Men who feel insecure but won’t admit but usually display these 9 behaviors

Ever noticed how some men seem confident on the surface but their actions tell a different story? That’s because deep down, they might be grappling with insecurities that they don’t want to admit, even to themselves.

These insecurities often manifest in subtle behaviors that aren’t always easy to spot unless you know what to look for.

In this article, we’ll delve into nine such behaviors that hint at underlying insecurities. Trust me, once you know these signs, you’ll understand these men a lot better.

1) Overcompensation

Ever heard the saying “the louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons”?

It essentially means that people who are overly vocal or showy about their achievements or capabilities are often trying to hide some form of insecurity.

Deep-seated insecurities can make a man feel inadequate, and to counter this, he might resort to overcompensating. This could be in the form of bragging about accomplishments, exaggerating stories, or attempting to display dominance in social situations.

It’s a defense mechanism – putting on a mask of confidence and strength to hide the underlying feelings of inadequacy. It’s not that they’re intentionally trying to deceive others, but rather it’s their way of coping with their insecurities.

2) Constant approval seeking

Here’s a personal example. I once had a friend, let’s call him Mark, who was always seeking validation. It seemed like he couldn’t make a decision without seeking approval from others.

Whether it was his outfit, his career choices, or even his choice in music, Mark constantly craved reassurance from those around him. He would often ask things like “Does this shirt look good on me?” or “Do you think I did well in that presentation?”

At first, I thought it was just his way of being considerate or inclusive. But over time, it became clear that this was more about his deep-seated insecurities. Mark was worried about making the wrong choices and being judged for them.

Insecurity can often lead to a constant need for validation and approval.

If you notice someone frequently seeking assurance or second-guessing their decisions, it might be a sign that they’re dealing with underlying insecurities.

3) Overly competitive

Ever noticed how some men seem to turn everything into a competition? Whether it’s a friendly game of pool or a discussion over who knows more about a certain subject, they always seem to need to be on top.

According to psychologists, this behavior can often be a manifestation of insecurity. A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that individuals who feel chronically insecure may exhibit increased competitiveness and aggression as a way to prove their worth.

It’s as if they believe that by outperforming others, they can silence their inner critic and validate their self-worth. This behavior, while it can sometimes drive success, can also create a constant state of stress and dissatisfaction as they’re always in pursuit of the next win.

4) Defensive attitude

Insecurity can sometimes make a person hypersensitive to criticism or perceived threats. This often leads to a defensive attitude.

For example, if you’re having a simple discussion and they interpret your differing opinion as an attack, it could be their insecurities at play. They may react strongly, take things personally, or even deflect the conversation entirely.

It’s like they’re constantly on guard, ready to defend themselves against any perceived threat to their ego or self-worth. Understanding this can help you approach such discussions with more empathy and patience.

5) Control issues

Men who feel insecure might often feel the need to control situations or even people. This behavior usually stems from a fear of unpredictability and a need to create an environment they can predict and feel secure in.

This could manifest in micro-managing at work, controlling behaviors in relationships, or an inability to delegate tasks. They may struggle with trusting others to handle things, as it leaves them feeling vulnerable.

While it can be frustrating, this behavior is often a coping mechanism for their fears and insecurities. It’s not about power for them as much as it is about security.

6) Difficulty in expressing emotions

Many men, especially those dealing with deep-seated insecurities, struggle with expressing their emotions. It’s like they’ve built this wall around themselves and showing emotions is like letting their guard down.

They might fear that by showing vulnerability, they’ll be judged or seen as less than. So they keep their feelings bottled up, and even deny having them at all. This can make meaningful connections and emotional intimacy challenging for them.

It takes immense strength to be vulnerable and express emotions openly. Let’s show empathy and provide a safe space for these men to express themselves without fear of judgment or ridicule. After all, everyone deserves to feel heard and understood.

7) Fear of failure

I recall a time when I was offered an opportunity to lead a major project at work. Despite having the necessary skills and experience, I found myself hesitating. I was worried about the possibility of failure and how it would reflect on me.

This fear of failure is something many of us grapple with, but for men dealing with insecurities, it can be particularly intense. They might avoid taking on new challenges or stepping out of their comfort zones, not because they lack the ability, but because they fear making mistakes or not meeting expectations.

They may prefer to stay in their safe zone rather than risk the chance of failure, even if it means missing out on growth opportunities. It’s important to understand that this fear isn’t reflective of their capabilities, but rather their perception of themselves.

8) Negative self-talk

We all have an inner voice that narrates our experiences. For men experiencing insecurities, this voice can often be overly critical and negative.

They might downplay their achievements, magnify their faults, or constantly compare themselves to others. This negative self-talk further fuels their insecurities, creating a vicious cycle that’s hard to break.

If you notice someone consistently belittling themselves or focusing disproportionately on their flaws, it can be a sign of underlying insecurities. Remember, kind words and patience can go a long way in helping them break free from this cycle.

9) Avoidance of intimacy

Insecurity can often hinder a man’s ability to form deep, meaningful connections. They might fear being seen for who they truly are, flaws and all. So they keep people at arm’s length, avoiding emotional intimacy.

It’s not that they don’t desire close relationships, but their fear of being exposed or rejected keeps them from opening up. Understand that this behavior is often a protective mechanism and not a reflection of their feelings towards you. Patience, understanding, and reassurance can help them gradually overcome this fear.

Final thoughts: Compassion is key

Navigating the complexities of human behavior can be challenging, especially when it comes to insecurities. Men who grapple with internalised insecurities often adopt behaviors that are simply coping mechanisms to deal with their emotions.

Psychologist Carl Rogers once said, “What I am is good enough if I would only be it openly.” This quote beautifully encapsulates the journey of overcoming insecurities – acknowledging our vulnerabilities and embracing them.

For those of us observing these behaviors in others, understanding and compassion are our most powerful tools. It’s important to remember that behind every action is a human being dealing with their own struggles.

Let’s not be quick to judge or condemn. Instead, let’s offer empathy and support, helping these men feel safe enough to shed their masks and embrace their true selves. Insecurity is not a sign of weakness, but an invitation for understanding and growth.

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Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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