20 thoughts on “Narcissists’ Greatest Fear

  • June 8, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    Very concise article, and so true. My soon-to-be-ex-husband cannot tolerate any suggestion that he is anything less than extraordinary in all areas. If one questions his writing (his “passion,” but actually an obsession based on his idea it makes him elite and special), his reaction is one of the following: violent, quivering rage; frustrated, toddler-tantrum tears; cold, silent fury; or sneering condescension.

    I continually tried to love and bolster a man whom I felt had potential and was worthy of grace and kindness, but I never received reciprocal love and support. I remember him tearing apart the marriage counselor’s credentials and how he ranted that, “Those who don’t know me shouldn’t question me. You’re all fools! Fools!” He also liked to (mis)quote a line from Hamlet: “Everyone (us banal, normal people) exists only to ‘[sic] eat and breed.’ None of you get me!” I am recovering after the devastating discard and adultery discovery.

    • June 14, 2017 at 10:31 pm

      Oh, MsMc1701, I am so sorry to read this, but glad you’ve left. To be honest, though, it sounds like you could be describing my “father” and his behaviours and actions to a tee! All the best with the liberated life ahead of you.

    • June 16, 2017 at 2:43 pm

      You eloquently describe your painful journey with your soon-to-be-ex. Best wishes in recovering from that relationship and in finding your own true place in the world.

  • June 9, 2017 at 11:50 pm

    My narcissistic mother has been moved to a assisted living. She is completely antisocial. Is this normal behavior for a senior citizen narcissist?

    • June 16, 2017 at 2:37 pm

      There are many forms of narcissism. Antisocial behavior can be present in some people with narcissism. However, there may be many reasons for your mother’s behavior. Sometimes a move to assisted living, even if it is the best choice, can trigger changes in personality, mood, and cognitive functions. It might be helpful to suggest that a physician evaluate your mother to rule out or address any possible medical conditions that might be contributing to this change.

  • June 10, 2017 at 3:44 am

    Ladies please start celebrating being away from such malignant people, A deep sense of joy will begin to enter your lives when you are clear of the toxic behaviour. The bite marks ,bumps and swellings and the unasked for tattoos they have etched on your souls will disappear.
    Its called happiness, a trait you probably had , and on which they fed voraciously because they never had it in your natural unconditional way.
    Happiness for a narc is look ma top of the world. The need for attention, the biggest slice of the cake and so on.
    Happiness for an ordinary person is something that can be shared , the well spring of love and enlightenment..
    And when you either have it or have found it, it does not dry up..
    Enjoy…But keep a weather eye out for those types who have already taught you a very hard life lesson.

    • June 16, 2017 at 2:33 pm

      Thank you for sharing your perspectives with this group.

  • June 10, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    Naive and empathic as I was, and married before women’s lib, I was married for 45 years before husband’s academia N dawned on me. It took 8 years of my chronic debilitating illness to realize he has no compassion, empathy, and automatically thinks “me first.’ The minute It dawned on me and I stopped habitually thinking of his needs ahead of mine, my illness lifted.

    Now, healthier physically with frontal lobe brain cells re-awakening (per neurological testing), It’s Year 54 and I’m disillusioned, discouraged and don’t have answers to how to get the most out of this new and completely different life, while also getting along with him.

    • June 14, 2017 at 12:57 pm

      It’s easier than you think GenPen. Put yourself first, finally. Ask yourself what it is that you want and need. Ignore all the badgering to do otherwise. Stop feeling a sense of false guilt and shame that do not belong to you. He will escalate many of his behaviors in an attempt to get you back into your box. Don’t fall for it. Keep knowing you are worth your struggle. Stay strong. Namaste.

      • June 16, 2017 at 2:23 pm

        Some good suggestions, succinctly stated. Thanks for contributing.

    • June 16, 2017 at 2:32 pm

      It sounds like your healing crisis brought valuable awareness. Sometimes awakenings don’t provide answers immediately. Perhaps allowing yourself to listen to the quiet wisdom within may foster clarity about how to get the most out of your life now. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  • June 14, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    Many of these people have taken so much from me. They have got me fired from jobs I liked and destroyed my reputation. Just being ripped apart from them and abused by them is enough. They have no compassion or conscience. In my depleted state, it is too much to ask for me to be compassionate towards them. They are aware of what they are doing to another human being and they choose to do it. They don’t take about the consequences of it or the fact that you have to start your life over and they just get to continue with their life with their reputation intact. No, I have no compassion for them.

    • June 16, 2017 at 2:22 pm

      Your experiences sound painful and difficult. Thank you for contributing to the dialogue.

