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What is an Inferiority Complex in Conversations?

Aug 17, 2007
Sally walks into a room full of high-flying executives. She scans the room with her eyes and sees the executives dressed in expensive suits, sipping champagne, and mingling amongst each other. As she enters the room, she can't help but feel "different" to the executives.

She feels the executives are an entire class above her. Maybe it is the executives' suits while she is just wearing a basic top and skirt that is making her feel "below standard". Maybe she has this strange difference because she does not know the executives very well and she feels socializing with them is therefore difficult. Or maybe she has what is known as the inferiority complex.

In 1912, a psychologist by the name of Alfred Alder wrote a book titled The Neurotic Character. His research in this book founded a popular area of psychology known as the inferiority complex which is a term used to describe a sense of inferiority an individual feels about oneself towards other people. It revolves around social status, power, ego, and dominance. You will have an inferiority complex when you feel inferior and think that other people are better than you.

Sally in our example is likely to feel inferior if she thinks the executives are better than she is. Her inferiority has nothing to do with not knowing the executives or being different. Dressing differently, not knowing anyone while everyone else knows each other, and having a less prestigious job does not mean she is inferior. Rather, her interpretation of this situation that makes her feel "below standard" creates her inferiority.

An inferiority complex can arise when you experience an imagined or conditioned feeling of inferiority. As is the case for most people, it is a combination of imagination and subtle conditioning. You would feel inferior when an event takes place which makes you feel less than others (conditioning aspect) and your creative imagination (imagination aspect) would "blow out" your understanding of the event beyond what would seem reasonable to another person.

The conditioning aspect in Sally's example is her actually being different to the executives. She is not wearing the same clothes as the executives nor is she "a part of the group". The imagination aspect for Sally is her clothes are below their standards, the executives are better than her, the executives want nothing to do with her because of her difference, plus a lot of other possibilities she is likely to think.

If you feel inferior when talking to people or even when you're not around people, I highly advise you to get this problem sought out in your life. It is liberating to no longer feel inferior and to be able to happily have conversations with people.
About the Author
Joshua Uebergang can help you overcome your inferiority complex like he has helped others, by visiting his website today. Also, you can develop better conversation skills.
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