The 7 Things Narcissists Are Most Afraid Of

 May 07, 2017

The 7 Things Narcissists Are Most Afraid Of

5. Exposure.

Several colorful arrow street signs with words Not Me - His, Her and Their Fault, symbolizing the twisting of the truth and shifting of blame

If you call out a narcissist on their abusive behavior, they will usually become very angry.  Their anger might be expressed in rage or in more covert means such as the silent treatment or gaslighting you. They don’t like to be held accountable for the things they do to others, because that means they have to admit they are less than perfect.   It also means they have to acknowledge the humanity of someone else, which they aren’t capable of doing.  Narcissists are all too aware of their imperfections, but only at the subconscious level, and the way they handle this is to project their own imperfections onto you.  So a narcissist might tell you that YOU are the narcissistic one, or that YOU are the abuser.  They’re also good at getting others to side against you, and those people become their flying monkeys.    They will accuse you of doing things that they themselves have done and everyone believes them and not you.

You start to feel like you’re living in a hellish world of smoke and mirrors, where you’re no longer sure what’s real and what isn’t.   The narcissist has, unconsciously or consciously, set up this elaborate lie as a massive defense mechanism against being exposed as imperfect and flawed just like everyone else, because being forced to acknowledge their shortcomings is to expose their vulnerabilities, and being vulnerable is incredibly terrifying to them.   They blame so they don’t have to feel shame.

6. Loss of the trappings of youth and success.

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As narcissists age, they often grow even more  abusive (a very few may improve–but they probably weren’t high spectrum to begin with). That’s because aging means a loss of looks, career, health, possibly even a spouse (who provides a narcissist with supply), and in some cases even financial solvency. All these things are proof to a narcissist that they still have value and are still admired and respected.

Somatic narcissists, who are most concerned with their health or physical appearance, have never developed other aspects of themselves that could be fallen back on when those things begin to go; that’s because the false self is a flimsy one-dimensional construct and is incapable of love, true attachment, friendship, and other things that the rest of us can fall back on when we’re old and not in such great physical shape or health anymore.   If someone has spent their entire lives only concerned with their appearance, once that goes, what’s left?

Cerebral narcissists, who are concerned with their intellectual ability or business acumen, may be able to hang onto those assets a bit longer, but eventually, their minds may begin to become less sharp or they may be forced to retire or reduce their hours working.  Having to retire is a huge blow to a narcissist whose entire identity is tied up in his or her career and earning ability.  What is left?

In both cases, a narcissist experiences an almost total loss of supply and to avoid the ensuing depression, they lash out and attack others like angry dogs.  That’s why old narcissists are so often cranky and mean.   They’re also terrified of death, the last thing on the list that terrifies them.


7. Death.

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Every narcissist I’ve ever known lives in mortal terror of death.   That’s because death is the ultimate loss of narcissistic supply.  Death means complete annihilation of the ego and there’s nothing more horrifying to a narcissist than that because their ego is all they are.   Personally, I think some also fear hell.  They know on some deep level how badly they’ve treated and exploited others and think they might be held accountable for it in the afterlife.   I’ve seen a lot of narcissists who suddenly become extremely religious in their old age.  I think that’s because they think by being religious, they may be able to ward off any accountability after they die.

Written by Lauren Bennett

Originally appeared on Lucky Otters, find the original copy here
Printed with permission from the author


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The 7 Things Narcissists Are Most Afraid Of

22 comments on “The 7 Things Narcissists Are Most Afraid Of

  1. Seems to have hit some nerves but I, from the perspective of a linguistic anthropologist, humbly think that some have missed the purpose and are not attacking the author because they are mean people but rather misidentified the cause and perspective of the author. These forum comments provide adequate psychological distance to attack people who use blogs to work through trauma as well as provide well understood relationships in academically peer-reviewed research on narcissism. I offer some thoughts below and remember…if you don’t like my thoughts on the subject,, you are not obliged to read it . I participate here in good will and with no intent to demean anyone.

