It’s Not You: How To Deal With Insecure People

By Tanisha Herrin|Updated April 4, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Judson Haynes, MA, LCMHC

Don't Take it Personally. When Someone is Insecure - It's Not About You.

When someone is insecure, it can be a defense mechanism and an excuse to lash out at other people, so can they distract from or avoid their own imperfections. Unfortunately, insecurity is a widespread character flaw, but it looks different on each person. Despite the various manifestations of insecurity, it has a common theme: it often creates tremendous strain in relationships with others. It is not always possible to avoid people who possess insecure traits and behaviors, so what do you do?

Being sure of yourself is the first step in learning how to deal with insecure people and in turn safeguarding yourself from emotional damage. This means that you develop a strong grasp of who you are, what you believe in, and discover productive ways to communicate when your beliefs and values are challenged.

Establishing Boundaries when Dealing with Insecurity

Learning to feel confident in your own skin can be challenging. It requires self-reflection and the knowledge that a potential outcome may include cutting ties with some people. Although it can be difficult to reach out and talk about your feelings with others, speaking with a professional can help you to put things into perspective, allowing you to get back on track emotionally. Online platforms provide effective tools such as support groups, forums, and professional counselors that can help. You can learn to bolster your confidence and establish resilience in situations like dealing with an insecure individual.


Insecure people can leave lasting wounds in others through their words and actions. While simple commentary may not seem like it would have a big impact, it may leave a long-lasting scar in our lives. One potential reason insecure people lash out at others is they are feeling shame and projecting it onto others. The insecure person may feel psychologically incompetent or threatened when exhibiting negative behaviors toward others. Beginning to learn where we end and someone else begins can help with separating those negative behaviors with how we see ourselves.

As in Maslow's hierarchy of needs, we need certain things to be satisfied in our environments and in order to work toward the next stage in self-actualization. Focusing on our individual needs and growth will help clarify boundaries between oneself and an insecure person. First, we need to meet our physiological needs like sleep, water, and food. . Once these needs are satisfied, a person strives for safety, love, esteem, individuality and the need to establish competency or independence. Working towards self-actualization, reaching our full potential, is a constant process so being patient with oneself and focusing on personal development is key.

Remember That We're All Insecure People - Which Will Help Dealing With Them

We all have our insecurities which may manifest in a variety of ways. Bullying is an all-too-common behavior present in both children and adults, defined as unwanted, aggressive behavior along with an underlying power imbalance. Actions associated with bullying include threats, physical or verbal attacks, spreading rumors, intentional exclusion, or other intimidation tactics.

The urge to cause pain in another person may stem from underlying internal insecurities manifesting in verbal or physical aggressiveness. Getting someone else to change their behavior is much more difficult than changing your own. Looking inwards can be a daunting process and something you might be afraid to do alone. That's why working with a therapist can be helpful when you're trying to understand who you are and how to work with someone with insecure traits.

Other Ways to Productively Deal with Insecurities

The best way to cope with the insecurities of others may depend on the situation because these people can pop up anywhere. Here are a few things that may be helpful when dealing with insecure people, when they are close to you (such as a friend or family member).

  1. Help them to see the good in themselves. Help them to recall a time when they felt good about themselves. When someone is insecure, you can help them regain confidence by reminding them of character traits they possess that you value.
  2. Let them know you care. If you are dealing with someone you love such as a family member, let them know you'll support them, and tell them you're willing to work with them to improve the relationship. Be willing to listen to them, and make thoughtful suggestions if they ask for your opinion.
  3. Offer to spend time with them. Sometimes spending time with them to do something fun and productive can take their mind off distressing feelings. Plus, it may help them open up about their troubles, especially if they are looking for someone to be with them during a time of need.


Don't Take it Personally. When Someone is Insecure - It's Not About You.

Encourage them to talk about their feelings or what may be bothering them. Doing so may help them get to the root of their insecurity. It may also be effective to work with a mental health professional to explore emotions in deeper details. You can learn how constructively provide support without feeling uncomfortable. It's important to remember that you're a friend or family member, and not a trained therapist. There's a fine line between being supportive and being taken advantage of. If the insecure person makes you feel uncomfortable, stop spending as much time with them. If that's not possible, then point them to a professional who can help. Your mental health is your priority, and it may be hard to hear, but your job isn't to take care of someone who's insecure.

Taking advantage of the online services provided by professional counselors at BetterHelp has helped many people understand different forms of insecurity and how it affects their lives. Counselors know this is a difficult topic to talk about, but they will work with you at your own pace to help you feel comfortable confronting what is bothering you. With BetterHelp, you can explore ways to deal with insecure people in confidence. Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors, from people experiencing similar issues.

Counselor Reviews

"Blaire has been amazing. She's super supportive, empathetic, and kind. She has helped me gain confidence in myself and learn that it is okay to enforce healthy boundaries in my relationships."

"Rachel is awesome! Gently encouraging and very responsive. I prefer to communicate via messages and I love that that is an option. I feel that she totally understands me and is never judgmental. The stress from work impacts my partner less since I've been talking to Rachel - I am managing my stress and insecurity better."


Learning how to deal with insecure people includes understanding how their thoughts and perceptions affect others. There are effective ways to learn about these emotional habits and to express feelings to them without damaging the relationship. Using the tools and resources mentioned in this article can help you make positive changes, so you can have better relationships with the insecure people in your life. A therapist can help you decide if it's healthier to end the relationship with them altogether. Either way, with the right tools, truly fulfilling relationships are ahead. Take the first step today.

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