Death, anxiety, and suicide
Because in Western culture death is sometimes seen as the ultimate loss of control, fear of it may produce death anxiety in the form of a sense of extreme shame or narcissistic mortification. The shame in this context is produced by the loss of stoicism, productivity, and control, aspects that are highly valued by society and aspects that are taken away as one ages. Death according to Darcy Harris, ‘is the ultimate narcissistic wound, bringing about not just the annihilation of self, but the annihilation of one’s entire existence, resulting in a form of existential shame for human beings, who possess the ability to ponder this dilemma with their higher functioning cognitive abilities.’
Individuals who hold this anxiety are ashamed of mortality and the frailty that comes along with it; and may attempt to overcome this reality through diversions and accomplishments, deflecting feelings of inferiority and shame through strategies like grandiosity in similar fashion to those with narcissistic personality traits.
Among the many motives behind suicidal activities in general are shame, loss of honor, and narcissistic mortification. Those who suffer from narcissistic mortification are more likely to participate in suicidal behaviors and those who do not receive the proper help more often than not succeed. Suicide related to narcissistic mortification is different from normal sorrow in that it is associated with deep rooted self-contempt and self-hatred.