Most narcissists, in particular overt narcissists, come across as fearing nothing. The fact is though that underneath that brazen, rough facade often lies a very scared person.
There are some things that frighten all narcissists to the very core of their being, & this post will share those things.
Being criticized is a big one. All narcissists work hard to create a false image of a really great person to the world. If they are criticized, this can damage that image. The image must be maintained perfectly at all times, & criticism can threaten that image. While narcissists are often quick to criticize other people, they can’t tolerate it being done to them.
Being treated without respect is another fear of narcissists. To be respected helps them to maintain that false image they work so hard to present by showing them that they are worthy of respect. Any sign of disrespect can damage that fragile false image, so they will not tolerate disrespect no matter how slight or unintentional it may be. My overtly narcissistic mother always told me, “I demand respect.” I’ve heard others say that their narcissistic parents or spouses said the same thing. They obviously don’t realize a person can’t truly respect someone simply because they are ordered to respect that person.
Ignoring a narcissist is something they simply cannot tolerate. Narcissists thrive on attention & the narcissistic supply it provides. If you adore a narcissist, you’re providing supply. If you hate a narcissist, you’re also providing supply. Love & hate are both very strong emotions & take up much of a person’s thoughts. That is why both emotions are great sources of narcissistic supply. Ignoring a narcissist shows you feel nothing for that person, which not only fails to provide narcissistic supply, it damages their ego. Narcissists who are ignored often behave worse than they did when in a relationship with their victim because that victim has ceased to provide their precious narcissistic supply. This is why so many narcissists resort to vicious smear campaigns, harassment & even stalking if their victim ignores them. If they can’t make you love them, they will be satisfied to make you hate them.
A huge fear all narcissists have is their abusive behavior being exposed to anyone other than their victim. Since narcissists want to be well thought of by everyone, being exposed as the abusive monster they are would destroy that. Rather than run the risk of exposure, they find it much better to keep their victims silent by any & all means necessary. They isolate them by ruining their relationships with friends & family, they scare victims, use guilt, shame & gaslighting to keep them silent. They also run damage control by convincing those in their circle that the victim is crazy, irrational, over sensitive or even mentally ill.
Rejection is another huge fear of narcissists. They take rejection as a personal attack. While no one likes to be rejected, narcissists take it to a very different level. Most people examine their behavior & make appropriate changes. They also hurt, but they also move on. Narcissists do NOT examine their behavior & move on. They get angry that anyone would dare end a relationship with them. Their abusive ways are no reason to end that relationship, after all. The victim should just take it indefinitely without complaint. Since that didn’t happen, narcissists get angry & again, may resort to a vicious smear campaign, harassment or even stalking.
Possibly the biggest fear narcissists have is abandonment. (Ironic, when you consider that by the time they’re elderly, they have chased away most of their friends & family with their awful & abusive behavior.) Narcissists need narcissistic supply to function like the rest of humanity needs air. They can’t function without a steady stream of narcissistic supply, so they have a deep fear of abandonment. To avoid this, they will rage & threaten victims in an attempt to make them stay. If a victim leaves them, they will promise to change & love bomb as a way to lure their victim back. If left alone, narcissists will have to face their own company & they don’t like to do that. No one wants to see the ugliness on the inside of a narcissist, not even the narcissist!
If the narcissist in your life is acting even worse than usual lately, one of these scenarios may be why. There is nothing you can do to make the situation better, so if at all possible, avoid this person as much as possible. Also, never forget to practice the Gray Rock method, & provide no narcissistic supply.