How to Make a Narcissist Fear You? 12 Greatest Fears of the Narcissist

Last Updated on June 1, 2022 by Alexander Burgemeester

If there is one underestimated character trait of the narcissist, it is that they are exceptional actors.

Their acting skills are so superior, they are able to fool everyone around them.

They are the most confident, self-assured, courageous, and fearless people on the planet. But is that real? Or what are the Narcissist’s greatest fears?

Reality is they are driven by underlying feelings of shame and vulnerability, which is masked with a self-aggrandizing persona.

Narcissists are not born this way, it is not a natural aspect of their personality. Narcissism evolves as a result of a childhood where important developmental milestones are neglected.

A secure sense of self-identity was never established. During adulthood, they build sky scrapper walls around their authentic selves and depend on a carefully crafted image as a form of psycho-emotional survival. 

Whether you are in a relationship with a Narcissist, have a friend or family member, or a boss or co-worker who is a narcissist, being connected to a person with such character traits is draining.

As you may well have experienced, they have a powerful ability to strip you of your self-esteem and make you feel unworthy.

When you understand what makes a narcissist tick, you can reclaim your power, and if you so desire, have them running full speed in the opposite direction when they see you coming.

But what do Narcissists fear and more importantly, How to make a narcissist fear you? Here are twelve things that will scare a narcissist away.

how to make a narcissist fear you

#1 They Fear Rejection

What makes a narcissist panic? Rejection is your number 1 answer.

Narcissists despise rejection, it destabilizes and invalidates them. They work exceptionally hard to keep up appearances; inwardly, they feel unlovable and inferior.

Any form of rejection whether professional, personal, or social sends them on a warpath.

The narcissist’s life is built around them playing the role of rejector. When they feel as if that control has been relinquished, they will do everything in their power to gain it back.

A narcissist will never say they feel rejected by something you have said or done.

Instead, they will wield every tactic in the book from revenge, to threats, and guilt trips. They are also known to resort to public humiliation as a form of revenge.

#2 They Fear Humiliation and Embarrassment

Due to their grandiose and hypersensitive nature, narcissists are incapable of thinking logically.

Their expectations are highly unrealistic, and they are threatened by the most meaningless slights.

No one invites humiliation or embarrassment into their lives; however, the emotional instability of the narcissist makes them exceptionally vulnerable to such emotions.

To protect themselves against these feelings, the narcissist will put themselves in a position of dominance by humiliating and embarrassing the people around them.

#3 They Fear Failure

Narcissists thrive on perfectionism; they have deceived themselves into believing they are perfect human beings and can’t do anything wrong.

The slightest hint at failure is an indication that they are less than perfect in some way.

Inward failure they can deal with because narcissists lie to themselves so much, they believe in their own lies.

But when they have built an entire image around a perceived perfect nature and they are unable to hide or disguise failure, the narcissist feels as if their sense of self has been destroyed.

It is natural to dislike failure, but it is also a powerful tool for growth when a person is capable of learning from their mistakes.

But in order to turn failure into something positive, an individual is required to self-evaluate, and that is something most narcissists will never do unless they have got to a point in life where they are willing to change. 

#4 They Hate To Be Exposed

Emotionally healthy individuals are aware and proud of who they are.

They take pride in revealing the true nature of their character to others. In most cases, they are on a constant journey to self-improvement which involves self-reflection and personal accountability.

Emotionally sound individuals enjoy being intimate with their friends, family and loved ones; and a part of that intimacy involves having the freedom to be their authentic selves around them. 

On the other hand, narcissists fear exposure; therefore, they avoid self-evaluation and see intimacy as a threat.

It’s ironic that the dominant image of a narcissist is one of a person admiring themselves in a mirror when the reality is they are constantly running from who they truly are. They are strangers to themselves.

Narcissists are always working to deny and avoid their weaknesses by surrounding themselves with delusions of superiority.

The one thing they value the most outside of convincing themselves of their pretentious sense of self-worth is convincing others of it.

Reading Suggestion: 11 Typical Examples of Narcissist text Messages

Due to their deep insecurities, they are highly dependent on how others perceive them.

They need constant praise and admiration, if not, they find it difficult to function.

Therefore narcissists have become experts at convincing everyone around them to support and believe the person they portray to be and the narrative surrounding it. 

#5 They Hate Expressing Gratitude

The process of gratitude involves connecting with your feelings and recognizing that you are thankful for something.

