I know it may sound ridiculous but a big ego is really just the flip side of low self esteem. How can that be, you ask, when you see someone who has an over inflated opinion of themselves acting with such apparent confidence? How can that person possibly have no self esteem? Well they can.
Those who are all fluffed up like peacocks with “I am the Big I Am” energy are really people crippled with low self esteem and usually feel less than the filth under the shoe of life. They have to fluff up like that to keep themselves from crawling into a fetal position inside themselves and never coming out. Self rejection and/ or self hatred is rampant within them – even if the person is not aware of it.
Addicts in particular have this big ego/ low self esteem issue going on in them much of the time. Addiction by its very (destructive) nature encourages self hatred on a massive scale whenever addicts act against their soul during benders. This means they need to do extra fluffing up to be able to keep doing the things they need to do to get, and be with, their drug(s) of choice. Which means they end up with artificial self esteem – never real self esteem. This big ego/ low self esteem merry-go-round behavior of addicts happens so often within them that, in the end, they lose all sense of what healthy self love feels like and just become a caricature of it – also known as a big ugly ego – with heightened arrogance to boot.
Arrogance, of course, is simply the flip side of humility – and self love is needed in order to have humility which addicts simply just don’t possess in the main. Why would they have humility when they – 99 times out of a hundred – are living a selfish self centred life? (which is, of course, a necessity for active addiction to continue and “flourish” within the person). I have never met a single addict over the many years I have been immersed in addiction recovery, who entered the recovery movement humbly loving themselves. That’s simply unheard of. Every single one – bar none –entered recovery realizing that they despised themselves – once the veils of denial were lifted from their psyches.
The challenge once in recovery then is for recovering addicts to bring down their big ego and bring up their self esteem – which can take a while once their drug of choice is down. Often recovering addicts have a lot invested in their ego though so can fight to bring it down and this can be what takes the time. It has kept them alive after all – much like a feral animal is kept alive by its heightened instincts. But reduce it they must if the person wishes to bring balance to their life. Because the harsh truth is that unless they don’t, their big arrogant ego will take them back to active addiction. Every single time.
All that said, we all need a bit of ego to navigate life in one piece so I am not knocking the ego as a whole. Just when it is blown out of all proportion to be healthy to the life of the person as a whole and the lives of those around the person unfortunate enough to be periodically cut to shreds by that ego.