12 behaviors of men who mask insecurity with arrogance, according to psychology

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Some men put on a tough exterior to hide the fact that, deep down, they don’t feel very confident or good about themselves.

They’re scared of getting rejected or criticized, so they puff themselves up to make it seem like they’re untouchable.

I mean, we’ve seen it so many times that it would be funny if it weren’t so sad and often affecting the rest of us. Too many powerful men do this, and they often make the lives of people around them a living hell.

So, let’s see what behaviors men who mask insecurity with arrogance show, according to psychology.

1) They dismiss others’ opinions or ideas

Psychologists view a dismissive attitude as a defense mechanism used by insecure people to protect their fragile egos. 

By dismissing others’ opinions or ideas, they avoid confronting the possibility that their own beliefs or capabilities might be challenged, and this triggers feelings of insecurity.

I’ve seen this happen many times. They dismiss or downplay the opinions, ideas, or contributions of others. 

They’re scared that if they admit someone else has a good idea, it’ll make them look less important. 

So, they stick to their own opinions like glue, even if it means missing out on valuable insights from others.

2) They need to control situations and people

When men feel insecure, they often try to control everything and everyone around them. They get anxious when things are uncertain or when they can’t predict what’s going to happen. 

So, they go overboard trying to control every little detail, thinking it’ll make them feel more powerful and secure. But in reality, it just shows how unsure they are deep down.

For example, I’ve encountered many bosses and managers who are insecure about their leadership abilities. 

They constantly hover over their employees, checking every little detail of their work, and don’t trust them to do their jobs properly. 

3) They often brag

When you see a man regularly bragging about what he’s done or what he owns, it’s usually because he doesn’t feel very good about himself deep down. 

He’s looking for others to pat him on the back and make him feel better. Many times, he’ll even stretch the truth a bit to make himself look more impressive. 

But really, all that bragging is just covering up his own insecurities. Psychologically, by exaggerating their achievements, insecure men seek external validation to temporarily boost their self-esteem.

4) They become defensive or hostile when their competence or abilities are questioned

Defensiveness arises from a fear of being exposed or criticized. So, when their competence or abilities are questioned, insecure men will often respond defensively or even aggressively. 

They feel deeply threatened by criticism or feedback, interpreting it as an attack on their self-worth. 

As a result, they become combative or argumentative in order to protect their fragile egos. Here’s an example:

During a friendly game of basketball, a player on one team misses a shot, and a teammate offers some advice, saying, “Hey, next time, try aiming a bit higher.” 

Feeling criticized, the insecure player reacts defensively, saying, “I know how to shoot, okay? I don’t need your advice!” 

He might even get into his face, turning what could have been a simple suggestion into a heated argument.

5) They frequently interrupt or talk over others

Interrupting others is a form of dominant behavior used by insecure men to assert control and keep the spotlight in conversations.

That’s why often, men who mask insecurity with arrogance will interrupt or talk over others in conversations. 

By monopolizing the conversation, they’re controlling the flow of communication and propping up their perceived dominance.

6) They belittle or demean others

In an effort to elevate themselves, insecure men often also resort to belittling or demeaning others. 

They’ll criticize or ridicule others in order to make themselves feel superior by comparison. This behavior serves to bolster their own fragile self-esteem at the expense of others’ feelings.

It’s nothing new, too. We’ve all seen it before. 

7) They avoid showing vulnerability or admitting mistakes

Men who are insecure often go to great lengths to avoid showing any sign of vulnerability or weakness. 

They see vulnerability as a threat to their image of strength and competence, fearing that others will see them as inadequate or inferior if they display any form of vulnerability.

I often fall into this trap and avoid opening up about anything that’s bothering me. 

I like to think that that’s because I believe most of my issues are so-called first-world problems, but in reality, I just don’t want other people to see me as vulnerable and insecure, among other things. 

8) They have arrogant body language

Insecure men often also use body language to project an image of confidence and superiority. 

Think of men standing with their arms crossed, taking up more space than needed, manspreading, or using other nonverbal cues to convey dominance. 

Like other behaviors on this list, these behaviors too are often used as a facade to mask underlying feelings of insecurity.

9) They’re impatient

And then we’ve come to impatience. It’s another thing I personally struggle with. I like everything to be done ASAP. 

I also often struggle to tolerate delays or setbacks, feeling an intense need for things to go according to plan. 

I learned that this impatience stems from a fear of failure or a desire to keep a sense of control over circumstances.

I’m trying to be more relaxed about things, but it’s a process. I won’t change overnight. 

10) They’re always trying to outdo others

When someone’s feeling insecure, they often try to one-up others. It’s like they’re always in a competition to show they’re better or more successful. 

They feel threatened by other people’s achievements, so they keep trying to prove they’re superior.

For example, if a friend shares that she got a promotion, the insecure man responds by immediately talking about his own accomplishments, trying to make them seem more impressive. 

Or if someone shares a story about a great vacation they had, the insecure man feels like he needs to top it with stories of his own travels, exaggerating details to make himself seem better.

11) They often make grandiose plans

They’ll also talk big and make huge plans to impress others. He’ll exaggerate what he’s done or promise things he can’t possibly deliver on just to get attention and praise. 

But really, all this bragging and exaggerating is just a cover-up for how he really feels inside—like he’s not good enough.

And you know who comes to mind first when I’m thinking about this? Elon Musk. He’s the ultimate “divorced dad,” always trying to one-up everyone and make ridiculous grandiose plans that have almost zero chance of succeeding

12) They refuse to seek help

And lastly, many guys who feel insecure shy away from asking for help, even when they really need it. 

They worry that reaching out for a helping hand will make them seem weak or incapable. So, they tough it out on their own, even if they’re struggling internally.

And sure enough, I see this happening all the time around me. I ask my friends, “Why didn’t you call me to help you with that? You didn’t have to do it all by yourself!” But they just brush it off.

Final thoughts

While it’s tough to be in their path, knowing that some of these men are simply insecure can make you see them in a different light. 

You may not have compassion because they’re behaving terribly, but at least you know why they’re acting like that. 

That might make them a bit less intimidating, knowing that they’re just as insecure (if not more!) as the rest of us.  

Adrian Volenik

Adrian has years of experience in the field of personal development and building wealth. Both physical and spiritual. He has a deep understanding of the human mind and a passion for helping people enhance their lives. Adrian loves to share practical tips and insights that can help readers achieve their personal and professional goals. He has lived in several European countries and has now settled in Portugal with his family. When he’s not writing, he enjoys going to the beach, hiking, drinking sangria, and spending time with his wife and son.

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