Social Question

josie's avatar

What psychological term or diagnosis would describe this?

Asked by josie (30931points) July 23rd, 2010

I am not a psychologist, and I try not to act like one if I can help it. But on Fluther there appears to be many psychologists (at least one professional, and countless amateurs). Perhaps you can educate me.
Some people, as they live their lives, choose to march to the proverbial “different drummer”. They do things slightly or enormously in an unconventional fashion, in their choices in consumption, sexual behaviour, views on religion and on and on. Nothing wrong with that. I am a little different myself.
But I have noticed that in many cases, these people begin to imagine that because they are different, they are also special, in that their difference is proof or cause of a particular elevation in enlightenment and understanding.
Generally, I think, this is a delusion. Lots of people are enlightened, lots are clueless. It has nothing to do with life choices.
If my observation is at least somewhat valid, what in psychological terms, what would you call this (probably harmless) neurosis?
Or am I just imagining it?
And I will not deny that at times, I think it could be applied to me, so leave out the comments that I am being judgemental or provocative. Just curious.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

52 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I think plenty of people think they’re special as that’s crealy subjective – however, I don’t think there is any such thing as normal and that everyone else chooses to be ‘different’ – but I’m thinking you are clumping me into the group you mention

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’ll discuss this with God the next time he asks me what he and his kid should do.

josie's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir The only person I have named as included is me

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@josie But then you write “But I have noticed that in many cases, these people begin to imagine that because they are different, they are also special” indicating that, though you consider yourself different sometimes, you certainly don’t think you’re special as you deem those others on fluther thinking.

josie's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I think I make it pretty clear that I am being at least a little introspective. But take it as you will. I think it is a better question than what kind of tires should I buy or something like that. Although come to think of it I need new tires. I figure it might explain Jesus or Mohammed or most policians.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Sorry guys, my sarcasm sometimes slips out. I think most people are special in some way, aren’t they?

jazmina88's avatar

i resemble that remark…..:)

now, i love maslow’s hierachy….where only a slight few reach that true potential. and we are all special. But I use that as hope to get through all the crap. and it is good to teach children self-worth.

I have seen delusions, with my family and drug hazes and certainly know reality from not.
I am a bit paranoid…...but I am different and a great person who believes in god. and it based on life choices that makes me….ME.

I’d rather have hope than think we are nothing and life is just crap. At least I have developed strong beliefs.

call me nuts, if you wish. :)

CMaz's avatar

Believing in yourself. Seeing yourself as special. Is healthy.
Projecting that on to others, helping you to reinforce that belief, is insecure.

Special is a word used when needing to convey to others, who you think they should see you as.

“Delusion” and “neurosis” are what you develop when you take discomfort in others “confidence.”

I tend to believe I follow the beat of a different drummer. Something that only matters to me.
Anything else would be misguided.

Coloma's avatar

Narcissists tend towards grandiose fantasies of perfection of self.

They often feel ‘special’ or unique and that they somehow are singled out by God or the universe for special treatment.

Everyone SHOULD feel good about themselves and their successes while still retaining enough humility to know that they are not any more ‘special’ than anyone else.

Many narcissists also do not believe in a spiritual power outside of themselves, or think they have a direct pipeline and special association with ‘God.’ lol

After all if you think you ARE ‘God’, an ego like that cannot fathom that they are not, infact, the omnipotent beings they see themselves as.

CMaz's avatar

@Coloma – I am God. ;-)

I am so confident of it, I do not need to prove it to anyone. :-)

Coloma's avatar

@ChazMaz, um…are you working on my latest requests? lol

jazmina88's avatar

@ChazMaz is my mortgage paid off yet, dude???? bowing….and tossing flowers like hari krisna

your avatar looks like God :)

How do we know who is enlightened and who is clueless? I think we all have different perspectives.

CMaz's avatar

I can only scrounge up so many ponies at a time.

Besides, that is the other God. Talk to him about requests. ;-)

Coloma's avatar


Oh, you’re Santa Claus too?..Well….Santa baby, hurry down the chimney tonight!

CMaz's avatar

On my way… Can I play with your geese?

Coloma's avatar


Bring bread.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

This question made me laugh. It’s really true.

But I also think, at least to some degree, it’s human nature.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Coloma Make him prove he’s smarter than the geese first. Make him pick up corn with his pecker.

