In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to share strategies to understand feelings of inadequacy, and how extreme inadequacy leads to extreme narcissism.
First a quick update:
The Physical Pain Of Rejection, Loss & Heartbreak
Did you know that Elvis Presley’s 1956 song and number 1 hit, “Heartbreak Hotel” was based on a newspaper article about the suicide of a lonely man who jumped from a hotel window? Rejection, loss & heartbreak cause actual physical pain.
How To Escape The Victim, Rescuer & Persecutor
Is there someone in your life who is a victim, rescuer or persecutor? Are you one of them? How can you stop the game, stop the behavior and the drama triangle? Watch my video for steps and solutions to end the victim, rescuer & persecutor behavior & games.
Now, let’s talk about strategies to understand feelings of inadequacy, and how extreme inadequacy leads to extreme narcissism.
In various other articles, I have revealed that the media and advertising promote the message that you are not good enough, there is something wrong with you, and that something is missing in your life, and thus, you must buy the product or service in order to be or feel complete and worthy.
The primary message is that you are inadequate.
Inadequacy is a feeling that you are not as good, clever, skilled, etc. as other people. The media and advertising go further by attempting to convince or brainwash you into believing that it is a fact that you are inadequate and not good enough in quality, ability, power, social statues, wealth, size, beauty, fame, health, youth, role, etc. to be worthy of love, attention, relationships, success or happiness.
Feelings of inadequacy are comparable to feelings of inferiority or inferiority complex.
One client shared a dream where he was on the Dr. Phil show and Dr. Phil said to him “Your problem is inadequacy.” My client was shocked by the dream because he said it’s not even a word he uses in daily language and he more consciously relates to words/terms such as ‘not good enough, worthless, inferior’ than he does to the word ‘inadequate.’
Accordingly, I have found that certain words will resonate at a subconscious level with some clients and not others. For that reason, this article focuses on ‘inadequacy’ over ‘inferiority, low self-worth, incompetence, powerlessness, or shame’, although all of the words and terms are interconnected.
Sources of inadequacy
As mentioned above, the media and advertising are skilled sources of nurturing inadequacy in people – that is their message.
The second source of inadequacy is work-based harassment or bullying that leads to feelings of incompetency – not being good enough, skilled or clever.
The third and primary source of inadequacy is childhood experiences and programming.
What did your parents do to promote within you the feelings of competency?
For example, lack of attention, neglect, abandonment, harsh judgment, criticism, shaming, expectations of perfection, physical punishment or abuse in all forms by parents towards children lead to feelings of inadequacy. The same treatment by peers can also result in childhood feelings of inadequacy i.e. peers at school rejecting you and saying, “Get lost; go away; nobody likes you.”
“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”
– Anna Quindlen
Consequences of feelings of inadequacy
1. Low self-worth
2. Social isolation (avoiding social interaction)
3. Fear or choice to not get close to others
4. Masking of real emotions
5. Inability or choice to not be authentic or vulnerable
6. Fear of intimacy
7. Fear of rejection
8. Inaccurate interpretation of events/occurrences as rejection
9. Lack of trust
10. Extreme self-criticism (repeat of parents’ criticism towards you)
11. Negative self-talk
12. Compulsions as distractions or panacea to feelings of inadequacy – overeating, gambling, binge drinking, multiple sex partners, extreme spending, etc.
13. Performance anxiety (work, sport, relationships, sex)
14. Projection – criticizing others as being inadequate with the intention of feeling superior over them; projecting with the desire and intention to control the person who is reminding them of their inadequacy
15. Controlling or domineering others to mask or compensate for one’s own feelings of inadequacy
16. Hostility towards the opposite sex
18. Extreme sensitivity to criticism
19. Twisting what people say into extreme negativity or self-loathing
20. Inability to receive criticism without creating deep self-loathing
21. Inability to accept praise; cynicism towards praise
22. Feeling like a failure versus accepting failure in some areas of life – “I am a failure” VS “I failed in this area/challenge.”
23. Feelings of powerlessness over life in general
Extreme feelings of inadequacy can also result in narcissism and its three subtypes –
1. “Grandiose/malignant narcissism” – seething anger, interpersonal manipulativeness, pursuit of interpersonal power and control, lack of remorse, exaggerated self-importance, and feelings of privilege; blame others for their problems.
2. “Fragile narcissism” – grandiosity that serves to ward off painful feelings of inadequacy, smallness, anxiety, and loneliness; desire to feel important and privileged; when the defenses fail, there is a powerful undercurrent of negative affect and feelings of inadequacy, often accompanied by rage.
3. “High-functioning/exhibitionistic narcissism” – grandiose, competitive, attention seeking, and sexually seductive or provocative, and also have significant psychological strengths (e.g., being articulate, energetic, interpersonally comfortable, achievement oriented.) http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.ajp.2008.07030376 )
“When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and you’re life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money.
That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.
Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”
– Steve Jobs, “Steve Jobs: One Last Thing” (documentary, 2011)
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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”
Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist