My husband has a very short male boss. When we describe his behavior to people, we use the term “Napoleon Complex” to clearly identify what kind of guy this is.
In my husband’s bosses case, he happens to be a relatively wealthy guy who mistreats his employees and brags about his money a lot. Since he is a particularly short man (5’5), we joke that he must have “The Napoleon Complex”.
According to Wikipedia ( Napoleon Complex), Napoleon was average height for his time period and that this proclaimed “complex” seems to be a myth due to various studies done that seem to disprove that short men are more aggressive than taller men. Wikipedia mentions only one professor, Professor Abraham Buunk of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands that according to his study done at the University, men who were 1.63 m (5 ft 4 in) were 50 % more likely to show signs of jealousy than men who were 1.98 m (6 ft 6 in). Other various sociological experiments have shown that there are several advantages to being tall in attracting a mate, and the small man syndrome is believed to be an evolutionary adaptation.
Today I was talking to one of my husband’s co-workers about their boss. This co-worker happens to be a short man as well and he brought up the concept of the “Napolean Complex”. He informed me that this was a real complex that short man all over have and it comes from the fact that they have always felt inferior to other men because of their height. He said that there is actually statistics that short men don’t get jobs as easily as tall men and they clearly have more problems getting women.
He insisted that there is not a short man alive that does not feel inferior because of his height. I found this to be fascinating because who would think that the issue of height could affect someone so deeply, let alone most men. In fact, I was shocked to hear that this particular guy admitted having this “complex” because he actually seems to be a quite confidant and level headed person – not a person that really puts so much stock into a silly, natural and non-negotiable physical characteristic like height.
This guy also said something else that I found interesting that cleared up my confusion on the subject. He explained that he understood from a young age that his height was going to be a disadvantage to him for the rest of his life, so instead of reacting to it…he used it to his advantage. He decided from the age of 13 that he would make it his business to use his intelligence as his defense – and not his fists or his mouth.
He made a conscious decision that his confidence was going to come from his mind and not something external.
This is a lesson we all should take notes from. I am not a short man and I will never know what it is like to be a short man in a world that is partial to height (for whatever reason)………but I am a woman with my own physical limitations (just like every human in the world has) and I have to learn that my physical limitations should in no way impair my mental abilities.
I don’t know if there truly is a condition called the “Napoleon” Complex…..but I do know that there is a condition called the “I don’t look like everyone says I should so I am not as good as they are” Complex…..
…..and the cure is an easy one…….realize that you are not your body……you are your mind.
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