Although narcissists act superior, entitled and boastful, underneath their larger-than-life facade lies their greatest fear: That they are ordinary.
For narcissists, attention is like oxygen. Narcissists believe only special people get attention. To narcissists, ordinary people (i.e., nearly everybody around them) aren’t worthy of attention, so being ordinary would leave them unworthy of the spotlight and left to suffocate.
Narcissists also need to feel special and superior to others. To a narcissist, being ordinary is the opposite of special.
Deep down, people with narcissism are frightened, fragile people. Aging, defeat, illness or rejection can shake them to their foundation.
Sam Vaknin, a self-admitted narcissist who writes about the topic, said that when he feels insulted or deprived of attention it is like “watching oneself die” or “disintegrating into molecules.”
This is why narcissists are so intent on building and protecting their image. Without their shiny image they worry that others will see who they really are, warts and all, not who they wish to be or pretend to be.
Excerpt from Psych Central, read the full article here