People with large egos can be difficult to deal with in personal relationships or in business. Signs of a big ego include high self-confidence, blindness to personal flaws, focus on self over others, and difficulty seeing other points of view. Others may find such a person’s egotism an annoying trait. It’s worth noting, however, that egotistical behavior does not necessarily indicate narcissism. According to This Narcisstic Life, narcissism is a personality disorder characterized by a specific set of behaviors as identified by the DSM. A person can have a big ego without being diagnosed as a narcissist. Such a person can improve upon and change his egotistical behavior over time.
He Is Highly Self-Confident
If the person in question is extremely confident about his own abilities in just about anything, then he may have a big ego. Bragging, boasting and exaggerating accomplishments are particular giveaways as well, according to Kathy Bernhard of the American Bar Association. Someone with a big ego may be a very skilled and accomplished person, but it’s when self-confidence tips into self-absorption that such egotistical behavior can become annoying to others. Often, people with big egos are thinking about themselves to the exclusion of others and need to be reminded to tone down their behavior.
She Ignores Her Own Flaws
Part of high self-confidence is a blindness to one’s own flaws. Someone who has a big ego might not be able to see that he or she is engaging in detrimental behaviors that affect relationships. Alpha males tend to have large egos, according to Kate Ludeman and Eddie Erlandson of the Harvard Business Review. As a result, alphas tend to have a hard time asking for help or accepting feedback, thinking that they always know best. Someone with a large ego may have a hard time showing vulnerability, and therefore refuse to admit any flaws. A relationship of trust and communication is required before someone with a big ego can begin to reveal vulnerability.
He Focuses on Himself More Than Others
A person with a big ego will naturally find himself interesting and tend to focus on himself more than others. Egotistical people take care of themselves first, making sure they have everything that they want, even if it disadvantages others. If self-care is balanced with attention to relationships, some focus on self can be healthy. However, egotistical people can also fall into patterns of manipulating others, writes counselor Kathy Radina. If someone is extremely demanding of others and always insists on having his own way, he may have a large ego. Likewise if he only talks about himself and forgets to ask about other people.
She Has Trouble Validating Other Opinions
Highly self-confident and successful people may have big egos because they have accomplished a great deal on their own, and have often proven their own intuition to be right. Some egotistical alphas have trouble acknowledging other opinions or ideas, even if others may be equally intelligent. If the person in question always insists that she is right and refuses to see a situation from other viewpoints, she may have a big ego.
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- Kathy Radina: Narcissists; How to Identify the Self-Centered, Self-Interested, Egotistical, Arrogant, and Conceited Among Us
- American Bar Association: Big Egos: Dealing With Legends in Their Own Minds
- Harvard Business Review: Coaching the Alpha Male
- This Narcissistic Life: Narcissism or Big Ego: How to Tell the Difference
Emma Wells has been writing professionally since 2004. She is also a writing instructor, editor and former elementary school teacher. She has a Master's degree in writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English and anthropology. Her creative work has been published in several small literary magazines.