Short Man Syndrome

Short Man Syndrome Definition

A person with short height compensates his physical lacuna by behaving in such a manner that asserting their presence. They always try to recognize themselves to other people as an authority figure for that they manipulate their personality and representing them with a bossing attitude and try to become a leader among all normal height people. Short man syndrome is also known as ‘little man syndrome’ or ‘Napoleon Complex’. Extreme short man syndrome can provide psychologically detrimental effect1,2,3.

Short Man Syndrome height symptoms


Short Man Syndrome symptoms arise due to negative feelings of affected individual about themselves, which include

  • Feeling of incompetent
  • Feeling of dislikeable
  • Inferiority complex
  • Volatile temper
  • Heightened levels mistrust
  • Internal feeling of fear due to less masculine (mainly observed in affected male)
  • Paranoia
  • Aggression2,3

Real Existence

The basic concept of Short Man Syndrome comes from Napoleon  Bonaparte. Based on the Historical description, it has been presumed that short physique of Napoleon insisted him to transform the Continental legal system and he tried to show his dominating and controlling power to others, though this assumption is totally imaginary.

Later, different scientific survey and research proved that person with short stature has some complex psychological feelings, which kindle him to attitude problem. The resultant of this affront others to make self-important. Scientists from Oxford University conducted a study to oversee the real existence of the Short Man Syndrome and they conclude that short stature individuals have to feel that general public intentionally staring them, badly judgmental about them, or irritate them to create distress.

Researchers also reported that short height leads to a more pessimistic estimation of the self-evaluated with others and larger levels of mania, which creates mistrust4.Professor Abraham Buunk of the University of Groningen found that men with 5’4″ height showed signs of jealousy in a comparing with men with 6’6″ height5.


The abovementioned overcompensation is the primary cause of short man syndrome. Researchers denoted the ego defense mechanisms is followed to produce short man syndrome. This mechanism allows to protect themselves and provide faith to overcome the problems arises due to their short height. Corresponding to this phenomenon, the deficit self-confidence in concern of their height may cause mind destruction and influence them to join in a taller group.

The complexity of short man syndrome has a correlation with evolutionary psychology. In general, psychology evolutes to maintain the survival value of exacting behavioral traits. Short Man Syndrome is one of the aggression initiated from competitive nature and to make a noticeable approach, they used to behave as more wild3.


US government scientist found that real existence of short man syndrome influence men to feel less masculine and increase the risk of commenting violent acts. Short stature man seeks to show their power and for that often engaged in conflict and invasion to make up their physical shortcomings. Male discrepancy stress influences sufferer to abuse drugs and alcohol. Sometimes they drive vehicle in a hostile way and may road accident takes place6.

Short height can also influence personal relationship. Girls usually prefer “Tall dark and handsome” guys. Therefore, short physique males may not be first preference for a girl and that hinder to find out their partner. Even tall girl with a short boy does not acceptable as a perfect match7.


There are different ways to deal with Short Man Syndrome and diminish its effects.

Changing of Thought Process

The altering of thought process in one of the simple method to overcome the Short Man Syndrome related symptoms. Optimistic thoughts can assist to perceive that normal individual is not concern about physical appearance or if so then that stay for temporary. But actually, society is much more concern about someone’s behavior.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Short Man Syndrome

This therapy assists in teaching a better understanding of own thought process, which helps to improve the ability to control and alter the need of satisfaction. A cognitive behavioral therapist will train the affected to exploit ‘mindfulness’ for reflecting the personal potentially, alteration of negative thought processes and positive pronouncement etc in order to substitute all the negativity to more positive reflection.

Understanding of Positive Benefits

Some positive benefits of short height can help to overcome the complexity. For example, people with shorter height have a propensity to be capable to more simply put on muscle and consequently habitually appear stockier and that also impressive at many instances, which compensate the short height.

Short height person often denoted as a dark horse, because it will be better competent to remain under the radar and short height also lower center of gravity. Shorter individuals are habitually more responsive and have superior reflexes. Most women prefer these nature and also they choose the cuteness of shorter men.

Use Appropriate Accessories

Some accessories like wearing shoes fitted with ‘height insoles’, which elevates heel and make height taller. Selection of dress is another important criteria, like the selection of stripes on shirts or pants, color etc also improvise the appearance and personality. Proper selection can provide a feeling of more confident in social situations2.


  1. Little man syndrome; Online available at
  2. Stanley C loewen; Short Man Syndrome Explained; Online available at
  3. Are all short men little Napoleons? It’s often said smaller men tend to be chippy and aggressive. But what’s the scientific evidence? Online available at
  4. Short man syndrome really does exist, Oxford University finds; Online available at
  5. Dayton; Is it REAL? Little Man Syndrome; Online available at
  6. Sarah Knapton, The Telegraph; The Napoleon complex really exists; Online available at
  7. Moses N. Chukwu; Short men feel insecure: How real is ‘Short Man Syndrome?; Online available at

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