What Is A Superiority Complex, And What Does It Affect?

Last updated by Katie M.

The superiority complex definition refers to a person who seems to believe that they are better than everyone else. These people often talk about themselves in glowing terms and choose to make fun of those they believe are less worthy of them. They also try to take over and always seem to judge things as being beneath them. Although these folks may seem confident, they are in fact cruelly lacking in self-esteem. On that note, welcome to the paradox of the superiority complex, which ironically in 90% of cases hides an inferiority complex!

How does the superiority complex manifest?

With the superiority complex, we do in fact encounter the same problem as with narcissistic traits. In both cases, we concluded that these people love themselves, admire their own talents, and also despise others, whom they consider inferior. These examples make it difficult to ignore this type of behavior!

The following behaviors / personality traits are examples of a superiority complex

  • a pretentious attitude
  • intense mockery
  • mood swings
  • feelings of inadequacy 
  • displaying strong self-confidence
  • unable to accept being upset or being wrong
  • objectively believing they are the best
  • a need to be admired, even if it means embellishing or lying
  • being incapable of dealing with the success of others

What is less known is that behind this type of behavior, there is in fact a visceral need to feel loved. A person who suffers from this complex believes that he/she must be the best in order to keep the love of his/her loved ones. It is a complex that develops especially during adolescence.


👉 Living with someone who suffers from a superiority complex can be particularly unpleasant. These people are often obnoxious and hurtful. That's why, from adolescence, we must be attentive to the signals that identify this tendency, and therefore help those affected work on self-esteem and allow them to build relationships on healthier foundations.

>>> Discover how to turn hypersensitivity into a strength

How a feeling of inferiority hides behind this complex

As we have seen, in most cases, a superiority complex hides an inferiority complex. Superiority is in fact a method of defense. In order to protect oneself from what terrorizes, what makes one feel inferior, the mind overcompensates until it creates a superiority complex. This is typically found in parents who ask too much of their child. When a child is brought up with the idea that they are the best, when they become an adult, they will keep hold of the certainty that they are the best, but also that the love of others depends on their ability to be the best, so they must be superior. This complex is therefore also intimately linked to the fear of abandonment.

Can a superiority complex be cured?

It is very difficult to cure because the person who suffers from this complex is not always aware of their toxic behavior, and they also have little tolerance for reality. If they find themselves faced with the prospect of failure, it is impossible for them to accept it. They will instead unload it on others and choose to project their failure onto external reasons (cheating, bad weather, etc.). It is therefore quite rare that people suffering from this complex ask to be treated. In order for this to happen, it is often necessary to push the person to their limits. Thus, perhaps, some people will feel the need to confide their deep unease to a psychotherapist. The goal will then be to make the patient understand that each individual has their own value and that others can be better. It also involves explaining that self-confidence comes down to accepting oneself and showing people who you really are, including your qualities and faults.

Editor’s opinion: Living with a person suffering from this complex is a trial...

A person suffering from a superiority complex is absolutely unaware of it and oblivious to their attitude. However, it can be painful to live with someone who has a superiority complex, as they may tend to put you down to make themselves feel better. If this situation makes you suffer, don't hesitate to contact a professional for more insights.

🤗 Understand yourself, accept yourself, be happy... Let’s do it here and now!


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