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


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.


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.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Causes Insecurity in a Woman?

• Negative body image: Women may feel insecure about their appearance, particularly if they don’t conform to society’s unrealistic beauty standards.

• Childhood experiences: Women who have experienced abuse, neglect, or trauma in childhood may carry these experiences into adulthood and struggle with feelings of insecurity.

• Lack of self-esteem: Women with low opinions of themselves and their abilities are more likely to feel insecure. This can be due to past experiences, negative self-talk, or a general feeling of not being good enough.

• Relationships: Women may feel insecure if they aren’t valued, appreciated, or loved. They may also feel insecure about their partner’s feelings and the relationship’s stability.

• Societal pressures: Women are often subjected to intense pressure from society to conform to specific standards, such as being successful, attractive, and confident. Women who struggle to meet these expectations may feel insecure.

• Comparison with others: Women may compare themselves with others, whether it’s to their friends, colleagues, or people they see on social media. This comparison can lead to feelings of insecurity and inadequacy.

• Unresolved past issues: Women who haven’t fully processed and dealt with past traumas, such as a breakup or a family conflict, may continue to feel insecure.

What Is a Woman’s Biggest Insecurity?

A woman’s biggest insecurity varies greatly from person to person, but some common themes arise, such as:

• Physical appearance: A woman’s body shape, weight, skin, and hair are often at the forefront of her insecurities. Society’s unrealistic beauty standards have put a lot of pressure on women to look a certain way, leading to body shaming and self-esteem issues.

• Relationships: Women often struggle with insecurity in their relationships, whether with a significant other, family, or friends. Worries about being loved, accepted, or valued can lead to anxiety and inadequacy.

• Career: For many women, their career is a source of pride and self-worth. But it can also be a source of insecurity, particularly in male-dominated industries where women face challenges like unequal pay, lack of representation, and gender bias.

• Financial security: Money matters can be a source of insecurity for anyone, but women often face unique financial challenges, such as the gender pay gap and a higher likelihood of living in poverty in old age.

• Motherhood: For women who want to be mothers, infertility and difficulty conceiving can be a source of deep insecurity. And for those who are mothers, worries about being a good enough parent, balancing work and family, and meeting the demands of motherhood can be overwhelming.

How Do You Break Insecurity?

Breaking insecurity can be a difficult process, but it is possible with patience and persistence. Here are some steps to help you overcome your insecurity:

Identify the source of your insecurity – Insecurity often stems from past experiences or beliefs that you hold about yourself. Take some time to reflect on what is causing you to feel insecure.

• Challenge negative self-talk – We all have a voice in our heads that can be our worst critic. When you catch yourself engaging in negative self-talk, challenge it by reframing your thoughts into a more positive and empowering perspective.

• Practice self-care – Taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally can go a long way in boosting your self-esteem and reducing insecurity. This can include engaging in physical activity, eating well, and getting enough sleep.

• Surround yourself with positive people – Being around people who lift you and support you can greatly impact your self-confidence and insecurity. Seek out friends and family members who are positive influences in your life.

• Embrace your uniqueness – Instead of trying to fit into someone else’s mold, embrace your individuality and all the things that make you special and unique. Celebrate your strengths and work on improving your weaknesses.

• Accept and learn from your mistakes – Nobody is perfect, and we all make mistakes. Instead of being hard on yourself, accept your mistakes and use them as opportunities to learn and grow.

• Focus on the present moment – Insecurity often comes from worries about the future or regrets about the past. Focusing on the present moment can reduce your stress and anxiety and increase your feelings of peace and happiness.

Is Insecurity a Trauma?

Yes, insecurity can be considered a form of trauma. Insecurity can stem from past traumatic experiences or events, such as abuse, neglect, rejection, or abandonment, and can lead to feelings of low self-esteem, self-doubt, and anxiety. These feelings can interfere with a person’s daily life and relationships, making it challenging to feel safe, secure, and confident.

Insecurity can also be caused by ongoing stressors, such as bullying, discrimination, or chronic criticism, and can result in trauma symptoms, including depression, panic attacks, and nightmares. Insecurity can have a lasting impact on a person’s mental health and overall sense of self, so addressing and treating these experiences as a form of trauma is essential.

Is Insecurity the Same as Jealousy?

No, insecurity and jealousy are not the same things. Insecurity is a feeling of self-doubt and a lack of confidence in one’s abilities or worth. It often stems from negative past experiences or a distorted self-image.

Jealousy, on the other hand, is an emotion triggered by a perceived threat or loss. It is often related to relationships and feelings of possessiveness or envy towards someone who has something that one desires.

While insecurity can sometimes lead to jealousy, the two are distinct feelings and experiences. It’s important to understand the root causes of both in order to address them effectively in personal growth and self-improvement.

What Not to Say to an Insecure Person?

• Personal attacks or insults – Phrases like “You’re too sensitive.” or “Why can’t you just be more confident?” only further undermine the person’s self-esteem.

• Comparisons – Comparing the person to others, whether favorably or unfavorably, only highlights their perceived shortcomings and reinforces their insecurities.

• Downplaying their feelings – Saying things like “It’s not a big deal.” or “Everyone goes through this.” minimizes the person’s experiences and invalidates their emotions.

• Unsolicited advice – Telling the person what they “should” do to feel better can come across as condescending and dismissive. Instead, listen and offer support.

• Judgmental statements – Making statements that sound judgmental or critical, such as “Why can’t you just get over it?” only increases the person’s sense of shame and self-doubt.

When speaking to an insecure person, it’s important to approach them with empathy, compassion, and a non-judgmental attitude. Validate their feelings and offer support, but avoid making assumptions or giving unsolicited advice.

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