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Inferiority Complex

Inferiority Complex was proposed and developed by Alfred Adler. Adler’s childhood experiences inspired his theory of personality. He was sickly, crippled by rickets and suffering repeated bouts of pneumonia. He also saw himself as inferior to his stronger and healthier older brother. Adler assumed that because children feel small, weak, and dependent on others, they develop an Inferiority Complex. This motivates them to compensate by striving for superiority- that is developing certain abilities to their maximum extent.

For example, Theodore Roosevelt may have compensated for his childhood frailty by becoming a rugged outdoorsman- as Alfred Adler did by becoming an eminent psychoanalyst. Alfred Adler deviated from Freud. Adler believed that Freud’s emphasis on internal dynamics was too limited. Unlike Freud, he took the position that social interaction was a critical factor in human development, and that a striving for superiority is a primary motivation. Adler felt that this “will to power” was a reaction to the inferiority that the child develops out of a recognition of its relative weakness vis-a-vis the parents.

Adler’s view of humans was quite positive in terms of his belief that they could overcome great odds. He emphasized social engineering in his” individual psychology” and remains a popular theorist among educators of children. II. Discussion: Inferiority complex basically is the result of how people react, perceive and accept them in the society. In these cases, physical looks are more of the basis whether the people in the environment will come to accept the person. People view those handicaps, weak and struggling as of low level of competence and therefore they would not respect nor listen to their views on anything.

These people has an outside appearance basis, they think of those weak persons ass futile and has nothing to do with the environment. That is why those individuals who were thought of as useless and weak will come to a point where they would prove to themselves and to the others that they are not what they think they are. That they can also achieve more; reach high level of competence than others can. A. Cause Inferiority Complex is caused by many factors. These factors could be internal and external.

The internal factors would include the family and how the person views or sees himself, while in the external are those people in the society. Individuals who were born in a family where all he could hear are his faults, weakness grows to feel so inferior. He thinks that he is useless and has nothing good to do anymore. He only perceives that everything he does are failures and that he cannot achieve higher like his friends or peers. Anything that the concerned individual hears about himself which can be from his family will really stick into his mind and heart, and then he will think of himself as like that.

For example, if his family perceived him as weakling, useless and a failure; then it is likely to happen that this individual would develop fear to do and achieve things, limits himself only to the boundaries he thinks he is belong and will feel insecure about what he is. Many great theorists and people have experienced this during their childhood days, they were Theodore Roosevelt and even the proponent Alfred Adler himself. Their families viewed them as weak and have nothing good to do. They felt so dependent and leaning on to other individuals, that is why they can not feel their worth.

But this did not stop them from achieving and dreaming high. Right now, they are being considered as great men in our society. A feeling of insecurity will eat up the individual, especially of he is being reprimanded by the society that he is nothing, that he is just a dot in the society who just happens to have and eye, ears, nose, legs and arms but no BRAINS Or may be the other way around, he may have brains but is physically handicapped, suffering from an illness or may be is just basically weak.

The society views men only as superior when they are able to do great things with the basis of having a complete and stable level of mentality, physique and capability as well. These people will likely develop Inferiority Complex. And these will greatly affect the individual himself and how will he do things in the society. Some people will react in such a way to prove that they are not weak and they deserve also the respect of the community while others just stay the way they are, as being perceived by the society as useless, struggling and weak until the moment they die.

B. Effect Inferiority Complex would cause so much on the part of the concerned individual. He may choose to prove himself to the society just what Adler and Roosevelt did. Both of this great men, were motivated to show to others that they can Achieve high, higher than people could expect of them to reach. They were motivated to compensate their weaknesses and that is by striving for superiority. They tried their very best to please and surmount the abilities of other people.

They saw to it they are above the others so as to compensate what insecurity they felt inside. They want to show to others that they can soar high and be famous like what they are now. Adler believed that striving for superiority is healthiest when it promotes active concern for the welfare of others, which he called social interest. Both a physician and a criminal strive for superiority, but the physician expresses this motive in a socially beneficial way. There is a positive correlation between social interest and personal happiness.

Striving for superiority due to the inferiority felt by the individual may lead to overcompensation, as in what Adler called masculine protest. This means that men and women may try to improve themselves by dominating others rather than by developing their own abilities. Napoleon may have overcompensated for his shortness by dominating much of the known world—the ultimate in masculine protest. According to Adler, in striving for superiority after inferiority, we develop a style of life based in fictional finalism.

This means that we are motivated by beliefs that may not be objectively true. A person guided by the belief that “nice guys finish last” might exhibit a style of life which he or she acts in a ruthless, competitive way. In contrast, a person guided by the belief that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” might exhibit a style of life in which he or she acts in a helpful, altruistic way. III. Conclusion: We should never be affected by what people tell us we are. They can never dictate what we should take actions, what path to choose and what things to achieve.

We are the master of our own destiny. No one should tell us that we are weak; we should not let any of those words dwell in our hearts and minds. We have our own weaknesses but this can not stop us from achieving great things. If we think we can do it, then do it. No one will ever reprimand you of being useless because you were made for a certain purpose, just like Adler, Napoleon and Roosevelt. Nothing hindered them from achieving great things they made a move to prove their worth and now, they are known all though out the world.

Inferiority Complex causes too much, that is why people with Inferiority Complex strives hard to be respected and superior to others. They did this by developing abilities the society thought they could not do.


1. Mehr, Joseph. Abnormal Psychology. Holt, Rinehart and Winston: 1983. 2. The American Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 134:12, pp. 1426. American Psychiatric Association, 1977. 3. Luby, Benjamin Jr. , et al. Psychology (2nd Edition). Macmillan. 1990. 4. Myers, David. Psychology. Worth Publishers, 1995.

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