Difference Between Inferiority and Superiority Complex

Inferiority vs Superiority Complex

The ideas of Inferiority Complex and Superiority Complex can be rather confusing, but knowing the difference between these two concepts can help to understand each term better. Inferiority and Superiority Complex refer to a feeling that the individual can have about himself which goes in opposite directions. Inferiority complex is the feeling of worthlessness by an individual. Such a person would feel that he is not good enough and a failure. On the other hand, Superiority Complex refers to a sense of superiority that a person feels in comparison to others. Through this article, the difference between the two concepts will be emphasized.

What is Inferiority Complex?

If a person feels that he is a failure most of the time and cannot achieve his goals, there is a high possibility for such a person to be suffering from an Inferiority complex. This can be an overwhelming feeling for the individual because he feels worthless. These types of individuals are usually shy and doubt their abilities and skills. Even when the individual is extremely good at something, he will feel less. It is true that at some point in our lives we all face inferior at certain challenges and obstacles in life. But these often tend to go away, and we fall back to our usual routines. In the case of an individual who suffers from an inferiority complex, it is not the case. He would feel inferior at all times, and this will become a great barrier for the individual. Then the person would begin to be isolated from others due to the low self-esteem. The person would feel pessimistic as well. The constant belief that he would fail and that nothing would go in the right way would make the person anxious and also shy.

An inferiority complex can be caused due to a number of issues. For example, if a child is constantly scolded, criticized at home and also in school, the child has low self-esteem. Even after becoming an adult, this child would suffer from this feeling and would want to please others and seek their approval. Battered women also suffer from this due to learned helplessness.

Difference Between Inferiority and Superiority Complex

A child scolded always can become a man with inferiority complex

What is Superiority Complex?

Superiority complex is when an individual harbors an inflated self-worth. This can be about a person’s physical appearance, some ability or skill, etc. A person who suffers from a Superiority complex can be easily identified due to his demeanor. The manner in which he speaks, his behavior, characteristics, opinions are all tainted by this sense of superiority. Such a person can display qualities such as vanity, domineering tone, arrogance, etc. They would order people around and treat others in a condescending manner. In Psychology, it is believed that if a person shows signs of Superiority, this is usually to mask some inferiority. When a person has a superiority complex, he does not pay heed to the others and believes that he knows everything. These types of behavior and attitudes can be negative not only for the person but others as well.

Inferiority vs Superiority Complex

A man who thinks he is better than others has superiority complex

What is the difference between Inferiority and Superiority Complex?

• Inferiority complex is the feeling of worthlessness by an individual.

• Superiority Complex refers to a sense of superiority that a person feels in comparison to others.

• A person who has an inferiority complex doubts his abilities whereas a person who has a superiority complex is overly confident of himself.

• Sometimes a person can hide his inferiority through a superior complex, in this sense it works as a mask to hide the reality.


Images Courtesy: Alfred the Great and Robert de Montesquiou via Wikicommons (Public Domain)