God complex

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A God complex is an unshakable belief characterized by consistently inflated feelings of personal ability, privilege, or infallibility. The recognized diagnostic name for the behaviors associated with a God complex is narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). A God complex may also be associated with mania or a superiority complex. The first person to use the term god-complex was Ernest Jones (1913–51). His description, at least in the contents page of Essays in Applied Psycho-Analysis, describes the god complex as belief that one is a god.


  • Constructing or adopting a belief system in which one is either God's prophet or God himself inflates the ego to monstrous proportions. Koresh was more deeply concerned with religion, Jim Jones with racial equality and an egalitarian society. But both compensated for isolation and lack of love in childhood by becoming infatuated with power, and both ended up with delusions of their own divinity.
    • Anthony Storr, Feet of Clay; Saints, Sinners, and Madmen: A Study of Gurus (New York: Free Press Paperbacks, 1997), p. 18.

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