Most of us have experienced some level of insecurity in our lives, whether it involves our careers or relationships. These moments pass, and we move on by addressing our shortcomings and working on our confidence.
But for some, it’s not that easy to move past feeling insecure.
Past experiences, chronic anxiety, and personality traits are some of the reasons that insecurity becomes part of who they are. They become jealous, withdrawn, or lose a sense of their true selves because they’re constantly trying to hide their insecurities.
For some direction and clarity, if someone displays these 10 behaviors, they’re more insecure than they realize.
1) They need to know what others think of them.
People can become too concerned with what others think of them because they aren’t confident about who they are. They want acceptance from others.
It’s natural to think about someone else’s perception of you, but when you’re insecure, you put a lot of weight on others’ opinions. What other people think or say is the truth, and this traps them in a cycle of negative thoughts.
Think about it.
Confident people will not allow someone else’s opinion to affect their character and values.
Insecure individuals develop an unhealthy preoccupation with someone else’s opinion of them. Negative perceptions of their character or performance at work can lead to feelings of worthlessness, depression, and anxiety.
2) They’re controlling.
People who are insecure can come across as very controlling.
That’s because people who are insecure need predictability in their lives. When they lack control, they feel less secure.
Is your significant other controlling you?
If so, it could be a sign that they’re actually insecure. Trying to control you keeps things going their way, which eases their anxiety. Control is often accompanied by jealousy, another behavior to look out for.
People might feel intimidated by someone they perceive as better-looking, having more wealth, or having a higher social status.
Jealousy creates unhealthy relationships.
Your partner may have a problem if you’re too friendly with other people or if you go out too often. They make nasty remarks about what you wear or downplay your achievements. It can filter into your job, especially if you get a promotion or make more money than them.
Constant control and bouts of jealousy are usually driven by insecurities.
3) They’re arrogant
This one caught me off guard.
The last trait you would expect from someone who is insecure is arrogance. When I think of an arrogant person, my impression is that of a loud and obnoxious character who’s a borderline narcissist.
But the truth is that boastful people who seek the most attention could be the most insecure.
Some people use the guise of acting like they’re better than everyone else as a survival tactic. There’s an air about them, but behind the tough facade is a deep fear that someone will hurt them and crush their self-esteem.
Arrogance is a way to protect one’s feelings and hide insecurity.
So, the next time you think someone is acting like a total jerk, their arrogant attitude could be a sign of an underlying insecurity.
4) They’re flawless.
There are some people who appear to be total perfectionists. They do well in their careers and relationships, and they seem to have it all.
But this kind of perfection could be a mask to hide their insecurities.
Striving for perfection in all areas of your life is an exhausting rat race. Perfectionists want to be accepted by others, so they always set high standards or unrealistic goals.
They compete with others, but worst of all, they compete with themselves because they’re trying to be something they’re not.
Even those with a narcissistic personality have hidden insecurities.
Narcissists enjoy bragging, but this is merely a way to avoid any type of criticism. They hide behind their perfect persona because they are extremely sensitive to negative feedback.
5) They’re overly sexual.
I had a friend a few years ago who always seemed to end up in bed with a guy she’d just met. I could never understand why she wouldn’t wait to get to know them because her way never led to a meaningful or lasting relationship.
What does it mean?
There’s a very fine line between feeling confident and oozing sex appeal and then being overly sexual to get your way. Someone who is insecure tends to use their body and allure to attract attention.
Their reliance on their sexuality is about satisfying the need to feel wanted. When someone they have their eye on reciprocates, it simply reinforces their behavior and mindset.
You may notice that conversations are generally sexual in nature or get physical too quickly in relationships, which could all stem from insecurity.
The purpose of this behavior is to prevent someone from getting to know you at your core for fear of rejection.
6) They fold in social situations.
If you’ve ever been in a group setting and felt uncomfortable, you might have felt yourself physically retreat from the situation. It’s not something that we’re always aware of, but when we feel insecure, we tend to withdraw or freeze in the moment because we’re under stress and tension.
This is what happens…
A person who thinks that their insecurity is about to be revealed will rapidly change in a social situation. They might become quiet; their shoulders shrink back, their arms stiffen at their sides; and they might turn into a ball.
It’s a psychological effect on the body that usually happens in a social setting when someone feels intimidated and insecure.
7) They always put others down.
Whether you’re in a friendship or a romantic relationship, if somebody is making a point of demeaning you, they are the problem.
Nobody who insults or puts you down gets a free pass, and you should make them aware that their behavior is hurting you.
If we get into the psychology behind belittling behavior, it could be a sign of insecurity, particularly in close relationships. They might be sarcastic, insult you, or take jabs at you, sometimes telling you that they’re only joking.
Look out for signs of manipulation.
Someone who puts you down wants to make you feel small and powerless because it puts them in control. It’s an indication of low self-esteem and a need to protect themselves from criticism or rejection.
Remember, it’s not you, it’s them.
8) They like to people please.
Let’s say that you’re dating someone, and you notice that you’re the one making all the decisions. Whether it’s choosing where to hang out or what to eat, they always leave it up to you.
Initially, you might not even pick up on the little things until you have to make life-changing decisions.
An inability to make one’s own decisions can cause conflict in a relationship.
You get frustrated with the fact that your partner can’t share their opinion or take the lead in a situation, whether it concerns finances or having a family.
They’re called people pleasers.
This kind of behavior is connected to insecurity in people who suffer from anxiety. They find it hard to stand up for themselves and would rather let others make decisions for them.
9) They have physical “tells.”
A shaking leg, twitching eye, or lip licking are all behaviors that people engage in when they feel nervous or stressed.
When someone feels insecure, there are a few “tells” or cues that you can look for.
The first cue is body-hugging. A person who lacks confidence tends to keep their arms and legs close to their body as if they’re shielding themselves from harm. It’s similar to curling up when you feel sad. They will unintentionally “hug” themselves to protect their feelings.
Another sign of someone’s insecurity is a tendency to hide their mouth. People who feel upset or are “biting their tongue” will use their hands to partly conceal their mouths to hold back their emotions.
10) They’re a “yes-person.”
A “yes-man” or “yes-woman” seldom stands by their opinions or feelings because they constantly agree with someone else’s.
Many people don’t even realize that they’re just agreeing with what’s being said, even if it doesn’t reflect their true feelings.
How’s that possible?
It stems from a fear of conflict. We don’t want to create animosity, and we want to be accepted and liked, so we hide how we really feel or think.
Someone who has a hard time saying no is probably more insecure than they realize.
A person who is really insecure will sacrifice their authenticity to be liked.
It’s hard to admit to feeling insecure, but once you are aware of it, whether in yourself or others, you can do something about it.
If you find yourself in a relationship where your partner’s insecurities are affecting your happiness, it’s time to talk about it. By creating a safe space, you can discuss how you feel and give them the opportunity to explore their limitations too.