Inferiority and Superiority Complex – How does they affect relationships?
Being in a relationship with someone who has an inferiority complex can be difficult – it can create a lot of tension or require a lot more effort to maintain a relationship for both the person with the complex and the supporting partner.
If you or your partner have an inferiority complex you may notice the following –
The person with inferiority complex can be possessive because they may live in constant fear that their partner could leave or cheat on them. A person with inferiority complex can’t believe that they have a good relationship or deserve a good person. This can push them to becoming overly clingy, always wanting to be together, not trusting their partner when they’re out and constantly obsessing over what their partner is doing when they are out of the house.
There can be a lot of misunderstandings or miscommunication between partners if one has an inferiority complex. They may constantly take conversations the wrong way because they have deep insecurities that are triggered when their partner makes an innocent comment. These innocent discussions can leave the person with inferiority complex feeling rejected, unwanted or unloved – when their partner didn’t mean anything bad when they shared their thoughts. This can also leave a supporting partner feeling like they are walking on eggshells as they don’t want to upset their partner at all.
Comparisons are huge for people with inferiority complex. They base their worth on how they see others compared to how they see themselves. This can deeply impact their behaviour because if they see their partner as being more successful or better looking than them, they may lose the motivation to go out, to take care of themselves or go out with their partner in fear that others might judge them or make comments on them not being good enough. It is really difficult for both partners to feel loved if one is constantly feeling inferior and comparing, and the supporting partner is always having to reassure their partner that they are good enough. They will reject compliments and it can be very draining if this happens.
Lack of self-confidence and self-esteem can push them to hide their true self and become a people pleaser. If they are not being their true self and only doing things that their partner wants to do, it becomes a very one-sided relationship. However, it’s important to remember a person is only like this because they are fearful of being judged or not being good enough for others. They don’t want to make others feel as bad as they do so they may do anything they can to make others feel great when really they need the love and support in building themselves up.
It’s not just relationships where one partner has an inferiority complex that can be difficult to maintain. A relationship where one of the partner’s has a superiority complex can be just as tough –
They may constantly feel like they are in competition with their partner. Everything their partner does, they can do better. All situations become an opportunity for them to boast how good they are, and this can be demoralizing for the supporting partner. It can also become tiring for the person with the superiority complex as they may misinterpret their partner’s behaviour as a threat to their ability and then pushes them to do things that prove how good they are.
Relationships where one person has superiority complex are often full of conflict. The person with the superiority complex may get defensive over small things and pick fights when they do not get their way or feel like their authority is being threatened. For example, telling their partner not to do something and their partner explains how they feel and it is met with anger and aggression. This leads on to the next point…
It’s hard for supporting partners to share their thoughts or feelings with a partner who has a superiority complex because they are often shut down very quickly. A relationship where one person is dominant can be demoralizing and have a negative impact on the supporting partner’s confidence and self-esteem. People with superiority complex may notice they push partner’s away because of their dominant personality.
As difficult as it can be being in a relationship with someone who has an inferiority or superiority complex, I want to emphasize that if you or your partner have a complex of feeling inferior or superior, there are actions you can both take to build a healthier relationship.
If you are the person with an inferior or superior complex start implementing small changes and over time you will see the benefits –
Remind yourself that everyone is unique and worthy of love – we all have good parts and parts we need to work on, however that does not mean we are undeserving or incapable of what getting what we want in life. We should celebrate our differences and the same way we accept the flaws in others, we should accept our flaws too. Nothing gives us the right to feel superior to others or be harsh on ourselves and feel inferior to others. What you bring to a relationship may bring out something amazing in your partner that they are missing, and vice versa. Being able to accept all parts of you is key to healing.
Practice gratitude – in the beginning it might be difficult to do this, however, start off with one thing you are thankful for a day. It could be something you have done, someone you have in life, or challenges you have overcome. Remind yourself of this throughout the day and then think of something new the next day. Keep doing this as research shows if you can shift your focus to things you are grateful for, you are going to make less comparisons with others and you won’t feel the need to boast about yourself because you truly appreciate what you have.
Challenge your thoughts – It is easy to stay a victim to your thoughts because they have been programmed this way since childhood, however, as an adult you have the chance to challenge the way you perceive or interpret things. When a negative thought comes into your mind, stop, and question is this accurate or is this an assumption? Then look for the facts. What is true about what you think and feel and what isn’t? Is your partner really being dismissive or are your past experiences being triggered? Is anyone questioning your capabilities or are you boasting your worth unnecessarily? Being self-aware will also allow you to control the narrative that you allow to flow through your mind.
Ask for help – Any battle with your mind can be a tough thing to face alone, so never be embarrassed or ashamed to ask for professional help or support from your partner. A trained professional can help you to organize your thoughts and check in to make sure you are setting smaller realistic goals to overcome your inferiority or superiority complex. Having your partner’s support can keep you on track and also, they can give you the love and kindness you need as you’re on this transformational journey.
Leading on from the last point – if you are the person who is in a relationship with someone who has an inferiority complex or superiority complex then you may benefit from considering the following –
Take time to understand your partner’s behaviour and the driving force behind how they are acting – Understanding goes a long way. It is really easy to jump to conclusions or judge someone for the way they are behaving – especially if they have a superiority complex, it may be harder to feel compassion as they may make you feel like you don’t matter when they take control of everything. However, there is so much more to a person than what you may see on top. Helping your partner explore what experiences have led them to being the person they are today is so important. It’s not an easy journey to go on, especially if they have to bring up difficult experiences from their childhood so it is important for you to be understanding.
When you understand what the driving force is behind your partner’s behaviours or actions, you can look at how you are within your relationship and check whether your behaviour is supporting your partner or if some things you say or do can be triggering. This doesn’t mean you have to change yourself, it just means being more considerate and have compassion so you can show your partner that you are also wanting to better yourself and bring the two of you closer together. It’s hard to accept the role we play in the way someone else behaves, however, it is important to do this in order to help your partner on their healing journey.
Show appreciation to your partner. If they have an inferiority complex they may struggle to see the good in themselves so do your part to remind them of how amazing they are. If they have a superiority complex you can redirect conversations about how well you work together in your relationship and remind them about equality in relationships and how much you appreciate them. Show them that when you talk about yourself or when you have done something great, it doesn’t take anything away from them. You’re both in love with one another and appreciate what you both bring to the table.
Help them to challenge their thoughts and beliefs. If they start to doubt themselves, ask them what is true about what they are saying and what is based on fear. Having a person from the outside question their thoughts is so helpful as having an internal conversation alone can become so consuming. As a supporting partner, you are able to help them redirect their thoughts so that they can move on instead of torturing themselves thinking the worst.
If you or your partner have an inferiority or superiority complex, it is so important to change what is not working in your life and relationship. I usually do my intensive 3 month breakthrough package for people that find it difficult to rid the negative thoughts by themselves. I can only help someone heal if they are ready to let it all go, if they are ready to invest the time, energy and money in themselves. If your partner is not willing or ready then you need to decide if the relationship is working for you and good for you. Sometimes tough conversations need to be had, where you may need to share that you are willing to work on your relationship as long as they are willing to meet you halfway and do the inner work for you both to be happy. Sharing what you need from them in order to move forward.
This is also a great time to ask them what they need from you to support their journey. Often both in the couple do my breakthrough intensive because we all have unhelpful thoughts that come up, things we wish were different about our communication and behavior, so both making the investment can really show your joint commitment to living your best life and having a rewarding loving relationship.