Narcissistic Ego Inflation
What is narcissistic ego inflation? It’s the defining characteristic of the most prevalent character disturbance of our time. In short, it’s when folks think far too much of themselves. And for a long time we thought we understood the causes of that. But it turns out we didn’t have it quite right. Moreover, misunderstanding what really fosters this scourge of our times has only helped worsen the problem. So, it’s well worth taking a look at the true roots this type of character dysfunction. And while I’ve written on this issue many times before, this time I want to focus more closely on its spiritual dimensions.
For more on this topic see:
- Ego Inflation and Narcissism
- How to Inflate an Ego in Three Easy Steps
- Cultivating Healthy Self-Worth
The spiritual aspects of narcissistic ego inflation center on relationship. Not just any relationship. True, you can’t have a big head and relate to any other person in a truly healthy way. But in the ego-inflated character, there’s a much more important relationship that’s gone awry. That’s, of course, their relationship with a “higher power.”
Some Thoughts on Ego
The author Wayne Dyer suggested we can think of E-G-O as an acronym for “edging God out.” When we’re full of ourselves, there’s simply no room in the heart for something bigger. And that means there’s not even room for the source of life itself. Disconnected from the source, our egos might very well thrive. But our souls experience a very real death. This is, no doubt, paradoxical. For nothing can truly exist apart from the source. Still, we humans have the ability to separate ourselves in crucial ways. It’s a matter of both our will and our awareness.
Someone likened the self-righteous among us to walking tombs. And I think they fully understood humankind and the nature of our dilemma. For us to really live, our egos must eventually die. Now, they’re not inherently evil. They serve an important purpose. They help us navigate this world and deal with its slings and arrows. But we can identify too much with them. And when we do, we lose touch with our more authentic self.
Egos can certainly be too small. But they can also get too big. And when they do we sever our connection to the source. We need that connection to really live. And we need it to deal more justly with one another. So, eventually, we must surrender our egos. Narcissistic ego inflation interferes with that. And that’s what makes it the scourge of our times.
How it Happens
Narcissistic ego inflation occurs for many reasons and in many different ways. There’s so much about modern culture that fosters and even rewards it. Mainly, it happens because we get too into our heads and too alienated from our hearts. That happens in our world. Hearts are easily wounded, broken. So we build up walls. And sometimes we become enamored of our ability to protect and advance ourselves. Sometimes, we become far too enamored. Our egos help us prosper. If our ego is strong, we can achieve great success in the eyes of the world. Unfortunately, we can also get to thinking we’re invincible. And we can get to thinking we’re invaluable.
I’ll have more to say on narcissistic ego inflation in next week’s post. We’ll take a look at the many ways cultural norms and values have fostered it. And we’ll hopefully have a discussion about what we can do to turn things around. There’s too much at stake. Whether we like it or not, we’re in this together. And it’s imperative we bridge the widening divides. That will take awareness of and humble service to something much bigger than ourselves. (Find more musings on this topic in The Judas Syndrome.)