One of my favorite moments in therapy is hearing someone say they are the opposite of what they are expressing. Just like, “I am NOT insecure! I would be happier if it wasn’t for her. She needs to stop doing x, y, z….and I would be fine!” Everyone suffers from insecurity. There are many kinds of insecurity. Insecurity comes and goes, manifesting itself as competency issues, feeling detached and unloved, abandonment, jealousy, etc. Insecurity in my office has been shown in one couple, where the wife has a wonderful time with the husband at an event with friends or family, then goes home to complain about everyone at the party during pillow talk…causing the husband strife who thought they had a great time! The husband feels unable to console his wife, feeling useless and powerless. The wife feels abandoned and unloved. Both are in an insecure place in the marriage and don’t know how to stop feeling insecure! But when asked if they feel insecure, they quickly answer no.
Insecurity begins in childhood through different experiences. Insecurity can be developed within an individual who has internalized an external event. This sense of insecurity can be caused by a number of abandoning, scary, hurtful, or confusing childhood events. When I say childhood, I mean anywhere from babyhood until 25 years of age. 25, because that is the age that the brain is fully developed. The brain does not begin to develop until age 3. That’s an important sidebar…
Insecurity is a feeling, belief, and physical sense that a person can experience when they feel not in control, afraid, or anxious. For example, if you feel anxious around a certain family member, then you are not feeling secure. The lack of feeling safe, grounded, okay, or just plain not good is insecurity. It is the lack of security. Being secure, means knowing you are okay no matter what…..no matter whether you are accepted, loved, known, understood, or feel like you belong to a community. The point is to understand the difference between feeling a sense of security or not. If you believe your family is Beaver Cleaver, then you are in denial about your insecurity. You don’t have to recall a large amount of pain in your childhood to have intimacy issues. Intimacy issues in your family of origin are not always painful. Sometimes they are simply confusing, uncertain, feel strange, or come from strict religious backgrounds and rules. Sometimes it can feel like an emptiness that was not fulfilled. The way to recognize the issue is to look at your own intimacy issues with yourself and with your partner. What does your partner say about your insecurities? How are you handling conflicts and shame? If you are not feeling close and safe to address these issues through to resolution, then there is a lack of security! This means insecurity.
Many times I have clients answer, “I’m not insecure.” This is not true when the other partner is feeling disconnect or lack of intimacy. Being secure in any relationship means there is a lack of being understood, of being known, and being secure in who you are as a person. This is evidence of self-abandoning habits and behaviors that discourage closeness to one another, which is painful and fosters insecurity. If family members are rigid or critical of one another, there is a missing sense of security for a person to be accepted.
Insecurity shows itself in everyone in so many different ways such as: gossiping, triangling, competing, backstabbing, jealousy, envy, greed, anxiety, depression, loneliness, self-absorption, stirring the pot, fighting, abandonment, self-loathing, sabotaging, eating disorders, body-image, approval seeking, and many others. If this sounds like you, then seek recovery. Get into therapy that is honest, truthful, and insightful! Then, you will be able to finally say with confidence, “My insecurities no longer scare me!”