Coloma's avatar



Okay Chazzy…put a corncob on that thang and run through the flock! haha

CMaz's avatar

All these preconceptions of what God is.

But if it makes you happy, I drive with my pecker.
And, what flock am I driving the corn cob through? ;-)

I am sorry, I derailed this post. TGIF syndrome.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Anyone else want to jump on our bus to hell?

KhiaKarma's avatar

Here’s a list of DSM iv codes

Check out 301.81

I hate diagnoses, by the way- my only use for them is for insurance and medicaid purposes. I have seen labels harm people more often than they help.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@josie Sorry for going so far off track. Back to the question.

Coloma's avatar

A peck on your pecker by a long necker
might turn a goose into a home wrecker

CMaz's avatar

Hold up… @Coloma is still on a roll. :-)

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Coloma LMAO. I’m toast. TGIF

Coloma's avatar

Oh God….( no, not you Chaz ) ;-)

I am on a roll and it’s still about 4 hours til Corona time…just imagine what I could do then!

Alrighty..carry on..back to the one percent of me that is ‘serous.’ haha

josie's avatar

@ChazMaz @Adirondackwannabe This is much better than any answer to the question.

jazmina88's avatar

What did people think of Ben franklin outside in the lightning with his kite?? Or Bell? da Vinci? Einstein? were they lunatics?
But they changed the world. If we all end up thinking the way society trains us, we sit in an office and be successful, but think what you could do, if you challenged your way of thinking?

4 hours til Coloma time. :):) quack quack

Coloma's avatar



True, just imagine what those guys might have accomplished with Corona too! haha
Well, as ‘they’ say, nothing good was ever written over a glass of ice water.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Hey, as the commercial goes, It’s always happy hour somewhere. Crack out the cold ones and watch out geese.

CMaz's avatar

And keep your pecker out of the corn.

josie's avatar

@ChazMaz @Adirondackwannabe @Coloma I gotta say that I have never gotten a bigger kick out of the total destruction of a thread as I did on this one . You clearly are ready to pop. Drive carefully tonight. Drink lots of water while you party. Take ibuprofen when you go to bed. If you go to to bed. And be careful where you put your pecker.

KhiaKarma's avatar

So once again, the class clowns get all the attention…. TGIF!

Coloma's avatar


My pleasure to take the humorous track to derailment. lol

No big party scene tonight, just a few cold ones in the cold hot tub, gotta work at 9 tomorrow, so being well behaved is a must. Damn it!

josie's avatar

@KhiaKarma Ya gotta luv em

KhiaKarma's avatar

Fo Sho! They really think they’re special don’t they. :D

josie's avatar

@KhiaKarma The question might have been a little too heavy. Probably deserved it.

Coloma's avatar

He ain’t heavy, he’s my brotherrrrrrr….

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@josie Thanks for the sense of humor. That was one of the best train wrecks I’ve ever been on. It was a good question, so we owe you one.Oh god, she’s still at it.

Coloma's avatar

I have a hard time leaving a party…lol

Right down to the last running, putting on makeup at the computer..then..hi ho, hi’s to the bank I go, need cash to run my show, and extra just to to blow…..mumbling, fading into the distance…

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

“Keep your pecker out of the corn” would make a good name for a band.

aprilsimnel's avatar

In a sort-of answer to your question, @josie, since I probably know nothing, I think that’s more of an existential crisis than a psychological one. I think almost every person comes to the realization at some point that we are specks on a pebble whipping around a tiny fireball and all that is hurtling through a vast, infinite space with googolplexes of tiny fireballs and pebbles. Possibly, there are other universes of this magnitude.

Considering that, is anything we fight and shriek about on this pebble truly that important? Who wants to feel worthless and small? We take our quirks and neuroses and enshrine them to say “I’m here!” “I matter!” “I’m unique!” “I’m the Universal in a corporal form! Yay, me!”

Well, yes, and no.

And so what? So is everything else. Consciousness, though, that’s the question. To be able to think about being makes us what, exactly? We’ve been butting our heads on that one for the last 30,000 years.

anartist's avatar

As said above, it’s healthy to feel special, and hopefully,
to someone else in this world besides yourself, you are.
But arrogance is never justified.

YARNLADY's avatar

The basic premise of the collective it “Everyone is an expert”, which implies we are all special. The current popular movement in U. S. society is to make sure everyone has a healthy sense of self-respect. I think the psychological term for it is self esteem

Jeruba's avatar

Thanks to Hallmark, a couple of generations of television ads, and a curious warp in the educational system, we’re bombarded with the notion that everybody’s special. There’s no telling how many people have bought into this.

