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Understanding the psychology of an arrogant person

Jim was an employee at a sales company who had joined recently. He behaved normally with everyone and no one could ever label him as 'arrogant'.

After a couple months, to everyone’s surprise, he started behaving very arrogantly. His arrogance was primarily directed toward his juniors whom he used to treat very kindly before.

What on earth made him change his attitude?

What is arrogance?

An arrogant person is the one who acts as if he is superior, more worthy and more important than the others. Therefore, he puts others down and even disrespects them. At the same time, he wants to be admired and respected. He wants to be ‘appreciated’ for all the great things that he has done and all the special qualities that he has.

arrogant boss
An arrogant person thinks that his ideas, opinions, and beliefs are better than the others

If you're an arrogant person then following are the possible reasons that may be causing your arrogance...

1) You have done great things

In many cases, a person becomes arrogant when he makes the kind of achievements that his peers fail to make. Doing something extraordinary that no one else could do gives a tremendous boost to our self-worth and when we find that others haven’t accomplished nearly as much, we tend to look down at them.

It’s because our subconscious mind is always comparing our life with our peers in order to measure our progress in the things that matter to us.

Know that just because you did something great doesn't mean that you're a super-human. You have some weak points too and you know it. Know that others are not less worthy than you just because they never did what you were able to do.

Maybe they're trying, maybe they're much better than you in a lot of other things, and maybe they don’t even care about making the type of achievements that you have made.

I could go on and on giving reasons but the point is- you have no reason to be arrogant and think that others are less worthy than you even if you did something remarkable.

2) Arrogance as a defense mechanism

Another common reason for becoming arrogant is that you're trying to protect your ego and self-worth in some way. You may behave arrogantly to hide your insecurity, inferiority and a lack of confidence. If you're insecure and you fear rejection from other people then you may behave arrogantly towards them. 

Arrogance, in this case, helps you to kind of reject others before they can get an opportunity to reject you! It's a pre-emptive strike.

Since you already know you're inferior, you're worried that others will find out about it and as a result, they won't accept you. You're so sure that they'll reject you that you show rejection first- before they get a chance to show it to you and hurt you.

This way, you're able to protect your ego because even if they rejected you later you can say that you never really cared about their acceptance and never really thought much of them because you had already rejected them! The truth, however, is that you cared a lot about their approval and were afraid of their rejection.

This is the reason why a lot of people tend to behave arrogantly with strangers or with people they barely know. Friends and family members accept you, you know that. But who knows how a stranger might respond? Let’s reject them before they can get the opportunity to reject us!

It's so common to notice arrogant people approaching others with a frown or with a weird expression- just to show that they don't care.

3) You want attention

Despite what meets the eye, arrogant people care a lot about others’ approval. If they didn't, whom would they show their arrogance to? Sometimes, arrogance may just be the result of trying to gain attention because no other way of gaining attention has worked for you.

This is true for those people who learned that being arrogant resulted in them receiving a lot of attention in the past and that’s why they became motivated to continue this behavior. As soon as they find that their arrogance no longer brings them attention, they’ll drop this behavior.

What about Jim?

Jim, the guy I mentioned at the beginning of this post, was very hard working. He did his work diligently and expected others, especially his seniors, to appreciate him for that. But his seniors never gave him any appreciation and ignored him. In short, they treated him like crap. This obviously hurt Jim a lot and he had to find a way to regain his lost self-worth.

So he decided to become arrogant- not toward his seniors but toward his juniors. He knew that showing arrogance to his seniors would actually mean fooling himself because they didn't care anyway. So he focused on the innocent juniors who sort of cared about his approval. By treating them badly, Jim regained his self-worth and felt good about himself again.

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