Research conducted by Harvard University found that talking about ourselves can be “intrinsically rewarding.” The study found that self-disclosure is significantly linked with enhanced “activation in brain regions that form the mesolimbic dopamine system, including the nucleus accumbens and ventral tegmental area.” In fact, it was also observed that some people may even give up money to talk about themselves.
However, it is not always about feeling good about yourself. Different studies indicate that too much self-disclosure can be a sign of severe emotional distress, rather than just being self-absorbed. A study from the University of Arizona found that self-referential language is often associated with negative emotionality and depression. The study states “Depressive symptomatology is manifested in greater first-person singular pronoun use (i.e., I-talk).” If you know someone who appears self-obsessed and focuses on themselves in every conversation, then it may be a sign of anxiety, tension, anger, worry or even depression. “Some conversational narcissists may actually be very anxious. So they bind their anxiety by talking about what is familiar to them – which may be themselves,” says licensed psychologist Ramani Durvasula, Ph.D.
Why a conversational narcissist can’t shut up
People who always talk about themselves are usually agenda-driven and feel rushed to make their points without connecting emotionally with anyone. They may also lack emotional quotient or emotional intelligence (EQ). However, this largely varies from one person to the other. So while one conversational narcissist might be depressive, the other one might simply don’t care about others and may be too self-absorbed.
Whether talking about themselves makes them feel good or if it is a sign of depression, there is no doubt that this is an act of needing attention. As they have low self-esteem and poor sense of self, conversational narcissists may feel gratified when other people listen to them. “They perceive this as proof of their own worth. This type of person fails to get in tune with other people’s desires. Instead, they always revolve around their own needs,” explains an article in Exploring Your Mind. Talking about themselves makes them feel worthy and enables them to avoid their inner dialogue and sufferings. They are afraid of self-talk and hence they force others to listen to them. It allows them to feel heard and gain a different perspective about their own persona.
Perhaps this is why most of their stories seem to be tall tales that show how great and amazing they are. These stories enable a conversational narcissist to build a false image of themselves. Moreover, they also expect appreciation from others to feed their feeble ego and low self-esteem. On the other hand, some might share all their problems with you and expect life-altering advice from you as if you are their therapist. However, they will never be available to listen to your problems or give you any advice.
People who always talk about themselves never take part in a conversation. They simply engage in a manipulation of words to get attention. They will make you feel compelled to listen to them, feel sorry or praise them. But you will never share a real bond, friendship or relationships with conversational narcissists.
Here are a few other reasons why a conversational narcissist always talks about themselves can simply can’t shut up even when they should:
- Desperate need for attention
- Strong need for external validation of emotions
- Lack of social sensitivity
- Lack of social skills
Although they may realize at times that they are annoying others, however they are simply unable to stop talking about themselves.