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.