Inferiority complex is a general feeling of personal inadequacy and unworthiness. A person who has an inferiority complex may behave in a very timid manner or he may try to mask his feelings of inferiority behind an aggressive show of superiority.
The term "inferiority complex" was introduced by Alfred Adler, a Viennese psychoanalyst. Adler believed that man's most important motive is to be accepted and to have status in his group. However, feelings of inferiority grow out of a young child's initial helplessness and dependence on others. To compensate for the inferior feelings, the child normally strives to make himself superior. Nevertheless, because his behavior continues to be determined by such compensatory needs, he is prevented from developing the genuine attitudes and interests necessary for real participation and cooperation with other people.