Within the field of psychology there is a multiple diversity of mental conditions that drastically change the way of behaving and thinking of affected people. This is the case of the complexes, of which there is a wide variety, where each one of them presents distinctive characteristics.

Some can even be considered as very curious due to the peculiarity of their symptoms, at present there is a long list of complexes to which they are assigned very particular. The selection is made based on main characteristics, this is the case of the Croesus complex; also known as the profligate complex .

It is diagnosed in people who are tempted to flaunt their wealth and social connections. Usually they find any sufficient excuse to live wasting their economic assets without limits. They are also prone to developing an overbearing personality and will occasionally make other people they consider inferior feel bad.

What is the Croesus complex?

The Croesus complex is a psychopathology characterized by an obsession with squandering large sums of money as a sign of superiority . Individuals with this condition also feel the need to give gifts that are theoretically generous, but are actually an attempt to demonstrate power and wealth that other people cannot have.

It is one of the most common psychological complexes today. Within different contexts, some individuals, depending on different social pressures, feel the need to feel less rejected . In other words, its development is directly related to the real economic condition of the patient and the conflicts that this situation generates.

What is the origin of its name? 

The reason why this complex bears this name is due to the direct reference to the king of Lydia, who is said to have been the possessor of multiple and unimaginable riches. Croesus was the last king of Lydia (560-546 BC), his government was marked by war and as well as the squandering of the nation’s money and personal pleasures. He even came to be considered one of the richest rulers of his time.

He is a character characterized by his uselessness when making important decisions , which eventually resulted in the waste of an exaggerated amount of money and the disappearance of his kingdom. He is also described as a very influential person, but he did not know how to use these social connections correctly.

Consequently, the association of this character with this psychological condition is due to the impossibility of making a correct use of one’s own economic capital. The waste of money is directly proportional to the need to appear to be a person who has a great fortune, and therefore can make excessive expenses.

It even describes moments in which King Croesus of Lydia gave large tips, as a way to avoid certain situations that could negatively affect the continuity of his mandate. Can a government leader who always displayed enormous power symbolized in the waste of money. He has been described as boastful and ignorant as such for his behavior.

What are their characteristics?

It is usual for the Croesus complex to be compared and confused with the superiority complex. This is due to the fact that both present similar characteristics regarding the behavior of these people. That is, they will always try to demonstrate by any means that they occupy a position of greater importance socially, economically, professionally or even in their personal virtues.

The positive qualities of these people as well as their successes are directly related to their financial capacity. This means that they consider that their only value is directly proportional to the amount of money they own. Consequently, they always occupy their time and effort in consumerism , this could turn into excessive spending of money not only on a personal level but also offering overwhelming gifts.

This behavior gives them satisfaction because it is the only way in which they manage to be the center of attention . The notoriety they gain with these attitudes could change the perception of others for something more positive, which is only momentary. Eventually the exaggeration of these behaviors begins to stop making sense, the people in their environment will begin to have a negative opinion about them because they will feel offended.

The following describes the most outstanding characteristics of the behavior of people who suffer from the Croesus complex. They are as follows:

  • Extreme satisfaction from overspending on goods and services that are not a priority. They do not have a responsible handling of money and therefore could eventually face serious financial problems.
  • They become obsessed with the idea of ​​standing out and showing that they are above other people. They will seek by any means to receive the admiration of those they consider to be inferior.
  • The manifestation of superiority really hides a more serious background. It is associated with the inferiority complex because they try to overshadow important fears and insecurities. 
  • They will try to occupy a position of power through the use of financial resources. They believe that they can only be valued according to the amount of money they give and spend on other people, as a supposed demonstration of “generosity .”
  • The patronage as well as the offering of considerably high tips and are part of their daily life.

Practical examples. How is it identified? 

One can take as an example those cases where people are observed who voluntarily make financial contributions , which nevertheless have the intention of attracting attention or getting some kind of favor in return. Usually the type of satisfaction that these individuals obtain is related to the increase of their ego and to be able to demonstrate a type of superiority based on their economic power.

The most precise way to identify these individuals is in the usual economic waste in their daily lives. They always spend large sums of money without first considering saving or thinking about whether they have made the right decision. As for the people around them, they always offer overwhelming gifts and leave tips whose value can be astronomical.

This behavior is very evident in front of other people, they can even go to extremes in order to attract attention and receive admiration. Being frivolous characterizes the personality of these individuals for which it is common that it has been confused with the superiority complex.

Although in most cases it is related to the economic aspect, this waste and show of gifts can also be associated with the management of influences. Due to the need to demonstrate that they have multiple social connections , they will always offer to perform favors, not without first making sure that they will be occupying a relevant social role.

What are your causes? 

Psychologists consider that the background of this psychological condition is low self-esteem. For this reason, they find a way to compensate for emotional deficiencies and other personal problems ; through the use of economic resources and other material goods. These same later symbolize the happiness that they have not managed to achieve, through the creation of affective bonds such as friendship or love as a couple for example.

The experimentation of negative experiences in the past should also be considered, these left important consequences that are still valid today. It can be about situations as serious as social rejection, family abandonment and harassment in its different facets, such as bullying. Consequently, mental stability and self-esteem are significantly impaired, with which these people are more likely to develop this type of psychopathology.

Likewise, the different social pressures to which some individuals are more vulnerable must always be taken into account . The need to be able to occupy an important social role is almost always associated with economic possibilities. The acquisition of material goods of great value continues to have a direct connection with happiness and living a full and stable life.

How is it overcome and what are the most recommended treatments? 

Because it is a type of complex that seriously affects self-esteem , the first step is to provide help to the patient so that he can improve in this aspect. By successfully overcoming this stage, an improvement in personal relationships will be observed.

Perhaps even at first the patient faces difficulties in accepting that he suffers from this condition. The unconscious nature of the need to attract attention and have validity within their social circle, obscures their capacity for discernment . For this reason, they are prone to spending large sums of money, so they will also be provided with help to learn a more rational use of it. This is very important for your personal finances to improve.

Psychological therapy can integrate different types of techniques and resources depending on the criteria of the therapist. This is a type of treatment that can be personalized and adapted to the needs of the patient, it will be adjusted to the type of condition that he suffers, attacking the root problem. But in addition, the relationship that is created between the patient and the therapist must be highlighted, the active participation of both is necessary to be able to observe short-term results.

One of the best known treatments is called Cognitive Behavioral Treatment. This allows for in-depth changes in thought patterns that influence behavior. To do this, the thoughts that have led to the performance of negative actions are identified. By putting this situation in perspective, patients will realize the mistakes they have made. They will also reflect on how they have affected their personal lives and that of others by jeopardizing the economic stability of both parties.

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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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