10 Things Narcissists Fear Most

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Narcissists like to pretend that they’re all-powerful, all-knowing beings that can never be harmed. But regardless of how they act, there are actually quite a few things that strike fear deep into their hearts. Narcissists are known to be extremely vain and care only about themselves. The world itself revolves around them (or so they think). But just what is a narcissist? In psychology, there is something called “narcissistic personality disorder.” The definition of this disorder is  “A mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultraconfidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.” It’s that last part of the definition that is the most telling. Deep down, these people are very fragile, with extremely low self-esteem. It seems obvious then, that there are many things that really scare them. Here are just ten of those things:

Relationship Commitment
Narcissists are often characterized by a failure or inability to pursue lasting, meaningful relationships. The reasons for this are pretty clear. To be in a relationship, you have to let your guard down, and this is something that narcissists are really afraid of. Being in a relationship means that your partner will get to know you, including all of your faults and embarrassments. For narcissists, letting people see these imperfections in their character can seem unthinkable, and even frightening. There is also a phenomenon known as “sexual narcissism” where people (usually men) create this fake idea in their heads that they’re much better at sex than they actually are. Being in a long-term relationship runs the risk of exposing them for not being as great in bed as they think they are, and this can also cause fear.

Looking Deep Into Their Own Soul
One of the biggest things about narcissists is that they refuse to examine their own inadequacies and imperfections. Because of this, one of the things that scares them most is something right under their noses – themselves. They like to create this false idea of themselves as superior beings, but some part of them, subconscious or otherwise, knows that this is all a lie. That part of their mind is shielded away from them, but it’s always there. To look into this area of their mind would be to confront everything that is wrong with their personality, and it’s something that narcissists dread more than almost anything else. To be fair, this is something that a lot of people fear, not just narcissists. Really looking at yourself critically can be one of the hardest things to do, and not many people are truly capable of it. But while most people merely find this uncomfortable and unsettling, narcissists find it horrifying and life-shattering.

Another thing narcissists really fear is being insulted. Narcissists are characterized by a hypersensitivity to insults, and the mere thought of being verbally abused can be a source of great fear for them. Hypersensitivity means that they experience the “sting” of being insulted much more than the average person. While a normal person might be hurt and saddened by an insult, they’ll probably get over it in a matter of days or even hours. Narcissists on the other hand will feel insults as a crushing blow to their already fragile self-esteem, and they’ll brood and sulk over it for weeks on end. They might even never get over it (depending on the insult), or even plot some kind of revenge to get back at the person who insulted them. Another phenomenon that happens with narcissists is that they sometimes imagine insults where there are none. These people are so insecure and paranoid that their minds will actually create insults when someone might just be making innocent comments about them. This level of paranoia shows how much narcissists truly fear being insulted.

Another thing that narcissists really fear is shame. They really value their place in society, and they like to think that people hold them in high regard. But it’s an interesting point to make that narcissists fear shame, not guilt. Guilt would imply that they feel bad about hurting someone’s feelings, or doing the wrong thing. It’s widely accepted that true narcissists are incapable of feeling these emotions, because they find it impossible to put themselves in other people’s shoes. Shame is much more daunting to narcissists, because this implies them being singled out by their community or friends and given a lower status. People who are shamed are sometimes shunned or even exiled from a society. Since narcissists value their pride and their standing in society so dearly, tasting the bitter feeling of shame and a wounded ego can be one of the most dreaded experiences for them.

Lack Of Admiration From Others
Narcissists feed heavily on the admiration of others. Without other people, they are nothing. That’s why one of the biggest fears for narcissists is the complete lack of admiration from others. This is not quite as feared as being shamed by others, but it’s very close. Some people don’t mind feeling like they’re invisible. They’re totally okay with walking down the hallways or the street with no one paying them any attention. But for narcissists, even the thought of this happening is like a nightmare to them. It’s that feeling of total irrelevance and unimportance that frightens narcissists so much. Because of this, they will often try very hard to put themselves in important roles (imagined or otherwise) in society, in order to avoid this much-feared fate. Admiration from others is the source of a narcissist’s power in their mind, and without it they are nothing. It’s this lack of power that frightens narcissists so much.

