Inferiority Complex

We all experience inadequacy, self-doubt and low self-esteem from time to time. The neurotic carries a feeling of inferiority with them constantly. This is a universal human experience rooted in childhood. Children naturally feel inferior because they are constantly surrounded by stronger, larger, smarter powerful people who have greater abilities. A child seeks to copy and achieve the abilities of his parents and elders, motivated by their surroundings to propel him toward his own development and accomplishments. When feelings of inferiority are so strong that they interfere with normal daily activities they can be diagnosed as having an inferiority complex.


When an individual rises from deep seated childhood inferiority they may over-compensate by a constant striving for perfection. This results in the opposite Superiority Complex, a term first coined by Alfred Adler.

Gaining Confidence 

Psychologist Alfred Adler (1870-1937), a founder of modern psychology, believed that children and adults with healthy and balanced personalities gain confidence each time they achieve or meet an external goal. Feelings of inferiority diminish until the next challenge presents itself and is overcome. This process of psychic growth continues throughout our lives. 

Physical Difficulties

Individuals with a physical inferiority may develop a more general feeling of inferiority leading to an unbalanced personality. Adler called this an “inferiority complex” where the feelings of inferiority are never relieved. The term Inferiority Complex was also coined by Adler in the 1920s. 

This report is not a diagnosis. We hope this information can guide you toward improving your life.

Review our Knowledge Base or the links displayed on this page for similar and related topics.