Emotional Intelligence: The Role of the Ego

ByCindy M. Nelson, M.B.A., C.S.L.C.

Emotional Intelligence: The Role of the Ego

emotional intelligence coaching leadership development egoWhen our emotional dependency needs (emotional intimacy; nurturing; unconditional love & acceptance; and boundary-setting) are not met during childhood, we live with constant underlying feelings of fear and insecurity.  We lack a solid foundation from which to operate.  This results in becoming preoccupied with the need to continually search outside of ourselves for love, approval and validation in order to feel safe and secure.

Enter the Ego… Think of your Ego as an invisible bodyguard that is with you 24/7.  Its sole job is to keep you safe and secure.  It is a survival mechanism.  Although it is very proficient at what it does, it is not without faults and limitations.

Here are some aspects of the Ego that you need to be aware of:

  • The Ego treats you as though you are a small, fearful, helpless child.
  • It will do anything to keep you from experiencing something that it thinks may harm you.
  • The Ego is fear-based and can only draw on information from your own history. It will base its “advice” to you on your past experiences. Its solutions are outdated and irrelevant to what is going on today.
  • It will supply you with any evidence that you need to convince your psyche that all your actions are justified.
  • If necessary, it will create false, half-true or imaginary illusions to keep you safe from what it perceives to be harmful.
  • The Ego is addicted to excitement and drama.
  • It loves confusion. It likes to make the unimportant things important and the important things unimportant.

Although the Ego is protecting you, it is at the same time keeping you emotionally immature and feeling helpless.  It relies on defenses rather than empowerment to keep you “safe.”  At some point, we have to ask ourselves, “what kind of way of life is this?”  It’s fine if all you want to do is survive.  Personally, I don’t want to live in a small box.  I want a better quality and quantity of life experiences.  I want to learn, grow and evolve.  The Ego doesn’t like to hear that because its existence is being threatened.  You can compare this to trying to take a banana away from an 800-pound gorilla.  He’s not going to be happy!

True power, safety and security comes from facing our vulnerabilities so that we can naturally feel safe and secure from within.  I don’t want to feel like I have to employ a bodyguard in order to go out and live my life.  But, in order to do it on my own, I need to shore up my unmet emotional dependency needs to such a degree that I truly feel loved, nurtured and accepted for who I am.  I’ll need to learn how to set boundaries with those around me in order to protect and promote my integrity.  Once I’ve demonstrated those healthy behaviors and know I can continue to protect myself in the future, I can thank my Ego bodyguard for his services and let him go.

If this blog resonated with you and you are ready to “reign in” your Ego, please contact cindy@aleadershipcoach.com to set up a free consultation.  If you’d like to learn more about the four emotional dependency needs, please go to http://aleadershipcoach.com/blog/.

Connect on social media:




About the author

Cindy M. Nelson, M.B.A., C.S.L.C. administrator

As a Certified Spiritual Life Coach, I specialize in emotional and social intelligence coaching for business leaders and key managers to increase effectiveness and overall satisfaction in both business and personal arenas. I provide one-on-one coaching in person or over the phone.