Today on NOC Advises, we will be looking at issues relating to ego. This is inspired by recent personal events where friends actually confided in me about their problems with the people in their lives. And one common thing that these problems share is ego.
Ego, as the dictionary states, is a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance. Ego is essential to a person’s mental health. But as with all things, moderation is key. People with a very low amount of ego will be highly unconfident in things that they do, and will often also feel insecure about the relationships they have with other. They will also tend to have low self-worth, and thus, leading into unhealthy relationships with others, such as being on the receiving end of an abusive relationship. Comparatively, girls tend to suffer from a low amount of ego as compared to guys. Reasons are pretty self-explanatory if you were to look at what society deems as “attractive”.
As for guys, they tend to suffer more from an inflated ego. A person with an inflated ego, or someone who’s egoistic will tend to be more self-centred and stubborn. As opposed to someone who has a low amount of ego who would often rather get hurt than to hurt others, an egoistic person will hurt others rather than to get hurt.
Whichever end of the spectrum that people with an unhealthy level of ego fall on, their actions and behaviour tend to look irrational to a third-party. To illustrate how ego issues can have potentially negative repercussions, I’ll share a few anecdotes from the recent incidents that my friends have provided me with.
1. Getting Retrenched
A friend of mine, Janice, was recently sharing with me her stress about being an only child with aging low educated parents. While her parents are generally healthy, Janice is fretting over the unexpected and is looking to purchase insurance for her parents. But insurance premiums are relatively expensive for senior citizens, and she could only afford to get the most basic plans for her parents. Upon probing, Janice revealed that both her parents don’t really have savings for retirement purposes and thus, have no choice but to continue working at their old age. Making matters worse is that her father actually got retrenched from his long-time job 2 years ago and have been facing difficulties finding another job at his old age. Compounding the difficulties, is the fact that her father actually paid for a car in full just a few months before he got retrenched.
Given the fact that the father has a car, and is still of a healthy age to drive, I suggested to Janice that her dad could be a Grab driver, but she explained that her dad is extremely introverted and is extremely resistant to doing things that he has never done before. He expressed reluctance to learning how the Grab app works, and refuses to pick up new skills either. As such, her father has remained jobless for 2 years and counting now. Fortunately, the father is not a spendthrift and lives a simple life. As such, the family is still able to get by despite the fact that the combined household income of the family has dropped by 1/3, from $6,000+ to $4,000+. However, due to the fact that they barely have savings left, a medical emergency would be catastrophic for them. And it doesn’t help that the one thing that the father would not relinquish is the car.
Due to his father’s retrenchment, and that he’s not intending to drive Grab at all, the car is heavily under-utilised and often spends time just sitting in the carpark. While the cost of the car had been paid in full, there are still ongoing expenses that are being paid such as road tax, car insurance, season parking, etc. Hence, as a rational person can see, the wise thing to do is to sell the car away to get a sum of money back. However, the father refuses to relent on this and insists on keeping the car. When my friend tries to reason with him, he would verbally lash out in anger.
How Ego comes into play:
While irrational, this behaviour can be understood as a result of his ego. Him being retrenched directly causes him to be unable to fulfill his role of providing for the family, which is the traditionally stereotypical duty of the head of the family. Losing his job as a long-time employee of the company adds insult to injury as it is a sign of his irrelevancy to the company. Hence, refusing to pick up new skills or to find a new job in another field is akin to him admitting the fact that his skills and experience gained throughout the years are not relevant anymore. As such, the car, which is also a traditional symbol of being well-to-do, serves as an unshakable totem in his mind. Giving up the car would mean admitting defeat and resigning to his circumstances. However, despite it being the rational thing to do, his ego does not allow him to do that. As a result of that, my friend has to fork out unnecessary expenses and thus restricting her from spending on what’s truly necessary such as medical coverage and savings.
2. Failed Courtship(s)
One of the problems that come with being a girl who’s relatively attractive is the amount of suitors. People may say that it’s a first world problem and it beats being unattractive at all. But in my opinion, everyone has their own share of problems and while one person might indeed be having it worse, it doesn’t mean that the other person’s problem is not a problem at all. Everything is relative.
Before going into what happened, here’s a little background of my friend, Angie. She’s what you call an outgoing introvert. Being extremely sociable, but still need to spend time alone to herself. And due to her personality and daily life, she often gets the chance to meet new people. And being moderately attractive, there is no lack of suitors for her as well. However, due to the fact that there are tons of friends and suitors texting her everyday, she develops the habit of not responding to texts for hours or even days simply due to fatigue and the general reason of “there are better things to do” (lol) as well as simply losing track of whether she has replied or not.
