Exploring the Envious Narcissist: Unraveling the Complexities of Jealousy.
Jealousy, a universal emotion experienced by many, can manifest in various ways throughout our lives. Whether it’s longing for something we desire or yearning for someone else’s accomplishments or possessions, jealousy is an inherent part of the human experience. In healthy individuals, jealousy is often acknowledged as a passing emotion, accompanied by sentiments like, “I’m so jealous! I’d love to visit that place too” or “I wish I had that too.” However, when this emotion takes a darker turn, individuals with narcissistic tendencies may succumb to envy, leading to destructive behaviour.
Jealousy, at its core, encompasses feelings of resentment towards another’s achievements or possessions or even towards a partner who shows interest in someone new. It stems from a need to protect our own possessions or rights and can often generate a sense of bitterness towards others. On the other hand, envy transcends jealousy by encompassing discontentment towards someone else’s luck, qualities, or possessions, resulting in an overwhelming desire to possess or destroy what they have.
In some cases, individuals with low self-esteem may manifest jealousy as a result of their own insecurities. For narcissists, jealousy takes on a whole new meaning as it intertwines with envy and a relentless drive to destroy. These individuals possess minimal self-esteem and harbour intense envy towards everything and everyone around them. Though they may not openly reveal their jealousy, narcissists firmly believe that everyone possesses something they themselves lack. This incessant craving stems from an internal void, perpetuating the false notion that external acquisitions can fill the emptiness within. Surprisingly, even their own children can become targets of envy, particularly if they receive more attention than the narcissist. Consequently, the narcissist may attempt to overshadow their children’s accomplishments and redirect the spotlight back onto themselves.
Most people silently grapple with their jealousy, often feeling embarrassed by its existence. Narcissists, on the other hand, are unafraid to voice their envy and employ strategies such as attributing others’ success to external factors or belittling their achievements. It’s important to note that while some individuals may exhibit these behaviours, they must possess at least five narcissistic characteristics for a proper diagnosis. Narcissism lies on a spectrum, with affected individuals exhibiting varying degrees of these traits.
Due to their envy and jealousy, narcissists engage in a pattern of sabotage towards those they perceive as achieving more than themselves. They view life as an incessant competition that they must win, and harbor resentment towards others who possess what they lack. Narcissists feel an innate sense of unfairness when others experience happiness and success, as they perceive themselves as wholly inadequate. Consequently, they project these insecurities onto others, blaming them for their own shortcomings and attempting to derive a sense of self-worth through external validation. Unable to cope with their internal turmoil and shame, they resort to destructive acts and smear campaigns aimed at diminishing the achievements and reputations of those they envy.
The narcissistic smear campaign, predominantly founded on falsehoods or distorted truths, aims to tarnish the name of the envied individual. By doing so, narcissists redirect the sympathy, help, support, and attention towards themselves. It is not uncommon for them to manipulate, steal, or ruin possessions of those who possess what they desire. In their mind, controlling those who differ in opinion or fail to prioritise the narcissist’s needs creates an illusion of power and superiority. While these actions harm those in the narcissist’s proximity, they actually function as a coping mechanism, an attempt to deflect self-hatred and validate their own worthiness at the expense of others.
Attempting to reason or prove a narcissist wrong is a futile endeavour. Their internal makeup has been ingrained over a long period, and their narcissism is not a result of any actions on your part. Kindness and reassurance cannot fix a narcissist; you did not cause their condition, nor can you alter it. More often than not, your attempts to help will only be twisted and used against you. Defending yourself against their baseless accusations or explaining your intentions serves no purpose, as narcissists are uninterested in understanding or accepting your perspective.
Ironically, self-improvement serves as a remedy for jealousy. However, narcissists are incapable of recognising their flaws or pursuing personal growth, as they adamantly deny any internal issues. This characteristic makes them both pitiful and, with their lack of empathy, potentially dangerous.
Envy and jealousy are common emotions experienced by individuals from all walks of life. Yet, the ability to feel happy for others and strive for personal achievements distinguishes healthy individuals from narcissists. While jealousy may spark momentarily within us, it rarely drives us to bring others down. We should only compete with ourselves for self-improvement and nurture a sense of individuality and worthiness.
However, being in the presence of narcissistic individuals can expose us to their negativity, which can be infectious. Their manipulative tactics and broken promises can trigger jealousy in even the most secure individuals. Recognising the manipulation is key to breaking free from its grasp.
While it is impossible to control feelings of jealousy and envy, we can channel them towards personal growth. When these emotions arise, take a moment to reflect on their root causes. What triggered your jealousy? What is it that you desire? By understanding these underlying emotions, you can identify steps you can take to achieve your desires and make positive changes in your life.
Life often feels like a series of never-ending challenges, one after another. However, it is essential to prevent others from exploiting your weaknesses. Instead, use these vulnerabilities as catalysts for personal growth. Although it is far from easy, it is entirely possible.
Harness the power of jealousy by allowing it to guide your desires and ambitions. Celebrate others’ achievements and be proud of them, just as you would be for your own children. Narcissists, on the other hand, perceive their children’s successes as personal insults and seek to destroy them.
When envy or jealousy creep in, don’t let it consume or control you. Instead, let these emotions serve as signals highlighting what you want for yourself. Embrace the fact that we are all entitled to pursue our individual dreams and goals. By shifting our mindset, we can assert control over our lives and make our dreams a reality.
Ultimately, there is no universally correct or incorrect way to live our lives. With good intentions and an unwavering belief in our own worthiness, we can navigate through life’s challenges and shape our own destinies.
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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp(Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.