FAQ: Define Solipsism? Give Examples and Context

define solipsism

As my site gets older and you guys and gals leave more comments I am getting multiple queries to define solipsism, narcissism, munchausens and other similar terms.

These terms which largely relate to personality disorders keep on popping up over and over again; particularly when you are discussing your ex-partners.

With all the readily available information on the internet and also with the increased sophistication of the self-help fields I see conversations are becoming more and more intertwined with clinical terms that can cause confusion.

Firstly, I want to say that I am not a health care professional – if you need medical help or someone that you know needs medical help then your best bet is to see your GP to discuss a recommendation to see a specialist.


My Definition for Solipsism

Solipsism is a personality disorder. A solipsist will whol-heartedly believe that they are the center of the universe and the only human being in it. Everyone and everything that who surrounds them or comes into contact with them are viewed as trespassers, unwanted visitors or workers/slaves in a world that is not theirs. On a good day the world is seen as cannon fodder to his/her entertainment, on a bad day the world is seen as a series of targets.

You can see why that can be a problem. I also struggle to see how this condition can come in halves. It appears to be an all or nothing situation. Extreme or non-evident.

The demoralizing part (for me anyway) is that I have recently been convinced that such conditions are not necessarily hereditary. They can be learned, taught or entangled into someone’s psyche slowly.

Indicator 1 – One way communication

Ever felt like you were talking to a brick wall? If this goes on for very long periods you have just ticked my first box. There seems to be a physiological incapability for them to actually listen. Comprehension and understanding are absolutely out of the question.

Indicator 2 – Extreme selfishness

solipsism vs narcissismExtreme selfishness can be exhibited by not only solipsists but also narcissists. Let me take a moment here to say that it is not a competition. Quite often when I am having these types of conversations it turns into a competition to see who can be partnered up with the worst and most demented ex-partner. Neither solipsism nor narcissism is worse, they are both different and both have a full range of spectra just like everything else in life. Remember one of the big lessons I try to teach on my site is that the world is not black and white.

Indicator 3 – Opinionated and Dismissive

Of course leading on from indicator one if someone is not listening they soon become very dismissive of anything you have to say or anything you try to do. Dismissive behavior can often lead to ridicule or emotional torment etc.

In saying that the indicator 2 selfishness can also quickly lead to a very opinionated and vocal proponent. Egotistical is also a word I commonly hear during such conversations but I personally have a whole different plethora of opinions on ego. I will save that for another day.


How is Solipsism different to Narcissism?

In very simplistic terms a narcissist will see themselves as the best person in the world whilst the solipsist will see themselves as the only person in the world. See the difference?

It may seem quite trivial at first glance but once you start seeing how this difference manifests itself into styles of interaction with people you will be unpleasantly surprised.

There is a lot of overlap but remember there is also a very big range within the spectrum. Same as in any personality trait. Just as we all have good days and bad day our egos also come with good tendencies and bad tendencies.


Relevant Articles to help you deal with a dysfunctional spouse.

Quite often these types of conversations I have don’t go much beyond finger pointing and name-calling. I want to help you find a way to get beyond that. Here are a few topics which may open up some new options for you.

link: Getting rid of emotional baggage

link: Multi-generational baggage




2 Replies to “FAQ: Define Solipsism? Give Examples and Context”

  1. It seems this is happening more and more lately, especially with Social Media. Social Media is a great tool, but like all tools it can be used in the wrong way, and more people are using it in the wrong way. Hopefully people will wake up and use it to help other’s, it’s not always about them.

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