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Inferiority complexes limit your joy of life

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Inferiority complexes limit your joy of life

The others are better than me - everything I tackle goes wrong - such thoughts are often based on a distorted self-assessment. If you sometimes feel inferior, you might just be in a bad mood. The next day you feel better again. But if you often have a negative image of yourself, there is a danger of inferiority complexes. These can lead to a negative spiral, especially in difficult phases. How do you get out of this quagmire?

What are inferiority complexes?

The definition of inferiority complexes is based on the negative self-image from which the sufferers suffer. No matter how much they achieve, it never seems to be enough. However, this is usually due to the complex-laden person themselves, and not their environment. This means that if you often feel inferior, it is your own high standards that are responsible - and not the wishes of others.
Minderwertigkeitsgefühle werden von Perfektionismus und Selbstkritik begleitet. Um den Komplexen und negativen Gefühlen zu entkommen, ziehen sich die Betroffenen zurück und reduzieren ihre sozialen Kontakte. Denn die Begegnung mit anderen Menschen ist immer ein Risiko. So können die Minderwertigkeitskomplexe einsam machen – und das verstärkt die Probleme noch.

Those who are inferior want to become better, but this drive to new peak performances becomes a vicious circle. Mental and physical illnesses can be the result. So if you feel at risk, you should do something about the inferiority complexes early on.

Recognizing inferiority complexes - do I have complexes?

How can you tell if you have an inferiority complex? At work and in your free time you sometimes doubt your performance. The others are faster at cycling, they are working on their career - and you are so in the middle. In some phases you might suffer from complexes. Often this starts in puberty: Many girls look enviously at the slim graces - other teenagers hide their impure skin behind long hair.

The transition from mild complexes to pathological inferiority complexes is fluid. In conversation with relatives and friends, however, you realize where you stand - and which supposed feelings of inferiority are not important at all. Do you still recognize that you are being overly strict? That is a good sign. Do you no longer believe your acquaintances when they praise you for something? Then your inferiority complexes have too much power over you and you need professional help.

Typical signs of inferiority complexes

Depending on the severity of the inferiority complex, various signs may appear. You may judge your own actions as inadequate or "bad". This can lead to a constant feeling of guilt. No matter how hard you try, you just can't please your boss - or your partner. You no longer see that it is actually your own unattainable goals that you are striving for.

In normal professional life and in private meetings, the following signs of inferiority complexes occur:

  • The afflicted cannot bear praise,
  • they think it's dishonest,
  • They have trouble making new contacts and keep to themselves - because people with inferiority complexes think they are unattractive and boring,
  • It's hard for them to say no because they want to make up for their negative self-image,
  • Some can't properly represent their own opinions,
  • You don't dare new ways.

Pronounced feelings of inferiority can trigger serious illnesses and psychological consequences. Depending on the cause of the inferiority complexes, these may include eating disorders or addictions. The low Self-confidence intensifies the fear of contact and leads to loneliness. Other typical accompanying symptoms are perfectionism and the Impostor-Syndrome: This refers to the fear that someone will discover the perceived inability.

Inferiority complexes in women

Women with inferiority complexes often withdraw as if they want to be invisible. They feel too fat or think their face is ugly. Typically, they wear loose clothing in which they hide themselves, so to speak. A violent psychological reaction is self-mutilation, and eating disorders are also common.
But there are also women who compensate for their feelings of inferiority with a harsh exclusion. They don't let anyone or anything get close to them: this comes across as arrogant, but it is above all their insecurity that makes them act this way.

Inferiority complexes in men

Younger men show themselves outwardly aggressive to hide their inferiority complexes. They speak an extreme youth language that only the initiated understand, take drugs or take refuge in supposedly strong status symbols. In later years, the cars and other valuables become even more exclusive, but inside the complex-laden men things don't necessarily look any better.

overcoming inferiority complexes

Inferiority complexes - causes

Where do inferiority complexes come from? In many cases the causes lie in childhood, partly buried or repressed. Sometimes parents show little care and appreciation. This makes a child feel rejected. Much criticism and little praise, constant know-it-all attitude but no recognition: this automatically leads to inferiority complexes. Whoever hears again and again: "You'll never understand" or "You're too stupid for that", has a bad image of himself. In the long run, children feel inferior - and that's how the complexes develop.

Desperate search for recognition

Other parents spoil and protect their child too much: This can also lead to feelings of inferiority. Because when the affection wears off, the child feels guilty - even if the causes lie somewhere else entirely. Even people who have a career in adulthood can still suffer from inferiority complexes and a desperate search for recognition. This makes it hard to enjoy your own successes. Instead, there's always the insecurity. Almost compulsively, they compare themselves to others and perform poorly in their opinion.