Expressing gratitude for the beauty of nature would mean they are thankful to the entity who created it.

Expressing gratitude to a person for something they have helped them with would mean they are thankful to that individual for what they have done.

Whether dealing with a higher power or a person, to a narcissist, gratitude makes them feel indebted to whatever they are thankful for. 

Additionally, since the condition is rooted in a sense of entitlement, they believe they deserve special treatment and attention. They should be acknowledged and valued for their superiority and not the other way around.

For example, when a narcissist goes on vacation and leaves their cat with a friend or a family member.

Upon their return, instead of expressing gratitude for that person taking the time out to look after their cat, the narcissist will expect him/her to thank them for giving them the privilege of doing them a favor.

To the average person, this behavior is unacceptable. But this form of manipulation is embedded in the narcissist’s personality. 

#6 They Fear Not Being Admired

Narcissists can’t live without supply, its like a drug to them. If you take heroin away from a heroin addict, expect a negative reaction.

The same is true when narcissists do not get their daily dose of praise and admiration.

If you want to know how to frustrate a narcissist; withdraw your admiration.

Their partners must put them on a pedestal at all times. They become anxious and fearful their significant other is losing interest unless the narcissist has reached the discard stage.

At this point, they will revert back to love bombing in a desperate attempt to win back your affection. 

#7 They Fear Death

The average person fears death because they don’t know where they’ll go at the end of their life, or they are afraid of the pain they’ll endure beforehand.

The reality is that most people do not want to die, and it is never a topic that is discussed with joy.

The narcissist, on the other hand, fears death because it reminds them that they are not invincible, and their high sense of self-worth was merely a delusion.

When they die, everything they lived for dies with them. This means all their efforts while alive were pointless.

If there was a magic potion for immortality, most people would drink it just to stay alive.

However, the narcissist would do so for the sole purpose of maintaining their superiority.

If you want to know how to make a narcissist suffer, remind them that they are not immortal. 

#8 They Dislike Feeling Remorse

Again, remorse is a feeling, and narcissists fear being connected to their emotions.

Furthermore, they hate to admit they are wrong in any way and feeling remorse would mean they are forced to admit they have made a mistake.

Everyone finds it difficult to apologize even when we know we are in the wrong.

Nevertheless, the narcissist are so committed to their self-importance and perfectionist nature that it is impossible for them to make a mistake.

Even when concrete evidence is presented to the narcissist about their wrongdoing, they will find a way to twist and manipulate the situation, so they are not forced into a position of vulnerability. 

#9 They Fear Being Insulted and Offended

No one likes being insulted; however, the average person can take negative criticism with a pinch of salt and keep it moving, because they feel secure about themselves.

When you know who you are and what you stand for, there isn’t much anyone can say to uproot your confidence.

This is not the case with narcissists. Deep down they are terribly insecure and if what you say about them doesn’t line up with their imaginary self, it is deeply painful.

It is also important to mention that narcissists tend to take things out of context because they are always looking for information to confirm how they really feel.

For example, if you tell your narcissist partner you think the white shirt looks better than the black shirt.

They will respond with something like, “So you’re saying I look fat in this?” Because, deep down, they think they are overweight.

When a narcissist feels they have been insulted, they will sulk and brood over it for days on end.

If they really took offense, they may never get over it and look for ways to seek revenge against the person who insulted them. 

#10 They Fear Taking Responsibility

A common trait amongst narcissists is their inability to take responsibility for their actions.

When something goes wrong, you can guarantee someone else will shoulder the blame. They are adept at twisting the truth, everyone is crazy but them.

Accusations often lead to narcissistic rage, this involves them lashing out at their victim, it’s one of their many power moves used to scare people into submission.

In most cases, you will never get a narcissist to accept responsibility; however, when you refuse to take the blame for their mistakes, they don’t like it at all.

If you caught your partner red-handed with their hands inside the cookie jar, they will vehemently argue that what you are seeing is false evidence appearing real.

A mentally sound person feels relief when they take ownership, narcissists find this difficult because they don’t like feeling vulnerable.

If you want to know how to make a narcissist fear you, hold them personally accountable for their actions. 

#11 They Fear Losing Control

Narcissists like being in control, there is an ulterior motive behind everything they say and do, If they verbally abuse you and you don’t react, it terrifies them.

