Young Americans are flat-out desperate for attention

Many Americans, especially the young, seem to be suffering from a psychological cousin of HPD, Histrionic Personality Disorder.  It is what I like to call ASD, Attention Seeking Disorder.  The latter can be characterized as an unbridled urge to seek attention for outrageous behavior even if the attention is negative attention.  Judging by a good chunk of public behavior, every kind of acting out in public and online is acceptable, civilized or not.  In fact, the more outrageous the behavior, the more social media hits, likes, retweets, and TikTok eyeballs it gets.

ASD can become malignant.  The often negative results of being lonely, having low self-esteem, or having various personality disorders make this happen.  Bad behavior garners a lot of attention from others, and that is really the end game.

Toxic ASD is especially noticeable in younger people — teens, college-age people, and people in their twenties and thirties.  This is not to psychoanalyze, but to ask why there is such a desperate need for attention in recent years than ever before.  Such behaviors were once considered deviant.  Now they are mainstream.

In psychologically healthier days, people were busy getting a real education, working real jobs, striving for real accomplishments.  This seems to have gone all sideways with the availability of so much leisure time.  Genuine education rather than indoctrination is rarer than before.  So many young people are activists, unemployed at productive endeavors, so the striving for accolades for real accomplishment has been replaced by striving for accolades for outrageous behavior.  This has led to horrendously destructive scenarios such as shooting up schools, beating people up on the street in broad daylight, burning churches and synagogues, and engaging in terrible acts of self- and other-destruction — to get attention.

Why are young people so lonely, so insecure, so unstable?  Perhaps life in 21st-century America has gotten too shallow.  The radical left has managed to turn positive accomplishment into negative racism.  Leftists have been successful in polluting young minds, black and white, into thinking that if they work hard at a good-paying job, if they strive for excellence, if they want to have a family, a home, and a godly lifestyle, they are selfish and are engaging in white privilege.  To these victims and perpetrators, merit is to be eschewed because it's a "white" thing and is racist, along with being self-sufficient, being on time, planning ahead, thinking rationally, delayed gratification, and hard work.  All racist.  And all require honest work, thought, and the time to engage in them, leaving less time to agitate and act out.

America has lost much of its decency to noise, screaming, swearing, and obnoxiousness.  These things get attention, especially when the one doing the acting out is not worthy of getting genuinely positive attention.  Negative attention will do.

It is far easier to say and do things that require little to no expertise and accomplishment than it is to say and do things that require study, hard work, ingenuity, and intelligence.  Human beings who are not self-starters are geared toward sloth and, if given the chance, will not work.  This is true especially for young people in the age of social media, where one's most intimate thoughts and actions are vomited onto screens around the world.  Too many young people whose actions are not worthy of getting attention are getting it.  They will even resort to scream-fests just to vent their spleen and get some attention.

It's not just the young, either.  Some entertainers of all ages have a natural proclivity to attention-getting behavior, and some will do just about anything, self-destructive or not, to get noticed.  At least people paid attention.

We have an epidemic of ASD in America.  Parents are not blameless.  Some seem hell-bent on allowing their children behavioral freedom that is turning them into prisoners of their own damaged psyches.  Perhaps it is long overdue that lethargic parents become responsible and start disciplining and controlling their children.  Instead of telling them how wonderful they are and that they can do anything they set their minds to (which is not true), how about giving them a set of non-negotiable and meaningful responsibilities?  Start with some guardrails made up of jobs, chores, and behaviors that will bring out the best in them, not the worst.  

It is terrible parenting to allow minor children to strike out on their own to "find themselves."  They will find themselves empty and rudderless and doing everything they can to get attention, no matter how destructive.

Attention is a drug.  Negative attention is a highly toxic drug that causes life defects.

Image via Pixabay.

If you experience technical problems, please write to