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Inferiority Complex

What is an Inferiority Complex?
       Alfred Alder's book, The Neurotic Character, founded the area of psychology known as the inferiority complex.  The term is used to describe a sense of inferiority an individual feels about oneself towards other people. It revolves around social status, power, ego, and dominance. An individual who has an inferiority complex when he/she feels inferior and thinks that other people are better than they are.

      An inferiority complex usually stems from experiencing real, imagined, or conditioned feelings of inferiority. In most cases, there is a combination of imagination and subtle conditioning. The inferior feelings occurs when an situation makes them feel lesser than others (conditioning aspect) and their creative imagination (imagination aspect) distorts their reaction and understanding of the situation beyond what is reasonable to another person. The severity of such instances cause sufferers to seek professional help.

Acquiring an Inferiority Complex

      We are not born feeling inferior so how do we acquire feelings of inadequacy? Our culture and life experiences teach us that we are inferior. There are cultures that highly value, even worship success, money, and beauty. The constant emphasis imprints the young minds of children on a daily basis causing the people who reside in that society to constantly compare themselves to other people.  Any individuals who are different are made to feel inferior.

      Societies tend to discourage us from striving to achieve what they describe as "lofty Goals", We are constantly exposed to concepts of inferiority, superiority, inadequacy, and perfectionism.

      Most individuals will eventually start to realize there are differences between members of his/her peer group. It is an important realization that we are not born equally. Some child enter this world with physical injuries, deformities, and illnesses. In addition, not every birth mother and father will have the economic resources to deal with these issues.  However, each individual can make the most of their strengths and weaknesses. if the reject the premise that weaknesses represent that they are inferior or inadequate.

      The child's standing in his/her family group greatly influences a child's self image and their feelings of superiority or inferiority to others. These young school children begin to separate into various peer groups starting in kindergarten. In each grade thereafter school mates begin to make individuals feel welcome or  rebuffed as different by their respective peer groups. This forms the individual's identity as represented by their social status or "pecking order".

How to Overcome an Inferiority Complex
      Inferiority is a persistent disorder that must be dealt with in order to become a confident person who knows that he/she is valuable and worthy of respect within the family, school, church, and/or athletic social strata.

       The following guidelines should be of some help to overcome an inferiority complex:

  • Depending on external factors to generate your feelings of positive validation exposes you to feeling worthless if any external factor ceases. 
  • We are born with a clean slate. Each child is programed to learn how to become confident or inferior. It is true that a baby is dependent for its needs by someone who is capable adults of providing the care as it grows and acquires he life skills to become an independent, self supporting adult member of society.
  • Everyone needs to be aware of potential strengths and weaknesses so they are looking out for influences by others which can, over time, become an effort to program you by others in and outside the family unit.
  • Learn to recognize and how to deal with sadistic bullies or an individual who is suffering from personality disorder that causes them to make aggressive attempts make you feel inferior. These individuals are in real need of professions treatment. As a child, you should immediately inform a teacher and your parents of the incident even if the individual threatens you or your family with physical injury.
  • Strive for and achieving money, power, position, and fame does not ensure that you will feel good about yourself.
  • Racists and bigots have a low feeling of their self worth. They devaluate others in an effort to feel good about themselves.
      Self confidence is a skill that is learned. There are no self confidence genes. Your interaction within your family unit provides an introduction to positive and negative stimulus that you will take with you as you begin to go to school and various sports activities.
There are side effects caused by an Inferiority Complex
      Feelings of inferiority tend to discourage risk taking. In turn this can limit your success potential. Thinking you are inadequate tends to become self fulfilling if you never undertake projects because you think that its useless to make such an effort as you will surely fail.
Recommended Reading:

Inferiority Complex and the Self-image  May 11, 2007 An inferiority complex can arise when you experience an imagined or conditioned feeling of inferiority.

Inferiority complex  An inferiority complex, in the fields of psychology and psychoanalysis, is a feeling that one is inferior to others in some way. It is often unconscious, and is thought to drive afflicted individuals to overcompensate, resulting either in spectacular achievement or extreme antisocial behavior.

Social Approval and Inferiority Complex and Power  Two basic needs that each person has: the need to seek social approval and the need to overcome a sense of inferiority.


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