- A psychopathological condition characterized by delusional fantasies of wealth, power, or omnipotence.
- An obsession with grandiose or extravagant things or actions.
Megalomania is an unrealistic belief in one’s superiority, grandiose abilities, and even omnipotence. It is characterized by a need for total power and control over others, and is marked by a lack of empathy for anything that is perceived as not feeding the self.
Although megalomania is a term often ascribed to anyone who is power-hungry, the clinical definition is that of a mental illness associated with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).
Narcissism is most simply defined as self-love. Though it is considered healthy to care about your own well-being and have a healthy self-esteem, when someone loves himself to the exclusion of all else and others become objectified to be used only to serve the self, this is no longer considered healthy or normal.
There are different psychological theories about how and why NPD develops, most of which relate to the integration of different aspects of ego and self as a child, and the nature of the parental roles in that process. Regardless of theory, NPD is characterized by extremely low self-esteem, which is compensated for by delusions of grandeur and megalomania, a narcissistic neuroses. With the propensity to act only on behalf of one’s self, the unbridled need to feed one’s ego, and the objectification of others to serve the power-hungry needs of megalomania, it is easy to see how this can be a recipe for disaster, especially when wrapped in a charismatic personality.