Inferiority complex

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An inferiority complex consists of feelings of not measuring up to standards, a doubt and uncertainty about oneself, and a lack of self-esteem. It is often subconscious and is thought to drive afflicted individuals to overcompensate, resulting either in spectacular achievement or extremely asocial behavior. In modern literature, the preferred terminology is "lack of covert self-esteem". [1]

Contents

History

Stemming from the psychoanalytic branch of psychology, the idea first appeared among many of Sigmund Freud's works and later in the work of his colleague Carl Jung. Alfred Adler, founder of classical Adlerian psychology, held that many neurolytic symptoms could be traced to overcompensation for this feeling.[ clarification needed ] [2]

The use of the term complex now is generally used to denote the group of emotionally toned ideas. The counterpart of an inferiority complex, a "superiority complex", is a psychological defense mechanism in which a person's feelings of superiority counter or conceal their feelings of inferiority. [3]

Causes

An inferiority complex occurs when the feelings of inferiority are intensified in the individual through discouragement or failure. Those who are at risk for developing a complex include people who: show signs of low self-esteem or self-worth, have low socioeconomic status, or have a history of depression symptoms. Children reared in households where they were constantly criticized or did not live up to parents' expectations may also develop an inferiority complex. Many times there are warning signs to someone who may be more prone to developing an inferiority complex. For example, someone who is prone to attention and approval-seeking behaviors may be more susceptible.

According to Classical Adlerian psychology the second inferiority feeling results when adults feel inadequate from desires to achieve an unobtainable or unrealistic result, "The need for perfection." Stresses associated with feelings of failure and inferiority cause a pessimistic attitude and an inability to overcome difficulties in life.

According to Adler, "Everyone (...) has a feeling of inferiority. But the feeling of inferiority is not a disease; it is rather a stimulant to healthy, normal striving and development. It becomes a pathological condition only when the sense of inadequacy overwhelms the individual and, far from stimulating him to useful activity, makes him depressed and incapable of development." [4]

Classifications

Classical Adlerian psychology makes a distinction between primary and secondary inferiority feelings.

Effects

When an inferiority complex is in full effect, it may impact the performance of an individual as well as impact an individual's self-esteem. Unconscious psychological and emotional processes can disrupt students’ cognitive learning, and negatively “charged” feeling-toned memory associations can derail the learning process.

Hutt found that math can become associated with a psychological inferiority complex, low motivation and self-efficacy, poor self-directed learning strategies, and feeling unsafe or anxious. [6]

In the mental health treatment population, this characteristic is shown in patients with many disorders such as certain types of schizophrenia, mood disorders, and personality disorders. Moritz found that people suffering from paranoid schizophrenia used their delusions as a defense mechanism against low implicit self-esteem. [1] Alfred Adler identified an inferiority complex as one of the contributing factors to problem child behaviors. [7]

Individuals with increased inferiority feelings have a higher tendency toward self-concealment, which in turn results in an increase in loneliness and a decrease in happiness. [8]

See also

Related Research Articles

Alfred Adler Austrian psychiatrist and psychotherapist

Alfred Adler was an Austrian medical doctor, psychotherapist, and founder of the school of individual psychology. His emphasis on the importance of feelings of inferiority, the inferiority complex, is recognized as an isolating element which plays a key role in personality development. Alfred Adler considered a human being as an individual whole, therefore he called his psychology "Individual Psychology".

Self-esteem is an individual's subjective evaluation of their own worth. Self-esteem encompasses beliefs about oneself as well as emotional states, such as triumph, despair, pride, and shame. Smith and Mackie (2007) defined it by saying "The self-concept is what we think about the self; self-esteem, is the positive or negative evaluations of the self, as in how we feel about it."

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Interpretation of Schizophrenia is a book by Italy-born American psychiatrist Silvano Arieti in which the author sets forth demonstrative evidence of a psychological etiology for schizophrenia.

Narcissism is the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one's idealised self image and attributes. The term originated from Greek mythology, where the young Narcissus fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water. Narcissism is a concept in psychoanalytic theory, which was popularly introduced in Sigmund Freud's essay On Narcissism (1914). The American Psychiatric Association has listed the classification narcissistic personality disorder in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) since 1968, drawing on the historical concept of megalomania.

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References

  1. 1 2 Moritz, Steffen; Werner, Ronny; Collani, Gernot von (2006). "The inferiority complex in paranoia readdressed: A study with the Implicit Association Test" (PDF). Cognitive Neuropsychiatry. 11 (4): 402–15. doi:10.1080/13546800444000263. hdl:20.500.11780/3607. PMID   17354078.
  2. inferiority complex. (2013). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/287581/inferiority-complex
  3. http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/superiority+complex - superiority complex
  4. Alfred Adler, The Science of Living, Routledge, 2013, pp. 96–97.
  5. Kangata, 2017
  6. Hutt, Guy K. Experiential Learning Spaces: Hermetic Transformational Leadership for Psychological Safety, Consciousness Development and Math Anxiety Related Inferiority Complex Depotentiation. Department of Organizational Behavior, Case Western Reserve University. May, 2007 from http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=case1175892374
  7. Adler, A. The Education of Children. 1930. from http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1930-04004-000
  8. Akdoğan, Ramazan; Çimşir, Elif (2019-10-15). "Linking inferiority feelings to subjective happiness: Self-concealment and loneliness as serial mediators". Personality and Individual Differences. 149: 14–20. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2019.05.028 via Elsevier.