Envy In Narcissists

When dealing with someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, there is one important point you must never forget- they are extremely envious.


Narcissists want what you have, whether what you have is a loving marriage, a great job, talents or a nice home or car.  I think it is because narcissists feel so badly about themselves, that your good thing, whatever it may be, is perceived as a threat.  By you looking good, they think it makes them look bad, as if people are constantly comparing them to others.  They simply cannot stand someone else looking better than them in any way or doing something they are unable to do.


One example of this that comes to mind is my mother in-law.  She’s never driven- always had to rely on others to take her where she needed to go.  From day one, my car was always an issue with her, even knowing I love cars, especially mine.  She started by accusing me of driving too fast in her neighborhood.  I thought it was odd, but slowed down.  Not long after my husband & I got together, she suggested we go out to lunch one day.  I said fine, let’s figure out when to do this.  She said, “You WILL be taking Eric’s car, right?”  I was baffled & said “No, I have my own car.”  She dropped the subject.  A couple of weeks later, she suggested we go out again, & again she asked if I was taking my husband’s car.  Again I said no.  This happened once more & by then I was getting angry.  My car wasn’t good enough for her to ride in?!  Someone who doesn’t drive or know the first thing about cars thinks she’s too good for my car?!   Anyway, a few years later, my husband & I had both of our cars at his parents’ house.  I’d been helping him work on his, then when he didn’t need my help, I replaced a burned out turn signal bulb on my car.  When I was alone, my mother in-law took this opportunity to tell me my car was costing too much money- I needed to just get rid of it.  (a $.97 bulb that burned out after 8 years was too expensive?)  She also made fun of me for “liking to get dirty & greasy” because I had car dirt on me after working on hubby’s car.


At the time, I knew nothing of NPD.  I did realize though that all of this nastiness boiled down to one thing- envy.  My mother in-law envied the fact that not only was I independent enough to drive, I could even fix my car if need be.  She has created this dependence on my father in-law by not driving, under the guise of helplessness, yet at the same time, she envied me for not being so dependent on my husband as she was on hers.  Obviously she was trying to hurt me not because there was something wrong with me, but because there is something wrong with her.


Sadly, this is typical narcissistic behavior.  Narcissists attack things that mean a lot to you for two reasons- because it causes you a great deal of pain or because of envy.  Often, for a combination of both reasons.  In the situation with my car, my mother in-law used both reasons, I believe.


When the narcissist in your life viciously criticizes something about you, or even simply tries to instill doubt in you about it, you can bet she envies you.  Don’t let her cruel words or actions make you feel bad about whatever it is she’s criticizing about you!  In fact, remember that whatever it is, is a good thing.  If it wasn’t, she wouldn’t care enough about it to criticize you so viciously.  Don’t let her cruelty make you feel badly or as if you’re doing something wrong.  It is simply proof that you are doing something very well & that you are blessed!  Remembering these things will help you to not be hurt by her verbal abuse.



Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

29 responses to “Envy In Narcissists

  1. Cindy

    Mil was that way about hub doing anything around the house…she was so jealous if he helped out at all,and it didn’t matter if I was working,had a new baby,or going to school.We got a new vacuum once,and mil acted like it was just going to be horrible if hub had to use it!She also thought I should be doing all the driving,and that was before he had seizures,so it had nothing to do with that.She got jealous when he drove me around.She once got ticked because I didn’t feel like driving home when I was pregnant,after we’d been out to eat,and it was only 5 mins. back to their house.I had a lot of heartburn after eating,so you’d think she could’ve been more understanding.But no,it was all about her and her jealousy.
    My question is,why shouldn’t hub ever pick up a mop,broom or vacuum cleaner? Why shouldn’t he help out with his own kids? Or drive us around?That’s just part of being a good husband and dad.She also didn’t want him to do anything on his days off,like mowing the yard.She’s raise her voice.”Well,it’s your day OFF!” If hub so much as had the baby in his lap,she would go off on me and claim hub was doing all the work and I was doing nothing.She also repeated these ‘generalizations’..ie-downright lies,to neighbors,relatives…anyone she could trash me to.She did it to bil’s ex as well,once they got divorced.
    You are right,this is about them and their own insecurities,projected onto their targeted victim.I didn’t really know how to handle it back then,and we eventually stopped seeing her,which neither of us regret,although it was for more than just the things I mentioned.I’m just so thankful we don’t have to deal with this any more,and I’m grateful for the time we had in our lives without her.No one should have to put up with being treated this way,whether it’s the son,dd,dil,or son inl.
    Sweeping generalizations may be considered as such by some,but the truth is,they are downright lies,intended to bring down the victim in other’s people’s eyes

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Cindy Patterson

    Wonderfully said! Thank you!! I needed to hear that!!! Happy New Year Cynthia!!

