5 Signs You May Have An Inferiority Complex

In 1907, psychologist Alfred Adler became the first expert to medically describe inferiority complex. Since then, agencies like the American Psychological Association have come out to also define it. Per the charters of the American Association, inferiority complex is the basic feeling of inadequacy and insecurity that can lead to behaviors which includes withdrawal, shyness, aggression and excessive competition.

In today’s world, there is a possibility that you may experience a moment of self-doubt and uncertainty however, it becomes a problem when this negative perception and feels persists and affects your everyday life.

In medical practice, many mental health advocates and consultants term inferiority complex, as a chronic low self-esteem condition with experts like David Tzall, PhD, a private practice psychologist in New York City says, ” an inferiority complex condition may refer to a deep-seated belief of being fundamentally inadequate or inferior to others. Although the condition is not medically diagnosable, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), says it is a significant source of chronic distress.

In this article, we would be hinting on various signs that could indicate you suffer from inferiority complex.

Comparing yourself with others

In today’s modern society where friends and families keep you constantly informed about their day-to-day activities, it is not easy to desist from comparing them to yourself. However, it becomes detrimental when you regularly focus on their strengths and successes and negatively compare them to yours. And so is finding faults in others in order to feel achieved or better of.

Loneliness and withdrawal from social situations

According to Dr. Tzall, people with inferiority complex tend to avoid social engagements to avoid unsolicited judgement or criticism. A published paper in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology has also found that the connection between self-esteem and loneliness amongst teenagers goes both ways; those with lower self-esteem are more likely to feel lonely because of it, and persistent feelings of loneliness can have a negative effect on self-esteem.

Use of self-deprecating jokes

A person suffering from inferiority complex may engage in the frequent use of negative comments about themselves as a way to deflect potential criticism. Although it is difficult to name a distinct line between what’s funny and humanizing and what’s an attempt to cover up low self-esteem, generally speaking much self-defeating jokes isn’t a good thing.

Perfectionism may be a sign of inferiority complex

Perfectionism can be a drive for ambition or a certain goal, but when it becomes overly regular, it might be a signal of inferiority complex. The APA defines perfectionism as “the tendency to demand of others or of oneself an extremely high or even flawless level of performance, in excess of what is required by the situation.”


Insomnia is characterized by struggling to sleep and although it’s not clear why, an inferiority complex might make you sleepless, a study of university students published in the journal BJPsych Open in 2022, found that low self-esteem could be linked to higher levels of insomnia.

Leave a Comment