Are You a Special Snowflake?

Wondering if you or someone you know is a special snowflake? Read on for my proposed criteria for the currently unrecognized personality disorder Special Snowflake Syndrome…

My Proposed Diagnostic Criteria

A pervasive pattern of disregard for others, lack of empathy, grandiosity, and hypersensitivity, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by 5 (or more) of the following:

  1. Frequent demanding of special treatment regardless of circumstances.
  2. Sense of entitlement or unrealistic expectation of favorable treatment from others regardless of deservedness.
  3. Elevation of their needs above others, regardless of the objective importance of those needs, or the impact on others.
  4. Inability to recognize the perspectives of others, or to consider that the opinions of others may have validity.
  5. Easily offended by others’ words and behaviors, especially if triggered by perceived injustice.
  6. Displaying developmentally inappropriate behavior in response to perceived disagreeable actions of others.
  7. Inappropriate and/or intense displays of anger, often in the form of a narcissistic rage.
  8. Believes others are the sole source of any problem, negative emotion, or poor outcome.

Diagnostic Features

The essential feature of Special Snowflake Syndrome is a pervasive pattern of disregard for others, lack of empathy, grandiosity, and hypersensitivity that begins by early adulthood and is present in a variety of contexts.

Individuals with Special Snowflake Syndrome frequently demand special treatment regardless of circumstances (Criterion 1). They demand others provide what they believe they deserve and thus, this is usually tied to their sense of entitlement (Criterion 2). However, this moves beyond simply asking for additional unwarranted consideration, and includes actively unrealistic expectations of favorable treatment from others regardless of deservedness.

Because these individuals believe they are special and unique, this often results in an elevation of their needs above others, regardless of the objective importance of those needs, or the impact on others (Criterion 3). They routinely believe they are more important than others, whether friends, family, or strangers.

Individuals with this disorder demonstrate an inability to recognize the perspectives of others, or to consider that the opinions of others may have validity (Criterion 4). They are horribly shocked by any disagreement with others, often also resulting in being easily offended by others’ words and behaviors, especially if triggered by perceived injustice (Criterion 5). If an individual with Special Snowflake Syndrome believes they are righting a wrong, they will likely appear inflexible with those beliefs.

Given their belief in their moral superiority, individuals with this disorder will display developmentally inappropriate behavior in response to perceived disagreeable actions of others (Criterion 6). If someone disagrees with them, they may break down in tears or yell, out of proportion to the inciting event. This often appears as inappropriate and/or intense displays of anger, often in the form of a narcissistic rage (Criterion 7).

Finally, individuals with Special Snowflake Syndrome, directly related to the above criteria, believe others are the sole source of any problem, negative emotion, or poor outcome (Criterion 8). Because of this intensely held belief, these individuals can be difficult to reason with, may be unable to compromise, and may be completely unable to see the role their own beliefs and/or behavior may have played in a given situation. This makes it quite difficult for the individual to change their thoughts, emotions, or behaviors.

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All information on this page published in Special Snowflake Syndrome: The Unrecognized Personality Disorder Destroying the World. (c) 2016 Heather Silvio

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