Have you ever wondered why narcissists seem to be afraid of making a real commitment in relationships?

If so, you’re not alone. During a masterclass we held recently, a member of our institute asked, “Are narcissists afraid of commitment?”

It’s a great question, so I searched for answers. Here’s what I learned.

In general, narcissists fear commitment because they:

  • Fear losing freedom and control.
  • Fear vulnerability.
  • Have an insecure attachment style.
  • Have novelty-seeking traits.
  • Don’t view you as the ideal partner.
  • Fear responsibility.
  • Lack emotional depth.

In this article, I will guide you through each of these reasons to help you understand why narcissists often fear commitment.

If you have or currently are experiencing narcissistic abuse, visit Unfilteredd’s Institute of Healing from Narcissistic Abuse for help.

1) They Fear Losing Freedom and Control

Narcissists might be scared of commitment because they fear losing their freedom and control.1 

Imagine someone who loves deciding everything in a group project because they think their ideas are the best. 

In relationships, commitment means making decisions together and considering another person’s needs and feelings, not just their own.

For a narcissist, this can feel like they’re losing the freedom to do whatever they want, whenever they want. 

They worry that being committed will mean they can’t control every situation or make all the choices that are best for them. 

A narcissist worrying that being committed means they cannot make choices that are best for them.

This fear of losing control and having to compromise can make the idea of commitment very uncomfortable for a narcissist, leading them to avoid it or become uneasy when things get too serious.

Suggested Reading: 3 Reasons Narcissists Are So Controlling

2) They Fear Vulnerability

Another reason narcissists might be scared of commitment is that it requires vulnerability, something they deeply fear.2 

Opening up to someone and showing your true self, including your weaknesses, is a big part of being committed. 

It’s like sharing a secret hideout with someone else; you’re letting them into a private part of your world. 

For narcissists, showing any weakness or vulnerability is terrifying because they think it will make them look less perfect or in control. 

They often hide their true selves behind a mask of confidence and superiority to avoid feeling exposed or judged. 

So, the idea of letting someone close enough to see beyond that mask and possibly discover their insecurities is a scary thought. 

This fear of being vulnerable and truly seen can, and often does, make narcissists wary of committing to a relationship.

Suggested Reading: 7 Things Narcissists Fear Most

3) They Have an Insecure Attachment Style

Narcissists might be scared of commitment because they often have an insecure attachment style.3 

This is a way of relating to others that stems from their experiences early in life, which can lead to difficulties trusting and depending on others in adult relationships. 

Imagine a kid who’s never sure if they’ll get picked up from school on time; as they grow up, they might be wary of relying on others, fearing they’ll be let down.

For narcissists, this insecurity might manifest as a fear that getting too close or committing to someone will ultimately lead to disappointment or rejection. 

A narcissist being scared of commitment because they fear being disappointed.

Instead of facing these fears, they might avoid commitment altogether, keeping relationships at a surface level where they feel safer and less vulnerable to being hurt.

4) They Have Novelty-Seeking Traits

Another reason narcissists might shy away from commitment is their tendency to seek novelty and excitement.4 

Narcissists are often drawn to new and stimulating experiences, which keeps them on the lookout for the next best thing. 

This trait is like always wanting the latest phone model as soon as it comes out, even if your current one works just fine. 

In relationships, this desire for novelty can make the idea of settling down with one person seem unappealing or boring. 

They may fear that commitment will trap them in a routine, preventing them from exploring new opportunities for excitement and admiration from others. 

This constant quest for the new and exciting can make long-term commitment seem incompatible with their desires, leading them to resist or fear it.

If you need help with anything related to narcissistic abuse, visit Unfilteredd’s Institute of Healing from Narcissistic Abuse today.

5) They Don’t View You as the Ideal Partner

Narcissists may fear commitment because they don’t view you, or perhaps anyone, as the ideal partner due to their preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.5

What am I talking about? 

Imagine someone always dreaming of a perfect, unrealistic storybook romance; they may overlook a good relationship, waiting for something that doesn’t exist. 

Well, narcissists often have an inflated sense of what they deserve, constantly chasing an impossible standard for their partners. 

