Don’t you just hate it when someone acts like they are far superior to you?
I’m sure you know what I mean. You may have just met them casually at a party, and within minutes they’re telling you how successful they are, why they are so important, and why they know everything about everything!
People like this can make you feel small and worthless.
But wait. Why should you suffer at the hands of a megalomaniac? As we’ll see, they are the ones with a problem – not you.
Look how important I am!
A person suffering from delusions of grandeur will believe they possess superior qualities to the average person. In many cases, they will falsely claim that they are famous, wealthy or even geniuses. Because they have convinced themselves that they do indeed possess these qualities or traits, they can be extremely persuasive when speaking with other people.
It’s estimated that 1% of the population suffers from megalomania (also known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder), so it’s inevitable that you’ll regularly meet such people.
If you don’t know how to deal with arrogant individuals, you may find your self-esteem takes a knock each time you interact with them. It may be something as simple as queuing for a train ticket…. Mr. Arrogant deliberately pushes into the queue, and dares you to challenge his actions. Not wanting to cause a scene, you let him get away with treating you as someone unimportant and inferior.
You feel weak. Yet, they instantly boost their already exaggerated sense of self-worth.
Of course, I’m not overestimating my status in life.
Delusions of grandeur is associated with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). This is a mental health diagnosis listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
As we’ve already seen, people suffering from NPD are likely to massively overestimate their importance and uniqueness. This can lead to them becoming aloof and almost impossible to deal with. They always think they know best, and they expect to get their way every time.
Were megalomaniacs born this way? According to John M. Grohol, Psy.D., individuals typically experience NPD as a symptom of other mental health illnesses, such as: bipolar disorder, dementia, psychotic disorder and schizophrenia. Grohol also states that drug use or abuse can trigger NPD, or may intensify or bring on more episodes of delusions of grandeur.
How dare you accuse me of being a fraud?!
I’ve revealed some of the reasons why arrogant people act like they do.
Now, let’s go a step further and look at ways to identify arrogant people who are clearly suffering from NPD.
Delusional individuals believe what they say, so on the surface, they are supremely convincing. However, if you analyze their claims in a logical and scientific way, you’ll have a good chance of exposing their falsities and lies.
Any of the below claims should set alarm bells ringing in your mind:
- “I’m a famous celebrity.”
- “I’m the CEO of a multinational corporation.”
- “I’m a famous inventor.”
- “I’m a professional athlete.”
- “I’m a member of a royal family.”
- “I’m in direct communication with God.”
- “I’m blessed with superpowers.”
To be fair, any of the above could be true of the person you have just met. But what’s the likelihood? Statistically, there’s much more chance of meeting a NPD sufferer who claims to be one of the above, than meeting someone who actually is one of the above.
To find the truth, probe the person with questions. For example: Tell me more about your company? Where can I read more about your inventions? Can you demonstrate your superpowers?
If you ask the right questions, you’ll have a strong chance of determining if the person is really who they say they are.
If you’re still unsure, see whether any of these five traits are demonstrated by the person:
- Identity. “Surely, you know who I am?”
- Knowledge. “I definitely know more about this subject than you do.”
- Power. “You need to do as I say.”
- Self-worth. “Don’t waste my time. I have much more important things to do.”
- Relationship. “It’s hard dealing with all the attention that comes with being George Clooney’s brother.”
Why are you getting in my way?
If you’ve successfully identified a megalomaniac, then you’ll need to call upon some proven techniques for dealing with this person.
Here are seven ways for you to effectively deal with people suffering from delusions of grandeur:
1. Avoid at all possible.
Once you’re aware that you’re dealing with a NPD sufferer, then the best advice is to stay clear of them. The alternative is to be dragged into their make-believe world, where they reign supreme over others – including you!
2. Remain positive.
When subject to demeaning comments from an arrogant individual, you must stay positive. They thrive on your pain and stress, so by staying positive, you’ll defeat their aims.
3. Keep on track.
Don’t let an arrogant person knock your confidence and shatter your dreams. Be above their remarks, and stay firmly on track towards your personal goals.
4. Retain your sense of humor.
Condescending and negative behavior towards you can make you feel miserable. Don’t let this happen. Remember they are the ones with a problem. Keep your sense of humor, and keep on winning!
5. Know yourself.
One of your best defences against an arrogant and patronizing person is to develop a strong sense of self. By doing this, belittling and degrading comments will bounce of you. Your inner core will be more than a match for even the most arrogant and insulting individuals whom you may come across.
6. Ask them this question: “What will people think?”
NPD sufferers don’t feel guilty, but they do feel shame. At all times, they want to maintain their appearance of authority and importance. If you ask them: “What will people think?” they may change their behavior to protect their reputation.
7. Seek help for the person.
Depending on the circumstances, it may be appropriate for you to seek professional help for a person suffering from delusions of grandeur. You may be able to introduce them to a psychotherapist, who is trained to help people suffering from mental illnesses. Your introduction could be done anonymously, by leaving a therapist’s card on their desk (for example).
Once you realize that arrogant people are mentally unhealthy, you’ll immediately feel more confident about dealing with them. Often their hurtful remarks are simply a sign of their own lack of self-esteem.
It’s critically important to prevent these individuals from negatively impacting your life and well-being. Stay above their level, and stay free and happy!
|Right Diagnosis: Megalomania
|Psy Central: Delusion of Grandeur
|Financial Times: When Narcissism Becomes Pathological
|Wikipedia: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
|PsychCentral: Delusion of Grandeur