It’s a good question. Are narcissists afraid of anything? You bet they are, and there are 7 things that terrify them to their core. Here they are:
1. Abandonment and rejection.
Narcissists can’t stand being rejected or abandoned. To reject a narcissist means you are rejecting the false self they have so carefully constructed to impress you. To reject that false self negates their entire reason for existing, since whatever true self they may have left is completely inaccessible to them and the false self cannot survive on its own; it’s completely dependent on the approval and attention of others. When you reject a narcissist they are forced to confront their own emptiness and nothing scares them more than that.
2. Being made fun of.
Narcissists have no sense of humor. Nada. None. Zero. Zip. They may laugh at you when you fall and break your arm, and they may chuckle at the discomfort of someone else (since they have almost no empathy), especially if the discomfort was caused by them (because remember, to them you are not a real person but an object), but they are completely incapable of ever laughing at themselves.
3. Being disrespected.
No one likes to be treated with disdain or disrespect, but the narcissist is downright phobic about it. He or she worries about it all the time and imagines slights and personal attacks even where they don’t exist.
Again, it boils down to the false self which he or she must constantly keep propped up. It’s your job to puff it up and inflate it constantly lest it collapse into a limp pile of flimsy rubber. Disrespecting a narcissist is like popping a hole in their balloon-self and they feel like they are going to die. To avoid this, a narcissist uses every defense mechanism they have in their arsenal to keep you inflating their balloon-self so they don’t have to acknowledge the horror of recognizing they have lost their real one.
4. Being ignored.
This is a no-brainer. Ignoring a narcissist means giving them no supply at all. That’s why some narcissists would even rather be hated than be ignored. Negative attention is still attention, and at least it provides acknowledgement that they still exist. When you ignore a narcissist, it’s as frightening to them as being invisible. They’re no longer confident they exist without your attention.
If you call out a narcissist on their bad 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.
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 one causing chaos. 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.
6. Loss of the trappings of youth and success.
As narcissists age, they often grow even more mean(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.
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.
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.