Egomaniacal characters are narcissists out of control. Unfortunately, these days there are plenty of narcissists. It’s the phenomenon of our age of entitlement, relativism, and permissiveness. While many don’t realize it, narcissism actually exists along a spectrum. (For more on this, see pp. 29-30 & 85-95 in Character Disturbance.) There are personalities who possess narcissistic tendencies or traits. Then, there are full-blown narcissistic personalities. Some of these personalities can be rightfully considered disordered.
By nature, narcissists are folks who are too full of themselves. Now, there’s nothing wrong with thinking highly of yourself. But narcissists carry things too far. As one famous psychologist once said, they’re “legends in their own minds.” And some carry their sense of greatness and self-importance to a pathological extreme. Such egomaniacal characters wreak considerable havoc in relationships. And often, their own lives end up a shipwreck, too. Imposing few boundaries or limits on themselves, they’re often a disaster just waiting to happen.
Egomaniacal characters use and abuse others without compunction. Why? Because they’re so self-adoring they can’t consider anything or anyone else. They see themselves as above it all. For them, there simply is no higher power. So, they’re subordinate to no one. And that’s a big problem. They see themselves as above all the rules others choose to play by. So, they do as they please, without care or concern about injuring.
Grandiosity Bordering on Delusionality
I’ve mentioned before that there are two main types of narcissists. There’s the vulnerable or compensatory, or more “neurotic” type. (For more on this see: Two Main Varieties of Narcissists.) Then there’s the purely character-disturbed grandiose type. Egomaniacal characters are grandiose narcissists. And their grandiosity sometimes borders on the delusional. That is, their sense of their own power, worth, capability, etc. rarely lines up with reality. True, they may sometimes have a legitimate claim to fame. But they take things too far. Narcissists neither recognize or respect a higher power. And reality represents a higher power of sorts. So, they play fast and loose with the truth. For them, reality is what they say it is.
The term “mania” comes from both the Greek and Latin words that denote a particular kind of madness. It’s a madness that comes from unbridled elation. And true mania is a form of psychosis. It occurs when brain chemistry goes awry. And this can happen to individuals of very decent character. But not all egomaniacs are victims of errant biochemistry. (Although all too often these days they may be diagnosed that way.) Some narcissists become egomaniacs because they never arrest their grandiose tendencies. Eventually, therefore, things inevitably get out of hand.
Egomaniacal Characters in Relationships
Anyone who’s lived with an egomaniacal character knows what a hellacious experience it can be. You can’t talk sense to such folks. And you can’t make much sense of their behavior, either. Worse, you can never predict what they might do to injure you. You simply don’t warrant their consideration. To them, you’re most often a mere object – an instrument. You’re not a second thought, so they don’t give a second thought to how they treat you. There’s no reasoning with someone whose sense of self borders on the insane.
The Spiritual Dilemma
The dilemma of egomaniacal characters is ultimately a spiritual one. They can’t relate to you in a healthy way because their relationship with a higher power is so unhealthy. It’s hard for them to even conceive of a power greater than them. And they abhor the notion of serving a higher power. That’s why they can only be self-serving. (I discuss this more thoroughly in The Judas Syndrome.)
Some egomaniacal characters are great at what I call spiritual lip service. That is, they’ll profess all manner of spiritual centeredness. But in their hearts, they have no connection to something greater. As I mentioned last week, their ego is so large that there’s simply no room for anyone or anything else. So, ultimately the solution to the dilemma is neither psychiatric nor psychological. It’s spiritual. But is there hope? And if so, how does one reach such a person? I’ll share some thoughts on that next week.