We’ve all been there:
In our personal or professional life we meet a person who seems to feel they are above us.
Their words, behavior and actions can be highly frustrating and bewildering.
Who does this person think he or she is?
Are you reading too much into this, or are they really on a massive power trip?
Here’s how to tell for sure whether somebody has a deep-set superiority complex.
1) They emphasize their superior competence
Those with a superiority complex generally have a deep insecurity inside.
They may have golden child syndrome or some kind of doubt about their worth buried under layers of outer confidence.
For this reason, the individual with a superiority complex is always proving how great they are.
They find an area of expertise and then bask in the glory.
They find a talent they excel at and then make sure everyone sees how great they are at it.
They then use this as an example of why they’re better in general and superior as a whole.
“See? Look how great I am. Don’t even try to compete.”
2) They try to display their superior smarts
When it comes to knowledge, the person with the superiority complex will always highlight how much they know.
Even on small or pedantic matters, they will chime in with how much they know and make sure everybody hears.
They want to sound a clear chime that indicates their belief in their own brilliance.
It doesn’t matter if it’s their field of work or expertise:
They want to display that they are smarter and more informed than everyone else.
3) They show off to those in power
Those with a superiority complex try their best to seek out those in power and show how great they are to them.
They love official recognition, accolades, certificates, degrees, rank ups, upgrades, promotions and any kind of glory.
We all do, of course.
But for the person with a superiority complex it’s an obsession.
The buzz they get in saying they went to Harvard or that they can’t speak about the work they did for certain “agencies” fills them with intense pleasure and a feeling of dominion over others.
4) They seek the spotlight at all times
Whenever possible, the egotist seeks out the spotlight.
They will even generate publicity about themselves and things that seem to reflect their own greatness or how fascinating and interesting they are.
Former President Donald Trump, for example, famously spread gossip about himself in the media in the 1980s under a fake name.
He did this in order to keep himself in the spotlight, even when the story was salacious or negative.
He didn’t care: he wanted all the attention all the time.
“I am interesting and fascinating! Look at me!”
5) They provoke confrontation
The person who believes they’re superior thinks of themselves as a kind of king or queen among the commoners.
As such, they expect jealousy and conflict.
However, in many cases people who come across an egotist prefer to just avoid them or ignore their antics.
As a result, the egotist may intentionally provoke conflict.
“You do realize my background right?” they ask an employee…
“Did I ask your opinion? Be quiet when the adults are talking.”
The point is they are starting a fight in order to go on a power trip. It’s sad and repulsive.
6) They claim exclusive gifts
The person who believes they’re superior claims to have gifts nobody else has.
You can see this in cult leaders and marketing gurus who are trying to sell you on a program or “secret” that only they know.
But it also pops up inside families and with individuals who are nothing special outwardly.
Yet in their own mind, they’re a kind of deity.
And they claim to be particularly linked to some kind of special ability, insight, prophecy or gift that nobody else is.
Then they use this supposed ability to control and influence others.
7) They find various ways to demean everyone else
The person who believes they’re superior isn’t content with just sitting in a cone of silence.
They like to make sure that other people around them also feel downgraded.
You can’t just be an average real estate agent or a decent looking person:
You’re an amateur real estate agent who shouldn’t even bother, especially in this market!
And you? You’re not decent looking, you’re plain.
With just the right touch of subtle cruelty, this sad individual demeans other people, relegating them to some imagined second class citizen category.
8) They invalidate the accomplishments of everyone else
The superior person doesn’t tolerate rivals.
Even other accomplished and talented individuals who aren’t trying to compete at all are seen as a threat.
The person who thinks they’re superior won’t stomach having anybody even near their level.
If a work colleague closes an impressive deal, they close two…
If they see many people buying a new type of high quality golf clubs, they find an even more exclusive brand and buy a luxury extended set.
They also start posting their scores on the course all over social media, and maybe even fudge the numbers a little bit.
They’re not that big of a golfer. They just want everybody in the vicinity to know:
9) They use emotions as a weapon
Egotistical people with a superiority complex build everything around their own idea that they are better than others.
This includes using emotions as a weapon.
They may bully others, make them sad, emphasize the mistakes people make, or wield authority in a toxic way.
The bottom line is that the person who thinks they are superior doesn’t just show off about it:
He or she acts like it in their attitudes and treatments of others.
Because they are convinced they have more value than the people around them, they will disrespect, mislead and bully anybody they like.
And they won’t even have pangs of conscience about it.
After all, they’re “superior.”
10) They don’t admit mistakes or missteps
The person who believes they’re superior is in a fight with reality.
They need to deny reality in order to keep up their own illusion.
As such, mistakes or missteps that they make need to be denied or downplayed.
They will even gaslight those who criticize them or bring up their errors, claiming that the person is jealous of them or lying.
It’s an ugly game, and as soon as you start playing you’ve already lost by getting ensnared in the egotist’s world of illusion.
11) They’re a shameless perfectionist
Wanting to do a great job is admirable.
But the person with a superiority complex is on a completely different level.
They want perfection.
They especially demand it of others, since they claim they are already perfect.
But since they are so wonderful and ideal, other people, situations and scenarios need to live up to their incredible greatness.
This is both an impossible task and just another toxic method for this person to act like they are better than everyone else.
12) They seem to truly believe they are superior to everyone else
Like I said at the beginning, most people with a superiority complex have insecure roots.
They’re trying to prove something to other people or to that inner critic inside their head.
In some cases the person with a superiority complex is simply a kind of spoiled child who’s never really been told know.
They spent so much of their life being built into a god or goddess that they strut around like they own everything and everyone.
It’s exhausting, to say the least.
It’s also kind of sad.
The truth about being better than somebody
The truth is that we are all better than somebody else, but it just depends in what way.
This is why feeling superior is ultimately so stupid.
You may be much more mechanically skilled and mathematically gifted than me, but I may be a brilliant artist and visionary.
I may be a dedicated and earth-loving farmer with a practical plan to use permaculture to build a better future, but you may be far better than me at budgeting and finances.
You may be objectively better looking or courageous than me, but I may have more emotional intelligence and communication skills.
The list goes on and on.
Focusing on being superior is a character flaw, because it makes a person miss all the ways in which our strengths can be complementary and cooperative instead of opposed to each other.