The Narcissist’s Worst Nightmares: Understanding Their Fears.

The Narcissist’s Worst Nightmares: Understanding Their Fears.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a complex psychological condition characterised by an inflated sense of self-importance, a constant need for admiration, and a lack of empathy towards others. While narcissists often project an image of confidence and invincibility, they also harbour deep-seated fears and insecurities. In this article, we will delve into the fears that haunt narcissists, exploring their reactions to being laughed at, abandoned and rejected, ignored, receiving constructive feedback, exposure, being wrong, facing ill health, and being outsmarted. By understanding what threatens a narcissist’s fragile ego, we can gain insight into their behaviours and motivations.

Being Laughed At:

One of the worst nightmares for a narcissist is being laughed at. Narcissists believe they are superior beings who deserve only praise and admiration. Therefore, being the target of laughter undermines their idealised self-image and bursts the bubble of grandiosity they have constructed. They fear being viewed as weak, foolish, or inferior, as this threatens their fragile self-esteem. In response, a narcissist may become defensive, aggressive, or withdrawn to protect their damaged ego.

Example: Imagine a narcissistic boss who presents an absurd idea during a meeting, only to be met with stifled chuckles from the team. The boss may react by lashing out at individual team members or belittling their contributions to restore their perceived superiority.

Abandonment and Rejection:

Narcissists fear abandonment and rejection more than anything else. Deep down, they feel flawed and unlovable, so the idea of being left alone or discarded is a terrifying prospect. These fears stem from a core belief that their worth is directly tied to others’ admiration and validation. As a result, they will go to great lengths to avoid situations that may trigger feelings of abandonment, such as ending toxic relationships or doing whatever it takes to keep those around them under their control.

Example: If a narcissistic partner senses their significant other pulling away emotionally, they may become excessively clingy or manipulative, resorting to controlling behaviours to prevent the impending rejection.

Being Ignored:

Narcissists crave constant attention and adoration, making being ignored an unbearable existence for them. When others fail to give them the recognition they believe they deserve, they feel devalued and invisible. Being ignored challenges their illusion of importance and power, leading to feelings of rage, frustration, and desperation for attention.

Example: A narcissistic colleague who continually seeks praise and acknowledgement may become increasingly disruptive or demanding when their efforts to gain attention go unnoticed by their superiors and colleagues.

Constructive Feedback:

Contrary to popular belief, narcissists do fear constructive feedback. Engaging in self-reflection and acknowledging their imperfections threatens their carefully constructed grandiose self-image. They believe they are always right and cannot accept any criticism, however constructive it might be. Consequently, narcissists often lash out, become defensive, or dismiss feedback entirely to preserve their perceived flawlessness.

Example: A narcissistic manager who receives well-intentioned feedback from an employee may react with anger, belittling their subordinate and rejecting the feedback altogether instead of using it to grow and improve.


Narcissists go to great lengths to protect and maintain their carefully curated false self-image. The fear of exposure terrifies them because it risks revealing their true selves, drawing attention to their flaws, vulnerabilities, and insecurities. Whether it is exposing a hidden manipulation, a lie, or an unflattering truth, the idea of being seen for who they truly are drives them to extreme measures of self-protection.

Example: If a narcissistic public figure faces allegations that contradict their public persona, they may resort to denial, gaslighting, or attacking the credibility of their accusers to divert attention from their genuine selves.

Being Wrong:

Narcissists strongly reject the notion of being wrong. Admitting mistakes implicates their superiority and challenges their arrogant self-image. They often engage in a power struggle to prove themselves right at any cost, even if it means distorting the truth, gaslighting others, or manipulating the situation to maintain their illusion of infallibility.

Example: A narcissistic politician may adamantly refuse to acknowledge wrongdoing or apologise for their actions, fabricating alternative narratives or shifting blame rather than accepting responsibility for any misdeeds.

Ill Health:

The idea of ill health is terrifying for a narcissist. They desperately fear being seen as weak, vulnerable, or dependent, as it shatters their carefully constructed facade of invincibility. Moreover, illness disrupts their ability to receive the constant attention and admiration they crave. Therefore, narcissists may dismiss or downplay their own health issues, delay seeking medical attention, or exaggerate symptoms to gain attention and sympathy from others.

Example: A narcissistic parent may ignore or belittle their child’s health concerns, dismissing them as insignificant while exaggerating their own health issues to maintain the spotlight on themselves.

Getting Outsmarted:

Narcissists consider themselves highly intelligent and superior to those around them, so the idea of being outsmarted is a hatred of their ego. When faced with someone who challenges their intellect or manipulative tactics, they may resort to defensive measures, such as attempting to discredit, ridicule, or undermine the person instead of accepting their own shortcomings.

Example: A narcissistic co-worker may perceive a colleague’s promotion as a threat to their ego. Instead of accepting that they were outperformed, they may engage in office politics, spreading rumours or sabotaging the colleague’s reputation.

Understanding the well-hidden fears that plague narcissists reveals the fragility beneath their seemingly confident exterior. The fear of being laughed at, abandoned and rejected, ignored, receiving constructive feedback, exposure, being wrong, facing ill health, and being outsmarted undermines their self-perceived superiority and instigates defensive behaviours. By recognising these fears, we gain insight into the motivations behind a narcissist’s destructive and manipulative actions, emphasising the importance of empathy and establishing healthy boundaries when dealing with individuals exhibiting narcissistic traits.

The Narcissist’s Worst Nightmares | Understanding Narcissism #narcissist

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