12 behaviors men display in relationships to mask their own insecurities

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There’s nothing quite as toxic to a relationship as an insecure man who won’t admit it. 

Being insecure is part of life, but it’s crucial to open up about it and find a way to face it. 

Men who react by pushing down their insecurities and overcompensating for them often go to extreme lengths to seem confident.

How can you spot men like this (and avoid them)? Here’s what to watch for…

1) Projection

“No I didn’t, you did!”

It’s already annoying when a kid does this, much less a grown man. 

But so many still do. And they continue to use projection and gaslighting throughout their string of failed relationships. 

Refusing to take responsibility and projecting their own issues onto others is exhausting and is part of why insecure men who don’t face their problems end up becoming relationship kryptonite.

Speaking of not taking responsibility…

2) Never apologizing 

Insecure men who won’t own up to it have a bad habit of refusing to say sorry. 

They refuse to apologize even when they did something wrong and they’re entirely aware of it. 

The words just don’t leave their mouth. They refuse to speak them. 

It’s like admitting they screwed up, even in a small way, is somehow humiliating or lessens them in their own eyes. 

3) Hyper-assertiveness 

Think of the stereotypical frat bro who gets up in everyone’s face and walks almost with a waddle. 

This is the hyper-assertive man. God forbid somebody steals his parking spot or looks at his girlfriend the wrong way. 

He’s up in their face like Chef Gordon Ramsay after somebody overcooks the soup. This guy is almost a cartoon character, what’s he overcompensating for? 

4) Acting over-the-top macho

This type of over-assertive guy who’s hiding from his insecurities often acts over-the-top macho as well.

He doesn’t show much emotion, making light of emotions in general. 

He acts like he’s never shed a tear in his life and finds any of the more emotive sides of life to be stupid and not worth considering. 

5) Extreme competitiveness 

A close cousin to hyper assertiveness and the machismo is the highly competitive guy. 

He’s taken healthy competition and gone way overboard with it, turning the tiniest casual discussion into a no-holds-barred debate and taking a fun game of fussball and turning it into an Olympic tournament. 

When it comes to the relationship he makes every small issue into a big showdown and refuses to chillax about anything.

Even the smallest disagreement or comparison becomes all about him showing he’s better and more accomplished. 

6) Masking insecurity with jokes  

What’s better than a funny guy, right? 

But some men will indeed use humor to hide their insecurities. Any time a subject comes up that actually hurts or upsets them they brush it aside with a self-deprecating joke or with joking about other people. 

By using humor as a defense they hope to switch the subject or turn away from it, either making the joke about themselves or about other people.

Which brings up the next subject…

7) Mocking and belittling others 

Really insecure guys are known for being bullies with a mean-spirited sense of humor.

They use mockery and cruel jokes to put others down in the hope that this will shore up their own faltering self-esteem. 

By making cruel jokes about other people they hope they can feel better about themselves and make others look stupid. 

8) Criticizing any perceived weakness or fault

The insecure man loves to criticize others and point out what somebody else is doing wrong. 

In a relationship he tends to believe that he can do no wrong and that his partner has to fall in line on every issue. 

He won’t accept any criticism whatsoever, but he sure can dish it out. 

If his partner gets tired of that he claims that she’s being oversensitive. 

Whenever he notices something that seems weak or at fault in others, the insecure guy is pointing it out and demanding that it change. 

9) Perfectionism and over-idealism

Nothing is ever going to be perfect, but highly insecure people do their best to make it so. 

No matter how great a job they do, however, they always strive to do better in a cycle of endless perfectionism.

The result is a really tense time and always feeling like they haven’t done a good enough job. 

Men who act like this are battling some inner demons that they don’t want to face up to.

10) Possessiveness and jealousy 

A little bit of jealousy can be healthy and every relationship needs boundaries of what both partners are comfortable with. 

But a man who becomes highly possessive and jealous is almost always insecure and trying to push it down. 

So he exerts control over his partner and demands that she do what he wants or reports back to him about her life, explaining every interaction and thought and feeling she has. 

This is him attempting to elevate his own sense of well-being by controlling somebody else. 

11) Lying about their accomplishments 

There’s never been a revisionist historian as creative as an insecure man. 

Men who feel bad about themselves will brazenly lie about their past and their accomplishments. 

I’ve had friends find out their boyfriend was lying about his citizenship, where he went to school and even who his family was after years in a relationship. 

Insecure men will build up a fictional biography of themselves that’s more in line with who they wish they were and use that even in their relationship. 

12) Being emotionally distant 

Men who are insecure often go for the simplest solution of all:

They become emotionally distant and emotionally unavailable, switching off like a cyborg and tuning out. 

It’s especially common when an issue has come up which touches a nerve or gets to the root insecurity of a man.

This could be his underlying fear that he’s not desirable, or his underlying terror of abandonment or rejection.

So he tunes out, going through the motions and keeping a blank expression on his face, acting like all is fine when it’s really not.

The insecure man in love

We all get insecure from time to time. 

Every guy has moments of deep insecurity when he isn’t at his best in a relationship, and so does every woman. 

But the key is to learn from this and keep improving and becoming more self-aware. 

None of us will ever be perfect, nor should we be. But we can become more aware of our blind spots and learn to hold our own emotional space in a more effective way in relationships, being open about insecurities while also not taking them out on others.

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