Is speaking (or preferring to speak, even if not actually doing it) about oneself in third person a symptom of any specific mental condition?

I can remember a person in an IRC role playing chat room who preferred to speak this way. But apart from this specific case, I am also asking in a broader context.

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    $\begingroup$ Upvoted because it is an interesting question. My non-expert opinion: I think it would hard to design a study that pinned such behavior on a "specific mental condition". For instance, it could easily be viewed as an effect of narcissism (cf. the royal "we", or "your king commands it") or a sign of dissociative disorder ("The other one told me to do it"), etc. $\endgroup$
    – dwn
    Jan 9, 2015 at 15:28

1 Answer 1


Speaking about oneself in the third person is known as illeism.

It is not a symptom of any mental condition listed in the DSM. As Wikipedia notes, it is sometimes used in speech and literature for stylistic reasons.

  • $\begingroup$ I was asking about the cases when a person generally feels like using it, excluding intentional uses such as in literature, etc. $\endgroup$
    – drabsv
    Dec 31, 2014 at 23:49

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