One of the most effective ways to disarm a narcissist is to respond instead of reacting.

Narcissists keep their victims in a state of heightened alert. They are unpredictable, and you don’t know what they are going to do from one moment to the next.

They are the puppet masters, and you the victim are their puppet. When the narcissist says jump, and you respond with something other than, “how high,” they panic. 

#12 They Fear Not Being the Centre of Attention

Do you want to know what makes a narcissist panic? Give your undivided attention to someone else. This is one of the many things a narcissist hates.

Narcissists need to be the center of attention at all times. If they are not, it shatters their false sense of self-worth.

A prime example is being at a social event with your narcissistic partner; a guest casually mentions a personal achievement.

You are impressed and begin focusing your attention on them.

Saying things like, “wow, that’s awesome,” or, “you’ve done really well for yourself; your parents must be so proud.”

Will destroy a narcissist because they are not the focus of the conversation. You can compare it to dousing them in a bucket of cold water – it’s a complete shock to the system.

How To Make a Narcissist Fear You? Final Thoughts

So how to make a narcissist fear you? It is important to note that getting a narcissist to fear you is not about devaluing them or trying to get even.

It’s about taking power away from the narcissist. In many cases, narcissists are friends, family members, and co-workers, and walking away from them is not a simple task.

However, you can get them to release you from their clutches by tapping into their insecurities.

In this way, you can love them from a distance without having to deal with the mental anguish that comes from having a close relationship with a narcissist. 

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Alexander Burgemeester

Alexander Burgemeester has a Master in Neuropsychology. He studied at the University of Amsterdam and has a bachelor's in Clinical Psychology. Want to know more?

21 thoughts on “How to Make a Narcissist Fear You? 12 Greatest Fears of the Narcissist”

  1. Are narcissist men dangerous when you tell them to leave and he refused he says he’s not going anywhere has a bad temper and keeps loaded gus all over the house

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    • He isn’t dangerous, he is the definition of danger. File a restraining order instead of breaking up by yourself, he won’t leave by himself silently.

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  2. Very insightful I’m becoming more educated on this subject. I’ve been reading everything I can find about this my youngest daughter is been with this type of person for 20 yrs sense she was 15 yrs old it’s two yrs now she is free but not without damaging her beyond measure.

    Reply
    • My daughter 35 is married to a narcissist for 11 years. My husband and I have been married 40 yrs and always had a wonderful relationship with her. “Rich” is 15 yrs older than my daughter, is a momma’s boy, has Crohn’s disease which includes a colostomy bag. (She knew this when dating)
      Yes, we should feel sorry for him and understand he has a lot to deal with,but after years of his torment, we do not. He has made our life hell, separated us in everyway from our daughter and now has taken our grandchildren away after 7 yrs of bonding and caring for them. I have reached out yet again to have a relationship and my reply is a letter will be sent to us via email- thye are so hurt and want explainations=they want us to grovel. He actually had my 6 yr old grandaughter on Facetime telling us “Daddy said your a liar”( she was crying) because we brought the children home when my daughter would not pick them up when promised. Do we stay true to her under any and all conditions till she see this for what it is? Your daughter finally made the break- how long did she stay? Any advice would be appreciated.

      Reply
      • I have some experience with this . Your daughter will not see who he is as long as she has to defend him. It actually pulls her closer to him when challenged by others. What I have observed works : Keep distant & quiet & have ” clean hands ” . Let her know you are there if she desperately needs you , yet distance yourself from this triangulated stance. Keep quiet and give them nothing to use against you. When dust settles , there is nothing to blame her parents for , she hopefully will see who he really is. Truly telling that he would use his kids to attack you. What a heartless coward.
        You can tell her that for your own sake , arguing with her hurts you too much , you are sad for days , you are powerless to fix it , and just will not engage in any more harsh words , especially with grandchildren involved. Life is too short , you want to see your grandkids any time they are willing.

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  3. I lived without MY older son COS my son Cudnt see me being verbally and emotionally abused.now shud i leave i will have to live without our younger son whose 18 years now.and hes right in the middle of this trauma..What do i do.

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  4. Me ex has played the victim so well he deserves an Oscar. He also owes me a lot of money which I’ve realised will never be given back. All through our relationship he needed help financially- now we’re apart he seems to be doing well again. It sickens me. He’s so manipulative. I feel such a fool for beloved his fake future with me 🙁

    Reply
    • If he owes you money and doesn’t give it back, involve the law sis. That’s a recognized crime in every part of the world as far as I’m concerned. Don’t just watch and complain, do sth. You will both get your money back and he won’t be doing as well as he did till now after you get your deserved pay. He is a narcissist, do you expect him to give it back by himself? Don’t make me laugh.