Typical causes of inferiority complexes are:

  • an unbalanced upbringing (strictness or pampering),
  • frequent slights,
  • excessive criticism,
  • Crises (job loss, separation),
  • over-the-top beauty pageantry.

In psychotherapy or in a self-help group you learn to admit your weaknesses and to find your strengths again. Other people - especially objective observers like psychotherapists - assess you neutrally. This is a good start to see yourself from the outside. Sufferers take the first steps towards positive self-knowledge. In this way you can learn to trust yourself and to love yourself.

Often the causes of the complexes lie in childhood. Give yourself the time and patience to look there honestly and to reflect. This is the first step towards healing and clarity.

Overcome the constant inferiority complexes - how to become more satisfied

You feel dissatisfied and think: What can I do about inferiority complexes? One thing you should be aware of: Negative thoughts do not always equal complexes. Nobody's perfect - all people have their weaknesses. But you also have your strengths. However, if you only see the bad qualities in yourself, it's time to fight your inferiority complexes. Here are a few tips on how you can be more confident and happier and get rid of your complexes.

Get rid of inferiority complexes - 7 tips for more self-confidence

  1. Think positive
    By focusing your positive thoughts, you counter the pessimistic attitude. Stop saying, "This is too hard for me," and start saying, "I can do this." Don't think, "There's no point in trying," think, "It makes sense and I'm going to prove it." Over time, the positive beliefs the negative currents and you recognize your progress.
  2. Focus on the self
    Don't be influenced by people who constantly criticize you, but look for real friends who support you. If you don't succeed, try it alone. This is how you gain confidence in yourself. Listen to yourself, focus on your abilities and on your goals. Relaxation techniques will help you find your inner self: yoga and meditation will take you further.
  3. Make yourself strong - also outwardly
    You can use your Self-esteem strengthen from its own strength. A well-groomed appearance helps with this. This makes you feel more self-confident and shows other people that you take care of yourself. By paying more attention to how you look on the outside, you will become more aware of your own personality. Maybe you treat yourself to fancy clothes and accessories: with a new style you show how you see yourself - and also convince the people around you.
  4. Own up to your weaknesses
    Everyone makes mistakes and has their weaknesses. Own up to it and don't let yourself down because of your weaknesses. Many weaknesses even contain something positive. If you've identified a seemingly negative quality about yourself, maybe you can turn it into a strength. Are you quick to burst into tears? empathy is definitely not a weakness, but very human. You constantly have new ideas, but never finish a project? Then grow in your creativity and make an idea book out of it.
  5. Trust yourself more - recognize your self-determination
    You are not the victim of your upbringing or other outside influences. You yourself have the power to change your life. Dare to do something, dare to step forward. Especially in a family with very strict parents it is difficult to break out of the vicious circle of inferiority complexes. But don't let failure predict you - you'll do better this time. Believe in yourself.
  6. Talk to good friends
    To overcome your inferiority complexes, you need the help of other people. Shyness will not get you anywhere: instead, you should talk to good friends and family members. Whining and complaining are not helpful. But you feel relieved when you talk out stressful problems. The supportive advice and comfort of loving people will help you to get rid of feelings of inferiority. At the same time you strengthen your self-acceptance.
  7. Write down your thoughts
    This tip sounds simple and banal, but it puts you at a distance from your complexes. If you write down your worries, thoughts and anger, you will see exactly what you actually fail and where you can and want to change. Don't think too long, just let out everything that's bothering you. Take pen and paper - or sit down at the computer. However, many people find writing by hand more intense. Later you read your unsorted thoughts, which become tangible and understandable.
    Such writing therapy has a positive effect and is suitable for various psychological problems. The big advantage compared to conversations is that you can read everything again. This helps you to clarify your feelings - and brings you forward on the way to a self-confident personality.
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Do you have inferiority complexes? - The personality test shows it

Are you going through a difficult phase right now and are insecure because of it? Or have inferiority complexes had a hold on you for a long time? Find out in a detailed test. With the Greator Personality Test you'll learn to assess yourself better. In the process, you learn a lot about your own Motivations. You will also learn how to get out of stuck thinking patterns and gain more courage to face life. For serious inferiority complexes, you need the help of professionals. The experts know how to overcome serious complexes.

If nothing else helps, you should seek psychological support. These will get you out of the emotional low. With professional psychotherapy, the inferiority complexes can be treated. Self-help groups are also a good way to talk about your problems and feel less alone. It is important to have a neutral, objective assessment that you can trust. This will help you see yourself from a different perspective and recognise your strengths.

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Reviewed by Dr. med. Stefan Frädrich

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