When a Person Overestimates Their Abilities: The Dangers of Believing You’re Better Than You Are

When it comes to self-appraisal, it's not uncommon for individuals to experience a distorted perception of their own abilities and traits, surrounding themselves in an illusion that they’re better than they actually are. This phenomenon is called illusory superiority, a cognitive bias that’s been extensively researched in the field of social psychology. Such individuals often portray an inflated sense of confidence, overestimating their qualities and abilities, and undermining those of others. This condition isn’t specific to any particular age group, profession, or culture and can have far-reaching consequences, affecting personal relationships, professional performance, and even social interactions. Despite it’s prevalence, this form of self-evaluation is often difficult to recognize within ourselves, leading us to overestimate our worth, skills, and overall standing in society.

What Is It Called When Someone Thinks They Are Superior to Others?

This can manifest in various forms, such as arrogance, condescension, and a sense of entitlement. Those with a superiority complex may believe that they’re smarter, more talented, or more deserving of success than those around them. They may also view others as inferior, incompetent, or unworthy of their time or respect.

This type of thinking can have negative consequences not only for those with a superiority complex, but also for those around them. It can lead to conflicts, misunderstandings, and a lack of cooperation and collaboration. It can also create a toxic work or social environment, where people feel insecure, judged, and undervalued.

People with a superiority complex may also struggle with empathy and understanding others perspectives. They may be self-centered and dismissive of others feelings and needs. This can make it difficult for them to build meaningful relationships or to be effective leaders or team members.

Fortunately, a superiority complex can be addressed through introspection, self-awareness, and a willingness to learn from others. It may be helpful to seek feedback from trusted peers or mentors, or to engage in activities or experiences that challenge ones assumptions and broaden ones perspective. With time and effort, those with a superiority complex can learn to appreciate and respect the strengths and contributions of others, and to cultivate more enriching and fulfilling relationships and interactions.

How to Identify and Recognize a Superiority Complex in Oneself and Others

A superiority complex is the belief that one is better than others. To recognize it in oneself and others, one should pay attention to their behavior, thoughts, and language. Arrogance, condescension, and the need to always be right are signs of a superiority complex. It’s important to be self-aware and work on improving one’s behavior to avoid alienating others.

Delusional sense of superiority is a psychological disorder that affects a small portion of the population. It’s characterized by an individual’s unwavering belief in their own superior abilities, knowledge, intelligence, and overall importance despite evidence that proves otherwise. This sense of grandiosity can lead to erratic behavior and a lack of empathy for others, causing significant problems in relationships, work, and day-to-day life. In this article, we will explore the causes and symptoms of delusions of grandeur and how they can be treated.

What Is a Delusional Sense of Superiority?

Individuals who’ve a delusional sense of superiority may exhibit certain behaviors such as excessively bragging, belittling others, thinking they can do no wrong or are above the law or rules, and feeling entitled to special treatment or privileges. This can lead to strained relationships with others as people may find them insufferable or intolerable to be around. They may also struggle to accept criticism or feedback as they’ve an inflated sense of themselves and their abilities.

Delusions of grandeur can occur in various contexts such as in psychotic disorders like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, but also in non-psychotic conditions like narcissistic personality disorder. In these cases, the person may believe they possess special powers, abilities, or have a unique destiny or mission in life. They may also exaggerate their achievements or make up stories about their experiences to impress others.

It can lead to poor decision-making, unrealistic expectations, and even dangerous behavior. Individuals may engage in risky or reckless activities believing they’re invincible or superior to others, ignoring potential consequences. It can also cause deep feelings of frustration, disappointment, and anger when reality doesn’t match up to their expectations.

Treatment for delusions of grandeur often involves psychotherapy and medication, depending on the underlying cause. In therapy, the individual may work on developing more realistic beliefs about themselves and their abilities, as well as learning to accept feedback and criticism from others. Medications may be prescribed to manage underlying conditions such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

In summary, a delusional sense of superiority is a false belief in ones own greatness, intelligence, or importance. This can lead to behaviors that are off-putting to others, strained relationships, poor decision-making, unrealistic expectations, and even dangerous or risky behavior. Overall, it’s important to have a healthy level of self-esteem and confidence while also being grounded in reality.

It can be difficult to interact with individuals who seem to have an inflated sense of self-worth or a constant need for validation. In extreme cases, this can lead to a superiority complex, where the person believes they’re better or more important than others. This mindset can have a variety of names, such as a God complex, narcissism, grandiosity, or hubris. But regardless of what it’s called, it can be a challenging trait to navigate in personal or professional relationships.

What Do You Call a Person Who Has a Superiority Complex?

A person who’s a superiority complex is someone who believes they’re vastly superior to others in some way. This can manifest in a number of ways, from believing that they’re more intelligent or talented than others, to thinking that they’re more entitled to certain privileges or resources. The term “god complex” is often used to describe this type of attitude, as the person in question may act as if they’re infallible and above reproach.

Narcissism is another term that’s often associated with people who’ve a superiority complex. This refers to a preoccupation with oneself and an excessive need for attention and admiration. Narcissistic individuals may be convinced that they’re better than others, and may feel entitled to special treatment or recognition. They may also have difficulty empathizing with others, as they’re so focused on their own needs and desires.

Grandiosity is another characteristic that’s often seen in people with a superiority complex. This refers to an inflated sense of self-importance, or a belief that one is better than others in every way. Grandiose individuals may overestimate their abilities and accomplishments, and may be prone to exaggerating their achievements or talents. This can lead to a sense of entitlement and a lack of empathy for others.

Hubris is a term that refers to excessive pride or arrogance, and is often associated with people who’ve a superiority complex. Hubristic individuals may be convinced that they’re invincible or above the rules that govern other people. They may take unnecessary risks or engage in dangerous behavior, as they believe that they can do no wrong. This can lead to a sense of entitlement and a lack of accountability for their actions.

While this can be a difficult pattern to break, it’s important for individuals with a superiority complex to learn to recognize and challenge their beliefs in order to foster more healthy and positive relationships with others. With self-reflection and support, it’s possible for those with a superiority complex to learn to adopt a more humble and empathetic perspective.

Strategies for Addressing and Managing a Superiority Complex, Such as Therapy or Mindfulness Practices.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
  • Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
  • Group Therapy
  • Journaling
  • Meditation and Yoga
  • Self-reflection and self-awareness exercises
  • Assertiveness training
  • Learning to listen actively to others
  • Practicing empathy and compassion


Whether it’s overestimating one's intelligence, attractiveness, or skills, illusory superiority can often lead to harmful consequences such as complacency and a lack of self-awareness. However, it’s important to recognize that this bias isn’t necessarily a negative trait as it can also boost confidence and motivation. As with many things in life, balance and moderation seem to be key. So, it’s crucial for individuals to strive towards self-awareness and to recognize any potential biases they may have, in order to achieve a more accurate understanding of themselves and their abilities.