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  5. Narcs are angry, highly insecure people that refuse to deal with their deep sated issues they have. Moreover have an issue with vulnerability and need to remain “perfect” in everyone’s eyes. So the expectation is that ANYONE that comes around them needs to behave, act and do things a certain way in their eyes. If you don’t, you will be ostracized in someway. Which segues into my next point…
    If you’re a self respecting person, then there is no winning with a narc. You just need to leave them to their own devices. Just say your piece and move on. Of course they’ll get defensive and deflective and very venomous when you assert yourself…its because they’ve chosen to remain around people who act as enablers (never called them out or concede when they play the victim card). A common pattern with narcs is that they will always encourage you to speak up when a problem arises…but not to them though.

    You just have to keep it brief with narcs. Wether they’re your family or friends.

    Source : Me. Came from a family of narcs. Became a Narc. Now an Ex-Narc.

    Reply
  6. I unfortunately live overseas with my recent narcissistic ex. month ago I realised the truth. For the past month things have been crazy. His new supply his 10 year younger male colleague. I accepted this after the break off and now have sms messages of him telling ,e that the new supply is nothing and he just wants to have sex and I know that he is one to run away before he gets hurt. I threatened to show the new supply these screenshots of messages . It drove him absolutely crazy which gives me a l little pleasure to be honest. I have all the evidence of his lies that he wrote me and yet everyone knows his truth. I have the power now, question is should I sabotage it all. Im leaving the house asap. so I might send the screenshots to his work and destroy his career and his new supply. should I?

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    • I add we were together for 7 years and I built him up to a career and social status. he made me retreat from this scene and my career. he fears me because I can easily take it all away. should I ? or should I let him think I might or might not before leaving the country in a couple of months.

      Reply
  7. i met one last year so handsome and sweet we talked for a couple of months before he told me that he wasnt interested in me and i wasnt his type then he stared at me for 7 months he never said anything to me then he started talking to me sweet to me to my face and bad talk behind my back he got my hooked i understand so much now thanks

    Reply
  8. I’m the victim of a narcissist son
    He has seen off two relationships
    And now he’s started with me
    I am drained and beginning to think I am mentally ill myself
    His trump card is self harming at the moment he binge drinks to excess and we have get the police to attend then they get an ambulance he recently had surgery for a hip replacement
    Then fell/threw down the stairs and broke his leg
    He lives 200 miles from me and I have been there to “rescue” him about 7 times this year
    He has finally said he doesn’t want me there but again this is a ploy to make me worry
    I’m trying not to get involved this time and replying to his messages with ok
    Beginning to hate my life

    Reply
  9. How do I detach myself emotionally from my narcissist husband. Because it is soo difficult for me to forget him. And I keep thinking he is happy with his new woman that is why he want nothing to do with me. His kids are like disturbing him to be with this lady. All he want is to be with her.

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  10. #5 There is a typo in the title. It says narcissists hate receiving gratitude. They hate expressing gratitude! (It’s correct in the text ;>))

    Reply
  11. You left out one extremely important detail. When you engage with a narcissist, they will dedicate their life to destroying yours. They never forgive and they never stop.

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    • This is so depressing. After 3 years of being divorced my narcissist ex had the nerve to sue me for defamation, when he’s the one telling the whole world lies about me. My two kids are adults (thankfully no custody issues) and were able to see for themselves who their father was and decided that they don’t want a relationship with him. And now, 3 years later, he brought us all into a lawsuit claiming that I am the reason my adult children don’t speak with him. We are all in a state of shock and disbelief that he is still out there trying to be malicious and won’t just move on with his life. Other than fight this lawsuit, I’m at a loss on what we can do to make sure he stays out of our lives for good. We already went no contact, we avoid places we know he will be, we have security installed outside our house (because he’s been known to stalk). I just want me and my kids to be able to live our lives in peace – we’ve been terrorized enough 🙁

      Reply
  12. You mention tapping into their insecurities, but you never express how to? You just defined traits of a narcissist which are very generic and to me this all seems to me you’re missing the main point of the article.

    Reply

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