1. Psychology

10+ Signs of Insecurity in a Woman, According to 4 Experts

Being able to tell whether a person is insecure or not can be quite tricky.

However, recognizing the signs can be very helpful so that you’ll understand how or why a person is behaving in such a way.

In this article, we’ve put together the signs of insecurity in a woman, as discussed by experts.

Carla Marie Manly, PhD

Carla Marie Manly
Clinical Psychologist | Author, Aging Joyfully and Joy from Fear

Insecurity arises in many forms for both men and women. Women tend to be less defended than men in many ways and, therefore, may be more likely to reveal their insecurities.

Women tend to feel insecure regarding their physical looks, relationships, and intelligence/professional abilities, whereas men often are more insecure about issues surrounding professional capacities, intelligence, athletic abilities, physical looks, and power. Although men can display insecurity in relationships, they are often far more likely to display defensive behavior than insecure behavior.

Given these differences, women may appear more insecure than men in many ways, yet a woman’s insecurities are often simply more obvious.

Constant asking for affirmation or compliments

That said, a few key signs of insecurity as to body image and attractiveness include constantly asking for affirmation or compliments from others, repeated checking of looks/appearance in the mirror, requiring constant input from others as to clothing, hair, or body issues.

Excessive weight check

Other signs of body image insecurity include obsessive checking of weight, chronic monitoring of caloric intake or exercise out of fear of not being attractive, or obsessive focus on a perceived imperfection (e.g., nose, buttocks, etc.).

Clinging behavior and jealousy

When it comes to relationships, it’s important to note that insecurity that arises from a partner’s actual infidelity or dishonest behavior is different from unfounded insecurity.

If a woman is feeling insecure in a relationship with a faithful and honest partner, the insecurity generally stems from personal issues or unresolved prior trauma or hurts. This type of insecurity generally shows up through clinging behavior, unfounded suspiciousness, and jealousy.

Controlling behavior

Insecurity can also give rise to controlling behavior including unreasonable demands for knowing the partner’s whereabouts, exclusion of friends, or requests for constant contact and reassurance, whether in person, by phone, or text.

Related: 25+ Warning Signs of a Controlling Partner

Extremely competitive behavior

In relationships with friends, insecurity can arise through competitive behavior or, on the other end, retreating into quiet. Insecurity in friendships can also show itself through a need to have constant contact and reassurance about the friendship.

Striving to be an overachiever

Insecurity can also arise in the realm of work. When a woman does not feel secure in her worthiness and value in the workplace, she may strive to over-achieve or engage in people-pleasing activities. On the other end of the spectrum, an insecure woman may mask her self-doubt with a bullying or highly aggressive attitude.

In other cases, women may shrink into the background as a way of avoiding any spotlight on their capacities or intelligence. An insecure woman may also be negative, insulting, or unjustly critical toward others in order to make herself feel better. This strategy, which is highly toxic, has the flair of “I’ll tear you down so that I feel or look better in comparison.”

In general, over-achieving and over-pleasing can both be signs of feeling generally insecure. In the same way, those who are bullying or overly aggressive in nature are often hiding their own deep insecurities behind a mask of toughness. And, sadly, women who engage in backbiting, criticism, or insults toward others are generally among the most insecure (and hurtful) women of all.

Related: How to Deal with Coworkers Who Talk About You Behind Your Back

Adina Mahalli

Adina Mahalli

Certified Mental Health Consultant, Enlightened Reality | Relationship Expert, Maple Holistics

Jealousy

One of the biggest signs of insecurity in yourself, particularly in women, is jealousy. If you can’t stand the thought of a little healthy competition, or seeing your boyfriend talk to your friends gives you feelings of inadequacy, these are major signs of insecurity.

Being secure in yourself starts by knowing that you’re not in a ‘race’. You’re confident that you do you, and the world can do its thing. When other people don’t play a part in your reactions, it’s a sign of inner security.

Approval-seeking

When you’re always turning to others to approve your actions, it’s a classic sign of insecurity. Being confident in your decisions doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but at the same time, not every decision can ride on another person’s “you’re okay!”. It shows a lack of self-belief if every move you make has to be validated externally.

Unfortunately, this is seen frequently in women who look to anyone but themselves to validate their choices – friends, partners, colleagues. It’s one thing to ask for advice, but it’s another thing entirely to depend on your choices on others’ approval.

GinaMarie Guarino

GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC

Licensed Therapist, PsychPoint

Jealousy is a major sign of insecurity in a woman

Jealousy can often be misunderstood as possessiveness, clinginess, or sometimes even deep love and admiration. The central driving force of jealousy is actually insecurity.

Women who are insecure are often afraid of their partners developing interests in other people- particularly people who have what they lack. This can spark a great deal of jealousy, as the thought ignites their insecurity.

Jealousy can cause major communication issues in a relationship. It can cause paranoia, arguments, and even worsen insecurities and self-esteem issues. Jealous women often have low self-esteem and feel like they do not have the same value as other women. It stems from insecurity and can cause major consequences in any relationship.

JJ DiGeronimo

JJ DiGeronimo

Founder, Tech Savvy Women

The signs that may indicate a woman feels insecure are:

  • Being a perfectionist. Some women worry about what others think creating a need to strive for perfect participation, deliverables, and interactions.
  • Taking on too much. To prove their worth or that they desire to be in a specific position or role, insecure women often agree to too much work to showcase their abilities.Related: How to Stop Yourself from Talking Too Much
  • Being too demanding of their teams. In their desire to prove their value, they often over-delivering, which can be tough on their teams as they are often redoing working, over-prepare, and create many versions. Insecurity in management often drives team members to look for other roles, managers, and companies.