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  3. The only reference to jealousy in my FOO came when my NM told me that the younger of my two sisters was jealous of me. It floored me because, although we have always had what we need and a good many things we merely want, she is very well off financially. Her home is beautifully and expensively decorated, she and her husband and daughter take several vacations every year, they buy new cars often, and they have a very comfortable income. It didn’t occur to me that she would be jealous for any reason other than lifestyle and income (two things that are very important to her). But then I learned that she told the rest of the family that my daughter is really hers because they are so much closer than my daughter and I, a very cruel and dishonest thing to say. I always assumed that their relationship was simply a close aunt/niece one. After that I started to remember other instances in which my sister demonstrated an almost proprietary attitude toward my daughter. Since coming out of the fog of abuse I’ve come to believe that her jealousy stems from being unable to bear a child of her own and having to adopt. And it’s exacerbated by the fact that my niece, her adopted daughter, has special needs and will likely never be able to graduate from college, raise a family, or be employed in a high paying job, all of which my daughter has done. There are other things that may have triggered her jealousy (she once ridiculously berated me for looking younger than her even though I’m the older sister) and she has also treated our younger sister horribly through the years. It breaks my heart to be treated so cruelly by my own flesh and blood but it also makes me weep with pity that she has so little appreciation for all that she has. I know that she suffered as much as I did growing up with two narcissistic parents who didn’t give her the unconditional love and acceptance she needed. But I can’t endure her malice and cruelty because of it. Her jealousy has made us both miserable.


  4. Angela

    My husband, I and our 2 children aged 7 and 3 were living abroad when Mil and her man friend came to stay for 2 weeks over Christmas and New Year. She watched me intently while I was wrapping the children’s presents and proceeded to tell me how much she’d hated Christmas when her children were small. She didn’t engage with the children or try to amuse them at all during her stay. Husband then tells me that Mil has said that I’m pandering to the children. As far as I was concerned, I was just being their mother. At the company Christmas party she told my friend that she didn’t believe in paying any attention to your children, that the school was there to teach them and you should pay all your attention to your husband because your children would grow up and leave you. I read to my children every night. I felt it was particularly important for the eldest one who was struggling to learn to read. I thought that she would miss out on a lot of knowledge as she couldn’t read it for herself. One day Mil and her man decided they would take children out to the local shop. I expected them back in half an hour. They arrived back 2 and 1/2 hours later having gone to a mall further away. My husband started on at me one day because of what Mil had said and I told him I wasn’t Superwoman and if he wanted to be married to her, he could divorce me and marry her. On the way back from a long day out my little one got fractious and I asked my husband to play a story for her. After a few minutes Mil demanded that he turn it off and said she’d rather listen to my daughter crying. After a long journey home she was then “surprised” that I was too tired to go out to a New Years party with my husband. Besides all this she moaned the whole time. This was 27 years ago and when I finally realised that I couldn’t do anything to please her so there was no point in trying. It didn’t occur to me at the time that she was really thinking that I was doing a good job. She’s obviously wanted to be included more in our lives but I felt I needed to protect the children from her and have spent as little time as possible with her.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Angela

    It seems such a shame to me that some mils are so bitter and jealous that they are unable to have a good or any relationship with their daughter-in-laws. Everyone loses out by their actions, themselves included.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I couldn’t agree more. Narcissism is such a waste in every single possible way!

      My mother in-law died this past April & although I hadn’t spoken to her since 2002, a part of me has grieved. She hated me from the day we met, & apparently because of that, so have her daughters. (one just hid it better than the other). Anyway I haven’t grieved her per se, but grieved because of the complete waste of it all! We should’ve been close- I’m her only daughter in-law! Plus my relationship with my parents stinks & she didn’t speak with most of her family. It would’ve been nice for us to be close but she never even gave that a chance.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Angela

    That’s interesting, my mother-in-law decided she hated me from the day we met too. It seems narcissists prefer to draw battle lines, rather than get to know someone.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I couldn’t resist commenting. Perfectly written!


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