Egotism is a word that is close to selfishness or even egocentrism. Despite everything, there are nuances that distinguish these personality traits. Explanations from Christine Calonne, psychologist and psychotherapist.
Definition: Egotism or excessive love of oneself
According to the online dictionary Larousse, egotism is a literary term which corresponds to an “exaggerated feeling of one’s personality, and, in particular, mania for talking about oneself, cult of the ego; narcissism”. Egotism therefore generally refers to an excessive self-centered attitude, self-love and inordinate interest in one’s own opinions and achievements. An egotistical person may tend to brag about their accomplishments, monopolize the conversation to talk about themselves, constantly seek attention and admiration from everyone, underestimate others, lack empathy and exploiting relationships for one’s own benefit.
In psychology, what is an egotistical person or personality?
The term “egotic personality” is not a formally recognized psychological or psychiatric concept. In the field of clinical psychology, the concept of narcissistic personality disorder is instead used to describe similar behaviors, but at a pathological level. “Egotism is present in narcissistic pathology. It characterizes a completely self-centered person who does not take the other into consideration. He only takes his omnipotent desires into account and tends to dominate others. Egotism comes from a childhood wound, a lack of recognition that was compensated for by an overestimation of oneself. It’s a defense mechanism“, explains Christine Calonne, psychologist and psychotherapist, author of “100 questions/answers – Narcissism: creative or destructive” (ed. Ellipses).
The consequences of ego functioning
The consequences of egotism are diverse:
– A lack of empathy: Only his person counts, the egoist cannot put himself in the place of others and understand their emotions.
– An inability to be connected: The egoistic person encounters relational difficulties because he is centered on himself; others cannot exist fully alongside him. Relationships are unbalanced and can be sources of tension.
– Difficulty resolving conflicts: It is difficult for her to seek solutions to resolve the conflicts she encounters because she cannot imagine being at fault and even less admit it.
– Isolation: Depending on the intensity of this egotism, this can sometimes isolate him on a professional, friendly or sentimental level.
What is the difference between egotism and selfishness?
“Egotism” and “selfishness” are two terms sometimes used interchangeably but they have slightly different meanings. Egotism has more to do with a self-centered attitude or state of mind, while selfishness has more to do with concrete, self-centered behaviors that neglect others.
Is egotism a synonym for narcissism?
Egotism and narcissism share similarities, but narcissism is a broader concept. Egotism is often associated with narcissistic personality disorder in the field of clinical psychology. Egotism is one of its characteristics. “Narcissism consists first of all in having omnipotent desires, a desire to obtain prestige, ideal beauty, in seeking prestigious relationships to be admired by these people considered famous,” explains Christine Calonne. Narcissism is often associated with more pronounced pathological personality traits that significantly affect the person’s daily life and relationships.
Egotism or self-centeredness?
Although egotism and self-centeredness have linguistic similarities, they are again two different concepts. Egocentrism refers to the tendency to interpret the world solely in terms of one’s own experiences, views, and needs. This can lead to difficulty understanding the perspectives of others. Egocentrism is often associated with cognitive development in young children, but it can also be seen in some adults in certain situations.
What is implicit egotism?
The term “implicit egotism” is not a recognized or commonly used expression in psychology. According to the respective definition of these two terms, this expression could be interpreted as manifestations of egotism which are not necessarily obvious or conscious to the person concerned. “Implicit egotism can be something that underlies behaviors that are not apparently egotistical.“, says the psychologist.
An example of implicit egotism
Christine Calonne cites as an example a person who hides their egotism behind falsely altruistic attitudes. “This is what we can observe among narcissistic perverts in particular. They are often found doing charity work, when in reality, they are completely egotistical. They can advocate values that they do not have“, she confides.
Good in his body, good in his head!
Egotic individual: What psychological follow-up is possible?
Egotism can be treated by a mental health professional if it has harmful repercussions on one’s daily life. Psychological support can help the egotistical person to reconnect with their deep emotions, to understand the wounds of their childhood which led them to be so centered on themselves. She can overcome these traumas with EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, in English) for example and adopt new behaviors thanks to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).