When a person believes himself superior to others, is arrogant, has an overrated self-esteem and underestimates the value of others, he is said to be a megalomaniac . The meaning of this term has evolved over the years. In fact, it is currently not considered a pathology in itself, but a characteristic or symptom of the so-called Narcissistic Personality Disorder (TPN) . It is even popularly used as a synonym for it. Megalomaniacs are noted for their delusions of grandeur, lust for untold power, and distortion of their royal capabilities. Many characters in history, especially dictators and rulers, have been mentioned as examples of megalomania.


What is a megalomaniac?

Megalomaniac is the adjective given to an individual with megalomania. The term describes the tendency of a human being to possess an exacerbated self-esteem , which leads him to believe himself superior to others. He magnifies his abilities, making him vain, without empathy, proud, greedy for power, and revered. Before it was considered a psychological disorder, but today psychology includes it as a pathology within the so-called Narcissistic Personality Disorder (TPN).


Definition of megalomaniac

Megalomaniac is a person who suffers from megalomania. Psychologically, megalomania is an “abnormal state of mind” that is related to narcissism. Those affected think that they are superior, powerful and obsessed with greatness. Arrogance and contempt for those who are labeled “inferior” characterize him.



The word megalomania originates from the Greek terms “μεγαλο” (megalo) “great” , and “μανία” (mania) “madness, frenzy” .


Fantasy, arrogant, conceited, conceited, boastful, maniacal.


Humble, simple, plain

Narcissistic personality disorder

What was previously known as megalomania is now called Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). It is a sick type of narcissism. It was first diagnosed in 1968, thanks to the work of a psychoanalyst named Heinz Kohut. It is a behavior that follows a rigid pattern to find self-gratification. There is an exaggeration in self-love, in the need for attention, in power, in grandeur, in feeling superior, and an almost total absence of empathy. According to the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” of the American Psychiatric Association, megalomania when coupled with delusions of grandeur is part of the symptoms of NPT. In non-clinical slang, the word is used synonymously with NPT.


As the definition of megalomania has varied over time, the characteristics that can be attributed to it alone are imprecise. However, clinically as a pathology, including NPT, a megalomaniac presents the following signs:

  • Delusions of Reference. They believe that the world revolves around them. Everything that happens outside is directed at them or has a secret meaning that concerns them.
  • Delusions of Grandeur . Irrationally they think they are perfect and great.
  • They identify themselves as glorious beings . Their importance and fame is such that the rest of the mortals must pay homage to them.
  • They believe they are capable of doing anything. They exaggerate with their abilities and even the ones they don’t have are played.
  • They are considered perfect . When something goes wrong it is the fault of others and therefore they will not learn from that experience.
  • Nothing is impossible for them . They take on activities or challenges without qualms, because for them everything is easy. This behavior can place them in dangerous circumstances.
  • They manifest social obstacles. They tend to be lonely or socially isolated. Either because of his own personality, which makes others reject him or by his own decision, because no one is up to him to relate.
  • They look fake. Your exaggerated behavior causes you to be perceived as a liar.


  • Exaggeration of self-esteem
  • Superiority over others
  • He boasts of his virtues and achievements
  • Egocentrism
  • Constant admiration of themselves
  • Arrogance and aggressiveness
  • Lack of empathy
  • They take advantage and exploit other people to benefit themselves
  • They envy others and want them to envy them.

What’s behind a megalomaniac

An individual classified as a megalomaniac usually conceals feelings contrary to those they express. They are often related to trauma originating in childhood. Also, they keep to themselves (consciously or unconsciously) emotions that generate vulnerability. Some are:

  • After their aggressive acts and / or believing themselves omnipotent, they find fears, lack of love and complexes.
  • That others surpass him causes great fear to them. By ridiculing those who threaten him, he hides insecurities, disabilities and a struggle to avoid looking vulnerable.
  • When he exaggerates his abilities and boasts of his successes, deep down he shows low self-esteem and an inability to cope with frustrations.
  • The loneliness and isolation generated by their arrogant personality causes them emotional voids. This situation worsens his temper and symptoms of the disorder he suffers from.


Studies have determined that many of the people who suffer from megalomania or NPT have been undervalued . Someone made them feel foolish and incapable. They were harshly criticized and felt that they did not meet the expectations of an important being in their lives, almost always their parents. Facing situations, usually in childhood, led them to trigger self-esteem disorders, and distortions in the way they perceived themselves. Some react with low self-esteem, others with high self-esteem, and a third group with megalomania or narcissism. The latter is the most extreme of the three possible behaviors and – like the others mentioned – are a sign of self- devaluation and insecurity. The strategy they use to deal with those feelings isbelieve better than others.

Differences between a narcissist and a megalomaniac

Narcissism is a psychological trait that can affect an individual to a greater or lesser extent. When this trait is exaggerated or very marked, it is referred to as narcissistic personality disorder and megalomania. The narcissism speaks of a high degree of self – esteem in aspects like beauty, strength or response capacity. While, megalomania speaks of psychopathological aspects such as delusions of power, supremacy and omnipotence. However, both narcissism and megalomania are closely related.


Commonly, megalomaniacs with NPT are dedicated to professions in which they feel powerful , which is the eagerness that drives them. For this reason, they focus on medicine , politics or activities that lead them to occupy high public positions. Diagnosing them is usually very difficult, since these types of individuals do not feel that they have a problem and it is very rare that they go to a psychiatric or psychological consultation. However, when this occurs the psychological treatment will focus on making you see that your false beliefs. This therapy is usually combined with neuroleptic drugs that decrease the intensity of the delusions.

Examples of megalomaniacs in history

It is very rare for a megalomaniac to go unnoticed , which is why some have become great characters in world history , although most with very negative effects. Many dictators and rulers who are hated and admired for their strength and oratory have presented all the characteristics of having suffered from the disorder. Some of them are:

  • Adolf Hitler: The atrocities committed by this man who caused World War II are more than known. The German president was motivated by his beliefs in a superior race (like the one he believed he had) that would dominate the planet. The contempt for those he considered inferior was brutal. In order to reach his goals of superiority, he committed the most infamous acts.
  • Josef Stalin : This Soviet dictator is another palpable example of megalomania or NPT. His desire to be revered and powerful was such that it caused children in schools to talk about his bravery, intelligence, and prowess. Statues and paintings about him flooded the nation during his tenure.
  • Alejando Magno (the Great): His title speaks for itself. This Macedonian who conquered many lands to satisfy his lust for power, was characterized by believing himself invincible and deserving of all honors. His narcissism and self-centeredness was such that many of the cities he conquered he changed the name to give them his.
  • Mao Zedong : This former dictator and the greatest leader of the Communist Party of China overwhelmingly instilled the cult in himself. His photographs and images had to be exhibited in the homes of the Chinese, in public buildings and even in schools. Even the members of the party were obliged to always carry a text with the outstanding phrases and quotes from Mao.

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