What are the causes of an inferiority complex

The Hague Psychologist / Diagnosis  / What are the causes of an inferiority complex
what are the causes of an inferiority complex

What are the causes of an inferiority complex

An inferiority complex is a feeling that one is inferior to others in some way. Such feelings can arise from an imagined or actual inferiority in the afflicted person. It is often subconscious, and is thought to drive afflicted individuals to overcompensate, resulting in spectacular achievement.

Causes: an inferiority complex arises from imagined or conditioned feelings of inferiority. An individual experiencing repeated situations in which he or she feels less than others (conditioning aspect) may imaginatively “blow out” their understanding of the experiences beyond what would seem reasonable to another person (imagination aspect). Some situations in which feelings of inferiority may arise are:

  • Parental attitudes and upbringing – disapproving, negative remarks and evaluations of behavior emphasizing mistakes and shortcomings determine the attitude of the child before the age of six.
  • Physical defects – such as disproportional facial and body features, weight, height, strength, speech defects and defective vision cause inferiority complexes.
  • Mental limitations – cause feelings of inferiority when unfavorable comparisons are made with the superior achievements of others, and when satisfactory performance is expected.
  • Social disadvantages and discriminations – family, alleged race, sex, sexual orientation, economic status, or religion.

I prefer the term ‘social approval’ instead of ‘confirmation’ because it indicates better what the underlying requirement is. This need to have one’s self confirmed and validated by other people, this need for social approval, means the psychological requirement of a person to become socially integrated in a harmonious way.

Confirmation is that the person seeks that which was missing in their childhood. The infant needs love from the parents. If this is not forthcoming or if it is not sufficient in quantity, then the infant is not confirmed in its social persona and its ego will become fragile and unstable. The less the love that the child received, the greater is the need for the confirmation of one’s self by other people. It is usually through favorable, satisfying relationships that the person seeks to fulfill them self, psychologically rather than pleasurably; the need for social approval is often more important than the pursuit of happiness. This necessity for social approval is a need, not a desire.