Are Avoidants Just Narcissists? Exploring the Differences and Similarities

The interactions between individuals can be a complex balancing act, influenced by various factors such as personality traits, life experiences, and mental health. One such personality trait is avoidance, which refers to a tendency to withdraw from emotional intimacy and close relationships due to fear of rejection or abandonment. However, some argue that avoidant individuals may share similarities with narcissists, who’re known for their self-centered and antisocial behavior. While on the surface, these two traits may seem similar, there are key differences between them that can greatly impact the way they approach relationships and others.

What Is the Difference Between a Narcissist and a Love Avoidant?

There are a variety of differences between narcissists and love avoidants, but one of the most fundamental distinctions lies in their underlying motivations and behaviors. Love avoidants tend to be extremely self-critical and insecure, which often leads them to avoid close relationships altogether. They may feel as though they’re unworthy of love or affection, or they may simply be afraid to let someone get too close to them emotionally. Narcissists, on the other hand, are motivated by a need for attention and admiration from others. They often have a grandiose sense of self-importance and believe themselves to be superior to others in some way.

They may have difficulty trusting others or opening up emotionally, which can make it hard for them to develop deep connections with others. Narcissists, on the other hand, may appear extremely charming and charismatic on the surface, but underneath may struggle to form meaningful relationships with others. They may be more interested in using others for their own personal gain or as a means of boosting their own ego than in genuinely connecting with them.

What Are Some Common Traits and Behaviors of Narcissists vs. Love Avoidants?

  • Both narcissists and love avoidants tend to be emotionally unavailable.
  • Narcissists have an excessive need for admiration and attention, while love avoidants fear intimacy and tend to push people away.
  • Both can have a distorted sense of self and struggle with self-esteem.
  • Narcissists often lack empathy for others, while love avoidants struggle to connect emotionally.
  • Both can be manipulative in their relationships.
  • Narcissists may have a grandiose sense of entitlement, while love avoidants may have a fear of commitment and feeling trapped.
  • Both can struggle with maintaining healthy relationships.
  • Narcissists may use others for their own gain, while love avoidants may distance themselves to avoid emotional pain.

It’s common to mistake a person with avoidant attachment as narcissistic, but in reality, it’s a misunderstood attachment style that can have a damaging impact on relationships. While they may have some similarities, avoidants aren’t necessarily narcissists. However, their tendency to detach emotionally can cause issues for those with anxiety regarding attachment. Let’s dive deeper into the topic to understand more about avoidant attachment and it’s possible link to narcissism.

Are People With Avoidant Attachment Narcissists?

It’s important to note that having an avoidant attachment style doesn’t necessarily indicate that an individual is a narcissist. While avoidants have a tendency to distance themselves emotionally from their partners, this is often a coping mechanism developed in response to early childhood experiences that taught them not to trust others or rely on them for emotional support.

For example, they may be dismissive of their partners needs and feelings, prioritize their own desires over their partners, and have a sense of entitlement or superiority.

However, it’s important to consider the individuals behavior as a whole rather than making assumptions based solely on their attachment style. Many factors, including personal values, past experiences, and mental health issues, can contribute to the development of narcissistic behaviors and attitudes.

Ultimately, it’s up to each person to take responsibility for their actions and strive to create healthy and fulfilling relationships, regardless of their attachment style or any other personal traits or tendencies.

By working to understand our own attachment styles and behaviors, as well as those of our partners, we can foster more authentic and satisfying connections with others.

Source: Narcissism and Attachment theory. What’s the connection?

It’s important to note that not all individuals with Avoidant Personality Disorder engage in manipulative behavior. However, for those who do, it can be a way to cope with their fear of rejection and abandonment. This perfectionism and high standards can make it difficult for them to form close relationships and ultimately lead to the use of manipulation tactics to meet their needs.

Are Avoidant Personalities Manipulative?

Individuals with Avoidant Personality Disorder frequently struggle to form connections with others. They may feel anxious or insecure in social situations and may fear rejection or criticism from others. As such, those with Avoidant Personality Disorder may often resort to manipulation in order to get their needs met. This manipulation may take many forms, such as guilt-tripping, gaslighting, or passive-aggressive behavior.

Some may instead withdraw into themselves, becoming increasingly isolated and avoiding social situations altogether. However, for those who do use manipulation, it can be a damaging and destructive pattern of behavior that can harm both themselves and those around them.

By taking the time to understand the underlying motivations behind manipulation, we can work to develop more compassionate and effective ways of supporting those with this disorder. So, it’s necessary to approach them with empathy, understanding, and patience, without getting manipulated.

The Difference Between Manipulation and Avoidance in Avoidant Personality Disorder

  • Manipulation involves using indirect or passive-aggressive behaviors to get one’s own way, often at the expense of others.
  • Avoidance involves avoiding situations or people that trigger feelings of discomfort or anxiety, often leading to social isolation.
  • Manipulation is a maladaptive coping mechanism that can harm relationships and undermine trust.
  • Avoidance is a core feature of Avoidant Personality Disorder and can make it difficult to form and maintain close relationships.
  • Both manipulation and avoidance can be addressed through therapy, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

It’s important to recognize the signs of emotional abuse, regardless of the underlying personality disorder. Seeking help and support is crucial in addressing the issue and making necessary changes for a healthier life.

Are Avoidants Emotionally Abusive?

Individuals with avoidant personality disorder may struggle to form close and meaningful relationships due to their intense fear of rejection and vulnerability. While it isn’t a guarantee that someone with avoidant tendencies will be emotionally abusive, their behavior may exhibit controlling and manipulative tactics in an effort to maintain control and distance in their relationships. Some of these behaviors may include gaslighting, withholding affection, and refusing to communicate about their feelings or needs.

Emotional abuse can be just as detrimental as physical abuse and can cause long-lasting damage to a persons mental health and emotional well-being. Abuse from an avoidant partner may leave a person feeling constantly on edge, questioning their reality, and trapped in a cycle of anxiety and self-doubt. It’s important to recognize the signs of emotional abuse and seek support from professionals or loved ones to help navigate the situation.

If you suspect that you or someone you know may be in an emotionally abusive relationship with someone exhibiting avoidant personality disorder tendencies, there are resources available to help. Support groups for loved ones of individuals with mental health disorders can provide valuable guidance and a safe space to share experiences and seek advice. Seeking individual therapy can also be an effective way to process and heal from emotional abuse.

It can be difficult to leave a relationship with someone who exhibits abusive behavior, but prioritizing your own mental and emotional well-being is crucial in these situations. Creating a safety plan and seeking outside support from a therapist or support group can help make the process of leaving or separating from an abusive partner more manageable.

Remember that you deserve to be treated with respect and compassion in your relationships, and there’s support available to help you navigate difficult situations.


In summary, it’s important to differentiate between avoidant behavior and narcissistic behavior. While some may confuse the two, an avoidant person can recognize their own difficulties and actively seek help to improve their relationships. On the other hand, a narcissist is unlikely to admit any fault or accept any responsibility for their actions, often leading to harmful and destructive behavior towards others. It’s crucial to approach these personality types with different tactics and understand the distinctions between them to ensure healthy and fulfilling relationships.