The connection between showing off and insecurity

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

The connection between showing off and insecurity

Since i bought my last car, an Audi TT, i started encountering drivers who do strange sounds/moves with their cars in order to tempt me to race with them.

One of the famous moves those people do is that they bring their car near to mine then start stepping fiercely on the gas pedal just to let me hear the sound of their car's engine.

All drivers, without exception, who tried to tempt me that way were driving inferior cars from the engine specs point of view. The Audi TT i am driving can be considered a racing car yet i am challenged almost everyday by people who drive cars with acceleration that is less than half of my car.

As a psychologist i didn't manage to prevent myself from analyzing this behaviour from a psychological point of view and as a result i came up with this article.

In this article you will learn why were those people showing off their powers and you will be able to know the connection between showing off and insecurity.

When do people show off their power

All cats fear humans. This is a known fact even for those who fear cats. Try to run quickly towards a cat and you will find it running away from you as quickly as it can. Now force that cat into a corner and run towards it then see its reaction.

Most probably you will find the cat stretching its body in order to appear taller instead of running. The cat felt insecure at this point and it found no other way to defend itself other than acting to be more powerful.

This brings us to an important conclusion, all organisms including humans can choose to show off or even to challenge you when they feel insecure! (see also Why do people show off their wealth)

A person might feel like showing of his power only when he believes that he is much less powerful than you.

While driving my car i occasionally come across more powerful cars such a BMW 640. I have never seen any of the people driving such cars attempting to race with anybody that way simply because they are sure they are going to win!

Avatar Movie hero: "The Turok is the only flying creature that never looks above it"
His Friend: "Why?"
Avatar Movie hero: "Because its 100 percent sure that no other bird will ever attempt to attack it from above"

Excuse me if i didn't remember the quotes well as i got them out of my memory but the concept is still intact. The Turok was the most powerful flying bird in the movie and that's why it was sure that no one will dare to challenge it.

People show off their powers when they are unsure of it

Lets suppose that the world's racing champion found me on the road while driving his super fast racing car. Will he ever feel like challenging me for a race?

Of course he will never do it because he is 100% sure that he will win the race. This brings us to another very important conclusion, human beings start challenging each other by showing off when they are not sure that they can win.

Here are few examples:

  • Debates: During sessions people sometimes start to debate with the instructor in an aggressive way. Those people are the ones who felt insecure after comparing themsleves to the instructor and as a result they decided to challenge him to feel good about themselves !
  • Showing off by talking: When someone suddenly starts to talk about his achievements or his victories in front of others then make sure that he felt insecure in a way or another and that he is trying to gain grounds (see The psychology of showing off)
  • Challenging someone to race with you!: Had a person been sure about his ability to win a competition or a race then he would have never challenged you

A secure person flies like a Toruk in Avatar's movie, he rarely feels insecure because he is sure that he is powerful enough to handle threats.

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Want to know more?

Psychology of showing off

Why do people like to show off

Why do people show off part II

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