How To Survive A Tyrannical Ego

Like most things in life one’s ego is a force for both good and evil. Yes, friends, it’s a two edged sword that cuts both ways. On the plus side, without a powerful ego a person’s chances for doing things of profound significance are nil. Indeed, pushing through life’s endless barriers of conflict and seemingly eternal darkness often requires a supreme confidence boosted by an extraordinary ego. Think of those considered by historians to be among our greatest presidents — Washington, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Do you really think that in their own day lots of folks didn’t accuse them of being egomaniacs?

On the minus side one’s ego can be a tyrannical master that rules one with an iron fist. Most likely when we say she’s a nasty old bitch or he’s a crotchety old bastard we are describing a person worn down over the years by an out of control ego; someone that’s never told their ego to take a hike; someone that’s never evolved an intellect powerful enough to override their primitive ego when situations call for it.

You see, folks, a strong ego has serious flaws that must be overcome so that instead of pushing you to accomplishment, it ends up destroying your ability to succeed and driving you into a life of endless misery.

So what is ego all about? In short, the ego’s primary mandate is to act as a driving force to sustain life by gaining and maintaining advantage. It hates change. Once the ego locks onto a concept of what is right or wrong, good or bad, it will fight like hell to hold fast to that notion, often against all logic and fact. And even more so, the ego can’t stand being found wanting as to correctness. Rolled up in all of this is the fact that the ego is absolutely terrified of losing at anything — ever. You can see the outrage displayed in both children and adults that are rigidly ruled by ego, people incapable of seeing beyond their emotions of the moment, folks cursed by a serious deficiency of compensating intellect.

In the currently popular book, The Dangerous Case Of Donald Trump,where twenty-seven psychiatrists and mental heath experts describe President Trump’s personality (perhaps to the point of him possibly exhibiting an unhinged mind), it is written that those unable to see beyond their emotions of the moment are clinically said to be present biased. These People“are far less, or not at all, influenced either by past experiences or future considerations.” In my personal theory of the mind, I would say that such folks are lacking the minimum degree of intellect needed for a reasonable perspective of life.

Either spoken or unspoken, mental health professionals overwhelmingly view Donald Trump as the poster boy for narcissism following out of a present biased personality. The story goes that Trump’s father, Fred, was a ruthless taskmaster. He pounded home theories of character and action to his sons guaranteed to hype an out of control ego: Winning was not an option. There are only winners and losers. Never ever admit defeat. Do whatever it takes to prevail.

Now of course this is sweet music to the ego, but devastating to the person. Even if Trump wasn’t inherently prone to an over blown ego, that which his father forced upon him and his male siblings made his rigid ego inevitable and most likely contributed to an older bother’s suicide. As a side issue, apparently Trump’s father, Fred, developed Alzheimer’s near the end of his life. Now it’s pure wild speculation on my part, but I suspect there may be some connection between Alzheimer’s and a tyrannical ego. Probably not worth mentioning, but I did.

Moving on, to accomplish this flawless demand of the ego requires finding others to blame and lying incessantly to cover one’s own faults. In other words Trump is not his own person, he is ruthlessly ruled by his ego in ways that not only terrify him but causes him to endlessly berate and punish others that do not match up to his ego induced fantasy world — pain exports pain. Believe me, folks, you do not want to live in the fearful mind of Donald J. Trump.

So now, finally, we come to the money shot as they say in golf. How in the world do I avoid or escape a tyrannical ego? The short answer is guts. The guts to tell your ego to take a hike when you feel its rage building up within you, like when someone says or hints that you might be wrong. Moreover, begin brainwashing yourself to an understanding that being wrong might not feel so hot, but most times it’s not a crime. Also, force yourself out of the present moment emotions of your ego’s fear and anger. Think about all the times in the past that you somehow managed to survive error, and how you might overcome a possible current misstep in the future. But surely don’t hide from you flaws by lying and blaming others just to pacify an overbearing ego.

But most of all, folks, to be capable of overriding the excesses of ego, one needs to gain reasonable perspective by feeding one’s intellect, pushing ahead with a curiosity to know things beyond that which is of immediate benefit to one’s self — a broad interest in science, history, politics, psychology and the arts. Only by wide experiences and a varied knowledge base can a powerful ego be kept properly in harness for doing the good things of which it is capable. It ain’t rocket science, girls and boys, but it dose require relentless effort, at least at first.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

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