Whether your relationship with a pathological narcissist be a friendship, a work environment relationship, or even a familial relationship, you will undoubtedly see a pattern of what looks to be common jealousy being projected onto you. Upon a closer look at the jealous tendencies, the pattern will emerge that this unhealthy behavioral projection actually runs much deeper, as it doesn’t fit the narrative that you’ve been led to believe.
The Narcissist’s Pathological Envy.
Now, when we look at the DSM definition of narcissism, we find one of the traits listed in the definition is envy. Narcissists not only feel envy toward others, they also project their own envy onto others. Part of the definition of the envy that narcissists feel is the fact that not only are they envious of others, but they think others are actually envious of them. And of course, with their superior attitudes, they are easily convinced that they are the object of envy. It’s the upside-down view of their world that that makes them
If you’ve ever been in contact with a narcissist and interacted with them you begin to realize that they are the ones who suffer from this pathological envy as opposed to you. Narcissists will compete with you over the pettiest things, and they hate to lose. You recognize early on that they don’t like to lose as they don’t like the attention being off of them. The narcissist must be victorious in every aspect of their lives and that includes even some of the smallest and pettiest of differences in opinion, especially in a group setting surrounded by their harem of admirers. Their envy will not allow them to sincerely congratulate or admire your accomplishments and will return the focus to them by means of minimizing or degrading your successes.
Now, we all deserve to feel proud of our accomplishments especially if we’ve worked hard for, and earned it. But to a narcissist, they must steal the spotlight and make themselves superior by one-upping you. They may say something to the effect of “good for you, but I did this”, as to say “let’s talk about me”. A narcissist is good at stealing your spotlight and other petty mind games of control. Whether it be a board game or a conversational discussion or debate, the narcissist has a pathological need to win at all cost. They will invalidate your claims with crude remarks, minimize you, or put you down as a way to make you feel small because you might have a chance of winning the debate or argument or game. By attacking your aptitude, skill set or competence in something totally outside of the discussion at hand.
A congratulatory recognition to your face will quickly become a denigrating comment of being arrogant or showing off behind your back. Again, they will flip the offense and project onto you their very arrogance as it usually them who is the show off. It’s pure hypocrisy that is at the core of narcissism.
Because of their pathological need to fill the emptiness that exists within, the narcissist has a need to lift up and then tear down any person who poses a threat to their superficial superiority.
For this reason, they can dish out insults, lies, distorted facts, and smears at ease, but cannot take a truth when it causes harm to their uber fragile ego.
Regardless of the mind fuck and games that they play on the unsuspecting innocent, you may wonder why narcissists have to maintain this core belief of a superior image. The truth is that they were like this long before you ever entered the picture and/or been targeted by their envy. With that said, it’s not our faults that the narcissist is denying us our right to what we’ve achieved, our strengths, talents or skills because of the pathological envy they portray in everything we do. The envy has everything to do with them, and nothing at all to do with us. As mentioned before, the narcissist lives in a bubble that is turned inside out and their view of the world is centered around themselves. For their lack of conscience and real human emotion, they develop this envy that is carried with them through life. If they sense a loss of control because of something you have which they do not, such as talents, being competent in your trade, or having a natural way with others and especially yourself, the narcissist will project her malignant traits onto you as an effective way to denigrate you. It must be a miserable burden to bare.
There are many ways that the pathological envy of the narcissist will show itself when dealing with these people. It could be you friendships, your educational background, your ability for clarity of independent thought, your sense of humor, your emotion and unfettered love for another, any asset or strength that they deem a threat to their illusion of superiority is a fair target for the narcissist.
These are all areas where a narcissist will sabotage and maliciously stab their victims in the back. If you’ve ever noticed that before an important event, the narcissist will sabotage you in order to make you upset, will diminish you to affect your self worth, are examples of the methods they will use against you. They may be very covert in their approach by means of making you lose sleep before a big interview, and mostly, the very dangerous machiavellian tactic of making contact with your employer to slander you and cause an otherwise successful career move to be jeopardized or even terminated.
The pathological envious narcissist can not bear the fact that you have any source of happiness or success, as it threatens the control, their sense of superiority and grandiosity. When they engage us with their offending offensive, we must keep in mind that they are not the best at anything, other than manipulation by all inconceivable means to justify their end game of victory. Whether it be a real game of competition, or a mental psychological game. Whether it’s an accomplishment or a conversation, or anytrhing else a narcissist can play on us to make us look like fools or small in the eyes of others, we have to understand that they have but one motive – their intent on destroying us.
