Most of us are addicted to something – ever wonder what fuels that addiction of that person who you think is the most terrible person in the world – my thinking would be along the lines of conceit and arrogance.
Cocky people do have confidence, but it comes from a different place than true self-assurance. Arrogance is one result of building self-esteem from outward sources such as financial privilege or constant praise. However, yank the external support system away, and the person’s sense of self-worth goes with it.
Hubristic pride is distinct from the more triumphant and confident authentic pride felt in well-earned achievements. While authentic pride motivates hard work, persistence, and empathic concern for others, hubristic pride motivates hostility, aggression, intimidation, and prejudice. And this makes sense, because feeling hubristically proud does not mean feeling genuinely good about oneself; it is not a true sense of self-worth. Instead, hubristic pride involves inflated, inauthentic, and superficial feelings of grandiosity, which are used strategically and defensively to compensate for deep-seated, often unconscious, insecurities. People who frequently feel hubristic pride are narcissistic, but have low self-esteem and a proneness to shame. Their arrogance is their way of coping with, and keeping hidden, their partially suppressed self-doubts. And, because any kind of pride feels so much better than shame, those who are prone to feeling hubristic pride seek to maintain it at any cost. This means constantly finding new ways of self-promoting, self-enhancing, and derogating others. Like a drug, hubristic pride makes getting ahead feel essential, as it is the only way to keep those insecurities at bay. But the insecurities still occasionally bubble to the surface of awareness, reminding the hubristically pride-prone that they are not good enough, smart enough, or fast enough, and leaving them with no option but to go beyond what they can achieve on their own. They use force, aggression, lying, and cheating to maintain the power and pride they have come to depend on. And, as a side effect, hubristic pride makes them feel invincible, convincing them that they can get away with their abhorrent behaviors.