    1. This topic is important and it merits the attention it is getting.

    2. If one reads the author’s bio text, one finds a frustration with our ‘trial and error’ approach to diagnosing mental health conditions. The brain is our most powerful and least understood organ and being told you are “x” by one doctor and “y” by another has significant impact on the psyche. A plausible logical entailment – if the brain is our most complex.organ, there is a wider range of conditions that can go wrong with brain chemistry. than with organs that are both better understood and serve fewer functions. The word PTSD appears in this author’s bio which leads me to #3

    3. For those with PTSD, particularly childhood-related PTSD, the 2016 us election of a clinically diagnosed malignant narcissist ,was a trigger for a flare up of PTSD episodes. Anecdotally, I can say that this was my own diagnosis from my psychiatrist who noted an almost 1 to 1 correlation between c-ptsd patients and profoundly increased levels of anxiety and depression. For those who say, “that is crap”, I am sincerely happy for you as that means you do not have this condition. It is part of the human condition that we try to use our own feelings to understand. If one does not suffer from c-ptsd, the causation is hard to grasp cognitively. In point 4, I offer an attempt to explain this connection.

    4. For starters, this website helps illustrate this connection;
    Childhood ptsd, by latest statistics, develops among roughly 51% of those who endured significant childhood trauma. So one may have experienced very significant trauma – this only means that they re part of the 49% who were fortunate enough to not have the brain impacted in this way. As a child, trauma is most often accompanied by powerlessness to control the abuse we experienced. The surprise (for many of us at least) of the arrival of such an Authoritarian leader (on the Authoritarian vs. Nurturing cline) who threatens and bullies consistently takes us right back to that trauma in childhood and triggers the fight or flight response and hyper reactivity to stress or the potential for stressful events. This point, point 4, is why at least some of us must find a way to cope with a return to a hell we fought hard to escape. Now, I have no knowledge of whether this is the situation for the author of this article but it informs my opinion point #1. More people than one might expect (archaic stigma around mental health prevents self-reporting from being reliable) are now struggling to find a way to understand and cope with a narcissist who has power over us.

    5. The author’s referential information about the traits that define a narcissistic personality are current and accurate. But the author interjects a great bit of phatic or emotional information that indexes personal pain at the hand of a narcissist (not narcissistic behavior which we all perform at some points in our lives…these two cannot be conflated if we want to understand what a labeled Narcissist is vs. occasional narcissistic practice). People will react differently to the emotional interjection. Personally, I find it courageous to be willing to subject oneself to public scrutiny while trying to inform and perhaps work through some personal trauma. I would call this the “excruciating vulnerability” that Brené Brown (TED talk worth the 20 minutes to hear her research on factors that define happiness). But that is just my take. If one finds the article irrelevant, must one question the validity of another human’s experience? Or perhaps, one can simply choose to not read articles about topics that they feel are not germane to their own experience?

    6. Narcissists may feel insulted by having adult fully-developed personality traits placed in the public sphere. However, I don’t see any insults nor do I believe that a majority of people fall under the clinical definition of Narcissist. This is similar to the distinction we must make between clinical depression and the emotion of the same name. We all get depressed from time to time but fewer people suffer from the condition of clinical depression. Narcissists would be offended for the very reasons the author points out in her (non-exhaustive) but accurate list of traits of a fixed Narcissistic personality.

    7. Regarding problems and solutions, I think these are outside the scope of what she chose to present here. It is not a doctor’s report but the writing of a human being struggling as many of us are to find a solution.

    I offer this humble post in hopes that we can find our better selves and have constructive discussions rather than using people’s work as a venting outlet for our own frustrations. If one thinks the topic is overly discussed, why would one read through enough of the article and then spend the time and energy to write a condescending commentary about it. Is that not essentially screaming at fire for being hot? It won’t change anything and ultimately hurts the readers who allows themselves to get angry over the existence of the article.

    I am in academia but I do not consider myself any more intelligent than anyone who has posted on the topic. I work hard (I believe it is hard work for us all) to remain open to other perspectives and have been convinced I was wrong many times by folks who make cogent points or think of things I didn’t consider.

    If you’re still reading this…well, I thank you and congratulate you on your patience 🙂 Complex issues often require complex answers. Oversimplification of these issues “that’s stupid”..etc. cannot promote arriving at a real understanding.

    I welcome discussion and, for those who wish, please feel free to attack. I can take it. But can we all? Before all else, I believe we would be happier by embracing the “first, do no harm” approach in these discourses. We are writing to real people with real problems, feelings, insecurities…we are not writing for a computer to read. Words matter and can be just as destructive as physical violence.

    Wishing all good health and good spirits.

  2. Are you serious? You have accurately described and insulted the majority of our population why don’t you focus on the solution rather than the problem we all know what we are… How do you think we can fix ourselves? Everyone incarnated has varying degrees if what you term as narcissism I am predominately empathic and that totally complements my narcissistic side we are here to integrate ourselves into atonement not to annihilate ourselves into a early grave never complete our spiritual lightwork.

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