It is considered normal for individuals to question about their abilities in comparison to other people. It might be in terms of achievements, physical abilities or characteristics. Therefore, in the pursuit of finding why such occurrences happen, a psychologist Alfred Adler brought forth a theory that explains the concept in details. Adlerian theory as it is referred to sheds light on these feelings and categorized them as inferiority complex and superiority complex.
Inferiority complex as defined by the American Psychological Association states that it is the basic feelings of inadequacy and insecurity that is derived from actual or imagined physical or psychological deficiency.
Signs of Inferiority Complex
- Focusing on thoughts that are upsetting
- Low self -esteem
- Constantly looking for validation from others
- Overly analyzing criticism and compliments
- Making others feel insecure as a way to transfer their own feelings
- Avoids competitions where their efforts might be compared against other people’s efforts
- Tends to withdraw from family, friends and colleagues
- Some might experience anxiety or depression
- Have feelings of giving up easily when challenged
As a result of the feelings of inferiority, an individual might develop a negative coping mechanism that helps them deal with the situation. The individual might show signs such as;
- Overly competitive
- Finds it difficult to admit mistakes
- Constantly finds faults in others
- Feels good about themselves when they are doing better than others
Causes of Inferiority Complex
There are many factors that may contribute to the feelings of inadequacy or inferiority. Some of these factors include;
- Childhood experiences
- Experiences in the adulthood environment
- Societal perceptions of inadequacies i.e. being too skinny or being chubby
- Physical defects that sets you apart from others
Effects of Inferiority Complex
The constant fear that everyone is better than you can be detrimental towards a healthy life. An individuals daily life activities might be affected and they may:
- Fall into depression
- Have suicidal Ideations
- They might experience existential anxiety
- Individual can also exhibit achievement anxiety
- Risk falling into Addictions
- Poor friendships
- Have a low quality work life
Treatment of Inferiority Complex
There are ways one can deal with the feelings of inadequacy.
Seeing a therapist to help you deal with the feelings. Analyze your past experience, help you navigate why you are responding in the way that you do. The therapist might apply different approaches such as;
Cognitive behavioral therapy; It analyzes the patterns of thinking referred to as cognitive distortions that gives you the feelings of inadequacy.
Psychodynamic therapy; Focuses on analyzing your past experiences and how they are affecting your present.
It helps to clear the mind and focus on the present issues though several activities such as practicing mindfulness. On can also include journaling their emotions and go for Yoga classes too.
Some people consider affirmations as being cheesy. However, it goes along way to develop an individuals self-esteem. Create a way of giving your self some love through positive affirmations. Write down notes on post- its and stick them on places that would give you an energy boost whenever you have the negative feelings.
Superiority Complex – Daily Inner Strength
[…] like the inferiority Complex, Superiority complex emerges from the works of Alfred Adler. It is not uncommon to find individuals […]
Adlerian Theory – Daily Inner Strength
[…] 1.Inferiority Complex; Alfred Adler in his theory stated that individuals tend to feel inferior in different aspects of their lives. Either in terms of achievements, personal attributes and other comparisons. For example, an individual might feel inferior because they are the shortest in the group. Therefore, due to these inferiority feelings, one tends to develop ways in which to cope hence the inferiority complex. For example the shortest person might decide to be the funniest person in the group a way for others to look past what they deem as inferiority. […]
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