On Systemic Personal Boundary Violations, Low Self-Esteem, and Superiority Complex


From Gary Sharpe, PhD/Out-Thinking Parkinson’s: “In part one, we explored the basic concepts of personal boundaries, and violations or impingements of these. The following quote is from the summary of part one.

‘We have seen that early life experiences determine whether we have healthy, compromised, or non-existent personal boundaries as adults. Healthy personal boundaries need to be taught or role-modelled during childhood, but can still be built and constructed in later life, through healing trauma. Environmental failures in childhood, such as abuse, neglect, or inappropriate parenting or education systems, set us up to more likely be both victims of abuse, and abusers of others, as adults, and also dramatically increases our risk of eventually manifesting symptoms of chronic illnesses.’

In this follow up, we now apply what we have learned to the societal and cultural levels. In other words, we consider how all this scales up to the institutional levels.

The proposition I will attempt to lay out is that we are currently caught in a nasty feedback cycle, in which the way our institutions (governments, schools, universities, media, corporations, healthcare, and so forth) are behaving, is not only creating a cohort of people with compromised, or non-existent, personal boundaries, but that the institutions themselves have become self-selecting of the worst features in adults without intact boundaries, created by childhood abuses, who are then in turn corrupting further the institutions they work in, creating evermore abusive systems, dysregulating further the development of the next generations of kids, producing people with ever more compromised personal boundaries . . .

Self-Esteem Vs Other-Esteem, and Superiority Complex

To begin, we need to understand how folks whose personal boundaries were damaged during development, manifest in the world as adults. We turn once again to Pia Mellody’s short article ‘Co-dependence: The 5 Core Symptoms,’ from which the quotes below are taken.

First, we consider how people with healthy, and intact personal boundaries present in the world.

‘Healthy self-esteem is created within an individual who knows that he has inherent worth that is equal to others. It cannot be altered by his failings or strengths, which I call a person’s humanity. Parents who are able to affirm, nurture and set limits for their children without disempowering or falsely empowering them create children who can functionally esteem themselves. When negative events occur, a person with healthy self-esteem does not question his or her own worth or value. Children reared in a loving, nurturing environment learn to esteem themselves by being functionally esteemed by their parents/caregivers.’

Next, we consider one of the possible outcomes for an adult person who has non-existent or compromised personal boundaries due to failings in the developmental environment.

‘[This] individual relies on others to determine their worth or gets it from comparing themself to others, so their self-esteem fluctuates between feeling worthless and better than… it is not [really] self-esteem. It is better defined as ‘other-esteem’. It is based on external things – how they look, who they know, how large their salary is, how well their children perform, the degrees they have earned or how well they perform activities. The difficulty with other-esteem is that its source is outside of the person [beyond their control] and thus vulnerable to [manipulation].’

Let us call this type of manifestation as ‘low self-esteem.’ At the other extreme is a person who develops a ‘superiority complex.’

‘The other extreme is arrogance and grandiosity. The person believes that he or she is above or better than other people. In some family systems, children are taught to see others’ mistakes and to find fault with others. They tend to believe that they are superior to others. They may also be excessively shamed by their caregivers but learn that feeling superior to others helps them to feel better about themselves. A type of dysfunctional family that significantly affects self-esteem teaches children that they are superior to other people, giving them a false sense of power. In these families, the children are treated as if they can do no wrong.’

. . . In adult relationships, those with superiority complex and those with low self-esteem tend to seek each other out. The resulting relationships are controlling, abusive, toxic, operate on gas-lighting and are highly damaging to both . . .

The Creation of a Low-Self Esteem Cohort

With the knowledge I have gleaned about developmental issues, I am quite scathing and upset about the general state of the education system, and some parenting methods, as being, possibly intentionally, highly disruptive to the development of healthy personal boundaries of children . . .

Creating the Superiority Complex Cohort

I propose that our ‘higher’ institutions, whether governments, non-governmental organizations like the World Economic Forum, unelected bureaucracies like the EU, or C-suites of large corporations, have become self-selecting of folks whose childhood experiences corrupted their healthy personal boundaries, in such a way that it left them as superiority complex types, i.e. those that term and think of themselves as the ‘elites’ . . .

The Unhealthy Relationship

Just like at the individual level, where folks with low self-esteem and superiority complex have a tendency to seek each other out as intimate relationship partners, and negatively feed off each other via these highly toxic, damaging, controlling relationships, I see that the low self-esteem cohort and the superiority complex ‘elites’ also negatively feed off of each other at the group level. In a way, they co-create, and need each other. The low self-esteem cohort’s need arises from learned helplessness and the dependence on the state that the ‘education’ system left with, and the superiority complex elites need the low self-esteem folks for people to blame, control and feel superior about.”

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