Lead Actor Syndrome: What is it and why do so many suffer from this toxic lifestyle?
You take a sip of the perfect iced coffee, the sun smiles on your face, and then, as the icing on the cake, someone who is exactly your type winks at you on the zebra crossing: Admittedly, sometimes we experience moments that make us feel like the main actors :inside a romcom. You can either simply accept moments of happiness like these with gratitude – or you overrate them and interpret them as a sign that, to put it bluntly, you simply do the shit is. And we’re right in the middle of Main Character Syndrome, also known on TikTok as Main Character Syndrome.
What is Lead Actor Syndrome?
The leading actor syndrome is not a recognized psychological diagnosis, but rather to be located in popular psychology, as it is often discussed on TikTok, where many users tend to stylize every behavior directly as a “syndrome”. The trend term describes the attitude of more and more people that they alone are the main actors in their lives and, in contrast to their fellow human beings, are totally individual. And of course a healthy dose of self-love and self-confidence is all well and good, which is also the reason why the main character syndrome is portrayed as empowering in many TikToks – but with the main character syndrome, the fellow human beings of the “main character” are quickly degraded to unimportant supporting characters , which leads to a rather egocentric attitude to life and a romanticization of one’s own existence.
The best example from pop culture is Carrie Bradshaw from “Sex and the City”: She is of course actually the leading lady of a series, of course. But she behaves the same way with her fictional friends too – as if it’s all about them, while Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha are only there to pay attention to Carrie and to listen to her problems. And let’s face it: Carrie’s friends are pretty patient. In real life, the self-absorbed columnist would probably have turned her away after the events of season one.
What’s so toxic about leading man syndrome?
Anyone who sees the people around them only as extras who are only there to relieve us of our problems will rarely have relationships at eye level or, conversely, want to be there for their friends. Therapist Cynthia Catchings also explained to “Insider” that people who like to see themselves as the main actors of their very own plot often present a wrong image of themselves to those around them in order to look perfect – just like in a film . These people are often very careful to maintain their positive image and, according to the expert, have little tolerance for criticism and self-mockery, which can lead to these leading actors being particularly prone to kicking people out of their lives.
According to Psychology Today, leading man syndrome is particularly encouraged by social media, where it’s naturally easy to present a flawless image to others and create a quasi-fictional world for yourself in which you’re the star. The psychologist Dr. Michael G. Wetter as he explained to the Daily Mail. For him, leading actor syndrome is an inevitable consequence of the human need for recognition and the advancing technological possibilities for self-promotion on social media.