Where does your psychological complex come from?

psychological complex sources

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Each complex faced by an individual has its unique nature and characteristics and therefore their sources vary greatly.

One main aspect to consider while identifying commonalities among the roots of complexes is the point of time when the complex was brought into existence. It is worth noting that all existing complexes developed from a certain time point in our lives. Nobody was born with a complex. Actually, most of our complexes were built during our childhood (subsequently carried forward) since our feelings and perceptions are still at a premature stage at that age and we tend to be more vulnerable to situations and emotions. For example, a life-threatening situation is much more likely to affect and impact the behavior of a child in his/her early age than the life of an adult.


Another important aspect to bear in mind is the cause of the complex i.e. the ‘force’ that brought it into existence. The main causes of a complex are usually the following:


mental complex family

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FAMILY: As we already mentioned, during childhood the kids’ characters are still developing and they are looking for role-models to follow who are often the people they spend most of their time with, their parents. They tend to perceive them as very powerful, take their words very seriously and continuously seek their approval. If the parents do not reward and offer recognition to the efforts and achievements of their child, it is very possible that the child will later develop a success complex in an effort to finally obtain his/her parents’ approval.  On the contrary if parents over-reward their children even for minor efforts and create false ideas about their unlimited potential compared to others, children are likely to develop a superiority complex. Other common family-based complexes are the Electra complex (the daughter’s desire to possess her father) and the Oedipus complex (the son’s desire to possess his mother).



mental complex partners

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PARTNERS: A partner in the form of boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife could have an adverse effect on our inner world. An aggressive or abusive relationship could devastate an individual’s self esteem leading to confidence complexes. Body complexes are also common between couples, mainly resulting from the desire to be attractive to the other person. Thus, negative comments about the appearance of your partner or comparisons with other men/women, especially in areas where he/she is lacking confidence, may lead to the development of the relevant complex e.g. weight complex, height complex or breast/penis size complex.



mental complex friends

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FRIENDS: Our psychology tends to be affected by the people we spend most of our time with, placing our friends in the top causes of psychological complexes. We want to be accepted by our friends and to belong in a group so whenever we sense or experience that a certain physical or mental part of ours is not welcomed by our companions, we develop negatively charged thoughts and emotions about it. If your friends never ask your opinion on matters relating to the group, a complex of being ignored or an inferiority complex might be built. Similar effects take place if you are part of a group where your friends are more intelligent or successful than you and do not approve of your performance, consequently giving rise to complexes of intelligence or failure.



mental complex society

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SOCIETY: A long-term process of brainwashing takes place subconsciously in our inner world by the society and our surroundings. The most powerful effect of this process comes from media since they have a huge audience and influential messages. The media set unrealistic role models in our life that usually relate to money, intelligence, power and beauty and as a result it is likely that relevant complexes will develop. For example since desirable women are defined as slim by the media, an overweight woman or even a woman that does not fulfill this certain weight criteria might perceive herself as undesirable and wish that she was thinner (weight complex). Other effectual factors of our society in our inner world are religion (e.g. an individual might develop intolerance of diversity and prejudice against certain groups of people) and politics (e.g. exposure to dictatorship could lead to authority complexes).



mental complex personal experiences

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PERSONAL EXPERIENCES: Although we all come across the causes of complexes mentioned above, it is primarily our personal experiences that contribute to the variety and uniqueness of psychological complexes. For instance an intense exposure to acne could lead to a skin quality complex or joining a war could lead to racism and a superiority/inferiority complex towards the enemy.



Understanding the definition of psychological complex (present or past THOUGHTS – FEELINGS – MEMORIES – WISHES – EXPERIENCES – PERCEPTIONS processed by our brain leading to newly formed behaviors and emotions) should be helpful in identifying the roots and causes of your own complex.



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Morgan is the founder and editor of REALITYPLEX. After suffering from a life-threatening accident, he realized that the way we perceive things around us is based on our beliefs, emotions and experiences. In an effort to draw the line between perception and reality, he launched REALITYPLEX in 2011. Get to know him better and connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and G+