Insecurities are usually associated with being reserved, shy and anxious around people. On the contrary, most narcissists appear to be overconfident, grandiose and in love with themselves. This makes them look like they are the total opposite of an insecure person. In reality, narcissists are so insecure and most of their behavior is meant to conceal their insecurities. To understand well how this happens, let me explain how insecure people think.
What all insecure people have in common is that they have self doubts. When a person believes that they have flaws that make them less worthy, they compensate for those flaws by developing a certain behavior that may offend others.
How Insecure Narcissists Treat Their Partner and Other People
Many of the narcissists’ actions and behavior are the results of their insecurities. For example, a narcissist who does not believe that he is a man enough will try to act tough, or even become mean and aggressive in order to appear more masculine.
In relationships, narcissists who don’t believe that they are good enough for their partner will fear rejection. As a result they may become arrogant. Since these narcissists don’t believe that they are good enough, they will be afraid to show many signs of interest in their partner or anyone they are interested in so that they won’t look bad in case they get rejected.
This may sound weird but if you look at it from the narcissist’s perspective it makes a lot of sense. When they treat someone as if they don’t care about them, they minimize the damage that rejection would cause to their ego. There’s no shame in being rejected by someone you don’t like, right? It’s not that they are not interested in that person but it’s because they want to protect their ego from damages in case they get rejected. In other words, the narcissist wants to show you that they have rejected you before you reject them.
Why are Narcissists Insecure? Different Types of Insecurities
In my article “where do insecurities come from”, I said that insecurities are caused by lack of trust in one’s ability and skills to deal with a certain problem, or to achieve a certain goal. All people have insecurities to a certain extent, and there’s nothing wrong with that unless they reach a level where they prevent you from living a normal life.
Below are the main reasons why narcissists develop insecurities.
- Bad self-image and insecurities: as a matter of fact, a typical narcissist will look good and young. Not because being a narcissist gives a person any physical advantage but because they have a strong desire to look perfect. This makes them put a lot of effort in improving their looks. Now, what do you think would happen if a narcissist believed that they don’t look good and can’t change it? As you might have already guessed, they will have a lot of insecurities. These insecurities will manifest in their relationship and other areas of life.
- Insecurities and feelings of inferiority: narcissists in general feel inferior to a certain extent. This makes them believe that they have flaws that make them less worthy than others. This is why they come up with a defense mechanism to compensate for those inferiority feelings. A person who suffers from inferiority feelings will certainly suffer from insecurities as well
How Narcissists React When You Touch Their Insecurities
You can remind a narcissist of their insecurities unintentionally through criticism or other actions such as ignoring them. In some of my previous articles, I said that not every criticism hurts a narcissist but the ones that touch their insecurities. If a narcissist is insecure about their looks then any criticism that involves their looks will make them furious.
How a narcissist reacts when you remind them of their flaws greatly depends on the narcissist’s perception. If they believe that you are intentionally trying to put them down they will definitely devalue you, or even look for a way to retaliate.
On the other hand if the narcissist likes you and thinks that you have seen their flaws they may look for a way to prove you wrong. They may do this by indirectly showing off their good qualities, bragging about their achievements and doing anything that displays an image of superiority. (See: what drives a narcissist insane?)