What is an Inferiority Complex? • An inferiority complex is defined as an unrealistic feeling of generalised inadequacy caused by actual and supposed inferiority in one sphere, sometimes marked by aggressive behaviour for compensation.
History of Inferiority Complex • The term "inferiority complex" was coined at the turn of the 20th century by Australian psychologist Alfred Adler. Adler believed that we are all born with some amount of inferiority, learned in childhood and that we all have an inborn drive to overcome this sense of inadequacy.
Symptoms of inferiority Complex If one has an inferiority complex, here are some of the everyday things they might experience: • Insecurity and low self-esteem • Inability to reach their goals, or feeling "stuck". • Wanting to give up easily • Feeling the need to withdraw in social situations • Often feeling down on oneself • Experiencing anxiety and depression
The following are also signs of an inferiority complex, though they are often mistaken for someone who seems overly confident: • Highly competitive streak • Perfectionism • Attention-seeking • Very sensitive to criticism • Continually finding faults in others • Finding it difficult to admit their mistakes
Encouraging Self-SufficiencyAssigning chores and other age-appropriate tasks helps a child build a sense of mastery and prevents them from becoming too passive or dependent, which generally heightens the feelings of insecurity.
Modelling Self-Compassion • When one makes mistakes, such as misplacing the car keys or arriving late to an appointment, do not berate them in front of the child. Use those moments as opportunities to show the child how to react. • Admit the mistake wholeheartedly, accept the consequences, apologise if needed, and then let it go. If one can, point out that they are glad to be able to learn from it so they can avoid making the same mistake in the future.
Practising Mindfulness Meditation Together • An increasing body of research, and an analysis of more than 100 previous studies, suggested that mindfulness practice — sitting quietly, usually with eyes closed, and paying calm attention to your breath and your thoughts without judgement — increases optimism, decreases reactivity to stress, reduces anxiety and aggressive behaviour, enhances resilience, and confers a host of other benefits in both children and adults.
Therapy • Psychotherapy is a great place to start when you are looking to work through your inferiority complex. Your therapist can help guide you through your past experiences with criticism, low self-esteem, or any traumas that may have shaped your negative self-image.
Eliminate toxic people from your life • Making a conscious goal to surround yourself with more positive and uplifting people can also make a huge difference. Unhealthy or toxic relationships can, at times, set us up for failure, especially if you are particularly sensitive to people who always put you down or if you have a history of complicated relationships.