Inferiority complex

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An inferiority complex consists of lack of self-esteem, a doubt and uncertainty about oneself, and feelings of not measuring up to standards. 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]

Self-esteem reflects an individual's overall subjective emotional evaluation of their own worth. It is the decision made by an individual as an attitude towards the self. 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."

Contents

Classifications

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

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 ] [3] 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. [4]

Sigmund Freud Austrian neurologist known as the founding father of psychoanalysis

Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis, a clinical method for treating psychopathology through dialogue between a patient and a psychoanalyst.

Carl Jung Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist

Carl Gustav Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology.

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 human beings as an individual whole, therefore he called his psychology "Individual Psychology".

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.

Classical Adlerian psychology is the system of psychology set up and developed by Alfred Adler under the title of individual psychology after his break with Sigmund Freud.

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." [5]

Performance impact

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]

See also

Related Research Articles

Psychology is an academic and applied discipline involving the scientific study of human mental functions and behavior. Occasionally, in addition or opposition to employing the scientific method, it also relies on symbolic interpretation and critical analysis, although these traditions have tended to be less pronounced than in other social sciences, such as sociology. Psychologists study phenomena such as perception, cognition, emotion, personality, behavior, and interpersonal relationships. Some, especially depth psychologists, also study the unconscious mind.

Rudolf Dreikurs was an Austrian psychiatrist and educator who developed psychologist Alfred Adler's system of individual psychology into a pragmatic method for understanding the purposes of reprehensible behaviour in children and for stimulating cooperative behaviour without punishment or reward.

Classical Adlerian psychotherapy may involve individual psychotherapy, couple therapy, or family therapy, brief or lengthier therapy – but all such approaches follow parallel paths, which are rooted in the individual psychology of Alfred Adler.

A Superiority complex is a psychological defense mechanism that compensates for an inferiority complex. The term was coined by Alfred Adler as part of his school of individual psychology. It was introduced in his series of books, including "Understanding Human Nature" and "Social Interest".

Adlerian pertains to the theory and practice of Alfred Adler, whose school of psychotherapy is called individual psychology (Individualpsychologie).

The term style of life was used by psychiatrist Alfred Adler as one of several constructs describing the dynamics of the personality.

Individual psychology is the psychological method or science founded by the Viennese psychiatrist Alfred Adler. The English edition of Adler's work on the subject (1925) is a collection of papers and lectures given mainly in 1912–1914, and covers the whole range of human psychology in a single survey, intended to mirror the indivisible unity of the personality.

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.

Heinz Ludwig Ansbacher was a German-American psychologist specializing in the theories of Alfred Adler.

Implicit cognition refers to unconscious influences such as knowledge, perception, or memory, that influence a person's behavior, even though they themselves have no conscious awareness whatsoever of those influences.

In psychology, compensation is a strategy whereby one covers up, consciously or unconsciously, weaknesses, frustrations, desires, or feelings of inadequacy or incompetence in one life area through the gratification or excellence in another area. Compensation can cover up either real or imagined deficiencies and personal or physical inferiority. Positive compensations may help one to overcome one's difficulties. On the other hand, negative compensations do not, which results in a reinforced feeling of inferiority.

Adler University is a private university with two campuses in North America, one in Chicago, Illinois, and one in Vancouver, British Columbia. The university also offers classes and degree programs online for its more than 1,400 students in master's and doctoral students.

Grandiose delusions psychopathological condition (that is, when an individual believes that he has exceptional abilities, fame, wealth, or omnipotence)

Grandiose delusions (GD), delusions of grandeur, expansive delusions are a subtype of delusion that occur in patients suffering from a wide range of psychiatric diseases, including two-thirds of patients in manic state of bipolar disorder, half of those with schizophrenia, patients with the grandiose subtype of delusional disorder, and a substantial portion of those with substance abuse disorders. GDs are characterized by fantastical beliefs that one is famous, omnipotent, wealthy, or otherwise very powerful. The delusions are generally fantastic and typically have a religious, science fictional, or supernatural theme. There is a relative lack of research into GD, in contrast to persecutory delusions and auditory hallucinations. About 10% of healthy people experience grandiose thoughts but do not meet full criteria for a diagnosis of GD.

Implicit self-esteem refers to a person's disposition to evaluate themselves in a spontaneous, automatic, or unconscious manner. It contrasts with explicit self-esteem, which entails more conscious and reflective self-evaluation. Both explicit and implicit self-esteem are constituents of self-esteem.

The North American Society of Adlerian Psychology (NASAP) is the primary organization in the United States for the promotion of the psychological and philosophical theories of Alfred Adler, known as individual psychology. Adler was a one-time collaborator with Sigmund Freud in the early days of the psychoanalytic movement who split with Freud to develop his own theories of psychology and human functioning.

Neo-Adlerian psychologists are those working in the tradition of, or influenced by Alfred Adler, an early associate of, and dissident from the ideas of, Sigmund Freud.

The Practice and Theory of Individual Psychology is a work on psychology by Alfred Adler, first published in 1924. In his work, Adler develops his personality theory, suggesting that the situation into which a person is born, such as family size, sex of siblings, and birth order, plays an important part in personality development. Adler is among the many therapists who have noted the significance and impact of the relationship between attitudes towards oneself and others, and highlighting the relationship between regard for self and love of another. Adler claimed that the tendency to disparage others arises out of feelings of inferiority. Adler also describes the self as part of a reflection of the thoughts of others, seeing self-esteem as determined, in part, by feelings toward significant others. According to Adler, people are inherently motivated to engage in social activities, relate to other people, and acquire a style of life that is fundamentally social in nature.

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". Cognitive Neuropsychiatry. 11 (11): 402–15. doi:10.1080/13546800444000263. hdl:20.500.11780/3607. PMID   17354078.
  2. Kangata, 2017
  3. inferiority complex. (2013). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/287581/inferiority-complex
  4. http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/superiority+complex - superiority complex
  5. Alfred Adler, The Science of Living, Routledge, 2013, pp. 96–97.
  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