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Bio-Hazard

Copycat personality

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Bio-Hazard    10

I don't know the medical psychological term for "copycat personality."

 

From what I understand, copycat personality is when someone basically steals who you are and begins to transform themselves into the way you speak, the way you dress, the way you behave, and a multitude of other things.

 

Does anyone have information on this psychological behavior?

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Royston    268

This reminds of the film 'single white female' where this is the very theme of the film. I've been googling and Jeeves'ing the subject for the last half an hour but there doesn't seem to be anything I can find without knowing the actual name of this condition. In the film I think it's the passing of the killers sister at childhood that stems an obsession with a new friend where she gets the same haircut clothes et.c then tries to dominate the victim and eventually tries to murder her and her boyfriend. I watched the flick many years ago, so not too accurate a description.

 

The only thing that vaguely relates I can think of is the freudean take on identification where you dress, act similar in a particular social group to 'fit in', and I guess this could go to extremes. Sorry if this is no help at all, perhaps if you search realted topics with the film you may find something.

 

'Copycat' seems to get sites on copycat killings, and early child behaviour but nothing about this condition ??

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Bio-Hazard    10

I understand the situation behind the copycat personality murders, I'm not looking for information on that. Seems we have tons of psychiatric things on google, but this one is a bit complicated to track down.

 

I believe there was also a more severe noticable case in the move Don't Say a Word (2001).

 

-movie spoiler-

[hide]in the movie the girl has been in an institution for many years and takes on the drug and cutter personalities of the people around her.[/hide]

 

I'm sure this could be a real psychiatric case in some people. Even some of the most absurd things when people think their body part is malfunctioning when it is perfectly fine can be called a disorder.

 

So there must be some type of name for this disorder.

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Glider    306

I've never heard of that as a clinical condition. I have heard of cases of obsession that have resulted in more or less what you describe, but not as a condition on its own.

 

There are more limited symptoms of other conditions that result in the copying of speech and the meaningless repition of phrases (echolalia) and the same with certain movements (echopraxia), but I've never heard of a condition involving the adoption or copying of a complete persona.

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Bio-Hazard    10

However, don't sociopaths tend to steal anothers personality?

 

Somewhat like conforming.. but noticing that the best way to conform is steal another's personality..

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Glider    306

I don't think so. Sociopaths can be charming and manipulative, but they also tend to have a grandiose sense of self, which would work against their adopting the personality of another (the other's personality simply wouldn't be good enough).

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I've encountered a few of these "copycat" or parasitic personalities through social media, and they remind me of certain individuals I've known in Elementary school and later on in life. Their typical MO is to attach themselves to someone they believe has advantageous qualities over them and try to emulate them. They don't seem to assimilate, process or internalize these qualities on their own, but merely adopt them by rote or artifice. At some point, they seem to confuse their own psychology with the object of their emulation and enter into a fiercely one-sided competition, often projecting their own deficiencies, insecurities and patterns on them. They can become quite argumentative, antagonistic and even hostile when confronted with their behavior, especially since they are astonishingly unaware of it.

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Sirona    184

"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."

 

I don't believe imitation is always a sign of insecurity; in some instances it can be but you've associated it with very negative connotations which is not always the case. Our formative years are a difficult time for most as we're discovering many new things about our personality and making sense of where we belong. We also become conscious about what behaviours, attitudes and physical attributes are socially preferable in different circles. It's not uncommon for children and young adults to have role models, whether they're positive or negative ones, adults or peers and attempt to imitate them in varies ways often unintentionally. This behaviour is much less common in adults not because we become 'better' people, but because we have different obstacles as we get older. They do not confuse their identity, as you say, but they try to make sense of it. Teenagers are full of doubt and struggle for social acceptance because it can be an isolating time being confronted with so many new physical and emotional changes. It's unfair to reprimand them because you're in a different psychological state to them.

Even as adults it's often difficult to find your position in social circles are there is an element of competitiveness, jealousy and the need for attention but there is certainly some degree of this offline too. It's not uncommon to befriend someone in the workplace for a competitive advantage or to be friends with respected and well liked people for credibility and acceptance. As sociable beings, we seek others approval and seek mutually advantageous relationships. Some may do this through imitation in order to be perceived as likable since we tend to favour relationships with those that are similar to ourselves.

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iNow    4508

To me, it stems from our evolution as a tribal species. We must abide by the code of our pack... we must in various ways imitate them or risk ostracization and loss of resources, security, or potential mates.

 

Whether or not the core underlying motivation here is insecurity, those who can imitate others well and/or fit in better / accommodate any given circumstance tend to survive far better than those who do/can not.

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