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Archive for March 25th, 2010

Insecurity and the Egoholic

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Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm– but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.

— T. S. ELiot

I snagged the quote below off the web (see below).  But first a few comments.

Whoever wrote the quote got it wrong by mixing “egoholic” behavior in political and organizational situations and mapping this to insecurity.

Those is politics who have a desire to control everyone and everything do this out of ego but certainly not out of insecurity.  Quite the opposite.  Folks like Lenin and Marx wanted nothing less than to create a new form of human being and a new form of society – a Utopia – a Paradise on Earth – a workers paradise free from the exploitation of man by man and through the abolition of private property and a class(full) society.

Such a political aspiration to transform human being and society certainly is based on ego, but not concomitantly based on insecurity.

Obama and the Dems that want to control healthcare and everything that can be linked to it have big egos but these actions are not motivated by insecurity – quite the opposite.  If anything, its ego plus ideology and confidence.

Those in organizations who have a desire to control everyone and everything do this out of ego,  insecurity, fear, and self-doubt.  They have the need to find an environment where they can have control to compensate for situations where they have no control and are powerless.

There was this interesting suggestion by Scott Adams the creator of Dilbert …  As a reaction, these people create a fortress of technology competency and an air of superiority which, according to Adams, “is patently a compensation for their powerlessness” within the organization. Scott Adams was referring to people like Dilbert who are at the bottom of the organization and have no management or executive power to determine anything – in short, they are powerless – they do not contribute or control the corporate strategy or direction, control the allocation of resources, make personnel decisions, or even control their own assignments.

The result of this powerlessness can manifest itself as compensation played out as egotistical behavior and desire to control everything and everyone in situations and environments where they can find an opportunity to realize this.  The challenge for these folks is finding environments, situations, and people  where this can be realized.  That is, environments and people who will assent to this type of treatment.  The character of Milton in the movie Office Space is a good example.  Lumbergh can dispatch Milton to a basement office to have him “control the rat population”.  Milton is diminished as a person and Lumbergh can feel good about himself by being able to treat Milton in this way.  Milton and Lumbergh have a sustainable symbiotic relationship as long as each plays their part.  If you saw the movie, you can see what happens when Milton “snapped” and burned the place down out of being treated in this manner.  Milton became his own Lumbergh in this ultimate act of defiance of being powerless.  And so it goes.  ( Watch the Milton clips from Office Space here )

So, bottom line, big egos in politics is based confidence.  Egoholics in organizations .. just may be the facade for underlying insecurity, self-doubt, and compensation for other environments and situations where these folks are powerless.

Here is what I snagged off the internet that got me thinking

The Demise Of The Egoholic

We all know them, we have seen them at school, in work and we see them playing politics on TV and in the news.

The egoholic needs to control people and often to demean and belittle them, in order to validate themselves.

Whatever authority they have relies on their title, their uniform or intimidation.

When I was younger this kind of “authority” was normal, thankfully in modern organisations these characters are increasingly rare.

What drives people to behave this way is their own insecurity.  Insecurity or lack of self-confidence can lead to dramatically different behaviours.  At one end of the spectrum insecurity can lead people to be reticent and hold back, at the other end to be arrogant and intimidating.

The results of egoholic leadership are all around us and are blighting our lives and worse for many.  At the very least we are paying more tax to fund the excesses of egoholic bankers and to pay for the conflicts caused by egoholic politicians.

It is time to say good-bye to the egoholic.  Your drive and determination was valuable in it’s day, it lead us to a far deeper and greater sense of personal responsibility.

Ego and insecurity related to ideology and politics – hardly.
This poem written by Karl Marx

Then I will wander godlike and victorious
Through the ruins of the world
And, giving my words an active force,
I will feel equal to the creator


The bully’s ego is artifice. His arrogance is a hollow confidence. His condescension is a need to belittle. His rage is a need to control. This ego for him is a fragile thing, driven by fear and narcissism, not by power, nor by the power he wishes so desperately to possess. In fact, the bully is actually quite powerless, for he is only as powerful as the power we give him. He feeds on our fear, but his hunger is driven solely by his own.

The key for the bullied is to recognize that the bully’s bullying is not about us — it’s about him, and his weakness. It’s about his sense of being threatened, and his horror at being found out as an imposter or a poser. He is afraid — quite afraid – and all the time. With this recognition that it’s not about us, we can then stand firm, or even push back; thusly not get lost in the self-doubt and self-victimization that potentially perpetuates for us the abusive and socially sadomasochistic relationships in which we might find ourselves by accident, by choice or by default.

The bully is always the weakest kid on the playground. Push back, and watch with compassion as he collapses into a pale reflection of whom he pretends to be.

Related: ( Narcissistic Personality Disorder )

Written by frrl

March 25, 2010 at 4:59 am

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