Do Narcissists Fear Intimacy? — Yes, They Hate Feeling Vulnerable

Last updated by Katie M.

This will probably come as no surprise to most of us, but in case any of you have a few remaining doubts, know that a relationship with a narcissist is nigh on impossible for a number of reasons. Now, we know that people with this personality disorder lack empathy, and aren’t exactly faithful in relationships, but what if all of their romantic shortfalls were down to them being afraid of intimacy and looking weak? 😨 Let’s explore this theory together and jump into the psyche of these dangerously toxic personas. Plus, we'll delve into how to approach intimacy after narcissistic abuse.

Do Narcissists Fear Intimacy? — Yes, They Hate Feeling Vulnerable

Letting down our guard is certainly a terrifying prospect for many of us, but for folks with narcissistic personality disorders, it is virtually unthinkable. Their need to appear strong and invincible is completely and utterly at odds with the idea of being vulnerable and allowing people to see them for what they really are. Although narcissists seem scary, they do in fact suffer with their mental health, and have likely spent years building up barriers around them to protect themselves and hide what they regard as their weaknesses 🤐. Investing so much energy into keeping at arm’s length sadly means that not even true love can penetrate their walls.

7 Reasons why narcissists are terrified of intimacy 😩

Discover further insights into why getting up close and personal with these personalities is such a chore.

1) They are emotionally empty

These personalities are excellent examples of how damaging suppressing your emotions can be in the long run. Narcissists feel emotions just like everyone else, however, they tend to bury them deep within themselves, in an attempt to ignore them. Emotional intimacy definitely isn’t their thing, and they actually believe that talking about their feelings makes them look weak. Unsurprisingly enough, their attempt to run from what they feel means that their emotions eat away at them, and feed into their toxic behavior.

2) They likely lacked loved as children

If you know anything about these characters, you’ll no doubt be able to attest that narcissists are raised, and not born as such. Indeed, their destructive personalities are molded during their formative years, and often mirror their parent’s behavior and attitudes, meaning they are products of their tough environment. It’s fair to say that the majority of narcissists never experienced real love as children, and are subsequently repeating the unhealthy cycle.

3) They fear commitment

Commitment is a huge ask for these folks, simply because they are too fickle. Furthermore, their inflated egos mean they believe that they deserve the best in every realm of life, and won’t be stopped whilst pursuing it! Narcissists are wholly unfaithful partly because they are afraid of being hurt, so instead choose to set themselves up for failure when it comes to romance. After all, if their actions ended a promising relationship, at least they won’t be pitied.

4) Affection puts them on edge

Being told we are loved, and made to feel like we are cared for makes many of us feel good about ourselves, however, unfortunately the same can not be said for these folks. In fact, hugs, kisses, and gentle gestures make them feel suspicious of people’s motives, and cause them to retreat even further into their shells.

5) They are insecure in themselves

There’s no denying it, narcissists are insecure and that’s that! Despite their apparent confidence, deep down they are very unsure of themselves and what they have to offer. Their scarily low self-esteem is crippling, yet makes them very dangerous and unpredictable. It also encourages them to exteriorize their frustration on their innocent victims, and makes sincere relationships impossible.

6) They fear being abandoned

Being intimate with someone involves sharing your body and soul with them, and therefore allowing yourself to be figuratively naked. Now, nothing worries these toxic personalities more than being dumped and made to look like a fool, which is why they are so picky in love, and don’t jump into relationships head first.

7) They are controlling

The truth is, these folks are demanding and like to be in constant control in every realm of life. When it comes to love, if they find someone they are interested in, they won’t be able to avoid falling into the trap of attempting to change them. And, they will inevitably manipulate the circumstances in order to remain in the driving seat. Plus, their stubborn attitude means they’ll never give their partner access to their deepest darkest secrets, and will always push them away whenever they feel uncomfortable.

💡 Practical tip time 💡 - How to overcome the fear of intimacy after narcissistic abuse

If you think you're afraid of intimacy after suffering narcissistic abuse, and you feel that it's limiting you in your relationships with others, I suggest you consider the following strategies:

  • Understand the origin of these fears: trust issues don't usually arise out of nowhere. That's why the first step to take is precisely to understand the origin of the problem. We therefore recommend that you analyze the situations in which you are afraid and understand why this is happening to you.
  • Work on your self-esteem: when we feel more valuable in our own eyes, it means we're better able to share our feelings, emotions and thoughts with others.
  • Tackle negative self-talk: in many cases, people suffering from fear of intimacy have negative self-talk. This means they talk to themselves in a very negative way, leading them to criticize or undervalue themselves. By correcting these attitudes, people can improve the connection they feel with others.
  • Learn from the successful friendships and relationships you've had: instead of focusing on your failures in love or friendship, try to learn from the relationships you've had with others. This will help you understand what you can do to overcome your fear of intimacy.
  • Seek professional help: if you feel that fear of intimacy is causing you a lot of self-esteem problems, or that it's affecting your relationships too much, it's important to consult a professional therapist.
  • Keep in mind your qualities and values: The narcissistic manipulator seeks to make you believe that you only have flaws and are worthless. However, this is completely false, and that is what you need to keep in mind. Indeed, they feed on your narcissistic vulnerabilities, meaning your lack of self-esteem. Remembering your qualities and values will make it easier for you to destroy a narcissistic manipulator. If you have good self-esteem, meaning you are aware of your qualities and intrinsic value, you have nothing to fear from a narcissistic manipulator. You may fall into their traps, but you won't let them keep you. As soon as they try to subjugate and diminish you, you simply won't accept it.

Are narcissist afraid of love?

The truth is, narcissists are terrified of love and do everything in their power to avoid it 😣. Falling in love means being vulnerable and letting a potential partner into every aspect of your life, which are things that these abusers are simply incapable of doing. Indeed, narcissists unconsciously become even more despicable and mean when they begin to develop feelings for someone. Whenever they feel out of their depth, they become even more diabolical as a way of protecting themselves and keeping people at arm’s length. Falling in love and embracing the unknown is an intimidating prospect for people that love being in control of their own lives and those of others too.

Editor’s opinion — Intimacy digs up old demons

Narcissists are ill-equipped when it comes to relationships at the best of times, so, when they are required to lay themselves bare, they are completely incapable of doing so. Their own self-loathing means that they are uncomfortable in their own skin (despite what they want you to believe), and therefore don’t want anyone to get too close to them. They want to keep their own shortfalls and weaknesses to themselves, for fear of being judged, and in certain cases exposed for whom they really are.

🤗 Understand yourself, accept yourself, be happy... Let’s do it here and now!

#BornToBeMe

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