4. Narcissists Fear Accurate Criticism
If you’ve spent any amount of time with a narcissist, you’ll know exactly how blunt and painfully they will criticize you – from everything from your appearance to your thoughts and feelings to your ethics and core values. Yes, it’s true that narcissists are all about dishing out criticism, but they aren’t so good at accepting it – constructive or otherwise.
If you’ve ever criticized a narcissist, chances are you dealt with narcissistic rage and/or narcissistic injury. It’s their natural response to criticism is to first get angry, then display narcissistic injury (the “poor me” act), followed by (or in conjunction with) the “narcissistic flip” – where they turn your criticism around and find something to criticize you for instead. They will attack you and deflect your criticism by finding something to cut you down a few notches.
5. Narcissists Fear Being Exposed
While they like to appear to be perfect to the general public, most narcissists are secretly insecure and self-loathing. We know that the average toxic narcissist has a false self that acts as a mask to their true self, which is damaged and vulnerable.
For all of the bravado and grandiosity, the real person behind the mask is most often insecure and desperate to be loved. Sadly, since they’re so self-focused and only concerned about their own emotions, it’s difficult for narcissists to maintain a long-term, mutually satisfying relationship.
And when their true self comes through, anyone who isn’t already actively entrenched will run the other way. So, one of their biggest fears is being found out – being seen for what they truly are. This leads to my next point – narcissists fear abandonment.
“The narcissist devours people, consumes their output, and casts the empty, writhing shells aside.”
— Sam Vaknin
6. Narcissists Fear Abandonment
As often as a narcissist threatens, directly or indirectly, to abandon you, you’d think they were perfectly secure in their ability to remain surrounded by sources of narcissistic supply – as in, people who love, admire and serve them as needed.
But the truth is that while abandonment is probably the most human fear one can have, narcissists aren’t immune. In fact, if we’re being honest, they’re probably pretty normal this way.
With that being said, the difference between a narcissist’s fear of abandonment and that of the average person is that a narcissist will actively abuse and manipulate the people around them in order to control them and keep them in their place.
7. The Narcissist Fears Not Being Special
As you might have guessed by now, the narcissist’s biggest and most daunting fear is being seen as ordinary or not special. See, narcissists like to see themselves as different and better than everyone else. Above the law, and deserving of special treatment at all times. The idea that they might be anything other than absolutely extraordinary is almost devastating to them.
They want to be the smartest or richest or best-looking person they know. They need others to see them this way, and if you can’t do that, they can’t stay in their little narcissist bubble. They don’t want to be treated just like everyone else – they want to be treated better than everyone else. But forcing them to acknowledge (or even just treating them like everyone else) will make them feel attacked and demeaned.
8. Narcissists Fear Your Self-Respect
One of the narcissist’s biggest secrets (and, incidentally, one of their most intense secret fears) is the idea that you might develop self-respect and learn (or remember) that you’re someone who has value.
See, when you do develop (or redevelop) self-respect, you’ll quickly learn that you deserve to be treated with respect. You’ll start setting boundaries, and you’ll stop taking their crap. This of course can lead to all of their other fears coming to the surface – their imperfections will be exposed, they’ll be rejected, which will lead to embarrassment and being found out – and ultimately, abandonment.
Narcissists have some pretty deep fears, but they would never knowingly let anyone see or know about them. That is because letting anyone see their fears triggers shame – and shame is one more thing that narcissists fear.
Question of the day: Do you know a narcissist who displays these fears? What other kinds of fears have you recognized in the narcissists in your life? Let me know your thoughts, experiences, and ideas in the comments section below this video.