Older generations are often labeled as warriors that passed through difficult times. On the other hand, younger generations are seen as hypersensitive spoiled babies. In fact, according to the longest research on narcissism to date, this stereotype is a lie.
Actually, it seems that older generations were more “hyper-sensitive” narcissists than baby boomers. While we’re talking about young people, this generation is well behaved compared to previous ones. They also appear to be giving up on alcohol and cigarettes too.
Narcissistic behavior between generations
A new study, published in the journal Psychology and Aging, studied narcissistic behavior between different generations. Psychologists from Michigan State University analyzed six collected data sets accounting for 750 people born between 1923 and 1969.
As a matter of fact, the ones born earlier in the last century started with high levels of hypersensitivity. Not to mention that those born later in the century showed a lower level of narcissism.
“There’s a narrative in our culture that generations are getting more and more narcissistic. But no one has ever looked at it throughout generations or how it varies with age at the same time.”
This is what lead author William Chopik, associate professor of psychology at MSU, said in an official statement. Furthermore, he made known officially that:
“Individuals who were born earlier in the century started off with higher levels of hypersensitivity. Or the type of narcissism where people are full of themselves, which is the tendency to impose opinions on others.”
Narcissism decreases with age
In addition, the study suggested people become less narcissistic as they age, regardless of their generation. Narcissism tends to decrease with age, such as being full of yourself and imposing your opinion on others.
On the other hand, other narcissistic tendencies increase with age. The best example, in this case, is having higher goals and aspirations as we go through our lives.
“There are things that happen that can shake people and force them to adapt their narcissistic qualities,” said Chopik.
“As you age, you form new relationships, have new experiences, start a family and so on. All of these factors make someone realize that it’s not ‘all about them.’ And, the older you get, the more you think about the world that you may leave behind.”
How to decline narcissism according to Chopik
Chopik also made an interesting discovery: the greatest stimulus to decline narcissism, was having a first job.
“One thing about narcissists is that they’re not open to criticism. Life happens and you’re forced to accept feedback, break up with someone or have tragedy strike. You might need to adjust to understanding that you’re not as awesome as you once thought,” Chopik said.
“There’s a sense in which narcissists start to realize that being the way they are isn’t smart. It happens if they want to have friends or meaningful relationships.”
The most surprising findings
“One of the most surprising findings was that individuals who were born earlier in the century started off with higher levels of hypersensitivity.
Or the type of narcissism where people are full of themselves, as well as willfulness, which is the tendency to impose opinions on others,” Chopik added.
“There isn’t much data on older generations, but now that Baby Boomers are aging into that phase of life, it’s a huge part of the population that we need to be looking at.”
In conclusion, the researchers hope that the public will understand better the different types of narcissism. Also, if you’re worried that someone is truly a narcissist, there’s still hope! They will change for the better as they get older.