This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (July 2013) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
In psychology, compensation is a strategy whereby one covers up, consciously or unconsciously, weaknesses, frustrations, desires, or feelings of inadequacy or incompetence in one life area through the gratification or (drive towards) excellence in another area. Compensation can cover up either real or imagined deficiencies and personal or physical inferiority. Positive compensations may help one to overcome one's difficulties. On the other hand, negative compensations do not, which results in a reinforced feeling of inferiority.
There are two kinds of negative compensation:
A well-known example of failing overcompensation is observed in people going through a midlife-crisis. Approaching midlife, many people lack the energy to maintain their psychological defenses, including their compensatory acts.
In his book Study of Organ Inferiority and Its Physical Compensation (1907) he describes this relationship: If one feels inferior (weak) he / she (usually) tries to compensate for it somewhere else.
Adler's motivation to investigate this was from personal experience. He was a very sickly child. He was unable to walk till he was four because of rickets. Then he was a victim of pneumonia as well as a series of accidents.
Adler also "transferred" this idea of compensation to psychic training.
Narcissistic people, by compensation theory, mute the feelings of low self-esteem by:
Narcissistic children try to compensate for their jealousy and anger by:
(see studies of Melanie Klein)
Christopher Lasch, an American historian and social critic wrote in his book The Culture of Narcissism (1979) that North American society in the 1970s was narcissistic (had narcissistic colour). The narcissistic society:
Therefore, it is "fascinated" with fame (by Lasch).
Consumption has been put forward as a means of compensation (see study by Allison J. Pugh: From compensation to 'childhood wonder'). Examples: