Performance Identity

I have often referred to how the advances in technology have proven a great boon for my kind. Not only does technology allow us a greater reach, to more people, more often and more easily it provides us with camouflage. The genesis of the “selfie” is testament to that. Once upon a time if you wanted to be in one of your own pictures, you asked somebody else to use your camera to take a picture of you and your friends or perhaps you against some fantastic backdrop of scenery. Now  the advent of the camera phone has allowed everybody to take a picture of themselves with friends, with a famous person, in front of a landmark, pulling a stupid pout, holding up  beer on so on. This need to be “in on the shot” is a nod to the narcissistic traits of entitlement, boundary violation and grandiosity. Of course, not everyone is of our kind and just because you have a tendency to take selfies does not make you one of our kind either. What it does though is increase the backdrop of narcissistic tendencies so that ours fit even more readily into what society is doing. Fifteen years ago if someone kept pestering other people to take a picture of themselves in different poses and places, eyebrows would be raised. Now if you see someone holding their ‘phone up and pouting, you do not bat an eyelid. It is expected. This narcissistic tendency has become mainstream and we welcome this, as it allows ours to be merge with that mainstream to, enabling us to move more easily amongst you all.

When you take that selfie you are engaging in performance identity. You are reinforcing your identity as against the performance of standing and taking a picture of yourself which you then plaster across several social media outlets, text to your friends and quite possibly set as your wall paper. Performance crime is the instance whereby a perpetrator engages in criminal activity which he or she records. How many videos have you seen on Facebook where a fight is in progress and nobody halts it, but instead they stand around cameras held aloft filming the fracas? How often have you seen people posting pictures of themselves committing some criminal act, be it the use of drugs, assaulting somebody, criminal damage or theft?  It also goes to include those acts which may not be criminal but would be regarded as morally reprehensible. Taking photographs of somebody who is drunk asleep in the middle of the road rather than helping them, snapping away at someone who has soiled themselves or vomited. Taking pictures of someone’s mishap or misfortune and adding a supposedly witty insight in white text across the bottom of the picture. These behaviours are all geared towards performance, showing off and putting on a show.

We are masters at performance identity. We are defined by what we do to an admiring and attentive audience. Our every move is choreographed, our entrance carefully planned. We walk the urban landscape with an imaginary soundtrack playing in our heads as we strut along, considering ourselves to be in some kind of film or documentary. A puzzle once went along the lines of,

“It a leaf falls in a forest but there is nobody there to hear it, did it make a sound?”

The modern day equivalent for our kind is,

“If we did something but nobody saw it, did it really take place?”

We are defined by what others see us do and their reaction to it. Whether it is admiration, hatred, anger, upset, terror, grief, hilarity, amusement, praise, love or adoration there must always be an emotion infused reaction. This reaction defines who we are because it provides us with fuel. It tells us that we are brilliant, feared, furious, dominant, entertaining, witty, sensational, beautiful, remarkable and so forth. The reaction is everything for the fuel it provides but also because our performance allows us to define what we believe what we are, the outward appearance the world must see as opposed to the one locked deep away and never permitted to be viewed.

You all engage in performance identify. Often it is of little consequence but it still shapes part of what you are. The growing tendency for people to engage in performance identity means that our need, our absolute need to do this, will not always stand out as much as it might. Yes, it draws a reaction but this need for attention may not always be seen for what it is. People just regard us as outgoing, bombastic, entertaining, the life and soul of the party, at the centre of everything. There are scores of polite ways of saying attention seeker without realising that is what you are doing. We must do it however, we must perform from the moment we rise from our beds until we return to it again in order to draw fuel and to create that which we want the world to see. The world may indeed be a stage, but it is a stage for my kind and me.

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26 thoughts on “Performance Identity”

  1. Out of curiosity, in addition to FB, are you personally on others like Snapchat, Instagram? Do you post frequently? Do you comment and/or like frequently on your friend’s posts to keep a strong presence?