  • June 16, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    Very accurate and of all articles read about narcissism the most useful. That is to say outstanding compared to all other also good articles.
    I introduced myself on the psychcentral forum the 3rd of may 17. It tells my story.
    “Is it worth it to stay?”, that´s the question. In my case a balance between love for my children and feeling very unjustly treated. My children win, I feel for them a big resposability, I wanted them, I love them, they are funny. I protect them, but unfortunately my daughter sometimes yells: “I do not take orders from anyone!” when I ask her for example to take a shower and go to bed -because it is bedtime and she has done intensive dancing. I know where that comes from.
    Another item is that being an immigrant and having invested all savings it makes me weak and with hardly any option to leave the house I renovated with love and my money. At times my narcissistc wife can be so mean, taking advantage of me not having a family close around, nor a fixed well paid job. It´s amazing her lack of empathy and so on.

    The article described what I felt: the insecureness underneath her appearance, her superior feelings. We used to play scrabble in her mother tongue but 9 out of ten she lost. Instead of being proud she showed hatred for that. I was willing to explain the tactics behind scrabble -it´s not only knowledge of words- but she virtually slapped me.
    True, being mentally highly gifted I can be “irritating” but I never lie and am always ready for her -or whomever needs- to help and support.

    Yes, I do feel pitty for her. I wished she´d become a self admitted narcissist, that could even be fun. She is intelligent, that´s the sad thing. She shouldn´t need that attitude.

    She wants me gone so she is the superior again. Something like that. Sounds arrogant?

    Well, above words that came from my fingertips without thinking too much, as reaction on that article.


    • June 16, 2017 at 2:16 pm

      Thank you for sharing your experiences in such a touching way. You write eloquently about the dilemmas inherent in dealing with a narcissist.

  • July 6, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    I just joined this blog and am so grateful to Dr. Neuharth for providing such accurate, helpful and easy to read information on narcissism, and dealing with narcissists. Thank you very much! I am 42 years old and was raised by two narcissists. I’m now raising my own family and it has been incredibly challenging and confusing to sort out the impact their behavior had and still has on my life. I’m trying to create boundaries with them, which is extremely hard as they live twenty minutes away and desperately insist on bullying their way into my life and the lives of my children. They lie, manipulate, and continuously try to make me feel inferior and guilty. My mother is far worse than my dad and is over the top paranoid that almost everyone is out to get her in some way. Is it possible for a narcissist to also have paranoid personality disorder? She can’t take a joke. Her perception of reality is completely distorted when it comes to dealing with people. She’ll take anything someone says and turn it into a personal attack as if the other party has evil intentions. If someone is late or cancels plans with her she thinks they’re out to get her. If a toddler doesn’t want to hug her she thinks they’re naughty and don’t like her or that I in some way influenced my young children not to want to hug her. When in reality it’s because they’re children! Maybe they just need a nap! Perfect example of her lack of empathy for anyone else. It’s very frustrating. I try to avoid them as much as possible which almost seems to make things worse because they sense my distance. I’m not sure at this point how to create healthy boundaries without them sending me emails telling me what a terrible person I am. I can’t even reply to an email with honesty because it will only make them enraged.

    • July 6, 2018 at 3:51 pm

      Hi Rose,
      Thank you for your thoughtful comments and sharing your challenging situation with the community. Lack of empathy is a hallmark of narcissists and suspiciousness is also often present in many narcissistic people, even to the point of paranoia. It can be a challenge to create healthy boundaries with such a parent, particularly when one wants to maintain at least some contact, either for yourself or for your children. Narcissists don’t respect other people’s boundaries and will ignore or test them. Sometimes, though not always, narcissistic parents may be more motivated to respect boundaries if they realize that their adult child is willing to stop or significantly reduce all contact if the boundaries continue to be violated. You have to assess as best you can a narcissistic parent’s level of motivation along with their track record of adjusting their behaviors when faced with losing something they want. Often setting boundaries with destructive narcissists is a matter of picking among many imperfect choices and finding the least imperfect one.

  • July 9, 2019 at 11:15 am

    I read what is wrote about the spouses of a narcissist and its horrific . But also like I wrote the words down myself. I’m emotionally at the end of my rope. Ashamed to say I’ve been married to my wife who seems to be a bad case narcissist for 34 years.


  • October 9, 2019 at 9:40 pm

    I’ve been in a relationship with a narcissist for a decade. I used to think his comments about how he was the best (insert thing here) were jokes until I realized he seriously thinks he is. He has been promiscuous with both sexes, cruel, plays mind games, and gaslights me. It got worse when I finally caught him cheating and he can no longer revel in the image he created of himself because the truth is out. I somehow have finally had enough.


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