What is Insecurity?
A twelve-year-old approaches the free throw line in his first game. He was fouled. His team is winning by twenty two points, a very comfortable lead. No pressure, right? Wrong. He begins to hear the noise, the conversation in the stands come to a slow silence. In reality, everyone was mostly still talking in the stands. To him it felt like a lifetime to get the ball, as the striped shirt referee bounced the ball three times, whistle in mouth and slowly handed the ball to him. The ball felt foreign, the texture was different, hands perspiring, sympathetic nervous system kicking in, as his pupils dilated taking more of the gymnasium light into his retina.. This was more than anxiety, this was more than a panic attack, for echoes of his fathers voice clamored inside his head. “If you do not practice more you, you will make a fool out of yourself.” “You do not work hard enough and you will just embarrass me.” His insecurity, unpronounced to him started years before that free throw shot. It started when there was no empowerment by his father at an early age, it started with ridicule by his father at his short comings. His father narcissisticly injured him, and was trying to live vicariously though him, which resulted in a massive insult to his development of confidence. Hence, this young boy is developing into a very insecure adult. Insecurity the absence of feeling secure, not feeling empowered, having lack of confidence is becoming an epidemic in our Western culture.
The need for success, the need to be recognized, false impressions of what it means to be happy has resulted in projection of these very issues onto our children. Pressure for academic achievement, and recognition to tout your child’s accomplishments results in stress and anxiety. Combine this with lack of knowledge how to praise, and not knowing how to empower a child and you have all the right ingredients to induce insecurity. Matters become worse and more complicated if you add some early developmental trauma like abuse, death of a loved one or frequent geographical moves. Yes, children are resilient, yes, children can bounce back; however they also need encouragement, and support and to believe in their ability to achieve happiness and success. Insecurity is not genetic, it IS induced by our environment and specifically by our upbringing and/or emotional abuse by those around us. A young man or woman in a marriage may endure repetitious emotional trauma, become berated, and ridiculed for years. This will also develop into a person of doubt. The individual will doubt their decisions, and choices. Insecurity does not necessarily always has to derive from childhood, but that is the most common etiology. Insecurities can be around a specific task, sport or event or a generalized insecurity. Insecurity is different than a phobia where a phobias clearly induces anxiety an insecurity is more of a non-verbalized or not well acknowledged behavior. Being insecure is the clear inability to have faith or confidence in one’s behavior or accomplishments. There is severe second guessing, lack of motivation, being unorganized, and procrastination. Anything to avoid the task. This lack of confidence is pervasive in many areas of one’s life, home, work, and even child rearing. In therapy even when knowing the cause there is not an easy resolution. Insecurity, unnecessary baggage, that needs to be left at the airport of life, or one will never be able to fly successfully towards future goals with a confident attitude.
How is Insecurity seen in relationships?
The dance of two who are in love is difficult enough without adding insecurity in the mix. Insecurity in relationships plays a huge part of arguments, disagreements, and conflict. Recognizing the insecurity that each party may have can be helpful, however there must be sincerity and true support. Complacency, sarcasm and demeaning behavior will add insult to injury and exacerbate the insecurity. A partner needs to know the other is their for them to support them, and stand by their side when the insecurity rears it’s ugly head. Remember the causes of insecurity. To play out even in humor one of those earlier causes can easily backfire.
In relationships this insecurity can be seen in the bedroom, paying bills, purchases for the home, and even jealousy. One of the most common scenarios in relationships is jealousy of another spouse. If one is very insecure of their looks, their ability to provide financially for the home, or questions the sincerity of love in the relationship this can become a massive issue in the relationship. Insecurity can be foundation that holds many rotting beams of the walls in a relationship. These walls are trust, integrity, friendship, communication, and honesty. An insecure individual has hesitancy in being honest, struggles with communication, usually does not trust themselves and they often project that onto their spouse. Once one becomes more confident with themselves, and the relationship they learn to trust, and many other qualities will fall into place. This is clearly much easier to write about then implement.It takes time, consistency, much reassurance from each spouse without anger and each party needs to understand that without open communication their will be some degree of distrust.
With the many presentations of marital discord insecurity is frequently one of the primary culprits that must be targeted. Many times when one is insecure and then falls in love any expectations that are not met are embellished within the psyche. One must understand how distorted perceptions are, just that, distorted perceptions. Our mind can conjure up all types of scenarios based on our fears. Insecurity is fear, an internal fear that we do not match up, we are not good enough for that person. We are not smart enough, not talented enough, not loving enough, not a good provider, and on and on. When two support each other, recognize what old baggage each bring to the relationship table then one can begin to clean house. At the very least there is openness and good communication can start.
We all have insecurity. Remember it is on a continuum, from minimal problems to severe dysfunction. Recognizing our dark-side is the beginning. Sometimes it takes a small lit candle other times one must have a bonfire to see it. Being open, and not defensive is imperative if one is to ever improve.
How to overcome Insecurity?
Recognition, recognition, recognition. One must recognize there is an issue for there to be resolution. A narcissistic personality disorder has a slim chance to improve as they are so defended. In actuality they are very insecure, have been severely wounded and overcompensate to a state of self love. That is a gross over simplification, however is a foundation of that personality type. Once one recognizes there is a problem, it can help in seeing how it originated. This does have to deal with looking at the past, however, how can anyone or any culture improve if we do not look at the past. How do we learn for future conflicts and wars if we do not look at Viet Nam? How do we improve on a surgical procedure if we do not look at our previous mistake? The same is true with insecurity. When we look at psychology, individuals for the most part become very defended. This defended behavioral stance is so ingrained that it must be pointed out if one is to move forward. A defensive posture is fear, fear of having a piece of you being taken away, and not wanting to admit failure or fault. If one admits failure or fault then they feel they will be more insecure. Interesting paradox don’t you think?
Overcoming the wounds of insecurity is a slow battle but can be overcome. As a wound needs the proper bandage and care to heal so does the wound to one’s soul. An individual needs to be ready, the timing is important. Openness to heal, one must be ready to learn and embrace humility. Accept the anger that will come when one recognizes what caused the insecurity. Practice, practice and practice. Once one accepts their degree of insecurity, they must be ready for success as well as failures. Accept failure, for that is how we learn, and embrace the risking with your new path. One will need to risk new behavior, conforming to our old behavior, and the same way we do things, is not the answer to change. Accept the path will be long, and the journey will be a learning experience, as well as forgiving. Forgiving yourself, and forgiving those involved in causing this wound. It is possible, this author is living proof. Once you are on the mend one needs to separate out the difference between confidence and arrogance. Confidence is having faith and belief in yourself and not caring so much what others think, arrogance is stating you do not care what others think;however it is very important and there is a need to impress.
This author hopes this gives you some insight, put on your shoes take the first step forward on your journey. In peace and healing.