I think the problem comes when people leap from special to exempt. Ordinary restraints, codes of behavior, expectations, etc., don’t apply to them. Their specialness wins them a free ticket to cross any line they please, anywhere, anytime, without regard to the specialness of anyone but themselves.

I have no name for this idea. The name I’d prefer to use is “human being.” I think our similarities are more important than our differences. Differences come naturally; we have to work at a sense of commonality.

But this is a Western view. In a collectivist society perhaps it’s just the opposite and no such generalization is possible.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Apparent narcissistic behaviour can be part of a personality style without being a disorder.
Sometimes it is as much in the eye of the perceiver as in the actions of the subject.
Quick judgments and labelling does more harm than good. People may try to manage the impressions they make. sometimes clumsily.

meagan's avatar

Its just jackasses that the internet has created. Everyone thinks that they’re right. Everyone wants to be special.

The percentage of people with ACTUAL psychological disorders are extremely small. I’m not sure why, but today there seem to be a lot of people that want to blame their problems on things that “can’t be fixed”.

Oh, well Johnny is just excited because he has ADD, not because I just fed him too much sugar.
Sorry, I have OCD because I’m a neat and orderly person.
I’m clinically depressed because my boyfriend broke up with me, even though I’ll get over it in a week.

Bull crap to all of it.

Coloma's avatar

There are a lot of people whose personality issues do cause them lots of trouble.

If someone is alienating friends or people in general, in trouble with the law, engaging in lots of self defeating or high risk behaviors, has a hair trigger temper etc. they might want to ask that great old question…’ hows that workin’ for ya.’ haha

Perhaps the actual percentage of personality ‘disorders’ are not as great as some material would lead one to believe, ( in terms of meeting a criteria for a pervasive way of being ) but, there are plenty of people that are woefully inadequate at winning friends and influencing people.

Being an arrogant ass is but one road that leads to hell. lol

Okay…it IS Corona time now, that’s all the seriousness anyones getting out of me for the rest of the day!

zophu's avatar

It’s kind of like how nervous cells compete for life in a developing unborn child. They all try to be special, the vast majority die and are reabsorbed, but some of the specialized cells stick and that’s how our brains connect to the rest of our bodies so well. From a biological standpoint it’s some kind of diversity-natural-selection-thingy. (not a psychologist or biologist, lol) There’s a lot of diversity for natural selection to work with, therefore helping the whole become stronger and survive.

Deviating for the sake of deviating is a real thing, I think, but deviation is especially common with people who don’t work well in the status quo. If one doesn’t work in the norm, become weird so that you might find a unique niche in which to thrive. Most deviations fail but hopefully we can build a society where most deviants don’t have to fail. Because although deviants are generally taxing and sometimes a little dangerous (and sometimes very dangerous,) they are what move society forward. Throughout history progress has proven not to be a steadily gradual thing, but it instead makes leaps at certain points where one special deviation became a norm and opened up the way for countless more for a while.

We couldn’t survive without our weird little deviants, and it’s a test for all of us to create a world where deviations can be brought to life and be tested freely without compromising social stability. That way, we wouldn’t have to wait for crashes in the cycle to begin new revolutions. We could just keep turning fairly smoothly. Without the hassle of mass-deaths and violent tyranny.

It’s when the deviations aren’t driven naturally that they become a little ridiculous. People use their weirdness as a crutch or shield, or as a distraction from what must be done. And maybe sometimes people are just broken. Nurture the honest weirdness in yourself, and in others. Just as long as stability is not needlessly compromised. Maximum diversity within the threshold of stability—that’s the natural goal of life, I think. It’s why freedom and self-determination are so important.

People need to feel special, because even if they’re not, there’s little chance for anyone to be special if they don’t believe they are. The regulations are here to keep the system stable, not to keep everyone down, (at least that’s how it’s supposed to be.) Common rules are secondary to the wishes of any individual. Though they’re usually a very authoritative secondary, that doesn’t mean they should be looked to as the model—just the limit. And limits need to be pushed.

Coloma's avatar


” Nurture the honest weirdness in yourself ”

Hah,,,love it!

I think you have a book title there…..” Nurturing your honest weirdness ” lol

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther