Since I blog under my real name, I haven't used a screen name in ages. Till recently. Funny thing happened that turned on the lights about something.
This was one of those big messageboards. In other words, it reaches a massive audience, which of course includes a large number of predators. With the usual result - trolling and flaming galore.
That day, I had just about lost my cool when some guy piped up and said that this was virtual reality only. That hit me like a ton of bricks. I had started to identify with Ms Screename. I cared about what kind of impression she was making. I was concerned to repair any damage some jerk did to her image.
But why? That wasn't the real me. Say somebody insults her, slights her, puts words in her mouth, slanders her, makes a fool of her - what's it to me? Why do I feel injured, like I must do something about it? Will people look at me askance in the grocery store because of it?
The moment you ask yourself that question the distinction between this caricature and your real self suddenly becomes clear. Scary how blurred it can get while you're pounding the keyboard though.
So what if somebody insults a figment of my imagination? I can invent a new one and go back into the lists tommorrow as "Ms Screename B."
How absurd then to identify with the CHARACTER (often fictionalized to boot) representated by a screen name. Yet we get sucked into doing so.
I must apologize to narcissists. I always thought it really weird that they identify with a fictitious caricature of themselves, but now I see how easy that is to do!
That's essentially what they're doing. Narcissists create a fictionalized character that they present as their face to the world. And they identify with it. They lose themselves in it. Like some Internet addict pounding away at the keyboard behind a screenname all day long.