Such a well-nigh universal tendency is elevated almost to an art form with those afflicted with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). When criticized, narcissists show themselves woefully incapable of retaining any emotional poise, or receptivity. And it really doesn’t much matter whether the nature of that criticism is constructive or destructive. They just don’t seem to be able to take criticism, period. At the same time, these disturbed individuals demonstrate an abnormally developed capacity to criticize others (as in, “dish it out” to them).
Although narcissists don’t (or won’t) show it, all perceived criticism feels gravely threatening to them (the reason that their inflamed, over-the-top reactions to it can leave us so surprised and confused). Deep down, clinging desperately not simply to a positive but grandiose sense of self, they’re compelled at all costs to block out any negative feedback about themselves. Their dilemma is that the rigidity of their defenses, their inability ever to let their guard down (even with those closest to them), guarantees that they’ll never get what they most need, which they themselves are sadly–no, tragically--oblivious of.