The Superiority Complex | Psychology; Adler

The term “superiority complex” was coined by psychologist Alfred Adler, Freud’s disciple, who subsequently broke with the master, and idealized Individual Psychology.

The person with a  Superiority Complex  is trying to compensate for feelings of inferiority inherent in him. The subject who develops this feeling sees in others, judged by him as his subordinates, inferiority traits that actually belong to him, that is, it is a game of projections. Thus, he tends to marginalize them, in the same way that he also feels excluded, attributing to them the same characteristics that are attributed to him by others. It is very common for these individuals to be seen as arrogant and pretentious.

The individual with the Superiority Complex is unable to balance his potential and limits within him, considering himself someone with an overestimated value and aptitude. His outlook on himself is extremely high and he believes he has a much greater power of achievement than he actually has. Usually he has an unusual vanity, which is reflected in his own way of dressing, in his actions and attitudes, even in the way of speaking, sometimes exaggerated and presumptuous. Trying to look better than everyone else, the subject proves to be intolerant, always contradicting someone else’s point of view and striving to dominate those he thinks are inferior to him.

Feeling essentially inferior, the person tries to appear superior to himself more than to others. Although she appears to be superior, she fears being socially despised, feels insecure, has a low self-esteem, even though all these feelings are hidden in her unconscious, but by no means less intolerable to her mind. It is at this moment that man creates the famous masks, so present in the routine of our society, so that he looks better than others. Often isolated from social interaction for some reason or plunged into daydreams, the individual can resort to this Complex as a way of surviving in the face of his inadequacy to society.

Thus, it is inevitable –  superiority and inferiority complexes  are always very close and can easily coexist in the same subject, throughout their existence. But how to identify those who have these complexes in them?

Sometimes the person’s aggressive and presumptuous way of behaving already indicates the presence of these disorders, but in other cases the presence of the most frequent signs is so subtle, that only in extreme moments of stress or anxiety will he explicitly reveal the presence of these symptoms. In view of the social outlook, these people are, in some cases, charitable, voluntary in charitable work, concerned with the good of others and the community, but simultaneously conceal at their core the feeling of being better and more noble than others.

The moment the personas collapse, the person reveals himself as he really is, often charging for his actions of generosity, devaluing the efforts of others. The pressure of susceptibilities and touchiness is very strong, just as it is difficult to live with criticism, learn to accept it, digest it, and use it to our advantage.

The Superiority Complex is often activated as a defense mechanism in the face of any threat to our Ego. Fighting against an unconscious feeling, which we are unable to face, which we reject even when we catch a glimpse of it, is a task that requires a lot of firmness and determination. It takes a lot of self-control to live with the opposite personality traits in perfect harmony and go further, valuing the actions of those around us, whatever the context.

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