7 Habits of Insecure People, and How You Can Change

Updated on January 21, 2017
jmenter profile image

the author of, "You're Not Crazy-You're Codependent." an amazon bestseller which is helping people around the world.

Insecurity is as common as a cold. It's sad that so many people wander through life saddled with the effects of damaging childhoods, traumatic relationships and events, or real personal shortcomings—all of which can burden a person with a lifetime of endless self-doubt.

But it doesn't have to remain that way. Change is possible if a person is fully committed to making it happen. Yet the tragedy is that adults who are deeply insecure very often don't realize how obvious their problem is. Others become experts at faking it, but the very act of pretending usually highlights the issue to the rest of the world.

7 Ways to Spot Insecurity

1. Defensiveness

When a person feels she (or he) is not equal to others, the first way to respond is often to try to bring others down. That way, she will have a false sense of superiority. This defensiveness is conveyed in several ways such as

  • putting others down
  • always suspicious that people are looking down on her
  • easily discouraged
  • quick to defend herself even when no one has accused or made fun of her
  • over reacts to authority in a negative way

2. Arrogance

A natural outcome of feeling less-than others is to develop false pride. This is manifested by

  • bragging
  • acting as if she is better than others
  • needing to have more, be more, do more than others to feel worthy
  • judgmental of everyone in such a way as to make herself superior
  • unwilling to see her own shortcomings
  • cruel, cold personality
  • selfish

3. Needy

In order to feel adequate, many insecure people develop over-the-top needs that put them in the position of having to be treated differently. They are high maintenance!

  • sick often with unusual or ongoing issues
  • require constant validation
  • often become highly jealous

4. "Quitter" Mentality

Insecure people often develop a track record of not being able or willing to finish things such as assignments, careers, school; even long-term relationships. Why? Because they fear that if they do, they will be judged as not being good enough. Always afraid of rejection, they would rather quit than take a chance that getting to the end of things might reveal them to be a fraud or unlovable.

The opposite of this tendency is to be the 'suck up.' This is the type who has no boundaries and will do anything for approval. This bottomless need for validation causes some insecure people to be the butt of jokes in the workplace and victims of one-sided love affairs and friendships.

5. Fearful

Being constantly afraid and worried is a way of life for the insecure.

  • what if I fail
  • what if they don't like me
  • what if they find out what a phony I am
  • what if someone discovers my shameful secrets (the past, personal problems, etc.)

As a result, these types of people are never at peace, rather they are highly stressed, easily agitated and usually pessimistic.

6. Angry

With all this negativity pulsing through them 24/7, it is no wonder insecure people are also angry. They're mad at the people who made them this way, at the people who they perceive are judging them (which is almost everyone) but most of all, they are furious at themselves for being such losers. This is a lie, but it's their perception.

7. Tendency to either isolate or needing to be the center of attention

People trying to cope with all these problems have two ways of coping - both are extreme. Some people who are so afraid of rejection and being discovered as frauds will find solace in isolating. By detaching from all that terrifies them, they settle for being alone. At least then no one can hurt or make them feel worse about themselves than they already do. The truth, however, is that we cannot escape our thoughts. Those negative messages continue to play no matter where we are.

The other extreme are those that feed on being in the limelight - constantly. This means they must be the funniest, the sexiest, the loudest and sometimes the one who pays for everything. In their minds, the continual adulation by his or her admirers serves as validation that they are 'winners.' This helps them forget how badly they really feel about themselves.

Both extremes can lead to other issues of addiction including

  • alcohol, drugs
  • food
  • spending
  • sex
  • television or other entertainment

They find that isolating and being the center of attention are just short-terms ways of escaping their thoughts. They must 'numb out' with addictive behavior in order to function.

Ack! That's Me! Now What??

The truth is most of us have some degree or another of insecurity imbedded in our personalities. It's not a death sentence. A little can actually make us more determined to be a better person, while too much can easily leave us feeling helpless and like a lost cause.

