The Inferiority Complex | Psychology; Adler

The term  Inferiority Complex  was coined by Alfred Adler , a follower of Freud, who later disengaged from him for disagreeing with some ideas of the pioneer of Psychoanalysis.

Adler believed that this feeling, the inferiority complex, was inherent in man, and was born out of the environment in which the child grew up.

Dependent on her parents in the first moments of her development, apparently weak and, therefore, still unable to perform certain deeds, she had before her the ideal environment for the emergence of this complex. To balance this disorder, the human being then generates feelings of superiority, trying to obtain some psychic advantages.

This alleged inferiority that some feel can be imaginary, from the moment the child becomes aware that he is not the only target of attention and love of the family. Right now she feels jealous and angry.

According to Adler, it is fundamental in the analysis of this complex to know if the child is the oldest, the youngest or the middle one. From these conditions is born the competition that will develop between the brothers in the future.

In any case, this feeling is unconscious, and is compensated by attitudes of compensatory superiority, to hide these disturbing emotions.

What differentiates a normal perception of inferiority, whose function is to propel man towards his particular evolution? The inferiority complex constitutes an emotional state of profound discouragement, which often leads the individual to escape from reality, reinforced by fantasies of superiority.

The innermost part of the human being is populated by struggles for power, inferior feelings and competitions. This is how a man seeks the attention of his companions, tries to stand out in the middle of the whole and defend himself from an aggressive and unknown environment. These processes contribute to the development of the individual’s personality.

Values ​​can, from then on, gain negative contours, with the intensification of competition and aggressiveness, or positive, with the growth of solidarity between people, and the increasingly clear awareness that losing a dispute is not humiliating. As usually, in these moments of defeat, there is no one on our side to show us this affirmative face of reality, the fall in the Inferiority Complex is almost inevitable.

It is essential to plant in the child seeds of self-esteem and moral strength that will allow him to resist the views of others and the trials of the path that the Ego faces.

Parents need to create mechanisms around their child that develop, over time, an aura of security to protect them from external influences, and that in childhood supply their initial feelings of fragility, lack of protection and dependence, experiences that give rise to what Adler calls the  primary inferiority complex . This emotion can be amplified if the family gets into the habit of comparing it to siblings or other adults.

The feeling of secondary inferiority, on the other hand, is associated with the adult, who tries to reach a goal that resides in the unconscious or an alleged personal success to supply his inferiority complex. The space that separates the subject from the achievement of these goals causes feelings of frustration and incites negative and inferior emotions.

The inferiority complex is, therefore, linked to the environment in which the child develops, to the parents’ behavior towards them – they must avoid negative and derogatory speeches, as well as the custom of highlighting the children’s mistakes -, to the presence of certain physical defects, which often provoke ridicule and irony from others, to mental restrictions of this being and also to disadvantageous social levels.

It can be seen, by the factors above, that the biggest tormentor and adversary of our personality today is the opinion of the other, which can cause the most varied disorders in our emotions, as well as serious psychic pathologies.

In this moment of extreme anxiety, it is common to invent a superhero within us, through whom we can act emotionally and socially, with losses attenuated by our mental creation. After all, the human being does not support marginalization, social rejection and loneliness.

10 Tips for dealing with the inferiority complex:

 – Avoid comparisons. Comparing yourself to whoever you are will not make you feel better, because people are different, have different needs, desires and life histories.

 – Understand your life history and the origin of your feeling of inferiority. Why do you feel inferior? Understand your difficulties and try to face each one of them.

 – Face the fear. It is important to deal with and face the fear that people or situations provoke and understand that the perception of yourself is based on the consequence of events that have already passed. You cannot change your past, but you can change your present.

4  – Recognize your value. Realize that your value as a person cannot and should not be based on the way you have been treated, even though it has lasted your entire life. Do not allow yourself to be disrespected or mistreated anymore.

 – Identify your needs. What you hope to receive from others may be what you did not receive as a child from your parents. Do not expect to receive from others what only you can give yourself.

6 –  What do you want to receive in the affective relationship? Often the conflicts generated in the relationship originate in his life history.

7  – Observe and try to understand each of your feelings. Realize when you feel envy, jealousy, need for power or superiority. These feelings may be hiding and compensating for a  feeling of inferiority .

8  – Learn from mistakes and do not punish yourself for making mistakes, nor make yourself comfortable in situations. Change what you want.

9  – Always value your achievements. Avoid overestimating what the other has or does and devaluing your own achievements.

10  – Get psychotherapy. The self-knowledge obtained through the psychotherapy process can make you recognize your real values ​​and free yourself from  the inferiority complex  that chains and imprisons you.

by Abdullah Sam
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