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      1. Of course. Well if I get a friend request from a guy I don’t know in the U.K., I’ll know it’s Stranger Danger! Lol

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  2. What if accounts such as Facebook are blocked to you? I assume you have multiple accounts for such an instance. Or do you get your minions to do the spying and report back?

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      1. I think I’m thinking a little bit more like you every day unfortunately!

        There has to be instances though when the blocking and deleting has some effect, new accounts, no mutual friends you know how it goes, would you still attempt to ‘spy’?

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  3. Do you think that somebody who is extremely attention sicker is def. A narcissist. I know a girl which I wonder if she is one. In parties she always wants to be the center of attention. Speaking very loud so that everybody listend to her. Being funny, jumping around, she has to make sure everybody sees her. I dont know her to well so I would not know anything more but does she sound very narcissistic? When somebody MUST call attention in several ways?

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    1. It is certainly an indicator and a strong one at that, once would have to establish other behaviours as she may like to cause a scene which is something intrinsic to NPD and BPD. Do you know more about her?

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      1. No unfortunately not. Met her once in a party but I just never forget her desperation to call attention from everybody and be super nice. But I can make a call to my common friend and try to find out more 😜😜. Will let you know. Ill try tonight. Somehow this post made me think about this girl.

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  4. Well hello HG! I’ve missed posting to you! Got the new book and love it!! Yes my love I will write a review! Question for you, do you ever dream or have nightmares? Xo

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  5. HG this reminds me of an N I met through online dating some years ago. His “friend” (female on the site) made introductions. He was a true malign N and when I caught on I told her (the “friend”) she misinformed me about him. I still get afraid when I think about the response I got from both of them (frightening to get such intense aggression from “two” allegedly sane people). All by email and scary stuff. They both thought he was the cat’s banana! Those two were so much alike. Worshipping at the altar of him. I guess she was the supply procurement tool. Thank you as always. Put several good reviews on your books as well in past weeks.

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  6. Yes he loved to take photos, I made a point not to include him in our holiday snaps sometimes, because I knew it pissed him off, so he took many selfies, plastered all over his social media. He bought a lovely, expensive new camera, thought it would impress me, so I bought a better one. He didn’t like that.

    Even took one with a politician he always professed to hate and that one took pride of place, he thought it made him look prestigious. Sad really, and it backfired, everyone thought he was a hypocrite. Many ‘liked’ it, but they all laughed about him behind his back.

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  7. HG. We also take pics and put on social media for moral support. Really its not attention seeking but moral support. I had a misfortunate incident during the weekend 😭😭😭 . Hard blow !! And I have taken some pictures and put them on facebook and the comments of the people have made me feel a bit better 😃😃. Add moral support to the list.

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  8. So, have you looked into temperament systems like MBTI or Enneagram? Enneagram 3 seems obvious enough for you (I think narcissism is a nature and nurture thing – like a perfect storm situation). Take a gander at MBTI, I’d be interested to see how you’d type yourself. Maybe ENTP? You could also write more on your childhood or what they’re putting you through with therapy, that stuff is always interesting. Unless you’ve done this with your books then you might kindly point me in the right direction. Thanks

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    1. Hello Pan, MBTI was mentioned some time ago and I did read about it. I commented that the various types are open to interpretation according to the perspective, whether it is empathic or narcissistic. There will be more concerning my childhood and therapy in the forthcoming books – Little Boy Lost, MatriNarc and The Good Doctors, alongwith The Creature. There will also be further blog posts on these matters too. Thank you for reading.

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  9. Didn’t even try to type yourself? At least humor us. “According to the perspective…” Indeed. Maybe you’re looking at the wrong sites… http://www.truity.com/view/types is good for basic profiles, and there’s also a section on careers in respect to the types that could help further narrow things down. And this place is good for celebrity typing’s: http://www.celebritytypes.com/about.php. I’m sure you will see a pattern there, especially if you look at the ENTP’s, who are an easy lot to spot. Lot’s of places get it wrong and MBTI just ends up looking inconsistent.

    C’mooooon.

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