Are Narcissists Insecure?

Written by Angela Atkinson

Narcissists are insecure because they have low self-esteem. They feel like their lives are meaningless, and they don’t know why – but we do. Surprised? Don’t be. 

Let’s talk about it.

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Narcissism and insecurity: Possible?

When you think of a narcissist, you don’t think of someone insecure. In fact, they often seem to be exactly the opposite of insecure.

After all, narcissists are known for being vain and self-centered. They often demand your attention.

They want to be admired and need to monitor the amount of respect you give them. They exaggerate their achievements and seem to only care about themselves.

And we all know they manipulate people to get what they want.

But as I’m sure you are well aware, narcissists are boastful and exaggerate their self-importance. They also don’t acknowledge that anyone else has needs, wants, and feelings, thanks to their extreme lack of empathy. They seem to literally believe they are the center of the universe. Sound familiar?

And the other thing that narcissists refuse to do is to be reflective and dig within to become self-reflective. In fact, they are threatened by that idea and will avoid it at all costs. God forbid they should catch a glimpse of their true selves! It would destroy them.

Are narcissists insecure?

So you may be asking yourself whether narcissists are insecure. The short answer is that they are very insecure – even though it often seems otherwise.

(To be fair, covert narcissists often seem a little – or a lot – insecure. But most narcissists seem to carry around some level of insecurity with them.)

Let’s break it down further as to how they are insecure.

They need to boast about everything.

Someone secure will not need to brag about their accomplishments.

Those who are sure of themselves are modest and don’t like showing off.

However, as you see, the narcissist must make it known that they have the best car on the block, or the biggest house on the block, the fanciest clothing, and so on.

While it might seem that it’s all about showing off, the sad truth is that they do this to validate their struggling self-worth.

They put people down on purpose, with purpose.

Anyone secure will always treat others with respect, and if they don’t like someone, they will just not associate with them in any way at all – or keep it at a polite minimum at the very least.

And along with that, the narcissist is known to brag and boast.

They want to make you feel inferior so that you will “know” that they’re “above you or better than you.”

In fact, they need to make you feel that way because it helps them feel better about themselves.

This is another blatant indication of the narcissist’s insecurity – after all, people with a relatively healthy self-image don’t need to stand on the pain of others in order to feel good about who they are.

Narcissists don’t care about your needs or wants.

Narcissists don’t care if you are missing out on something or not getting what you need. This is due to their extreme lack of empathy.

However, they care VERY MUCH about their own wants and needs. In fact, they seem to ONLY care about getting what they need.

And at times, the fact that they get what they need might make them seem almost nice to be around. For a short time, anyway.

If you think about it, you can probably think of a time when an adult behaved like a child when they didn’t get what they wanted – maybe more often than not, if you were dealing with a narcissist.

This also shows some deep insecurity within them because they fear they will miss out on what they want and need.

And this is why they do not hesitate to make sure they don’t miss out at the expense of others.

They need to control others.

It is a known fact that narcissists are controlling, which is why they utilize manipulation tactics such as gaslighting and other forms of abuse.

Anyone secure within themselves will never resort to manipulation, except for rare cases where they feel they had been wronged and need to be compensated for understandable reasons.

Dr. Robin Bryman confirms that narcissists need to control people around them and their environments because they often feel like they have no control over other parts of their lives. They become master manipulators as a result, which all stems from insecurity.

Narcissists can’t take criticism.

No one loves to be criticized. However, if the criticism is constructive, then you accept it gracefully even if you don’t put what is suggested to use.

But narcissists fly off the handle when they are criticized, and this is because their fragile self-esteem is threatened when that happens.

That’s because narcissists tend to be triggered anytime they feel their vulnerabilities have been exposed.

They will react angrily, often clapping back at the person giving them criticism with a passive-aggressive response or even mocking them. This humiliates the one giving the criticism, and they feel rejected.

The narcissist does this to take the heat off themselves and to attempt to “level the playing field,” as in, protect their fragile ego by putting the focus back on the person who dares to criticize them.

Narcissism is different than high self-esteem.

Bottom line? High self-esteem and narcissism are not the same things. True confidence in oneself is not narcissistic.

The biggest difference is that when you have actual self-esteem, you are more likely to focus on things like healthy relationships and happiness, while narcissists fail to do this because they genuinely do not care how others feel.

Rather, they want to know what people can do for them. Plus, they’re always trying to validate their self-worth – and when you have actual self-esteem, you don’t need to do that all the time.

Are you dealing with a toxic narcissist?

Find out when you take this quick narcissism test or get some help from one of our coaches. We also have narcissistic abuse recovery support groups and tons of helpful freebies to help in your narcissistic abuse recovery. Below are more helpful resources for dealing with narcissistic abuse recovery.

 

Author

  • Angela Atkinson is a certified trauma counselor and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery, and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships since 2006, she has a popular narcissistic abuse recovery YouTube channel. Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own. Atkinson offers trauma-informed narcissistic abuse recovery coaching and has certifications in trauma counseling, life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation, and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves. Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse here at QueenBeeing.com and at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online.

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