Feeling insecure in relationships is common, but the cause has more to do with our personal history than anything else.
We can probably agree that insecurity is one of those feelings from which nothing good can come. But most importantly, what causes insecurity in a relationship?
Like jealousy or bitterness, it can be deep-rooted, hard to correct, and even hard to recognize. Often, other people see our own insecurities before we do.
Let’s say someone has identified your insecurity for you…
And let’s say you’re not in denial, and you actually agree with them…
How do I stop feeling so insecure?
#1 Cause of Relationship Insecurity: Fear
People may never cop to feeling fear because it seems like an overly dramatic way to describe how they’re feeling. But it’s important that you don’t beat around the bush and that you get straight to the root of why you feel insecure in your relationships.
Do some soul searching.
Ask yourself, “What am I afraid might happen?”
Your insecurity might stem from extreme shyness or chronic depression. For whatever reason, insecurity is caused by the fear of something unpleasant happening.
This potential “event” could be:
- A secret being revealed
- Something mundane like discovering you’re not a good dancer, or
- Something serious like your secret criminal background
The #1 cause of our insecurity is not about a secret, but the fear of an event.
#2 Cause of Relationship Insecurity: Inexperience
“Life experience is the best teacher.” –David Letterman
Whenever you lack experience, that means you do not have the experiential data to navigate a situation with success and confidence. This lack of confidence may be highlighted by the presumed confidence and experience of others around you.
If you have your own experiences and victories, from which to draw data, lessons, and expectations, your natural instinct will be more confident. For example:
- Applicant #1 has excelled at written tests during the interview process
- Applicant #2 has only ever taken oral exams during the interview process
Which applicant is probably feeling insecure after finding out about the written test?
One applicant’s greatest confidence booster going into an interview is their relevant experience.
While this interviewer-applicant relationship may be temporary, it’s indicative of how a lack of experience can cause insecurity. Job interviews are a microcosm of your workplace relationships.
Another applicant spends a whole interview hiding their lack of experience—feeling insecure.
#3 Cause of Relationship Insecurity: Self-Hate
Of course, you don’t truly hate yourself, but do you truly love yourself? In other words, do you love and respect yourself enough? And is there a difference between hating yourself and not loving yourself enough? They both lead to feelings of insecurity.
How do you ask?
Unfortunately, the amount of love and respect we receive from others is in direct proportion to the amount of love and respect we have for ourselves. No one can build your self-esteem for you. And low self-esteem becomes a cycle that feeds on itself:
Your insecurity in a relationship sometimes occurs because:
- Others around you are simply reflecting your feelings of low self-worth back to you.
- This causes insecurity to become your reality.
- Then insecurity becomes a part of your personality.
Before you know it, you always feel insecure in your relationships. Self-loathing is especially damaging because it can lead to self-destructive behavior. However, it’s also probably the easiest to fix.
You can decide to love and respect yourself more, and if you keep it up, others will do the same.
#4 Cause of Relationship Insecurity: Parents
“All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten”. – Robert Fulghum
This may be the title of a book that’s sold millions of copies, but it deals with a major cause of our insecurities. Without psychotherapy, many of us are walking around with habits, mindsets, character traits, and opinions that were developed during childhood.
Abuse, spoiling, neglect, or coddling may have polluted your childhood experience. Children who experience dysfunctional behavior are like sponges. The dysfunction becomes so ingrained in us that by the time we turn 7, we believe it’s just who we are.
As a child, you could have been forced to feel insecure. As you journey further into adulthood, those feelings are still there and can start to compromise your work relationships. Of all the causes of insecurity, this is probably the most difficult to identify and correct.
Healing the remnants of a dysfunctional childhood certainly requires the most work, and probably the most help from a professional. Do you need to schedule an appointment with a therapist?
Maybe not, but you should start paying attention to your relationships, negative patterns, and keep asking yourself, “Why do I feel insecure?”
#5 Cause of Relationship Insecurity: Baggage
One thing we all have in common is that we all have a past. That past is full of highs, lows, and things we’d like to forget. When we have negative experiences that are never dealt with or fully understood, we carry them with us into a new working relationship.
Because your first boss was a short-tempered taskmaster who wanted you to live in constant fear of being fired, you might believe that’s what a boss is supposed to do. For instance, baggage can cause you to display dysfunctional people-pleasing behaviors as an employee.
Carrying this “unchecked baggage” is similar to the childhood trauma discussed above, except it’s much easier to identify and correct. You may feel insecure in your relationships because your previous negative relationship is more real than what you are presently experiencing.
No matter which of the 5 causes describe your personal situation, there is no excuse for letting your past control your present and your future with feelings of insecurity.
To find out more about effectively and safely addressing your feelings of insecurity, connect with a coach and mentor at elevanation. We’re here to show you the way back to the real you.