Instant Insecurity and Its Powerful Impact

Insecurity can hit even the most confident person when they least expect it.  It’s more common than you probably think.

photo by Amanda M Hatfield

photo by Amanda M Hatfield

After I left a comment at the great business and branding blog, Conversation Agent, the author replied with something that covers all walks of life.

Valeria Maltoni said:

“Insecure people think that they can have more power when they stab others in the back. No room for empathy there and nothing you can do to help them see that they, in effect, shoot themselves in the foot. As humans we’re all connected. It all comes back.”

Valeria makes a great point.  I hadn’t considered it like this before, but I’ve noticed behaviour of this kind time and again.

So often, wonderful people change dramatically as a personal issue or setback tips them into insecurity.  Like a switch going off in their head, an accepting and caring personality is suddenly replaced by a cynical, less forgiving one.

I’m sure this is mainly down to a defence mechanism kicking in that becomes more attacking over time.  And it doesn’t take long.

This type of sudden insecurity, different to a general lack of confidence, is not easily fixed.  Since it takes a specific event to trigger this alternative behaviour, deeper problems will likely shield that person from general help.

Such a damaging change in a person causes equally damaging changes to other people’s opinions of that person.  Friendships break down and new problems arise.  It only takes one event to start a chain of reaction that’s far reaching.  Such upheaval can impact upon far more people than it directly occurred to in the first place.

I can’t help but feel sad for the person who’s been damaged.  They may cause numerous others (including previously good friends) great pain and anguish, but at a time when they need greater security and love, they force loved ones away.

As Valeria says, you can’t stop them “shoot themselves in the foot”.  And so the vicious cycle continues.  Such a tragedy.

What are your thoughts on this?


  1. Very enlightening post, thanks for sharing this! I agree with you that insecurity causes damaging changes to other people as well. I think that in order to get rid of one’s insecurity, a person should start identifying what he values; this would help him figure out what it is that he wants in a relationship. I think that if a person always focuses on the things that he does not have, these negative thoughts breed insecurity. It would help a person feel more satisfied about himself if he starts focusing on the what he has.

    1. Hi Linda,

      I think this is a particular issue when what the person did have is suddenly lost. The most pointed changes I’ve seen are when relationships end abruptly. A couple of times in the past, good friends altered their behaviour after they discovered their partner was cheating. Such a shock to the system throws everything off course. That’s when the focus you mention shifts almost entirely on to what the person does not have.

      They may not have lost everything, but losing one of the most important things can feel that way. I just hope their will to pick themselves up is strong and that their support network is at least as strong too!

  2. Hi, I think that insecurity has possibly ruined my life! I am a woman of 52 with 16 year old twins – married for almost 18 years.

    To cut a long story short, I have just recently (in the last 3 or 4 years) acknowledged that my dad has been emotionally abusive for most of my life and that’s why I cannot cope with being close to my husband and why our marriage has gone wrong.

    My dad is cold, bitter, angry, intimidating, domineering, controlling, full of arguments and always finding fault in everyone and everything. He is tactless and can not see the good in anyone or anything. He was abusive to me for most of my life. I spent a lot of years in fear of him and being scared to death of saying and doing the wrong thing. His behavior was downright despicable.

    I have often wondered where this behavior came from and having seen the above words on insecurity, I am wondering if my dad had issues with this and that that has made him the way he is.

    To cap it all, my mum is a Christian Scientist and can only see “man” in the imagine and likeness of god, therefore he is perfect. So with those thoughts filling her mind, she looked past my dad being abusive and “never saw it” and as a result, she never stood up for me or did anything to stop dads awful behavior, so she, in affect, was guilty of abuse too. She allowed dads abuse to continue, not thinking for one moment that it would damage me!

    Can dads behavior be linked to insecurity do you think? I must admit that I have never felt secure in my marriage either, as a result and if I knew 18 years ago, what I know and am aware of now, I would never have got married.

    Thanks for listening.

    1. Shirl, I’m so sorry to hear about the difficulties you have had. It’s positive to hear that you’re beginning to recognise what has happened in the past and that you were not the cause of the emotional abuse.

      Insecurity can manifest itself in so many ways. Some of what you have experienced could be down to that or all manner of past events and emotions. People are so complex and can often do things they don’t even realise is causing you harm.

      I’m no expert on these issues, so I wouldn’t want to advise you on the specifics. But if you haven’t already looked into the type of support available to help you banish some of that insecurity, I would recommend you do some research on that. So much is available now, from long-term personal programmes to someone lending an ear for a few minutes.

      Thank you for your comment, Shirl. I really do hope you continue to break through and pick up that confidence. I also wish you all the best for your family life…Enjoy as many moments as you can! 🙂

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