Persoanlity Lecture 20
Inferiority is the hallmark of human condition: all people have this sense of inferiority but
people differ in what they feel inferior about and to what extent
Organism inferiority --> Masculine Protest --> striving for superiority
Tension between inferiority, and the measures we take to overcome it (Superiority).
Has to deal with very intense feelings of inferiority
They become so self-focused and self-absorbed
The neurotic person has this STRONG feeling of inferiority and is preoccupied with it. Has
this tendency to try to protect oneself from threat
They respond differently to threats
Various strategies that are used to protect self
•using one's own symptoms to explain why they can't face one's life
•a way of excusing him/herself from the challenges of life
•devaluating oneself to gain sympathy from other
•blaming others, devaluating others
•efforts to restrict one's participation in life
•you don't have the possibility of failing
All of us have inferiorities though and we have to develop some way of coping with it
Style of Life
characteristic way in which we handle, cope with and try to overcome the inferiorities in
life. It is universal to all human beings.
The way to figure out one's style of life is to ask about earliest memory.
Earliest memory will reveal of this basic life attitude that is required
It reveals the style with which we handle our inferiority.
The memory itself does not matter in terms of content: it could be true or mostly fictional.
What matters is that this is the first thing that comes to mind
So Adler's greatest contribution was the “inferiority complex” - early sense of powerlessness
that later in life gives rise to strivings for superiority
We all also have an innate social interest – a communal aspect to human nature -
To have a full understanding we need to understand the ways in which they strive for superiority
but also connect with other people