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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".
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 ]
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.
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."
Classical Adlerian psychology makes a distinction between primary and secondary inferiority feelings.
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.
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.Alfred Adler identified an inferiority complex as one of the contributing factors to problem child behaviors.
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.
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."
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.
Superiority complex is an informal term related to the DSM-IV-TR diagnosis grandiose delusions. Superiority complex is either developed from a defensive need to overcome inferiority or constant overwhelming feelings in which an individual feels truly superior to others. The term itself was coined by Alfred Adler as part of his school of individual psychology in the early 1900s, but has had other interpretations since then.
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.
Self-actualization, in Maslow's hierarchy of needs, is the highest level of psychological development where the "actualization" of full personal potential is achieved, which occurs only after basic and mental needs have been fulfilled.
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.
Personality type refers to the psychological classification of different types of individuals. Personality types are sometimes distinguished from personality traits, with the latter embodying a smaller grouping of behavioral tendencies. Types are sometimes said to involve qualitative differences between people, whereas traits might be construed as quantitative differences. According to type theories, for example, introverts and extraverts are two fundamentally different categories of people. According to trait theories, introversion and extraversion are part of a continuous dimension, with many people in the middle.
Psychological Types is Volume 6 in the Princeton / Bollingen edition of The Collected Works of C. G. Jung. It was also published in the U.K. by Routledge. The original German language edition, Psychologische Typen, was first published by Rascher Verlag, Zurich in 1921. Extensive detailed abstracts of each chapter are available online.
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.
Self-acceptance is acceptance of self.
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 (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.
Self-concealment is a psychological construct defined as "a predisposition to actively conceal from others personal information that one perceives as distressing or negative". Its opposite is self-disclosure.
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.
The Journal of Individual Psychology is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal covering theory and methods of individual psychology. It is currently published by the University of Texas Press on behalf of the North American Society of Adlerian Psychology. The editors-in-chief are Jon and Len Sperry.