If you don’t match every criterion of their idealized vision, they may fear committing to you, worrying they’ll miss out on this imagined perfect person. 

This constant search for an unattainable ideal can prevent them from forming deep, meaningful connections with others, leading to a reluctance to commit.

Suggested Reading: What Do Narcissists Want In a Relationship?

6) They Fear Responsibility

Narcissists might also fear commitment because of the responsibility it entails.6 

Committing to a relationship means being accountable to someone else, sharing duties, and sometimes putting the other person’s needs ahead of your own. 

For a narcissist who is used to prioritizing their needs and desires above all else, this can be a daunting prospect. 

A narcissist used to prioritising their needs and desires above all else.

It’s like someone who’s only ever looked after a plant being asked to care for a whole garden; the responsibility seems overwhelming. 

This fear of having to be responsible for someone else’s happiness, well-being, or simply their day-to-day needs might deter a narcissist from committing. 

They may worry that taking on such responsibilities will restrict their freedom and force them to change their self-centered behavior, leading them to avoid commitment altogether.

7) They Lack Emotional Depth

The lack of emotional depth, stemming from their lack of empathy, can make narcissists wary of commitment.7 

Since empathy allows us to connect with and understand the emotions of others deeply, a deficiency in this area means narcissists struggle to form genuine emotional connections. 

Imagine trying to appreciate a beautiful landscape without being able to see all its colors; similarly, without empathy, the full spectrum of emotional intimacy in a relationship remains out of reach for a narcissist.

This lack of deep emotional connection makes it hard for them to value or desire the closeness that comes with commitment. 

As a result, they often view relationships more as means to an end (e.g., for validation or status) rather than as partnerships based on mutual emotional support and understanding. 

Consequently, the idea of committing to someone, which requires a depth of feeling they cannot achieve, might seem unappealing or even pointless.

If you are ready to be more than a victim of narcissistic abuse, visit Unfilteredd’s Institute of Healing from Narcissistic Abuse today.


Thank you so much for reading; I hope you found this article insightful.

Now, I’d love to hear from you.

Have you ever noticed these behaviors in someone you know?

What steps have you taken to protect yourself or navigate a relationship with someone who exhibits these narcissistic traits?

Or perhaps you’re seeking advice on how to handle a situation involving a fear of commitment in a relationship with a narcissist.

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below.

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About the Author

Hey, I’m Elijah.

I experienced narcissistic abuse for three years. 

I create these articles to help you understand and validate your experiences.

Thank you for reading, and remember, healing is possible even when it feels impossible.

Unfilteredd has strict sourcing guidelines and only uses high-quality sources to support the facts within our content. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate, actionable, inclusive, and trustworthy by reading our editorial process.

  1. WebMD Editorial Contributors. (2023. March, 30). Narcissism: Symptoms and Signs. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/narcissism-symptoms-signs ↩︎
  2. Therapist Uncensored. (2021. March, 30). TU143: Fear of Abandonment and Narcissism, with Dr. Ramani Durvasula. Therapist Uncensored. https://therapistuncensored.com/episodes/tu143-fear-of-abandonment-and-narcissism-with-dr-ramani-durvasula/ ↩︎
  3. Ellina, E., & Parpottas, P. (2023). “The Role of Narcissism and Attachment in Adult Romantic Relationships: A Study of Greek-speaking Adult Participants.” The European Journal of Counselling Psychology. ↩︎
  4. Miller, J. D., & Campbell, W. K. (2010). “The case for using research on trait narcissism as a building block for understanding narcissistic personality disorder.” Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 1(3), 180–191. ↩︎
  5. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2023. April, 6). Narcissistic personality disorder. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/narcissistic-personality-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20366662 ↩︎
  6. Anna Drescher. (2023. January, 24). Why Can Narcissists Not Accept Blame? Simply Psychology. https://www.simplypsychology.org/narcissist-accountability.html#:~:text=Narcissist%20Accountability,their%20very%20sense%20of%20self. ↩︎
  7. Larissa Biggers. (2022. December, 15). 9 Signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Duke Health. https://www.dukehealth.org/blog/9-signs-of-narcissistic-personality-disorder ↩︎

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