Inferiority complex in men and women: what it is, its signs and causes. How to get rid of an inferiority complex

An inferiority complex is a set of behavioral reactions that affect a person’s sense of self and make her feel incapable of anything. An inferiority complex often forces people to seek help and support from others. They want someone to accept their condition and help them overcome difficulties. The complex itself does not allow you to fully develop and realize your dreams and goals. A person simply gets stuck at a certain stage and is afraid to move. It sometimes seems to him that any attempts to find peace of mind are completely pointless. What is the complex and is it possible to somehow get rid of it?

Where does the inferiority complex come from?

There are several reasons why an inferiority complex appears. Many people unconsciously instill self-judgment in childhood. In this case, it is difficult for a person to assess his capabilities in some situations and achieve success. Others, who are lucky enough to have a family and environment, do not accept the fact that they cannot cope with some goals and tasks. Both have their own degrees of severity. And the larger the stage, the more difficult it is to get rid of the problem.

Why do adults now suffer from things that happened to them as children? It's simple, in childhood a person studies more, absorbs more . And if a child is bullied, if he is ignored, or, on the contrary, he is taken care of too much, then he does not have the opportunity to find self-confidence. Society notices this, which leads to problems in society. And all this haunts a person already in adulthood, only aggravating the problem and leading to depression.

An adult has a different problem. When a challenge unexpectedly arises that you cannot cope with, self-confidence rapidly decreases. There is a feeling that nothing will work out the way it did before. This leads to stress, and subsequently to quarrels within the family and problems at work.

Despite the differences, there is one thing in common. All this leads to low self-esteem. And only the person himself can solve this problem. No one will help, even if they want. And yet at the same time, difficult for one person, life is still moving forward.

The world doesn't care about your self-esteem. Life will require you to finish things before you feel confident

Bill Gates

The essence of the phenomenon

The term “inferiority complex” was coined by the Austrian psychologist Alfred Adler. For the first time he used it in relation to children. Due to their psychophysiological characteristics, they all feel weak and partly inferior (“I’ll grow up…”). In small doses, this feeling is useful, as it encourages you to become stronger, better, healthier, smarter, more capable. But if environmental oppression and other negative factors are added to the natural complex, then development, on the contrary, slows down and is disrupted.

However, the child grows, becomes an adult, but inside him lives the same offended child, who does not feel safe, insecure and helpless, with a pronounced need for recognition and love, happiness. However, against the backdrop of an inferiority complex, this need is satisfied in a perverse way - by belittling others, craving for power and aggression, and fighting for personal superiority and domination.

Inferiority complex in men

The main reason for development is maternal overprotection or, conversely, a lack of maternal love, the need to win the mother’s favor. The male inferiority complex often manifests itself:

  • aggression;
  • arrogance;
  • attachment to things, hobbies that emphasize status and masculinity.

The following forms of manifestation of an inferiority complex in men can be distinguished:

  • King David syndrome (avoiding old age by choosing a young companion);
  • boss syndrome (constant emphasis and proof of masculinity);
  • Napoleon syndrome (ambitiousness and vanity, desire for success);
  • fear of impotence;
  • lost energy syndrome (men over 50 suffer);
  • Lot's syndrome (reluctance to let her daughter go into the hands of another man);
  • Hercules syndrome (financial or other dependence on a woman);
  • Kotovsky syndrome (non-acceptance of baldness, shaving off the rest of the hair);
  • Don Juan syndrome (breaking relationships with girls).

Men more often suffer from complexes due to physical weakness or financial insolvency, sexual dysfunction or non-sexuality. Although appearance also plays a significant role in this, especially height.

Inferiority complex in women

Women are naturally more emotional, therefore the risk of developing a complex is higher, and is often associated with appearance. Popular forms and manifestations of female inferiority complex:

  • non-acceptance of appearance or body type;
  • gender disorientation, denial of gender identity;
  • rejection of men;
  • guilt;
  • fear of loneliness;
  • worries about untapped potential;
  • the conviction that no one loves the girl and suspiciousness about this.

In women, complexes are more often associated with appearance; non-acceptance of oneself provokes the development of insecurity. Because of it, a woman withdraws into herself, is overly self-critical, and belittles her own achievements.


  1. The need for a person who will fill the emptiness inside;
  2. Fear of society;
  3. The desire to constantly appear better in front of other people;
  4. Irritability and conflicts with others for no clear reason;
  5. A desire to do something meaningful that disappears after a while;
  6. Fear of being manipulated;

If a person has a couple of traits from this list, this does not mean that he has an inferiority complex. However, when most of it is about you, then there is reason to think that it’s time to solve the problem.


How to get rid of an inferiority complex? Unfortunately, it is impossible to recover completely from this psychological illness, since there is always a risk that self-flagellation mechanisms are activated when encountering an irritant. But you can muffle it, compensate or get rid of the cause.

Compensation brings only temporary satisfaction or no satisfaction at all. All actions are performed for the public, and not for oneself. The person still considers himself worse than others. At the same time, he does everything so that those around him do not suspect it, wastes his energy and receives only momentary joy.

How to get rid of the complex?

