat main character syndrome, try to remember that other people are just as complicated as you are and that everyone is dealing with their own problems no matter how idyllic their social media life is.


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