While this might sound a bit over-the-edge dramatic, it’s the complete truth about the sufferer of this extreme personality disorder. They simply will not stop until they have destroyed you and erode your self esteem and your sense of confidence. If you have a network of community outside of them, they will try in all of their power to isolate you and diminish your character within that group.
“No healthy relationship can sustain envy, or even chronic jealousy. Both, especially envy, can and will destroy all trust and all that is good within that relationship. I’ve seen and experienced being on the receiving end of these negative traits many times throughout my life and have witnessed the destructiveness of envy first hand. And when it comes from family, then it becomes even more confusing if you don’t know why. And to be purposefully sabotaged and stabbed in the back from those who you trusted the most is an emotionally painful wound that you will never recover from, as much as you’d like to.”
The narcissist wants you to fail and they project all of that onto you and make you seem like the arrogant person who’s envious of them, and for having the “gall” to stand up and defend yourself against the attacks. But, in doing so, you only feed the narcissist her needed emotional supply.
Again, the DSM clearly states that a narcissist will not only show envy toward others, but will believe that others are envious of them. It’s complete crazy making and a double bind.
Take my pathology and I’ll give to you all of my envy that I’m feeling towards you. And you begin to doubt yourself after a prolonged projection of the very negative traits being dumped on by the narcissist.
This I know from the many years of being involved with narcissists at one point or another, whether at work, from acquaintances, and most destructively, from family.
Once we identify their manipulations of projecting their envy onto us, we can begin to detach from the toxicity of their stated opinions. Opinions that are formed by their superficiality and superiority and false sense of entitlement. The narcissist must believe that they are the best at everything and show an aire of perfection.
We have to understand that there is a strength, a talent, a skill, or personal trait that you are inherently better at and that’s why they obsess with bringing you down, either covertly, overtly, whether it’s chronic, or takes place over a long period of time. A covert narcissist may spend many years tearing you down and you might never know it is happening through the course of your interactions especially if it’s from a sibling or parent.
You’ll begin to recognize the signs that point to this projected envy, so it’s good form to stay mindful when it comes to the pathological envy of a narcissist. Friends, co-workers, partners, family members even casual acquaintances can and will pull this mind fuck on you. The pathological envy, coupled with a lack of morality and scruples is how narcissists become so powerful in these kinds of relationships. Because of your trusting character and inability to think on their level, they get inside of your head and manufacture these insecurities and doubts that were never there in the first place. And when you’re enjoying your success and accomplishments is when the narcissist will strike and torpedo any efforts that you make. To add insult to injury, the narcissist will minimize your accomplishments, one-up you, and try to compete with you. They’ll exclaim their happiness out of one side of their mouth, and then mock and insult you when you aren’t around to defend against the smear attacks.
No healthy relationship can sustain envy, or even chronic jealousy. Both, especially envy, can and will destroy all trust and all that is good within that relationship. I’ve seen and experienced being on the receiving end of these negative traits many times throughout my life and have witnessed the destructiveness of envy first hand. And when it comes from family, then it becomes even more confusing if you don’t know why. And to be purposefully sabotaged and stabbed in the back from those who you trusted the most is an emotionally painful wound that you will never recover from, as much as you’d like to.
Healthy relationships are a two-way street. You congratulate each other, support each other, be happy or sad for each other. Jealousy may come out and show it’s ugly head periodically because it is normal to feel jealous at times. You may feel jealous because you love someone and a hidden insecurity will temporarily manifest itself, only to subside after a moment of clarity. But, envy is not jealousy.
Occasionally, something gets brought up to trigger an insecurity which invites your jealousy or envy of the other person. When this happens, it’s important for us to honestly communicate in a way that’s healthy and doesn’t hurt the other person. Without this quality in character, any relationship can be doomed to fail.
It’s important to keep in mind that it’s not just narcissists who display this type of envy, it depends on the person or context. But if you do see pathological envy in someone you frequently interact with, look for a way out and start to detach from this person, since you don’t deserve a person like that in your life who is always putting you down and minimizing, insulting, or mocking you and your goodness of heart. and making you feel as if you’re not worthy as a person, whose talents or skills should ever be appreciated.
The one way street of the narcissist can get bothersome very quickly when you’re supportive of them, helping them, holding them up to admiration, only to be trampled under foot by their hatred and envy that is deeply ingrained malice. Such incomprehensible behavior is a weight on your soul when it comes from a family member who you have come to realize never wished for anything other than your demise.
- 11 Manipulative Ways Narcissists, Sociopaths and Psychopaths Sabotage Their Victims by Shahida Arabi
- Narcissism: Inside the Lonely, Envious World of the ‘Perfect Ones’ by Lynn Sommerstein, Ph.D
- The Narcissist’s Secret Envy by Linda Martinez-Lewi Ph.D