If you have had a narcissist in your life for an extended period of time, you might have noticed that they tend to avoid intimacy. 

Narcissists avoid intimacy because they have a fear of vulnerability, they lack empathy, they don’t care about the thoughts, feelings, emotions, or needs of others, and because they have a fear of rejection.

In this article, I will guide you through these four reasons narcissists avoid intimacy to help you better understand this topic.

1.) They Have a Fear of Vulnerability

A fear of vulnerability is a feeling of dread about being emotionally open with others.

It is common for narcissists to have a fear of vulnerability because of the painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions that they have suppressed within themselves.

You see, despite the grandiose public persona narcissists typically have, they struggle with feelings of being unlovable, unwanted, inadequate, worthless, and weak.

A narcissist with many painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

But unfortunately, they lack the emotional intelligence required to manage these thoughts, feelings, and emotions through healthy emotional regulation.

Instead, they rely on narcissistic supply to suppress their painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions to cultivate a strong, grandiose self-perception.

Suggested Reading: What Is Narcissistic Supply and Why Do They Need It So Badly?

The problem with this approach to emotional regulation is that it makes the narcissist’s emotional stability extremely fragile. 

Because of this, they always try to avoid situations, such as being emotionally open with others, that could trigger their painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions. 

Now, to be truly intimate with someone, you have to be comfortable with being vulnerable because true intimacy is about being close and emotionally connected. 

It involves sharing a whole range of thoughts, feelings, and experiences that we have as human beings with another person. 

This isn’t an option for narcissists because sharing their thoughts, feelings, and emotions with others would compromise their emotional stability.

They much rather hold onto their fear of vulnerability and use it as a protective shield against potential triggers. So if you currently have or had a narcissist in your life who avoids intimacy, it could be because of their fear of vulnerability.

2.) They Lack of Empathy

A core characteristic of narcissistic personality disorder is a lack of empathy.

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.

It involves putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and responding to their emotions in a compassionate and understanding way.

A lack of empathy is a deficit or absence of this ability. 

A person who lacks empathy typically struggles to recognize, understand, and respond appropriately to the emotions and experiences of others. 

Because of this, they often come across as indifferent, dismissive, or unresponsive to another person’s feelings or experiences.

Generally speaking, emotional intimacy requires a high degree of empathy. It is impossible to create a deep emotional connection without it.

So another reason that narcissists avoid intimacy is that they lack the empathy that is required for true intimacy.

3.) They Are Selfish

This can be hard to hear, but one of the biggest manifestations of narcissists’ selfishness is their tendency to view others as objects instead of people.

You see, narcissists don’t care about your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs. They only care about how much narcissistic supply you can give them.

Suggested Reading: What Do Narcissists Want In a Relationship?

Meaning that they don’t see others as a people; they see them as sources of supply.

Because of this, narcissists often expect and demand that the people around them prioritize their well-being over their own. 

This type of behavior is incredibly abusive and selfish, and it prevents them from being emotionally open with others, which is a key component of intimacy.

So the third reason that narcissists tend to avoid intimacy is because they are selfish. 

They don’t care about the thoughts, feelings, and emotions of others; they only care about the amount of narcissistic supply that they can get out of them.

A narcissist being selfish.

This approach to relationships of any kind could never cultivate true intimacy because intimacy requires focusing on the other person’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

4.) They Have a Fear of Rejection

When I say “fear of rejection,” I am referring to the fear of not being liked, being abandoned, not fitting in or being alone.

Narcissists have this fear because being rejected would serve as a constant reminder of their feelings of being unlovable, unwanted, inadequate, worthless, and weak.

So one of the ways that they avoid being rejected is by avoiding emotional intimacy. You see, one of a narcissist’s biggest fears is being exposed as a narcissist and, subsequently, rejected by others.

Suggested ReadingWhat Do Narcissists Fear the Most?

This is interesting because narcissists are really good at gaslighting others into believing that they don’t know their behavior is abusive or that they are hurting the people around them. But this is not true. 

Narcissists know the difference between right and wrong. It is the reason that they often maintain a charming, charismatic, and relatively pleasant public persona.

It is the reason they use flying monkeys to isolate, silence, and discredit the people that they abuse once they lose power and control over them.

Suggested Reading: What Are Flying Monkeys? (A Complete Guide)

And it is the reason that narcissists avoid intimacy. 

You see, intimacy requires a level of openness that is impossible for a narcissist to achieve because it would expose their true selves to others.

Narcissists fear that if they let someone get too close emotionally, they will see their hidden insecurities, flaws, and abusive tendencies and ultimately reject them.

This fear of being seen and rejected is so intense that narcissists avoid deep emotional connections entirely.

Instead, they seek out superficial relationships where they can get the narcissistic supply they need without exposing themselves to the risks of intimacy.

What Should You Take Away from This Article?

If you have a narcissist in your life who avoids being intimate with you, please know that it has nothing to do with who you are as a person. They may try to gaslight you into believing it does, but it doesn’t.

Narcissists avoid intimacy because they have a crippling fear of vulnerability, they lack empathy, they don’t care about the thoughts, feelings, emotions, or needs of others, and because they have a fear of rejection.

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.

If you’re ready to heal, visit The Institute of Healing from Narcissistic Abuse to get started.
Share this post to help others trust their experiences.


About This Article

We used Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create parts of this article to enhance its accuracy and readability. It underwent a strict human editorial process before being published. See additional information.

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