Have you ever met someone who made you feel like you were inferior or even worthless, and who at the same time pretended to be the ultimate and everyone should strive to be like him? Surely your answer is yes. The strangest thing about it is that behind that given security and awesomeness there is usually an insecure person.
It is common for insecure people to hide their fears and worries behind a feigned security that tries to convey to others that they are superior to them. This has nothing to do with a lack of modesty, but with what Alfred Adler called the inferiority complex. In plain English this means that an insecure person is hiding behind the inferiority complex.
According to Adler, people who feel inferior would try to compensate for this feeling by means of what he calls the struggle for superiority. It is the only way for these people to deal with the uncertainty about their abilities and to feel good when they make others unhappy. For Adler, a neurosis is the trigger for this struggle for superiority.
Insecurity and narcissism
Today it is believed that this struggle for superiority is a characteristic of narcissistic personality disorder, which is a disorder in the normal development of one’s personality that causes a person to ceaselessly strive to improve their self-esteem.
There are two different types of narcissist: the arrogant narcissist and the vulnerable narcissist. The arrogant narcissist is characterized by extroversion, dominant behavior and the search for attention. The vulnerable narcissist, on the other hand, is very sensitive to criticism or frustration, and this can even go so far as to develop a strong fear of criticism. It is also noticeable here that his social relationships are falling apart due to his vanity and the need to be constantly admired.
In any case, it is very likely that narcissism and a lack of self-esteem are hidden behind someone who makes you feel like you are not worth as much as they are. Although narcissism does not always have to be pathological, it can be more or less pronounced in the majority of people.
Self esteem and narcissism
If, instead of arrogant narcissism and vulnerable narcissism, we look at the concepts of overt narcissism and hidden narcissism, some researchers think that these better characterize narcissism. They also form the basis for clinical treatment options.
In this context, the psychologist James Brookes from the University of Derby (United Kingdom) decided to research how people with a high tendency towards narcissism see themselves in terms of self-esteem, their own functioning and confidence in their ability to achieve success . To do this, he experimented with students, with the help of which Brookes analyzed the relationship between overt and hidden narcissism, self-esteem and one’s own mode of action.
Narcissistic traits that expose an insecure person
The study provided some clues that helped define a narcissistic personality and give us an idea of how to interpret a narcissist’s behavior so that we can better deal with it when dealing with such a person.
- Insecure people try to make you feel like you are inferior: do you question your own worth when you are with a certain person? Does this person always highlight his strengths? In general, if you’re someone who doesn’t feel insecure, but who starts to doubt or feel inferior around certain people, it is most likely because these people are projecting their insecurities onto you.
- Insecure people need to demonstrate their success: It is not always necessary for an insecure person to strengthen himself through behavior that makes the other person feel insecure. Often times, for insecure people, it is enough to brag about their great lifestyle, unique résumé, or fantastic family life. This is their way of convincing themselves that they are valuable.
- Insecure people often speak of their own modesty: showing off that they are humble is a disguised way of getting noticed by others, making others feel worthless, and talking about guesses that not everyone accept or allow themselves can. Being humble and pretending to accept something that cannot be is a quality of insecure people that betrays them in all respects.
- Insecure people usually complain that something is not good enough: People with a large inferiority complex don’t feel like they have enough to be happy. Since they feel insecure in the present, they set themselves very high and ambitious goals – which they most likely will not be able to achieve – in order to gain a certain popularity with others that their current successes fail to achieve. In this way, they could demonstrate their superiority by presumably greater accomplishments, but that ultimately only increases their insecurities if they fail to achieve them.
Being able to expose the insecurities around you can help put an end to all of these self-doubts about yourself and your abilities. This can even prevent the doubts that insecure people want you to have in order to feel better in their own skin.
Not letting these doubts become part of yourself in the first place helps you to feel perfect, and both yourself and insecure fellow human beings will feel it. The inferiority complex of these people does not diminish when you feel worthless, but only promises them short-term relief. But this can leave you with a deep wound that will heal badly.
Don’t let that be done to you! It’s enough that you don’t take seriously what this insecure person is telling you. Don’t take a defensive stance or criticize them. Put yourself in his shoes: This person is punished enough with his problem.