What Is Emotional Insecurity?

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  • Written By: C.B. Fox
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 15 October 2019
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Emotional insecurity is a sense of having a low self-worth. Most people have some level of emotional insecurity and may be more or less insecure depending on the external circumstances or mood. Insecurities can stem from previous experience and usually begin in early childhood, finding reinforcement as a person grows into adulthood. Though some level of insecurity is normal, people who are very emotionally insecure may have developed ways to deal with their insecurity that may make it difficult for them to relate with others in a healthy way.

According to some psychologists, a healthy sense of self-worth is developed during a person's infancy and very young childhood. Young children whose needs are attended to promptly develop the emotional attitude that they are deserving of safety, security, and the fulfillment of their wants, whereas children whose needs are not met question whether they deserve to have those needs met at all. While this theory does not explain all instances of emotional insecurity, many people's insecurities seem to stem from events of early childhood. Once this pattern of thinking has been started, reinforcement for the belief is sought, resulting in the accumulation of more evidence of unworthiness to have needs met, ignoring evidence to the contrary.


Some emotional insecurity is considered normal, as nobody grows up getting all his needs met as soon as they arise. These insecurities can lead to doubts about a person's abilities or anxiety about interpersonal relationships. For the most part, people are able to overcome their insecurities and live relatively normal lives, especially when they are able to understand and accommodate the insecurities of others in their lives.

Though everyone has some emotional insecurity, some people are so insecure that it interferes with their ability to engage with others in a healthy manner. Insecurity can lead to shyness and the desire to withdraw from society. It can also manifest as behaviors that compensate for and mask feelings of low self-worth, such as aggression, arrogance, and the need to dominate others. A person may manifest any or all of these behaviors to varying degrees, depending on the level of insecurity.

Emotional insecurity is normal, but in many cases, it is undesirable. People who wish to overcome their insecurities often work with a therapist to pinpoint their reasons for feeling like they do not deserve to have their needs fulfilled. By working on these issues, people can lessen their feelings of insecurity and begin to form more healthy relationships.


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Post 4

I have attachment issues. Zach and I have been dating for about a year, not counting the breaks, and I moved into his house. Now we decided for me to move out so I can really think about what I want for myself. I can't leave the house. I need to, though. I need to do this for us and me!

Post 3

I was alone a lot as a child and I think this is the cause of my emotional security.

The problem is that I don't value myself. I always see my negative attributes and find fault in everything I do. Even if someone treats me badly, I feel that I must have done something to deserve that treatment.

The only thing that has helped me is my hobby which is dancing. I started taking dancing classes and realized that I'm good at dancing. I've even performed on stage and this has contributed a lot to my self-esteem. I don't feel as emotionally insecure as before.

Post 2

@turquoise-- I knew a counselor who told me that we can overcome emotional insecurity by pretending that we are secure.

He said that as we act as though we are emotionally secure people who have self-esteem, we will eventually become one.

Post 1

What are ways to overcome emotional security on my own?

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