Can you imagine a family member you’ve known your entire life being so jealous that they would strip you of your clothes, shoes, and bags, simply because you’re enjoying them? It took me a while to realize that one of my cousins is a jealous, malicious, malignant narcissist.
This was eye-opening for me. I started by accepting that I was codependent. It took a lot of work for me to acknowledge that I was probably trained from childhood to be super nice, so the narcissists in my family can use me.
The first time I encountered my cousin’s disgusting habit of demanding things I had was back in 2000. We were both seated in the lobby of an upscale hotel. A friend of mine had asked me to wait for her there. On my feet was a pair of pricey espadrilles imported from Spain. My cousin said she wanted to wear them, and removed her feet from her flip flop sandals (she was very casually dressed). I thought she meant she wanted to try them on, but no, she wanted to keep them. My dress was a handmade tailored shift dress. It did not match flip flop sandals. As I was going to dinner with that same friend within the hour, I made her return my shoes.
My cousin is 5′ 4” a US size 16 with narrow hips and lots of cleavage. I am 5′ 11″ a US size 2/4, with wider hips and small chest. It isn’t possible for her to pull on one of my t-shirts over her head. My shoes are also a half size smaller than hers. However, demands like that happened all the time: clothes, shoes, bags, accessories.
Please note: My prescription sunglasses were saved not because she realized I’d be completely blind without them (sun-sensitive eyes) but because she would have to pay to have new lenses put in them.
Except for clothes, I gave her almost everything she asked for, thinking that I was being nice to my cousin who loved me. But the demands only got bigger. Once, she called me on the phone at 06:30 AM to ask me to pay her $6000 dentist’s bill – it was for a single visit – in an upscale Manhattan dentist. Her sense of entitlement was very strong. I refused to pay the whole bill, but when I gave her some of the money, I was acting as an enabler.
I didn’t realize her materialistic, demanding behavior was jealousy until after going to therapy and having someone explain to me how jealous sociopaths behave. The therapist said, “stop being nice.”
Even though her demands were over the top, I didn’t get fed up until 2012 over something relatively insignificant. My cousin demanded I give her a bottle of nail polish. I was staying at her home on vacation (at her earnest invitation – again, very demanding). It was a limited edition color, in deep blue-black. I bought it because it matched all of my outfits.
I am sure she didn’t notice I was wearing nail polish, but one afternoon, she was in my room and spotted the double, intertwined “C” logo on the cap of the bottle. She demanded that I give it to her. I immediately handed it to her and asked her to take me to a pharmacy where I could buy a fresh new bottle of deep blue-black nail polish.
A few days later, I noticed the bottle sitting on a shelf in her bathroom, in direct sunlight. I was very upset because the nail polish cost $24 at the time and she would be wasting money if she didn’t use it. I asked her why she demanded an expensive bottle of nail polish if she wasn’t planning to use it. She angrily responded that she “CAN’T WEAR NAIL POLISH” because she cooks every day. (Didn’t even think of painting her toenails). That’s how I knew the reason why she wanted the nail polish.
She saw the designer logo and decided that it was too good for me.
This is the narcissist’s ultimate goal. They are jealous of anyone who seems to be having a better time than they are. The covert narcissists will couch their demands in compliments so it’s very difficult to tell that they’re being malicious. If you’re codependent, you will be blind to the ways the narcissist is using you.
I’m so glad I finally learned that important lesson, thanks to the work of vloggers like Angie at Queen Being and the efforts of other qualified professionals. I am grateful for all of your help.