We all know the type of guy I’m talking about.
The one who masks his insecurities with a brash, over-the-top persona.
From the outside, he seems confident, even cocky. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find that it’s often not confidence at all, but a sea of insecurity hidden behind a wall of arrogance.
These men tend to have their charade down, but there are subtle yet definitive signs that betray their true feelings…
And once you know what to look for, you’ll be able to spot these signs a mile away.
In this article, we’re going to delve into the 9 subtle things these characters often do which incline their arrogance is there for a reason.
With this knowledge, you’ll be better equipped to tell who is actually confident, and who is putting on a show.
1) They often overcompensate
Before you’ve even entered the room, you can hear his brassy, hoarse laugh.
You know the one I’m talking about; he always has the loudest laugh, the most extravagant stories, and the boldest of gestures.
Yeah, that one. He’s probably not as confident as he seems.
Many men who are dealing with insecurities tend to overcompensate in other areas of their lives. It’s as if they’re trying to distract you (and themselves) from their underlying feelings of inadequacy by making themselves seem ten times louder.
Sure, they might be the life of the party, living perpetually in the spotlight center stage.
Or perhaps they’re the ‘know-it-all’, who goes balls-to-the-wall if ever they are called out as ignorant and never admits they’re wrong. These are after all the classic signs of overcompensation.
However, it’s important to remember that this behavior often stems from a place of insecurity, not malice. Understanding this can help us approach these individuals with more empathy and compassion.
2) They’re overly critical of everyone else
Deep-rooted internal insecurity means you’re probably living with a harsh and caustic self-critic who just loves pulling you apart from the inside out…
Hence why deeply insecure men try to drown out this inner-voice by tearing apart those around them.
Ever noticed how some guys always seem to find every fault in others and have no issue piping up about it? They simply love picking up imperfections and aren’t shy about pointing them out.
“Claudia! Wow. Really packed on those pounds over Christmas, right? Must love mince pies, you naughty girl!”
“Looking pretty tired, my man. Really rough, actually. Guess the big 40’s have been hitting hard?”
“Not your best meal, I’m afraid. But we all know you can’t cook and there’s no shame in that!”
Sidenote: a lot of this criticism will be thinly veiled as backhanded compliments, as they’ve fine tuned the way they present criticism to make it more palatable and harder to call out.
And once you delve deeper, you realize that this behavior is likely a reflection of their own insecurities (although this doesn’t excuse it). They regularly use criticism as a defense mechanism to divert attention away from his own perceived shortcomings.
3) They don’t handle criticism well
Handling criticism can be tough for everyone.
But for men who are hiding insecurities with arrogance, it can feel like an all-out attack on their persona.
Sure, they can dish out the criticism like it’s nobody’s business.
But taking even an inch in return?
You better be joking!
So, posed with a less than positive piece of feedback, they’ll respond with defensiveness or even aggression. This reaction is less about the criticism itself and more about protecting their fragile ego and preventing it from shattering altogether.
Recognizing this pattern can help us approach such situations with sensitivity and tact (even though someone who gives it all but can’t take it can be abhorrent company).
4) They think everything is a competition
Life isn’t a race, but for some men hiding insecurities, it can certainly feel like one.
They’re always looking for ways to prove they’re the best, often turning harmless situations into a competition.
Seemingly mundane things like who can eat the spiciest food, who tells the funniest jokes, or who has the nicest hallway. Yes, boring accolades such as these will instantly shift these men into sixth gear in a frantic race to win and thus assert their dominance.
This constant need to compete often stems from a deep-seated fear of not being good enough.
By proving they’re ‘the best’ at something (literally anything), they’re able to momentarily silence their inner critic.
5) They’re rarely vulnerable (and usually emotionally unavailable)
Vulnerability is often seen as a sign of weakness, especially among men who are grappling with insecurities. They tend to avoid showing any signs of emotional fragility, fearing it would expose their true selves.
They put on a brave face, even when they’re hurting inside. They shy away from deep conversations, preferring to keep things light and superficial. They rarely talk about their fears, their doubts, or their struggles. And no, you won’t catch them crying (at least not in public).
This inability to be vulnerable is often a defense mechanism to protect themselves from judgment or rejection.
But it’s also a barrier that prevents them from forming deep, meaningful connections with others, often shifting them into the emotionally unavailable category when it comes to relationships which require tearing down those walls.
6) They are constantly seeking validation
We all need a little reassurance from time to time.
But for men masking their insecurities with arrogance, this need for validation can be constant and consuming, as their engines run on appreciation, praise, and flattery.
They look for compliments and affirmation in absolutely everything they do. Their self-worth is often tied to external validation, and without it, they feel unseen and unimportant.
This constant need for approval can be exhausting, both for them and for the people in their lives. It’s a frantic search for self-worth in the eyes of others, a quest that never truly satisfies because the approval they seek needs to come from within.
As an outsider looking in, it can be deeply tiring – being in the presence of someone who so hungers for validation.
But try to spare them some empathy and patience and see that this never satiated appetite comes from a deep-seated self-doubt and loathing.
7) They’re excessively controlling
Control can be a safe haven for those dealing with insecurities. By controlling their environment, people, and situations, they create a sense of predictability and security.
So, you guessed it.
They will swoop in and take control of work projects, parties, nights out.
Hell, a work weekend away that they had no business being on will quickly become their side project for the weekend.
They’re wiley ways allow them to swoop in and start micromanaging even trivial situations.
But, know that this desire for control usually stems from a gut-wrenching fear of the unknown. By controlling everything they somewhat avoid anything going wrong or looking foolish, subsequently avoiding any more blows to their ego.
8) They’re often dismissive
Good luck trying to share your feelings or thoughts with someone so insecure.
What’ll likely happen is they’ll be brushed off or ignored altogether.
Being so dismissive of other people’s emotions is a common behavior among men who are hiding their own insecurities beneath a cloak of arrogance.
They might change the subject, trivialize your feelings, or even resort to sarcastic remarks. This dismissiveness is often a defense mechanism. By dismissing others, they’re able to maintain a sense of superiority and control. They make themselves feel just a teensy tiny bit better by invalidating your feelings and clutching onto a sense of being better than you.
9) They rarely ask for help
This is perhaps one of the most important signs to look for. Men who are struggling with insecurities often have an extremely hard time asking for help. They see it as a sign of weakness, a public admission of their inability to handle things on their own.
So, they’d far rather struggle in silence than risk appearing vulnerable or incapable. This stubborn self-reliance is often a mask for their fears and insecurities.
And this is often a nasty circle, as by being unable to ask for help, they’re more prone to slipping up or doing a bad job which then reflects in poor performance and is an even bigger hit to the ego…
Just remember: it’s okay to ask for help. It’s a sign of strength, not weakness. Recognizing this in others can help us be there for them when they need us, even if they’re not ready to admit it yet.
Hopefully you can leave a little more keyed into the 9 signs that suggest a man filled to the brim with arrogance is a little more insecure than he might let on…
In many cases, men who use arrogance to mask their insecurities aren’t actually doing so out of malice or a desire to dominate.
They’re simply trying to protect themselves from feelings of vulnerability and inadequacy, and employing a less than pleasant form of defense mechanism they’ve learned to protect a fragile and tattered ego.
But try to approach these souls with a little empathy and patience. Set boundaries to protect yourself and don’t allow disrespect, but be aware that everyone is fighting their own battles – some more visibly than others.
The next time you encounter someone hiding behind a veil of arrogance, take a moment to consider what might be going on beneath the surface.
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