People who are deeply insecure but pretend they’re confident usually display these 9 behaviors

Ethan Sterling by Ethan Sterling | June 19, 2024, 12:45 pm

Ever met someone who exudes confidence on the surface but seems to be hiding a sea of insecurities underneath? You’re not alone.

These individuals are masters of disguise, masking their vulnerabilities with a facade of bravado. But peel back the layers, and you’ll uncover a host of telltale behaviors betraying their inner turmoil.

From overcompensating with boastful claims to seeking constant validation, their actions speak volumes.

Buckle up as we delve into the nine unmistakable behaviors of those who are deeply insecure but put on a confident front. It’s a journey into the psyche of the seemingly self-assured yet internally conflicted.

1) Overcompensation

Insecurity often leads to overcompensation. It’s like a scale that has been tipped in one direction and needs to be balanced out.

Individuals who are deeply insecure but pretend to be confident may end up overdoing it. They might talk too much about their achievements, or always try to be the center of attention.

This need for constant validation and attention is a sign that they’re trying to convince themselves and others of their worth. They’re essentially saying, “Look at me, I’m important.”

2) Defensive attitude

I’ve personally found that a defensive attitude can often be a tell-tale sign of deep-seated insecurity.

A few years ago, I worked with a guy named Tom. On the surface, Tom appeared to be the epitome of confidence. He was charismatic, always had a story to tell, and never backed down from a challenge.

However, I started noticing something unusual whenever he received criticism or feedback. Even if it was constructive and well-meaning, Tom would immediately become defensive. He would argue, justify his actions, or even shift the blame onto others.

At first, I thought he was just being stubborn. But over time, I realized that his defensiveness was actually a shield. It was a way to protect his ego and hide his insecurities.

3) Fear of confrontation

A fear of confrontation is a hurdle deeply insecure people grapple with. 

This fear typically originates from concerns about how they’ll be viewed if they engage in conflict. They may dread being disliked or causing discomfort, thus opting to evade confrontations altogether.

Listen up: Confronting someone assertively yet gently isn’t something to be fearfuul about. In fact, you may discover that others appreciate your input and are willing to foster positive change.

Here’s a suggestion:

Write down on a piece of paper the potential outcomes of being honest about your feelings: resolving concerns, fostering healthier dynamics, and no longer being treated like a pushover. Specify the benefits you expect to gain.

Whenever you feel hesitant to speak up, revisit your list. Recognizing the rational and sensible reasons for addressing someone—despite any fear—can strengthen your confidence and make taking action easier.

4) Need for control

Insecurity can often manifest itself in a strong need for control. People who are insecure but pretend to be confident might feel the need to control every aspect of their life, from their work to their relationships.

This need for control is often a way of managing their fear and anxiety. By controlling their environment, they feel they can prevent situations that might expose their insecurities or make them feel vulnerable.

Confident individuals, on the other hand, are comfortable with uncertainty and understand that it’s impossible to control everything. They tend to go with the flow and adapt to changes rather than trying to manipulate the situation according to their needs.

5) Perfectionism

Perfectionism is another behavior that’s often exhibited by people who struggle with a low self-esteem, according to experts. They set unrealistically high standards for themselves and others, and anything less than perfect is seen as a failure.

This drive for perfection is usually a way for them to overcompensate for their insecurities. They believe that if they can be perfect, they can avoid criticism or judgment.

However, true confidence comes from understanding and accepting our flaws. Confident people know that they’re not perfect and they don’t have to be. 

6) Difficulty accepting compliments

Have you ever given someone a compliment, only for them to deflect it or downplay their achievement? This could be a sign of hidden insecurity.

People who are deeply insecure, but pretend they’re confident, often have a hard time accepting compliments. They might brush it off, change the subject, or even respond with a self-deprecating comment.

This behavior stems from their disbelief in their own worth. They might feel that they don’t deserve the praise or that the person complimenting them is just being nice.

7) Constant comparison

I know firsthand that constantly comparing oneself to others is a common behavior among people who are deeply insecure but pretend they’re confident.

Growing up, I was always comparing myself to my peers, whether it was about grades, sports, or popularity. I always felt the need to measure up and often found myself falling short. It was an exhausting and never-ending cycle.

This constant comparison stems from insecurity. It’s an attempt to validate oneself by matching or surpassing others. But it’s a losing battle because there will always be someone who seems to be doing better.

8) Overly competitive

Being competitive can be a good thing—it pushes us to give it our all. But when it’s like, 24/7 competition mode? That’s when you might start sniffing out some serious insecurity.

People who are insecure but appear confident often feel the need to win at everything they do. It could be a simple board game or a major project at work; they have to come out on top. This is because winning validates their worth and covers up any feelings of inadequacy.

Confident individuals, on the other hand, understand that life isn’t always about winning or losing. They pick their battles wisely and enjoy the process without tying their self-worth to the outcome.

9) Difficulty with intimacy

Another big clue that someone’s dealing with deep-rooted insecurity? They find it tough to get close to people. It’s as if they’re putting up these walls, even if they seem all cool and confident on the outside.

They might keep people at arm’s length, avoiding deep conversations or emotional vulnerability. This is because opening up to others can feel too risky. It might expose their insecurities and shatter their facade of confidence.

However, true confidence allows for vulnerability. It understands that forming deep connections requires honesty, openness, and sometimes showing our less-than-perfect sides.

Final thoughts: It’s about understanding, not judgement

When it comes to human behavior, complexities and contradictions abound. People who appear confident on the surface might be grappling with deep-seated insecurities beneath the facade.

The behaviors we’ve discussed in this article aren’t about labeling or judging people. Instead, they serve as a compass to help us navigate the complexities of human behavior.

Understanding these behaviors can help us empathize with those who are struggling with their insecurities. It can also assist us in recognizing and addressing our own insecurities.