The Delusional Egos of Narcissists
The Delusional Egos of Narcissists
Egos Are Everywhere
We all have egos. Our ego is essentially our self-image. It is the picture we have in our minds about who (and what) we are. What our talents, weaknesses, and strengths are. Many psychologists argue that having a strong ego is essential and healthy. A good self-image can lead to confidence and a solid identity and sense of personhood. But many of us have a narcissistic streak. And beware the delusional egos of narcissists.
Ego As Jail Cell
Having an ego that is out of touch with objective reality is dangerous. An ego that is built on delusional ideas of who we are can leave us stiff, stuck, and trapped. If we are strongly identified with an aspect of our ego. And if we need to believe we are a certain thing, that idea can act as a cage, or a jail cell. Because we will be very limited in our actions in the world. We will be carrying a ‘mental injury’, as it were. Ego preservation is paramount (or so we believe on a deep level). And so we will unconsciously be acting in the world in ways that are designed to protect our ego.
A man who has an ego image of himself as ‘great with women’ will actually often tend to take the easy route.Thus preserving the ego image on which he depends. He will chat up mediocre girls that he believes he can ‘get’. And he will shy away from attempting to date the especially attractive girls (who he secretly doubts will be attracted to him). He tells himself, and he almost honestly believes, that he would rather chat up the plain girls. Or that the especially attractive girl looks like a “bitch”. But he is lying to himself and the world. His brain is devising rationalisations. This is so he won’t have to put his ego image of himself to a real test.
If you have come to believe you are a certain thing or way. If you have been living with an ego image of yourself for a long time. Shedding that ego image (or having it explode into smithereens on contact with hard reality) can be deeply painful. Who you thought you were – you are not. And this can be disorientating. Humans have a deep need to understand the world through narratives and stories. And many of our most deeply believed, cherished, and desperately clung to stories are about ourselves.
“I’m worthwhile because I’m funny.” “I’m worthwhile because I’m good with girls.” “I’m worthwhile because men find me attractive.” “I’m worthwhile because I’m a great business-women.” “I’m worthwhile because I’m a brilliant pianist.” If your sense of self-worth is wrapped up in ego ideas such as these, then having the veracity of your ideas tested can be terrifying. Your deepest worthiness as a human is on the line! You are risking becoming worthless. So you double down and protect the egoic idea in your head by any and all means possible.
Set Yourself Free
Living life from this defense crouch is deeply limiting. And stressful. You don’t live as expansively as you could, because to explode out into the world is to garner real-world feedback. And to risk ego obliteration.
But ego obliteration is often a good thing, when your ego-image has mutated and become a monster…. a monster that watches over you and won’t allow you to act freely, and as you truly desire, in the world. Monstrous egos prevent people from displaying their art, playing their new song, getting naked with the lights on, talking to the people they find most attractive. So killing the monstrous elements of our egos is essential.
You Have a Fight On Your Hands
It is very difficult to kill the ego. It is a fight that lasts for many years, if not a lifetime (or many lifetimes as some Buddhists believe!). You can go a long way towards escaping your ego simply by committing to telling yourself the truth at all times. And to dig deeply into your psyche on a regular basis to attempt to discover; where you are sensitive to real world feedback? What ideas about yourself and your talents do you hold as sacred? What ideas about yourself are not actually backed up by real world evidence? Which notions about yourself could you not bare to be false?
Egolessness is Freedom
As a human, your worth is set in stone. All humans are worthy by dint of being human. We are all an oft-incompatible, infinitely complex amalgamation of qualities – good, bad and indifferent. Talents, quirks, strengths and weaknesses. Nobody is perfect. It is totally fine (and fully natural) to be deeply flawed. Your ego image of yourself is an illusion. It is an illusion in which you are trapped. If you can free yourself from this illusion and detach your sense of self-worth from these hard-baked ideas about yourself you so depend on, the world becomes your oyster. And everything real in your life will improve!