8 Symptoms And Signs Of Inferiority Complex

According to the American Psychological Association, inferiority complex is a basic feeling of inadequacy and insecurity resulting in different behaviors ranging from withdrawal to excessive competition and aggression. To help you understand this condition, this article examines 8 signs and symptoms you need to know.

Feeling Insecure, Incomplete, or Unworthy

Although it’s normal to feel insecure or less accomplished than your peers in certain moments, people suffering from an inferiority complex always feel like this.

Comparing Yourself With Others

In this social media age, it’s almost impossible not to compare yourself with friends and strangers constantly sharing key details about their lives. However, constantly comparing yourself to others and deciding you can never measure up is a sign of an inferiority complex.

Loneliness and Withdrawal From Social Situations

According to a study published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, teens with lower self-esteem are likelier to feel lonely because of it. Additionally, persistent feelings of loneliness can have a negative effect on their self-esteem.

Difficulty Accepting Compliments

David Tzall, PsyD, a psychologist in private practice in New York City, said accepting compliments or positive feedback could be difficult for people with low self-esteem. He also said they might dismiss these compliments as insincere or attribute them to external factors rather than seeing their worth.

Use of Extremely Self-Deprecating Humor

According to a study published in Frontiers in Psychology in 2020, people who engaged mostly in the kind of humor that shines a positive light on themselves and others had higher levels of subjective well-being.

On the other hand, those who engage in self-deprecating humor had lower levels of subjective well-being.

Superiority Complex

Despite being seen as opposing disorders, inferiority, and superiority complexes often coexist and overlap. According to the APA, a superiority complex is when someone exaggerates their abilities and accomplishments. This could be a way for them to overcompensate for feelings of inadequacy.


In a study published in the Journal BjPsych Open in May 2022, researchers discovered that low self-esteem was linked to higher insomnia levels.


The connection between self-esteem and perfectionism is difficult to establish, as striving to improve isn’t always bad. However, a study published in BMC Psychology in 2022 revealed that lower self-esteem is connected to levels of perfectionism that cause distress and make it hard to finish tasks or reach goals for fear of failure.


To overcome an inferiority complex, a major step is to stop comparing yourself to others. You should surround yourself with positive people and learn to be kinder to yourself.