Getting Called Out On Their Lies
Narcissists are famous for lying or exaggerating certain things to make themselves appear more important or impressive. They also do this to make themselves feel better about their own standing in society. So it’s only logical that one of narcissists’ greatest fears is having those lies and exaggerations exposed. It’s not just that getting called out would bring them shame, or show them as less than what they are – it’s the fact that it reveals to the world how weak and insecure they really are. It brings their whole fake world crashing down around them, and as already stated, narcissists think the world revolves around them. And while they are spinning their lies and exaggerations about their own accomplishments, part of them knows deep down that they’re stretching the truth. And from the minute they start telling these lies, they become incredibly paranoid about the fact that someone might one day uncover them.

Not Being In Important Positions
Another major fear of narcissists is that they aren’t important. One of the key characteristics of narcissists is that they relentlessly pursue positions of power and influence. That’s why so many tyrants and leaders were (and are) narcissists. But you can see these characteristics all the way down to the high school level, where narcissists can be seen coldly pursuing an election campaign for class president. But it’s more than just a popularity contest for narcissists. It’s a power contest. And power is incredibly important for these people. Narcissists are also famous for being incredibly competitive. They want to win and be the best, and being the leader or the boss is their ultimate victory. Another interesting characteristic of narcissists is the fact that they seem to want recognition or admiration without any actual accomplishments or achievements. They seem to think they deserve power because they were destined for it. Interestingly, this is very similar to what ancient kings and pharaohs believed; that they were given the right to rule by god, not by personal accomplishment.

Feeling Remorse
Another key characteristic of narcissism is the incapacity to feel remorse. It’s not just that they can’t feel remorse, it’s that they actively refuse to show remorse. This fierce rejection of the very notion of feeling bad about hurting others is indicative of a very deep fear. It’s a total denial of remorse. And why do they fear remorse so much? It’s simple. To them, remorse is a characteristic of weakness. Remorse, to them, shows vulnerability and emotional frailty. And to feel remorse is to open yourself up to that weakness. Remorse is also in its basest form the acceptance that you have made a mistake. And for proud and haughty individuals such as narcissists, this can be unthinkable. More than that – it can be a major source of fear. Remorse is also a way of apologizing, and this is also unthinkable for self-aggrandizing people with narcissistic traits.

Feeling Gratitude
Another feeling that these people reject and fear is gratitude. Gratitude, like remorse, is another emotion that is perceived as a sign of weakness by people who are narcissistic. To these people, gratitude is in a sense giving other people power over yourself. It’s the acceptance that you owe something to someone. It also forces you to come to terms with the fact that you might have needed someone else’s help. To narcissistic people, they think of themselves as these all-powerful beings that rise far above others in superiority. The acceptance that someone else did something valuable for them brings them crashing back down to earth. The notion that someone else gave them something they needed not only puts them on the same level as others, it also makes them feel like they’re weaker, or lower down on the social ladder. And this is one of narcissistic people’s greatest fears.

Death is something that a lot of people don’t want to address or confront, not just narcissistic personalities. But for narcissists, death can be a huge source of fear. Think about it. Narcissists think of themselves as these all-powerful, all-knowing superior beings. And death is the ultimate destroyer of the even the most powerful people. There is no getting around it. You’re going to die. And this puts narcissists on exactly the same playing field as everyone else. We are all equal, because we’re all mortal. This can be a difficult pill for narcissists to swallow. It means that for all their lies and exaggerations, pursuit of important positions, and general haughty behavior, all will be reduced to nothing when their death finally comes. This means that all of this narcissistic behavior was pointless. Death is a major fear for narcissists, and it’s something they often refuse to even accept.

This Article Was Originally Published In psych2go

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