16 Things Narcissists Secretly Fear

Narcissists are scary. But have you ever thought about what’s scary to a narcissist? They always have a facade up so it’s hard to tell. But the truth is, they’re scared of a lot of things. Though they try to keep it secret, these are 16 things that a narcissist fears.

1. Being humiliated in public

Multi-ethnic group of friends laughing at funny message outdoor

The thing about narcissists is that they hate failing. That’s because their egos are fragile, so if they fail in front of a lot of people and are laughed at in public, it can be so upsetting. Their ego is their only real protection against the fake persona they’ve created and when it’s clearly displayed for everyone to see, they’ll have a hard time recovering.

2. Losing their partner’s admiration

It’s a well-known fact that narcissists need to be admired by their partners—whether that’s through verbal praise or just general adoration. When a narcissist notices that their partner’s interest or enthusiasm for them has started to wane, they will become desperate to win them back. This might manifest as over-the-top gestures to keep them from fully slipping away.

3. Receiving criticism

Young couple arguing at home needs couples therapyistock

Narcissists have no problem bluntly criticizing other people. But when they’re on the receiving end of criticism? Things don’t go so well. Their first response to being criticized is getting angry, then they’ll play the victim. For their final act, they’ll flip the narrative and turn the criticism onto you, so they’re not the person being attacked. Manipulation at its finest.

4. Being found out or exposed

Couple arguing planning a separation after infidelity crisis

Most people are okay (or have at least accepted) that other people will see their vulnerabilities and imperfections. You’re human and you’re not perfect, deal with it. Even though narcissists put on a front of confidence, they know deep down they’re not perfect either and that terrifies them. They don’t want anyone else to find out because everything they’ve built will come crashing down.

5. Being held accountable

This goes back to the idea of being found out. If a narcissist is held accountable by someone, then that means the jig is up—they have to explain themselves or admit their mistakes (two things they hate). Whether it’s shirking responsibilities like house chores or being a fairweather friend, narcissists do not want to take ownership of their crappy actions.

6. Being rejected

Couple have a conversation, while he's been ignored by his girlfriend

Narcissists have a deeper relationship with being rejected than everyone else does. As we said, they need a narcissistic supply from everyone around them in order to feel good. When they’re rejected—whether that be from a job or a relationship or after asking for a favor—it reminds them that they’re not the person they pretend to be. This makes them believe they’re unlovable and is often followed by rage.

7. Being starved of empathy

Narcissists like to put their claws into people who have a high level of empathy. That’s because empaths provide a space for narcissists to get their supply of validation. When you no longer give empathy to a narc, they can no longer manipulate you to make their selfish actions seem “okay.”

8. Being abandoned

This is a very real fear for lots of people and narcissists aren’t immune. They need to be constantly surrounded by people who love and admire them and serve their needs. If a narcissist thinks there’s a risk that you’ll leave, they’ll engage in active abuse and manipulation in order to keep you right where you are.

9. Having  to deal  with consequences

Narcissists don’t have to deal with consequences often because they’re masters at manipulating all situations. So when someone threatens them with a consequence or punishment—like leaving them high and dry or exposing them to the rest of the group—they’ll freak out. They’re not used to being disciplined and that scares them in a big way.

10. Not being special or unique

One thing about narcs is that they see themselves as above everyone around them. They have to be the smartest, most attractive, most successful person in the room and have a deep need for others to see them this way. If someone doesn’t think the narc is the best thing since sliced bread, then that’s a threat. They don’t want to be treated like anyone else, they want to be treated like royalty and any other type of treatment won’t fly.

11. People who have self-respect

When you have a high level of self-respect and know you’re valued, you know what kind of treatment you deserve. This is a problem for narcissists because that means you won’t be taking any (not even a smidge) of their crap. Narcissists can’t puppeteer their way into your life for their own gain, so you are their worst enemy.

12. Being challenged

If you have a narcissist in your life, then you know they absolutely hate losing or being wrong. They think they know it all, can do it all and are the end all be all. So, if you knock them off their high horse by challenging their opinions and using facts and evidence to win your case, they’ll want to stay very far away from you. That’s because you’re someone who can expose their lies and exaggerations with cold hard proof.

13. Getting blocked

serious blonde woman sitting on bed

It’s ironic because narcissists block people like nobody’s business when they don’t serve a purpose anymore. But one of a narc’s biggest fears is being blocked themselves. They don’t like having the tables turned on them and they certainly don’t like being in a situation where they can’t suck you back in.

14. People who display strength and confidence

Narcs will try to break you down in so many ways. It gives them a sense of control. But when you come back at them with strength and confidence after they’d tried to beat you down, a narc will get jealous, insecure, and sometimes, enraged. They know now that the risk of losing you is even higher because you’re not able to be controlled.

15. Losing control

You might not even realize it but narcissists will sneakily take over your life until you look back and ask yourself, “How the heck did this happen?” They’ll push themselves into your home, into your family dynamic, and any other aspect of your life that they want to. If you appear weak or easily triggered, they know they have control. But when you take a stand for yourself and show them who’s boss, they’ll run scared.

16. Getting zero attention

Narcissists absolutely thrive on attention and being noticed. It doesn’t even have to be positive attention, it can be negative attention too—attention is attention to a narc no matter which way you slice it. Most people give them the compliments they fish for and boost their false sense of self-esteem. But when someone acts unamused or uninterested when they come begging for validation, they’ll get deflated and fearful.

Enjoyed this piece? Give us a like and follow Bolde on MSN for more!

Piper Ryan is a NYC-based writer and matchmaker who works to bring millennials who are sick of dating apps and the bar scene together in an organic and efficient way. To date, she's paired up more than 120 couples, many of whom have gone on to get married. Her work has been highlighted in The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Cut, and many more.

In addition to runnnig her own business, Piper is passionate about charity work, advocating for vulnerable women and children in her local area and across the country. She is currently working on her first book, a non-fiction collection of stories focusing on female empowerment.