Emotionally healthy people have strong self-awareness and want to be seen for who they truly are. They practice self-reflection and value intimacy with the important people in their lives. By contrast, narcissists deeply fear exposure and as a result avoid self-reflection and view intimacy as a threat.
In a very real sense, narcissists are strangers to themselves, working continuously to deny their vulnerabilities by asserting delusions of superiority. The only thing more important than convincing themselves of their inflated self-importance is convincing others of it. This is because their instability of self makes them highly dependent on people’s opinions and other external measures of self-worth. Thus narcissists habitually manipulate and coerce family members, friends, colleagues, and the like into supporting, if not believing, their persona and the narrative around it.