Confidence is something I’ve struggled with for a long time. In the past I was deeply insecure and shy.
This sometimes made my school life hell. In fact, it wasn’t until I was in my late twenties that I finally dedicated myself to improving my confidence and eradicating my insecurities.
I learned a few things along the way. That’s why I’m going to teach you about deeply insecure behaviors that people often exhibit without even realizing it.
1) Excessive self-criticism
Tea the inner dialogue can be relentless and for deeply insecure people even more. They often replay conversations or situations in their minds, focusing on missteps, lapses in judgment, or mistakes.
They do this even when they have done nothing wrong, and what they have done may be considered harmless by others.
This self-questioning creates a relentless and constant undercurrent of stress. Without validation, the insecurity only gets worse and worse, and they end up isolating themselves as much as they can.
2) Social withdrawal
Social withdrawal it’s not just about enjoying solitude. It is a defense mechanism against potential social pitfalls.
Solitude means safety and becomes preferable to the uncertainty of social interaction.
I mean, when I was deeply insecure about myself, I stayed in my apartment as much as I could. That “saved” me from embarrassing myself in front of others.
I was in my safe space, playing video games and interacting with others online.
The problem I had was that I was overthinking and blowing some things that happened out of proportion.
So, for example, if I said something wrong or stupid to someone, I would think about it for a long time instead of forgetting it instantly, as they probably did.
Online, you don’t have to worry about such things.
3) Constant comparison with others
Another incredibly damaging behavior of deeply insecure people is that they compare themselves too much to others.
They look at social networks and see that everyone else is doing great in life except them. That’s complete nonsense, of course.
People only put their best moments online, and unfortunately, many people don’t realize it.
They (naively) take things for granted.
Another problem is that the comparison game is an inexorable quest for validation. They not only compare achievements, but also aspects of their own identity, creating a distorted sense of self-worth.
4) Constant need for reassurance and confirmation
The need for external affirmation can arise from shaky internal foundations. Without that external validation, insecure people have a hard time recognizing their own worth.
What this results in is an endless cycle of seeking reassurance and approval because they have deep-rooted insecurities.
Insecurities that are rooted in past experiences of rejection, criticism or lack of emotional support.
And so, reassurance becomes a temporary remedy for their hidden anxiety. Positive feedback becomes a coping mechanism, however brief, to counteract internal negative stories.
5) Risk avoidance
Fear of judgment or failure can be paralyzing. I know that too well. It’s not just a preference for the familiar, but a strategy to avoid any situation that reinforces their internal narrative of inadequacy.
But the thing is, when you don’t take risks, there’s no chance of making a mistake, and there’s no chance of making a mistake and proving to yourself how “useless” you are.
But where does that leave them? It is a well known fact that growth occurs when you step out of your comfort zone.
Unfortunately, too many deeply insecure people are risk-averse and thus spin the wheel and fail to improve regularly.
6) Fear of rejection
And there is fear of rejection. It can also paralyze you, keep you from coming out of your shell and isolate you from others.
This fear can be deeply rooted, often stemming from past experiences of rejection or abandonment—just like many of the other behaviors on this list.
This colors their interactions, making them wary of fully opening up to others.
7) Avoiding conflict
Avoiding conflict isn’t just about being uncomfortable with disagreements. For insecure people, this involves suppressing their own needs and opinions in order to maintain a harmonious environment, even if it comes at the cost of their own authenticity.
In other words, deeply insecure people don’t like to shake their cage. They would rather stay locked up than dealing with people they disagree with.
What this often results in is, again, isolation or a doormat from others and their needs.
Although it never got that far in my case, I’ve always tried to avoid conflict and would rather take someone at their word and get on with my day than engage in one.
Even to this day, I pick my battles and only fight when it matters. In other cases, I let people believe what they want. My opinion, most certainly, will not change theirs.
8) You apologize excessively
Excessive apologizing for such is like a reflex struggling with insecurities. They don’t just apologize for genuine mistakes. For them, it is a common response to many different situations.
Apologies even act as a shield against potential disapproval and a way to reduce any perceived tension and maintain a smooth social facade.
But many deeply insecure people excuse themselves for simply being present or taking up space.
They are afraid that their thoughts or opinions will cause conflict or disapproval, so they preemptively apologize for having a voice at all.
They start the sentence with an apology. Or, on the other hand, they behave defensively.
Yes, defensiveness can also be a a symptom of deep-rooted insecurity. It becomes a reflex against potential threats to their self-image.
Criticism, even when constructive, is perceived as an attack, prompting a quick reaction to protect their fragile self-esteem.
It’s almost a knee-jerk reaction because the moment they feel the criticism, their defenses go up.
I often saw this at work, where one colleague would give honest feedback to another.
Yet they would dismiss the feedback outright and tell them they know what they’re doing and don’t need anyone’s input.
Again, being defensive doesn’t help us improve. It is only there to make our lives easier for a moment.
10) Inability to accept compliments
Another problem I had in the past was simply an inability to accept compliments from others.
You see, I would greet every compliment with inner skepticism, my mind struggling to reconcile the positive words with my ingrained negative self-concept.
So instead of simply receiving compliments, I would downplay my achievements. Of course, I was a little humble, but I would also attribute what I did to other people or external factors.
Among other things, I did this because I simply did not trust others.
11) Difficulty trusting others
Trust issues can be rooted in past betrayals. Opening up to others means navigating a maze of fear, making it difficult to form deep connections without lingering feelings of skepticism.
Trust also requires vulnerabilityand for someone who is deeply insecure, the idea of opening up and exposing one’s self is terrifying.
It is also a way to protect yourself from possible emotional pain. By keeping your distance, you believe you can prevent future injuries.
As a result, relationships suffer. By hesitating to trust people, you become more isolated and reinforce the belief that trusting others is inherently risky.
12) Fear of abandonment
And finally, I will stop this article at fear of abandonment. This fear of being left alone can manifest itself in clingy or dependent behavior.
Relationships become a source of security, and any perceived threat to that relationship causes anxiety.
Because of this, many insecure people develop hyper-vigilance in their relationships. They are constantly looking for signs of potential abandonment.
This results in overanalyzing behavior and situations even when there is no real threat.
They end up believing that their value as a person is closely related to the presence and approval of others.
Ultimately, all of these behaviors form a protective shell that protects insecure people from the vulnerabilities they are afraid to face.
To come out of this shell, you need to recognize and address these patterns as a key step towards strengthening true self-acceptance and building healthier connections with others.