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A lot of us have been fighting through personal battles of self-esteem. We challenge ourselves to seek power over others to prove that we are better. Others may have even developed aggressive behaviors to overcome their inferiority complex — a defense mechanism to compensate for their inadequacy or failure in life.

Have you ever heard about the little man’s disease? Is Napoleon Complex a myth? Or does it really affects a little guy’s self-esteem? Read on and understand what Napoleon Complex really is and how do we deal with this type of behavior.

Napoleon Complex As a Theorized Inferiority Complex

Before we get into dealing with the compensational behaviors of Napoleon Complex, let us first know a little bit of its origin.

Napoleon Complex is considered as an emotional response to a distressing experience. It is the manifestation of aggressive behavior that is widely attributed to people with shorter stature. To put it simply, shorter men are known to be indirectly aggressive towards taller males. 

This concept of the short man syndrome started during the 1800s. The first French emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, predominated the French Revolution, craving power and control. He has gone down in history as the little guy who succeeded in achieving highly ambitious goals.

His military and amorous conquests were attributed to his desire to compensate for his short stature. In History books, Napoleon Bonaparte was given the title “The Little Corporal,” or the short man with aggressive behavior. Napoleon compensated for his physical inadequacy by seeking power and conquest.

The Short Man Syndrome is a popular belief that has driven shorter men to demonstrate that they are as macho as taller men. Since it is physically impossible for them to adjust their height, they turn to behavioral adjustment to act dominant and feel psychologically taller. Just take a look at Kevin Hart and The Rock. Their tandem is hilarious. But obviously, Kevin Hart has Napoleon Complex. 

Does Napoleon Complex Also Apply to Taller Men?

In terms of an evolutionary perspective, research shows that taller men have a clear advantage over shorter individuals in terms of leadership, status, and power. There are a lot of research studies that predicted taller individuals to possess more attributes of becoming a leader. Height has always been a vital indicator of someone’s health and dominance all through human evolutionary history.

Height and muscularity are the physical traits that represent a man’s reputation as it increases their competitive fighting ability against other men. Strength and size are also important components of a man’s self-perceived value and attractiveness.

Other studies suggest that tall men are likely to interest attractive female counterparts. From an evolutionary perspective, male physical characteristics, such as height, play a vital role in women’s mating preferences. Most ladies would prefer a wider height difference between them and their partners.

A study suggests that participant height is an essential predictor of an individual’s competitive interaction. Results imply that taller men are reported to attain lower levels of behavioral jealousy and higher relationship satisfaction than shorter men. Both men and women would agree that we all desire that the male should always be taller in a relationship.

Is Napoleonic Complex a Bad thing?

Further studies conducted in Amsterdam led to the discovery of the Dictator Game. An economic game created out of behavioral experiments that allow players to act on their personal interests. The Dictator game focuses on the competitive interactions of 21 pairs of men who participated in the study.

The dictator game started with a total of eighteen coins placed on the table. The participants played after they were introduced to each other, and their heights were called out. They were placed in separate cubicles. Then, the participants were instructed to take as many coins as they wanted. But it is only the dictator who has all the power to decide how much money will go to the recipient.

The Dictator game experiment showed that regardless of their opponent’s height, shorter men always take more money for themselves.

On the other hand, in another version of Dictator’s game, male participants choose the amount of hot sauce their opponent will take. There was no relationship between the opponent height and the participant’s aggressive behavior during the Hot sauce allocation task.

Economic games produce results that help Psychological Science examine Napoleon’s complex. These experiments had supported the fact that short men compensate behaviorally. They are overly aggressive and tends to collect more asset.

In an absolute-power situation, it is safe to say that in predicting competitive behaviors, the participant’s height matters. Taller and shorter men have been through contrasting life experiences that may have influenced their decision-making.

When it comes to underlying mechanisms, Napoleon syndrome may also result from intersexual selection forces, which explains why shorter participants use behavioral strategies such as showing commitment and risk-taking to impress women.

Common Characteristic Napoleon Complex

  • It is mostly characterized by overly aggressive social behavior. They tend to dominate the social group and gather all attention to them. They will lie about their background, even have their ‘self-reported height’ and their income because they can not handle social defeat.
  • People with Napoleon complex will not stop unless they get what they want. Their overcompensating behavior will push them toward risk-taking to impress females. Some of them will even commit a crime to win something that they desire.
  • They always keep an eye on the work of others. Their success depends on the fact that their work is always better than others.
  • When Napoleon’ complex psychology starts to kick in, they view everyone around them as a competitor. They unendingly try to compete and do better than everyone they know.
  • The simplest criticisms make them feel rejected and terrible for days. Some might even fall into depression.

How to Deal with Napoleon Complex

Short men who respond to feelings of inferiority are more likely to commit acts violently than men who are contented with their own height. They are consistently bothered by the thought that they have to do more in order to overcome their physical shortcomings.

The American Psychological Association defines the feeling of being inferior as the basic feeling of insecurity. It is also the feeling of inadequacy deriving from psychological deficiency. It is viewed as a particular implication of Alfred Adler’s theory as to why inferior people lack the motivation to pursue their great interests.

Do you think you are suffering from Napoleon Complex? Well, here are some of the ways on how you can manage it:

Try To Make Fewer Comparisons

It is normal to compare yourself with others. Being competitive at work or in school is normal. Healthy competition pushes us to do more and aim for better results. But the consistent comparison of yourself with others to the point of jealousy and frustration is a different story. It is a complete waste of your energy. Make your life worthwhile and invest your time in something much more productive.

Do a Frequent Self-Check

Nobody is perfect. Learn to accept that you are flawed and own your insecurities. People with low self-esteem tend to blame themselves when problems arise from work. Be kind to yourself and give yourself a break. Try to avoid situations where you know you might fail or get disappointed. Be in situations where you can actually gain realistic achievements.

Be Mindful of Your Working Environment

The feelings of inferiority start with our desire to be wanted. Being around supportive people helps you accept yourself as you are. Avoid people who love to backbite and gossip about others in the office since they can suck all the positive energy around you. 

Stop wasting your time with people who don’t make you feel accepted. Start removing toxic people from your life who loves to pull you down.

Trace Back the Root Cause of Your Behavior

Intersexual competition affects behavior and could be the cause of your low self-esteem. The feeling of inferiority may have been rooted in something that happened in the past. It might be when you liked someone, and your feelings got denied because the person you love liked someone taller or prettier than you. 

Then you started developing aggressive behaviors. Maybe it is time to practice self-acceptance. Try to forgive yourself and move forward.

Allow yourself to Feel Inferior Sometimes

No matter how rich and intelligent you are, you have to understand that there will always be someone better than you, and that is ok. Each of us has our own combinations of good and flawed qualities. Your best friend might be good at painting while you excel in math. You don’t have to be perfect to be loved by the people around you. Allow yourself to suck at something.

Be The Master of Your Mind

Educate yourself through online podcasts and self-help books to enhance your awareness. Talk to a professional who can help you understand what you have been going through. Find your source of inspiration to help you rise back up and start anew.

Moral support and social acceptance are some of the keys to helping you overcome a mental battle. You must believe that physical inadequacies do not define your psychological strength. If you need someone to help you figure out what you have been going through, do not hesitate to call or book an appointment with us at Kentucky Counseling Center

Our counselors have specialized training to handle these kinds of issues. For your convenience, you can book through our online portal of KCC Direct Service.

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