Find the root of all problems

As already mentioned, the main reason for this problem arises in the past or due to a difficult period in the present. It is important to find the cause of your problems in order to start fighting them and become better. There can be a lot of factors - childhood trauma, poor environment, health problems. If you can’t understand the reasons yourself, then you should turn to those closest to you.

If the complex appeared at a conscious age, then finding the root of the problems is no longer so difficult. Another thing is that it’s unpleasant to remember about it, it’s worth gaining strength.

Find a role model

It's hard to know how to act if you feel like you're worse than others. You need to make a list of things that you consider priority for yourself. And we must not forget why they are so. Having such a list, you can find a person who lives by the same principles, but at the same time is more successful than you. He may be in your circle, or even be a media person.

But you shouldn’t make your idols out of them. It is important to understand that everyone has their skeletons in their closet. also things you can be better at than others . In addition, it will give extra self-confidence.

Get rid of complexes!

If there is a complex that makes you feel that other people are better, it’s time to fight it. When someone spoils your self-confidence for no reason, then it is time to move away from such a person, he will not help you in any way. But such people should not be confused with those who really want to help. Their advice should be taken seriously. Knowing your shortcomings in person makes it much easier to get rid of them.

In addition, you also need to develop your advantages. If a person is good at something, then others should see it. Thus, everything bad will fade into the background, giving way to everything good. Then others will be able to appreciate the entire amount of effort that the person has done.

Read the article: Where to start self-development

There are factors that cannot be influenced, for example, appearance features. In this case, all that remains is to understand that it is no one’s fault. So it’s better to focus on the problems being solved.

Set only realistic goals

To believe that all problems will go away if you work hard on yourself is at least naive. These are false expectations, it is better to get rid of them immediately. Otherwise, you will feel that the whole journey was done in vain. Complexes are to blame for all these thoughts. In fact, not everyone will notice that someone they know has lost weight and found a job. This is how you can fall into the trap of high expectations. And this can lead to an even bigger problem – depression.


However, in order to understand what exactly is at the origins of the problem, and what contributed to the formation of the complex, it is worthwhile to thoroughly understand the reasons for its occurrence.

Among them:

  • External defects and physical imperfections;
  • Inconsistency with one's expectations, lack of self-realization;
  • Discrimination;
  • Overprotection in family and education;
  • Psycho-emotional trauma;
  • Lack of parental love and attention.

A couple more tips

It is difficult for people with an inferiority complex to be in a large company. The fear of showing oneself as real, the fear of condemnation is to blame for everything. This needs to be fixed.

Sincerity should replace isolation, courage will come instead of shyness, and interacting with other people will become easier. It is unlikely that anyone will not like this; on the contrary, good people are happy that someone around them has become better. It’s worth going to different events, holidays, etc. Over time, it will become a full-fledged part of life that you will not want to part with.

But not all people are happy about other people's successes. Probably, nothing positive is planned in their life; they do not need another example of personal growth. From such people you can expect anything - from ridicule and minor dirty tricks to real bullying. If such a person appears around you, then you need to talk to him. Perhaps he will back down, realizing that this is important for a person. But if he didn’t understand anything and didn’t even give adequate reasons why he doesn’t like it, he needs to move away from such a person.

There are no bad friends: there are either friends or acquaintances

Denying your desires

Our entire existence is driven by our desires. In newborns they are simpler and more primitive. The older a child gets, the more complex his desires and needs become.

Wants provoke certain emotions that activate our body and give us the strength to fulfill them. Initially, for any creature, personal desires are a priority. And while they move a person, he is controlled by them more than by everything else.

A child who has clearly defined needs is more likely to listen to them than to the advice of adults. At this moment, parents lose control over their child. In order not to bother themselves with thinking about why this happened, they simply pull the rug out from under them with one phrase: “Oh, what a bad boy (girl) you are.”

Sometimes this is formulated through the hint that your desires are worthless, they are irrelevant, too expensive, stupid, wrong.

Think about what the following phrases can lead to: “Your hands are from the same place,” “You’re worthless,” “It would be better if I didn’t give birth to you,” “Only a stupid person can do that,” etc.

Among women

Ladies suffer more about their appearance and role in the family.

They are characterized by:

  • ugly, fat, short syndrome - fear of appearing ugly in comparison with other women;
  • missed time syndrome, fear of aging, passing years, loss of opportunities of youth and youth;
  • Bachelorette syndrome, fear of living your whole life without a husband;
  • infertility syndrome, fears in cases of inability to become a mother.

Women express their emotions more emotionally and usually do not hesitate to seem unhappy, however, they can also “veil” their feelings, trying to dress, comb their hair, do manicures and pedicures, and apply makeup with a pretense of extravagance. This is how they “scream” about pressing problems, trying to attract others and draw their attention to themselves.

Cultivating self-esteem

This strategy is chosen by strong-willed people. If I didn’t know math well at school, I’ll go to study to become a math teacher (“I’ll prove to everyone that I know this subject”). You can give many examples of compensation: “I moved poorly - I’ll become a dancer,” “I was afraid to leave my mother - I’ll become a traveler.” It’s not life, but complete compensation for such people, but passion helps get rid of the cause of the inferiority complex. Such people often become highly qualified specialists.

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