This almost incurable megalomania of mankind is only apparently contravened by these neurotics with whom behind the feverish search for success one at once comes across a feeling of inferiority (Adler), which is well known to the patients themselves. An analysis that reaches to the depths reveals in all such cases that these feelings of inferiority are in no sense something final, an explanation of the neurosis, but are themselves the reactions to an exaggerated feeling of omnipotence, to which such patients have become “fixed” in their early childhood, and which has made it impossible for them to adjust themselves to any subsequent renunciation. The manifest seeking for greatness that these people have, however, is only a “return of the repressed,” a hopeless attempt to reach once more, by means of changing the outer world, the omnipotence that originally was enjoyed without effort.
We can only repeat: All children live in the happy delusion of omnipotence, which at some time or other—even if only in the womb—they really partook of. It depends on their “Daimon” and their “Tyche” whether they preserve the feelings of omnipotence also for later life, and become Optimists, or whether they go to augment the number of Pessimists, who never get reconciled to the renunciation of their unconscious irrational wishes, who on the slightest provocation feel themselves insulted or slighted, and who regard themselves as step-children of fate—because they cannot remain her only or favourite children. (Ferenczi, S. (1952). First Contributions to Psycho-Analysis, pps. 231-2)