If you know that insecurity is running your life and causing you to make one bad decision after another, you already have begun the painful process of changing. Realizing it's a problem is the first step. Here are some steps anyone can take to become the person he or she wants to be.

  1. Be mindful of your actions. This doesn't mean be paranoid and consumed with yourself. Simply begin noting when your conscience tells you that what you're saying or doing is the result of insecurity. Then stop. Of course it's hard. But you can do it.
  2. When you've hurt someone with your words or actions, get in the habit of apologizing. Not profusely - just simply. For example: "I'm sorry I did that. It wasn't right. I hope you can forgive me." "Oops. That wasn't right. I'm working on changing that, sorry" Don't berate yourself and go into a long reason why you're so messed up. Keep it clean.
  3. Get out of your comfort zone. If you've been talking too much, spending too much, isolating too much - what ever you are doing to make yourself feel better, stop. Instead, force yourself to be quiet, turn down the opportunity to look like a big wheel by buying or spending again. Go out - anywhere - if you've been alone too much. Just being around people will get your mind off yourself, which can be an addiction in itself. If you hate being alone, force yourself to sit quietly and read a book that is helpful to your recovery.
  4. Get counseling to work out your issues. If a traumatic past or childhood is holding you back, don't let another year go by in chains to it. People recover from their issues everyday. You can, too.
  5. Surround yourself with people who are on a similar path. AA and all its offshoots are invaluable in offering validation, accountability and support. You'll soon see that you're not crazy and you're not alone.
  6. Seek a relationship with God. In doing so, you'll develop a new weapon: when you are dedicated to pleasing a loving God, you can no longer get away with negative behavior without regretting it.
  7. Be easy on yourself. Of all the people you pick on to feel better, no one gets more of your critical attitude than YOU. It's going to be a long process, but eventually, getting down on yourself will seem boring.
  8. Let yourself explore those things that get you excited, creative and feeling good about yourself. Art, going back to school, exercising, going on a diet (and finishing it) are all examples of challenging yourself in a positive way. Above all, resist the urge to judge yourself on how well you are doing this.

Insecurity makes us self-centered in the worst way. To overcome it, we have to take our minds off ourselves now and then and develop compassion for others. In helping people around us be their best, we not only make them feel better about being around us, but we begin to see ourselves as giving instead of always reacting out of need.

Questions & Answers

    © 2013 Jeanette Menter

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • profile image

        Shane 

        2 years ago

        What i find interesting is that the pronouns she and her were used instead of them. I am not an angry feminist but i like when somebody is professional, especially when it comes to sensitive subjects like this one. It makes Jeanette Menter seem like she was angry at one of her insecure friends when she wrote this.

        In my life i met many insecure people and i am an a pretty insecure person myself, but none of the people i met showed any signs of arrogance. They were not emotionless or cold etc. The fact is that some people feel insecure because they always have been put down and now feel as if they are worth less than anyone else. I feel like the majority of insecurity grew from there and that somebody who's insecure doesn't automatically have t0 be a coldhearted self centered angry person.

      • profile image

        Rhea 

        4 years ago

        So interesting now i know the reasons behind why some people are too insecure. The only thing to deal with them is to understand what really lies behind. Thank you..

      • maggs224 profile image

        maggs224 

        5 years ago from Sunny Spain

        I was one of those people but thankfully number 6 changed all that for me, I really enjoyed reading this Hub I will be voting up and hitting the relevant buttons on my way out :D

      • denise.w.anderson profile image

        Denise W Anderson 

        5 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

        How true! I have battled with this problem all of my life. I tend to be one that isolates myself for fear I will be "found out." Fortunately, I have been able to recognize the problem, and do many of the things that you have suggested here. It has definitely been a help, especially, in getting out and with others, and helping those who are having difficulty. Now, I am much less apt to get down on myself.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, healdove.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://healdove.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)