An inferiority complex is lack the self-worth, doubt and uncertainty about ourselves and feeling of not measuring up to the standards. This term Inferiority Complex was used in the 1920s by German psychotherapist Alfred Adler, a one-time follower of Sigmund Freud who became disenchanted with Freud’s emphasis on the influence of unconscious factors as motivators in human behaviour.
The feeling of worthless or Inferiority complex, unlike depression, isn’t an illness – it is mainly caused by some past events that happen to people and made them think they are inadequate or not worthy.
Due to these unfortunate past events, people build false beliefs that they build about themselves. It generally happens when people identify that there is something different about them which makes them feel inferior. They start considering the difference as a disadvantage.
For example, below are some possible causes that may lead the inferiority complex/worthless in a child-
Always being called names by parents, like stupid, idiot or fool.
Being called lazy or stupid by teachers and peers.
Being handicapped and being made fun of because of that reason.
Being an unskilled player in your school’s popular sport.
Being physically weaker than your peers.
Feeling put down due to a lower social class than that of your peers.
Symptoms Of Inferiority Complex, Feeling Worthless
When people feel inferior to others then they start acting submissive. Being shy is also included in this category. Signs of shyness is submissive behavior. This includes – weak eye contact, talking quietly and timidly, being afraid to be assertive.
Excessive showing off:
When people feel inferior to others, they develop a general tendency of showing off. They want other’s to believe that they are worthy and that’s why they show off. They want to improve their image because according to them everyone looks down on them.
People try to hide their flaws or distract people from them. Example- People who feel ugly or insecure about their appearance will try to wear baggy clothes to hide their figure or pose a particular manner while taking pictures so that they look good. These people give up give up trying to improve completely.
Inferiority and Perfectionism go hand in hand. When people are insecure they want to be perfect. They have their own idea of perfection. Whatever they do should be perfect – nothing for them is good enough. However, the irony of the situation is that this only worsens the quality of work.
Easy to offend:
When people suffer from inferiority complex, any small criticism or critical comment can often send them into a spiral of depression and self-hate. Any sign of rejection or exclusion will make you totally miserable.
Disclaimer: Please note that we are not a crisis intervention helpline. Should you have severe symptoms or have thought about harming yourself, please seek immediate medical help or call suicide prevention helplines such as
Aasra 24x7 Helpline: 91-22-27546669