10 Different Types of Psychological Complexes

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A psychological complex, as the name suggests is a distorted thought and sensory pattern that has been deeply ingrained into a persons psyche. It decides a vast chunk of that person’s perception and decision-making in terms of how they relate to others, emotional experiences and sense of self. A complex can happen because of many reasons. Some people have basic inclination towards developing certain complexes by their very disposition. For example, someone with narcissistic tendencies has a greater chance of having a superiority complex. Either way, a complex is a blind spot in our thinking. Thus, in view of this, i have compiled a list of different types of complexes:

10. Hero Complex

hero complex

As the name suggests, this complex makes people very prone to trying to get recognition. Often the situations they tackle are very difficult and self-created in order to get a sense of self-worth. This is quite common when people are in a profession where they aren’t doing that well but want to feel good about themselves. Thus, they are quite prone to bragging about the nature of their achievements and the difficulties of the job. They like to act as a rescuer for others even when unnecessary and feel like they have a burden to carry. Often their actions may be considered odd by others and this leads to more seclusion and depression. Civil servants, nurses and fire-fighters are quite prone to this problem and may commit arson and crime for thrill-seeking and revenge as well. However, most of the actions are simply a desperate need to compensate for past failures.

9. Complex of Guilt

guilt complex

A person suffering from this complex usually blames themselves for everything that goes wrong. They are overtly self-critical and cant objectively asses a situation. As a result, they fail to understand the true accountability involved. They often lie or cheat to prevent possibly imagined and magnified consequences. They are very afraid to offend others and often full of self-loathing. They are obsessed with making everything better than it has been done. However, this is not simply perfectionism. They are very sensitive to other’s opinions as well. Often a traumatic incident that they are unable to prevent is the root cause of this complex. In Freudian theory, the ego is the balance between the id and superego. Such people have a very dominant superego which takes on the role of a strict parent towards themselves. As a result, they have over-active consciences.

8. Dependency Complex – Cinderella and Peter Pan

dependant complex

Both these complexes are based on dis-empowerment of self. But aren’t officially recognized in the psycho-analytic fraternity The Peter Pan Complex usually is associated with a young adult man who is the quintessential “boy who never grows up”. Such men often avoid responsibilities with excessive laziness, lack of direction, slacker tendencies and chronic procrastination of problems. People often call them childish and crazy. They live in a fantasy world where they simply want success to happen without taking any proactive actions. The Cinderella Complex, on the other hand involves women who are afraid of being independent. They tend to be overtly dependent on men. Many over-compensate the need for security by focusing on certain home-related aspects of life. These women even stay in dysfunctional relationships in order to be feel cared, albeit by a very abusive and manipulative partner.

7. God Complex

god comples

This is a complex that is often seen in people who hold positions of power, such as politicians and business leaders. It is an illusion where the person is convinced that they are very powerful in influence and will constantly try to display their abilities. They often incur heavy risks to do the most difficult and impossible tasks possible. Such people are so narcissistic that they refuse to consider an alternate opinion. They often ignore the opinion of others as a result and also refuse to take blame. This feeling is at its few among a number of sociopaths and criminals as well where they actually feel that society is supposed to give them privileged treatment. They don’t consider the same rules applicable for their misgivings. This can cause serious problems for everyone in reality and it can progress to a manic syndrome as well.

6. Don Juan Complex

don juan

This complex is often seen in the typical womanizer. Charlie Harper of “Two and a half men” seems to be an ideal example of a Don Juan. Such a man usually changes female partners very frequently and usually views them as a source of pleasure. He is often insensitive to the emotional needs of women though he can often be a good charmer. Such men are incapable of having a long-term relationship and a number of them even live off women. Jung argues that this complex can occur as a form of latent homosexuality and mother complex. He tries to find his mother in every woman as a way to propel his heterosexuality. However, the sexual partner never satisfies this need. In many cases, a broken heart or sexual trauma can also cause feelings of inadequacy and lead to this complex.

5. Parental Complex

parent complex

A very famous complex propagated by the Freudian school of thought is the dilemma of a child to choose between the parents. The theory is based on the famous story of Greek mythological characters Oedipus and Electra who killed their parents but derived no satisfaction because of social norms. In case of Oedipus complex, the son develops a deep, often unconscious sexual attraction towards his mother where he even wants to marry her. The father is perceived as a potential rival and an irrational fear of castration develops. In case of Electra complex, the daughter develops an interest in her father. These feelings are said to develop when the child is 3-6 years old. During this time, the girl is said to experience “penis envy” for she lacks the organ. Over time, the child is able to resolve this complex. Otherwise, they reach adulthood and always compare with the parent.

4. Martyr Complex

martyr complex

This is a very serious complex and can escalate to the point of self-harm in both emotional and physical terms. The person deeply believes that life is all about suffering and they actually want to have more of this suffering in order to receive a form of sympathy from others. They constantly try to influence other people about the “tortures” they go through and are great exhibitionists of their terrible state. However, they fall into a great depression when they don’t receive the reaction they want from others. Such instances have been observed in women in abusive relationships, particularly from poorer households. It sometimes considered a variation of masochism (pleasure from suffering) although this is contested as penance is also a part of being the martyr. Traits of passive-aggressiveness (indirect and emotionally distant ways to be domineering) are also noticed in some cases. This process can often escalate into psychosis over time and hospitalization becomes urgent.

3. Superiority Complex

superiority complex

A person with a superiority complex thinks that they are better than others. Unlike the one with the inferiority complex, they don’t care enough to act superior in front of others. They simple believe they are.  These people often consider others as lesser beings or even worthless who don’t really deserve their company. However, they build relations with people only for strategic gains and are not really capable of any true friendships. They are excessively controlling by default. Often, when the complex becomes a full-fledged psychiatric illness, the patient begins to have increasing day-dreaming experiences where he feels that others are inferior and often dreams up false realities to further the dream-like state. This might even progress to “Norman Psychosis” which is a state of mental breakdown where they feel like myths related to a God is true when they have been adequate manipulated by a leader, political or religious.

2. Inferiority Complex

inferiority complex

This complex, as the name suggests makes a person feel like they are inferior in comparison to others or in terms of social standards. Sometimes they over-compensate by superb achievements despite their adverse belief. Otherwise, they display extremely anti-social behavior. Usually, they tend to be careless towards their needs and often restrict themselves in many areas, thinking they are too inferior to succeed anyway. They talk about themselves in a dismissive way and have difficulties in feeling confident despite being praised. Somehow, they believe that there is fundamentally wrong with them. Students facing this issue usually have difficulties retaining matter because of the sub-conscious stream of negativity. Women are more prone to this problem. This feeling can originate in feelings of inadequacy related to looks, weight issues and even abilities or perhaps every possible aspect of the person. The feeling of self-loathing is very intense and often paves the way for severe depression.

1.Persecution Complex

persecution complex

This is one of the most common complexes in modern day life. A person is subjected to immense stress and a hurried pace of living with an over-emphasis on achievement. As a result, they begin to develop a belief that everyone is somehow trying to hurt them in some way. They distrust the world and also feel like they are constantly being watched. Such people are often in a hurry to get things due to the feeling of lack of time. For example, in case a person suffering from this complex goes to a restaurant and the waiter brings the wrong order, they feel as if the waiter has done it on purpose to irritate them. However, this isn’t the only form of this complex. Another important area where this complex is heavily evident is the religious community where a widespread religious group often feels threatened by others as infringing upon its beliefs and practices. This aggravates communal discord and reduced tolerance in society at large.


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