4 Signs That Give Away an Insecure Person

· February 4, 2017

Have you ever known someone who made you feel inferior, maybe even like a total weakling, and all the while, you saw that person as the most that anyone could ever hope to be in life? Surely you have. The most curious thing about all that is, behind their attitude of security and greatness tends to hide an insecure person.

It is rather common for insecure people to hide their worries and fears behind an attitude of feigned security, which tends to involve making others feel inferior. This is not a lack of humility, but rather what Alfred Adler called an inferiority complex. It is not by chance that we often find an insecure person behind the mask of an inferiority complex.

According to Adler, people who feel inferior try to compensate for that feeling through what he calls a fight for superiority. The only way that these people can face the uncertainty of their abilities and feel good about themselves is to make others unhappy. For Adler, this fight for superiority lies at the heart of their neurosis.

Insecurity and narcissism

Today it is believed that this fight for superiority is a characteristic of narcissistic personality disorder. This involves a deviation from the normal development of one’s personality, translating into a person who is constantly seeking to raise their self-esteem.

Woman's Reflection Attacking Her

In narcissism, we can find two kinds of patterns: the grandiose and the vulnerable. The grandiose narcissist is characterized by their extroversion, their domination, and their search for attention. The vulnerable narcissist, on the other hand, is very sensitive to criticism or frustration, to the point that criticism can end up obsessing their mind. Furthermore, their social relationships deteriorate due to their pretentiousness and constant need for admiration.


In either of these two cases, when you are dealing with someone who is making you feel inferior, it is very likely that narcissism and a lack of self-esteem are the true culprits. In fact, although narcissism does not always rise to pathological levels, it is very common.

Self-esteem and narcissism

Some researchers believe that narcissism can be better characterized using the concepts of open narcissism and veiled narcissism, instead of grandiose narcissism and vulnerable narcissism. Treatment would vary based on the type that the person is presenting.

Psychologist James Brookes from the University of Derby (United Kingdom), decided to look into how people with a strong narcissistic tendency saw themselves in terms of self-esteem, their own efficiency, and trust in their ability to be successful. Using a sample of university students, Brookes analyzed the relationship between open and veiled narcissism, self-esteem and one’s efficiency.

Narcissistic traits that give away an insecure person

The study provides some signs that help define a narcissistic personality and that can offer us an idea of how we can interpret the actions of narcissists as evidence of their insecurities.

1. Insecure people try to make you feel insecure

Do you often question your own worth when you are with a certain person? Is that person always talking about their own strengths? If you are a person who generally does not feel insecure, but who starts to have doubts or feel inferior when you are near certain people, it is very likely that those people are projecting their insecurities onto you.

Silhouettes Blaming One Another

2. Insecure people need to show off their achievements

It is not always necessary for an insecure person to reinforce himself through behavior that will push another person to feel insecure. Many times, it is enough for insecure people to boast about their great lifestyle, their amazing education, or how fantastic their family is. This is their way of convincing themselves that they really have value.

3. Insecure people talk about their own humility too frequently

Presuming that you are humble is a veiled way of pointing yourself out, of making others feel inferior, and making yourself better than others. Gloating about humility gives insecure people away.

4. Insecure people tend to complain about things that are not good enough

People with a major inferiority complex do not feel like they have enough to be happy. Given that they feel insecure in the present, they focus on very high goals. They are obsessed with prestige gaining notoriety in the eyes of others. In this way, they show their superiority through supposedly superior goals, which will end up reinforcing their insecurity when they do not achieve them.

Final comments

Being able to detect insecurity in the people around you can help you eliminate all those doubts about your own image and your own skills. In this way, you will be able to remedy those doubts that insecure people encourage in you so that they can feel better about themselves.

Not giving into those doubts can help you cultivate feelings of fulfillment, both in yourself and in the insecure people you have around you. The inferiority complex of these people will not improve while you are feeling inferior, but rather, it is just a passing fix. However, it can cause you a deep wound that is hard to heal.

Don’t let others walk all over you. It is enough for you not to take what these people tell you seriously. Do not take on a defense position of self-criticism. Instead of this, show compassion for these people who have enough issues already.