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Why Arrogant People Are Actually Mentally Unhealthy

Why Arrogant People Are Actually Mentally Unhealthy

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?[1] 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.[2] 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[3] (also known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder), so it’s inevitable that you’ll regularly meet such people.

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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.[4]

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.[5] 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.

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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.

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If you’re still unsure, see whether any of these five traits are demonstrated by the person:

  1. Identity. “Surely, you know who I am?”
  2. Knowledge. “I definitely know more about this subject than you do.”
  3. Power. “You need to do as I say.”
  4. Self-worth. “Don’t waste my time. I have much more important things to do.”
  5. 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.

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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!

Reference

[1] Right Diagnosis: Megalomania
[2] Psy Central: Delusion of Grandeur
[3] Financial Times: When Narcissism Becomes Pathological
[4] Wikipedia: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
[5] PsychCentral: Delusion of Grandeur

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Craig J Todd

UK Writer who loves to use the power of words to inspire and motivate.

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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