Whether it’s your co-worker or a family member, chances are there’s someone in your life you would describe as a total “egomaniac.” If there’s not, you only need to flip on the news to see headlines describing a celebrity or politician as one. Egomaniac has become a particularly hot adjective to describe President Donald Trump, with publications, including The Guardian, using the word as a catchall for the Twitter-obsessed president.
Egomania has made its way into casual language as a shorthand for the self-obsessed, but what does it actually mean? Egomania is sometimes used interchangeably with megalomania, or an obsession with power. It shares many similarities with narcissistic-personality disorder, according to Psychology Today. While not all egomaniacs have fully fledged narcissistic personality disorder, there are several signs of narcissistic personality disorder that can also be used to indicate egomania. It’s important to remember, however, not all symptoms of egomania are exclusive to personality disorders. Delusions of grandeur, for instance, can also be a very severe symptom of schizophrenia. And egomania, while an informative concept, is not a diagnosis.
If you want to know whether your boss or friend is more self-obsessed than average, read on for the signs you might be dealing with an egomaniac.
1. They have an exaggerated sense of self-importance
Egomaniacs might aspire to be famous, but even if they’re not they still think they’re the most important person in the room. In Ego Is The Enemy, author Ryan Holiday explains great job candidates manage to be confident without coming off as arrogant. Egomaniacs couldn’t care less about seeming arrogant. Their belief in their own importance is more crucial than their actual experience or skills.
2. Egomaniacs exploit others for their own benefit
Much like sociopaths, egomaniacs will lie and use others without remorse. It’s not that they can’t tell right from wrong. They just care too much about themselves to worry about the consequences for others.
3. They have a huge sense of entitlement
Egomaniacs feel entitled to favorable treatment, regardless of the circumstances. Illusions of grandeur mean anything less than the VIP treatment will set off an egomaniac.
4. Egomaniacs are often addicted to social media
Whether it’s constantly posting selfies or sending out a dozen tweets, egomaniacs are in constant need of attention. Social media has proved a boon to egomaniacs looking for a fast-track to celebrity. While scientists are in disagreement over the extent to which social media and narcissism are linked, a number of studies have shown a positive correlation between indicators of narcissistic-personality disorder and social media use.
5. They have no regard for others
Egomaniacs think they run the show, even if they don’t. Other people’s time and feelings mean nothing to them unless it’s to serve their own needs. While this kind of behavior can bulldoze others, it can also wreak havoc in egomaniacs’ careers. For instance, actor Charlie Sheen’s notorious behavior disrupted not just one but two of his recent television shows. And he’s not the only one. These 10 actors’ egomania threatened to ruin popular shows.
6. Egomaniacs are attracted to jobs in politics and entertainment
Dwight D. Eisenhower allegedly once said, “Any man who wants to be president is either an egomaniac or crazy.” Regardless of whether the quote is real, it’s not too far off. A quick search of the news will show the word used disproportionately in association with celebrities and politicians (especially Trump). Although it might seem like a bad thing to have so many egomaniacs in power, a 2011 Penn State study found egomaniacs’ self-confidence makes them better leaders despite their other flaws.
7. They love excess and extremes
While egomaniacs’ biggest addiction is themselves, their sense of grandeur and need for attention can lead to other excesses. That can turn into partying or gambling.
8. Egomaniacs hate to lose
Persistence can be a good thing, but no one likes a sore loser. Egomaniacs will insist their opponents cheated or someone rigged the game before they accept a loss.
9. They have an insecurity complex
Although it might seem contradictory, some egomaniacs might suffer from an inferiority complex, as well. As psychotherapist Michael Formica explains in Psychology Today, egomaniacs use feelings of grandiosity and aggressive behavior to mask their own security. In other words, some egomaniacs might be suffering from a Napoleon complex.
10. They ridicule others
Not only do egomaniacs hate to lose, they hate to see others win. Egomaniacs inflate their sense of self by putting down others. While some egomaniacs might suffer from low self-esteem, researcher Nathaniel Branden has shown an inflated ego can lead to bullying, too. Egomaniacs on both ends of the spectrum can be bullies.
11. They are hypersensitive
Egomaniacs can dish it, but they can’t take it. Most famous people understand that with celebrity comes criticism. And, yes, some jokes are mean. But if you throw a tantrum after being spoofed on late-night television, you’re either an egomaniac or in the wrong business.