So what happened on many separate occasions from different suitors is that these suitors will declare interest in her and how much they like her and want to woo her. While not being interested, she was still willing to treat these guys as friends (the notorious friendzone). Despite being friendzoned, these suitors did not give up and continued texting her daily and also tries to ask her out constantly. This process will typically go on for weeks or even months, and during this process, the true colours of these suitors eventually show for various reasons. In other words, they get severely triggered.
a. Trigger 1: Slow replies
Admittedly, the convenience of the internet has made us impatient as a whole. Being so used to getting the information that we want almost instantaneously, it is incredibly frustrating to be texting someone that just takes a few seconds slower to reply. Moreover, my dear friend Angie here can take hours or even days to reply. She is aware of this particular trait of hers and she would make sure to remind the person that she gives her contact to regarding this. However, after weeks of seemingly “godly patience”, some of them would simply get triggered at her speed/lack of replies, and start hurling abuse at her. Such words range from self-deprecating (“I’m just someone disposable to you!”) to subtle remarks (“It’s common courtesy to reply someone when they text you”) to outright uncalled for insults (“Do you think you’re a diva? Do you think that you’re so high up there? There are plenty of **** like you out there!”).
b. Trigger 2: Busy
The problem with being an outgoing introvert is that as much as Angie loves to go out and meet people, she needs just as much time to rest and recharge her energy. Coupled with the fact that she is juggling between school work as well as her other commitments, the time that she has for her friends (including friendzoned suitors) aren’t that much. As such, she can’t possibly agree every single time that someone asks her out. A very distinct incident just happened a couple of days ago. There is this guy that she has gotten to know online in February and has been asking her out ever since. After asking for 8-9 months, she finally relented to meet this guy (who is essentially still a stranger). On the eve of the day they were supposed to meet, Angie received an invitation from a close friend for a late dinner on that day as well. Thinking that since she’s already out, she told the guy that while they will still meet, she would probably need to leave earlier to meet her friend.
Upon receiving that news, the guy got triggered and start scolding her. Saying things like he realises that she’s at most a 6 out of 10, and only people who are 8 or 9 are qualified to befriend him. That’s on top of insults such as her being stupid, irresponsible, etc. And his closing remark, “Let’s never meet in this lifetime”.
c. Trigger 3: Confiding
This is essentially a rehash of what I mentioned earlier, someone’s problem might not seem to be a problem to you. But it doesn’t mean that it is not a problem to that person. So Angie, during her course of internship, has gotten to know a co-worker who was working full time and they were able to click as friends. But as always, the guy develops an interest in her and yadda yadda, the standard scenario occurs. However, as they were co-workers who have seen each other every weekday for a period of time, she was more willing to converse with him and thus felt that he was someone that she could confide in. So this went on for a couple of months until the guy lost it.
Angie was simply ranting about how tired she was juggling between her school life and various other commitments and the guy simply dismissed it as not a problem as all, because of the fact that he was working full time and no way is school anywhere more tiring than work. He then went on a tirade and said that he sees no point in her taking part in the activities that she enjoys doing outside of school and essentially criticised her life choices (which were healthy and harms no one), and asserts his opinion onto her that she has no rights to feel tired.
How Ego comes into play:
I couldn’t believe it, but as time passes, I realised that the above occurences are actually much more common than I thought. In terms of courtship, every suitor will think that he is superior in certain aspects as compared to the other suitors. Even if the facts state that that might not be so, there’s always one thing that guys tend to fall back on: “I’m nice, because they go out so often/they drink/they have many female friends but I don’t.” People instinctively find advantages that they hold over others even if it may not necessarily make sense but that is normal. What’s abnormal and irrational is when these suitors are greeted with reality that the girl that they are after see them as no different from other suitors and are simply friends or acquaintances. They spend weeks or months trying to change that fact but to no avail. They treat the rejection as a personal insult to their efforts and their liking or love for that person turns into hatred and they starts condemning that person. Despite it being extremely immature (“I like you, but you never like me back! I don’t want to friend you already!”), once again, it can be explained as these suitors’ ego getting bruised from rejection. As a form of self-defense mechanism, instead of admitting that they might not have done enough or that the girl is simply not into them, they chose to believe that the girl is deluded, the girl is blind, the girl just enjoys the attention. Because it is easier for them to accept that there is a problem with the girl than with themselves. However, regardless of their reasons, the moment they adopt this behaviour of scolding and insulting the girl that they supposedly like and adore so much, they immediately lose all chances of ever getting together with the girl.
Your point being?
Ego is a double-sided blade. A healthy level of ego can aid you to appear more confident and become more trustable and well-liked by others. Ego that are either too high or too low will just end up giving you a lot of disadvantages and consequences that could have been easily avoided. If you find that you are someone who often doesn’t have your own opinions or that you simply do not listen to others’ opinions even if they really know their shit, or that you are guilty of the examples illustrated in the above anecdotes, you may really have issues with your ego. If you find that you do have ego issues, here’s a tip. Whenever you’re put in a situation or you feel upset or angry, take a deep breath and take yourself out of the situation first. Analyse the facts before you react. Instead of viewing someone dispensing advice to you as demeaning you, he or she could genuinely want the best for you. The fact is, someone who looks down on you or dislikes you probably won’t want to interact with you that much. Also, to weigh the pros and cons whenever you have a decision to make. Some pros are really not worth the cons.
Well, with that, I hope you have a better understanding about ego. Be it you are someone who has ego issues, or someone on the receiving end. Know that people react differently when they get hurt or feel threatened. Do not simply turn away from someone who feels egoistical to you because he or she might simply behave that way because of her defense mechanism.
And now for this week’s submissions! Jaylene is back!
Both pieces are by Jaylene! Once again, thank you very much Jaylene for your lovely drawings!
As always, stay tuned to our website updates by liking and following our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Nightowlcinematics/
For any fan art / recommendations / queries for advice that you would like to submit: https://noc.com.sg/submit-content/
And for any business enquiries, send it here: https://noc.com.sg/contact-us/ and we will respond to you as soon as possible!