What Is the Drive for Social Dominance?
♦Have you ever enjoyed being the center of attention?*
♦Do you enjoy it when other people look up to you?*
♦When you are with a group of people, do you like to be the one in charge?*


*If you answered yes to any of these questions, you have experienced the pleasure associated with your drive for social dominance. In animals, the dominance drive is important because, social rank determines access to food, water and potential mates. In humans, things are much more complicated. The dominance drive is the force that makes us want to be first in line, to be on top, assume positions of leadership, and enjoy having control over others. It is also the force that makes us want to be admired and envied by others. The dominance drive makes us want to have the biggest house, fastest cars, nicest clothes and most attractive spouse, even if these things do not really bring us inner satisfaction. A person who is being ruled by his dominance drive seeks to be admired, envied and/or in control so much that he makes himself and/or everyone else miserable. The misery happens because he can never be envied or admired enough or have enough control, to satisfy his drive.

Those with antisocial personality disorder have an out of control drive for social dominance.

A parent of an at risk child has to assert social dominance over the child without being aggressive or abusive. Assertion of social dominance means giving the message that you are in charge. At risk children often try to usurp parental authority. The secret to staying in charge without being aggressive is to be consistent with limits and to be a teacher.
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All social mammals have signals that tell each other about social rank. This silverback male gorilla has an expression that tells everyone he is in charge.

All Social Mammals Like Dolphins, Wolves, Gorillas and Humans Have a Social Dominance Drive.
We also have other social drives including, the drives for affection, to care of our young and for sex.

The problem with the social dominance drive is that unlike the other drives, we humans are largely unaware of the feelings that go with the drive. Unless we feel very strongly competitve or aggressive in a given situation we are unaware of this drive that guides much of our behavior. Our lack of awareness of our drive for social dominance increases it's relative power over us.

Strong-willed children and children with with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) also have an out of control social dominance drive.

More on helping a child manage his social dominance drive...The drive for affection supresses the social dominance drive. If you teach your child to be affectionate toward you he will be less oppositional toward you. When you punish your child with threats, spanking and yelling, you model achieving social dominance through aggression. The next time your child wants to be dominant, he will use the behavior you have shown him. A better strategy is to be a wise, all knowing teacher. Assert social dominance over your child by teaching him. By assuming the role of teacher you automatically become dominant without having to be verbally or physically aggressive.