Being "Special" as a Compensation for Narcissistic Injury

In a thread that was locked a few hours ago (“Similarities & Differences between psychosis/schizophrenia, Shamanism & Mysticism?” at Similarities & Differences between psychosis/schizophrenia, Shamanism & Mysticism?), some of the posters observed that trying to be special may be a way to compensate for the pain and suffering caused by a severe mental illness (as well as by so-called “spiritual” or emotional abuse by bullies or family members in early life).

WITHOUT getting into any of the rest of the discussion on that thread, I would like to say that such compensation is very well understood, especially among those in the post-Freudian, psychodynamic school of human behavior who saw it decades ago in the offspring of parents who needed children to be receptacles for their unresolved anger… while at the same time teaching those children to value achievement.

And it’s a significant topic again these days owing to schoolyard and online bullying leading to trying to be “special” as an unconscious, ineffective and socially / interpersonally dysfunctional means of “undoing” the abuse.

Anyone who’s sufficiently intrigued can find quite a bit of useful information about this topic at…


i’m special.
take care :alien:


In the era I grew up in, some kids were just plain dumb. Their parents never read to them…etc.

Nowadays there is no such thing as a ‘dumb’ kid. He/she is labeled as having a learning disability. It’s quite often a cop out on the parents’ part…neglectful, under par parenting being dismissed in favour of a supposed genetic problem with Junior.

My 2 cents…

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But we are special, were the 1%!


Yup. And as I tell my daughter, “just like everyone else.”




For me the desire or need to feel special played some role in my delusions, and now that I am (positive)symptom-free, it still plays a role - I will admit.

I am a believer in motivated reasoning. The idea that motives can influence our reasoning processes and thus, in short, that we do not only belief what we have evidence for but also what serves us well. Maybe it is wrong to say I am a believer in this, and better to say that I accept and am aware of the fact.

At one point, when delusional, my objective was to get rid of the distress, in any way possible. I identified my delusional belief in the subjectivity of my voices as a main source for distress. If I would only be able to see things differently, I thought, I would be less distressed. Finding evidence for or against that belief, reality checking, wasn’t really working for me though.

My reasoning was as follows: it was true I did not have any non-circular proof of the subjectivity of the voices, yet, no evidence in favor does not yet mean the proposition is false. My mind always found exceptions and ways which this delusion could be true, and this was enough for me to take it as true. This is ofcourse somewhat of a leap in reasoning: when nothing counts for it, the rational response would be to possibly entertain the idea, but not to endorse it.

Here motivated reasoning comes in. For although I had no evidence to belief this delusion, it nevertheless was appealing to me. I sought for possible explanations for this in terms of motivated reasoning. Maybe there were motives that made me endorse this delusion, in the absence of evidence. I found one that I could subscribe to, the desire to feel special was something I reflectively could admit to myself. And my delusion, while extremely distressing, did also make me feel special.

So, to get rid of the distress, I either had to change my motive/desire to feel special, or find another way to satisfy it. I already played with the thought of interpreting the voices as a symptom of some pathology, but since my queer mind wasn’t playing the game of evidence, I thought I had to exploit motivated reasoning here as well. To have a mental illness does make one special, but not in an appealing way because of stigma etc. It was when I conceived of coming to insight into mental illness by self-reflection as an achievement that could satisfy my desire to feel special that I could exploit motivated reasoning to endorse the picture of my voices as a symptom of pathology. So I glorified this to myself, and am still guilty of doing that, while from another perspective one could say that my delusion ‘spontaneously subsided’. All this may sound insane, and maybe it does take insanity to combat insanity - if not assisted by external sources of help I mean. But yes this desire to feel special and to conceive of insight as a means to satisfy it has helped me to stay on the good side of delusion.

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when voices that claimed to be god told me I was chosen to bring forth new plans for the kingdom, I could not believe it, I didnt want to accept it, it overwhelmed me , it made me sick, and they just kept telling me to try to relax and accept it.
Maybe part of me wanted to be special and part of me did not.

Id say everyone has some degree of narcissism or ego, some more some less