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If the Ego is sick

If the Ego is sick

Every person is unique. Different destinies, upbringing, values and points of view. But there is a feeling that unites people – self-love or Ego.

In this article, we will talk about how to manage your Ego and what to do if it gets sick.

Imagine a situation, on Monday you come to work after a great weekend. You are full of energy and ready for great achievements in a new project that you have been waiting for. This is a great opportunity for you, both for personal development and for career growth. You are optimistic about the near future.

You meet a colleague with whom you will lead a new project together. But suddenly, unexpectedly, he starts attacking you with accusations. He believes that you were unfairly appointed to this project, and to this position in general. He accuses you of incompetence and says that anyone should have been in your place, but not you.

You’re confused. This is the first time you have encountered such a negative reaction in the company. Everything boils up inside you, and you retaliate, you begin to remember to your colleague all, the mistakes that he made in the past, according to your opinion.

Cooperation on the project ends without having begun…

You’re confused. You don’t understand what happened. Why such an unexpected “surprise”?

Most conflict situations have selfishness as main reason. Personal grievances are the enemies of productivity. Instead of directing our efforts to solving problems, we spend them on sorting things out. How many projects, careers and even companies have failed because of a sick Ego!

What is the Ego?

I (Ego) is a psychological substance that serves in Sigmund Freud’s concept to describe the human psyche and the dynamics of its development. The “I”, according to Freud, exists according to other laws, different from the psyche and body. http://www.psychologies.ru

Ego (Latin ego from greek Εγώ –  “I”) — according to psychoanalytic theory, that part of the human personality that is perceived as “I” and is in contact with the outside world through perception. The ego carries out planning, evaluation, memorization and reacts in other ways to the impact of the physical and social environment [1]. ru.wikipedia.org

Signs of a Sick Ego

A sick Ego is a deviation from the “golden mean”, whether it is excessive self-love or, conversely, a severely low self-esteem.

Self–love is a natural reaction necessary for human survival and evolution. You need to love yourself, as well as doubt yourself, too. Lominger’s research suggests that people with slightly low self-esteem have better learning abilities. It is important to emphasize here about a small deviation from the norm. If self-esteem is greatly underestimated, then this can cause side effects such as resentment, suspiciousness and self-doubt. If overstated, then narcissism, arrogance and envy. You can learn more about the wide range of emotions in this video.

Let’s try to figure out what went wrong with our colleague. We can only assume, and only the colleague himself knows what happened to him for sure. Be careful, avoid “labeling” other people based only on your own judgments.

1. Touchiness.

There is a category of people to whom it is simply dangerous to give any feedback if it is not laudatory. They take offense at any negative comment in relation to them. You need to be very careful with such people. I was a witness when, due to the touchiness of one manager, very successful careers of his team’s employees were finished.

Perhaps in a situation with a colleague, sometime in the past you gave him feedback that hurt him. And he holds a grudge against you. Your promotion finally “finished off” your colleague, and he lost self-control because of a sick Ego.

2. Suspiciousness.

Suspiciousness is a tendency to see danger in everything, distrust, morbid suspicion.

Suspicious people are even more dangerous than touchy ones. In my practice, I have met people who protected their Ego with suspicion and distrust of others. The situation is complicated by the fact that suspicious people can draw conclusions based on subjective factors. Hide their opinions from others and develop them in imagination or with other suspicious individuals.

In the case of our “test colleague”, he could, for example, perceive your offer to participate in the project as an attempt to hold competitions “on his own field”. A colleague may think that you are deliberately “dragging” him into the project to show his incompetence to the management. Yes, yes, there are such difficult cases.

3. Self-doubt.

As I have already said, healthy self-doubt gives us motivation for development. If we see what hinders us on our life/ career or other path, it is obvious that it does not make us very happy, but it gives us the ground for development. If self-esteem is greatly underestimated, then this can cause denial of the outside world.

In the case of our colleague, perhaps he simply does not believe in his own strength, and you have nothing to do with it. He just can’t admit that this project is not for his level of competence and blames others, including you, in order to protect himself.

4. Narcissism and arrogance.

Narcissism is a character trait consisting in excessive self-love and overestimated self—esteem — grandiosity, often not corresponding to reality.

Narcissists are a very difficult case of people with a sick Ego. They are so confident in their coolness that sometimes they think that others are simply not worthy of them. I have witnessed the development of narcissism in colleagues with a very rapid career growth.

In the case of our colleague, he may think that you are simply unworthy to play with him in the same team.

An inflated Ego is like a target – it is very easy to hit it.

Arrogant people are often very sensitive to negative feedback, which makes them more vulnerable.

5. Envy.

Envy is a trait of character, manifested in personal annoyance at other people’s successes and benefits.

As we know, there is positive and negative envy. And the key difference between them is that with negative envy we get upset, with positive envy we rejoice for the successes of others. Envious (neg.) colleagues are very dangerous. You may never know how an envious “friend” caused problems for you. A good way of fighting against someone else’s envy is modesty. But not always, not for everyone it can work.

In our case, perhaps, a colleague is just jealous of you that it was you who received such a promising project.

People who can tame their Ego, control it, turn on rational thinking and act coolly are a kind of psychological hackers. They can manage the situation because they keep their psychological state under control.



So what should we do with our colleague?

In our case, it would be a big mistake to respond with aggression to aggression. This can develop the conflict to such a level that it may become almost impossible to resolve it.

My recommendations of actions in such situations:

  1. Calm down and make sure that you are thinking rationally now. Attacks on the Ego cause stress. Stress is a natural reaction. And maybe you shouldn’t worry. If you feel that you are emotionally stressed right now, do not speak bluntly, pause until you are sure that you have calmed down. Only then return to the conversation.
  2. Figure out the reason. Talk to your colleague about his worries. Ask him to tell you what bothers him and what helps with your interaction. Often, you won’t get a direct answer right away. Show listening skills, ask questions. Avoid judging on your part.
  3. Agree on the rules. If you did a good job with paragraph 2, then now you know what could have personally offended your colleague. Discuss the reasons without excuses and mutual claims. Agree with him on the rules of interaction in order to maintain a comfortable atmosphere in the future.
  4. Ask him to share feedback in a timely manner. This conflict was brewing, which means it could have been resolved at an earlier stage. Agree with a colleague that you will not “accumulate” claims and wait for the right moment to give them away. And you will share feedback as soon as you have it. It is very desirable to do this in private, so you will avoid the risk of a public dispute, which creates a dangerous environment for the Ego.

Healthy self-love gives us energy, adds optimism and strengthens self-confidence. It is important to remember that the same love is present in others. Knowing your emotions and feelings makes you more resistant to psychological stimuli. The ability to listen, build a dialogue and manage your Ego will help you establish productive relationships with different people.

Good luck!


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