At some point of our lives, we will experience unpleasant feelings about ourselves that will make us doubt our worth. These feelings could emerge from a professional failure, the inability to complete a certain task and so on. But do these kind of experiences necessarily leave us with an inferiority complex? No.
Inferiority feelings are normal human feelings and as the Austrian psychotherapist Alfred Adler believed, they help us evolve and overcome our current condition. These regular feelings drive us to success and serve as a good motivation for self development. We compensate inferiority feelings by solving daily challenges, but when we fail to compensate them, there is a big chance of developing an inferiority complex.
Adler was the first to introduce this term and to explain that every single child experiences feelings of inferiority. Children are dependent on their parents and they naturally feel helpless in their early childhood. The feelings they get are known as primary feelings of inferiority and could be increased when children are unfavorably compared to others. We get the secondary feelings of inferiority as adults, when we cannot reach our goals or complete some specific tasks. These feelings of inferiority do not determine the presence of an inferiority complex, but if they get out of control, they represent a great risk for developing this complex.
Symptoms of the Inferiority Complex
The inferiority complex usually leads people to feel anxious and depressed. They can experience hopelessness, anger and envy as they are used to compare themselves to other people. The inferiority complex is associated with a feeling of inadequacy not based on rational judgments. The inferiority complex generates feelings that interfere with a person’s day to day activities and make it hard for them to function.
There are 2 extremes a person can take while being driven by an inferiority complex. The first one: they isolate themselves from their social circle, become quite and very insecure, avoid criticism and attention. The second extreme: they seek for too much attention and criticism from other people, become very competitive and try to neglect the way they feel. Both ways of behaving are detrimental for the person and could lead to a series of drawbacks.
Treatment and Prevention
Preventing the development of an inferiority complex should start in childhood. Parents are responsible for the way they make their child feel. For the beginning, they need to learn that comparing your kid to someone else is not going to help him. Encourage your children to observe what they are good at and how they can develop their skills, rather than force them to be like someone else.
To solve the problem with an already existing inferiority complex is necessary to determine the cause. Some people may experience strong feelings of inferiority because of abuse or trauma, while others measure themselves to unrealistic ideals. It is essential for a person suffering from the inferiority complex to find that event, past experience or a specific though process that continually creates these feelings. It could be done through introspection or with the help of an expert in mental health.
Psychotherapy is highly efficient at treating the inferiority complex. Experts help patients to reframe their negative though processes and guide them through their traumatic events with criticism and objectivity. Also, rebuilding self esteem and working on self image is necessary for those who have an inferiority complex.
Meditation helps you to stay fully present and calm. Why is it effective when dealing with this problem? Because the strong inferiority feelings come from comparison and toxic thinking patterns that could be reduced by practicing staying in the moment and paying attention to your thoughts, which later leads to achieving mindfulness.