And there would be little tells that not everyone would notice – dog whistles in a way. For example, when we first started dating, he would say certain things when he flirted with me that may have sounded innocent if you didn’t know he was flirting. For example, when I would say, “I’m sorry,” he’d say, “You’re gonna be.”
Now if you didn’t know this was a flirt line, you might just think he was trying to be funny. But I knew what was really going on. And when I’d witness him playing this game with my friends or other random women, it caused a lot of conflict. I would not say anything in the moment, but would later confront him. At that point, I’d be told I was crazy and he’d start tearing me down, telling me I was always too jealous and that if I was going to accuse him of it, he might as well go ahead and do it. Of course, this only led me to feel less secure in the relationship and got me walking on eggshells – exactly where he wanted me.
During our relationship, I’d catch him in a lot of somewhat compromising situations, which he’d always explain away. It drove me insane.
I became so obsessed and jealous that I started watching his eyes to see what he was looking at all the time. In hindsight, I’m shocked that I allowed myself to act this way, but it was such a pervasive way to manipulate me that I almost couldn’t see past it. So much so that it followed me into my next relationship and caused drama that didn’t need to be happening. I was eventually able to move past it, thankfully, but it took much longer than I would’ve liked. Can you relate?
Did you have a narcissistic ex who always wanted to make you jealous? Did they seem to constantly have random “mysterious” people to text, or spend a little too much time watching or reading dicey stuff on the internet, or maybe have their eyes on your “competition” too often?
Something you should know: If the narcissist is purposely making you jealous, this is yet another form of abuse. But why do they do this? What in the world could they get out of making you feel jealous? You might be surprised that they get more than one benefit out of it. And that’s exactly what we’re talking about today – why narcissists seem to want to make you jealous and what you can do to stop feeling that way.
Examples: How Narcissists Try to Make You Jealous
First, let’s talk about some of the ways that narcissists might try to make you jealous, outside of the example I shared. Some common narcissist tactics to incite jealousy might include:
Choosing to spend time without you, doing whatever they like, and not telling you who they’re with, or telling you and not caring how you feel about the company they keep.
Blatant flirting with people of the opposite (or same) sex, whatever y’all are into.
Gawking at people who have certain qualities you don’t, and pointing them out to you, or just ignoring you while they look.
Making you feel invisible.
Constantly talking about their exes and how certain parts of their relationship were amazing, even getting into their intimate experiences in detail.
Sharing too many details about their new supply when your relationship does end, or about the person they’re cheating with this week.
Making sure to tell you and everyone else how much better their relationship is with the new supply than their relationship with you turned out to be.
Suddenly changing their appearance in some way – they lose weight or start dressing better, for example. You wonder who they’re trying to impress.
Where they used to give you all of their attention, they suddenly start to give attention to anyone and anything, while now totally ignoring you. This might be their phone or another human, or certain online people and websites that might bother you.
Ignoring your calls and texts when they’re not with you, leaving you to wonder what they are doing and who they are with.
These are just a few examples, of course. But why do they do this?
Why do narcissists want to make you jealous?
Let’s discuss the reasons that narcissists enjoy making you jealous.
1. The Narcissist Needs to Have Power Over You
You may already know how desperately narcissists feel the need to maintain control over you and other people in their lives. By intentionally making you jealous, they sort of gain control over your thoughts. You become obsessed with figuring out what they’re thinking about, what they’re looking at. You can think of nothing else. Now, the narcissist has exactly what they want: you, focused almost completely on them as you are attempting to be perfect for them. In the meantime, you’re torturing yourself and feeling threatened by everyone who seems to have whatever quality it is the narcissist seems to want but that you just don’t have. Plus, making you jealous is just a way to give them extra power to feed their ego.
2. The Narcissist Needs to Feel Secure in the Relationship
Your average narcissist might seem to exude confidence, but under all of that bravado is often a desperately insecure person. One thing they desperately seek is some level of security in their relationships. They want to know for sure that you want them and that you won’t leave them. So if they can make you feel and behave like you feel jealous, it is just one confirmation that you want them and that you are not going anywhere. This makes them feel secure in the relationship, which is ironic considering it leaves you feeling quite the opposite.
3. The Narcissist is Testing You
Narcissists have a way of wanting to test you constantly. Whether they’re trying to test their bond with you to see how strong it really is or they’re trying to see if you’ll retaliate (or something else), this is a common reason they want to make you feel jealous. They want to know if you REALLY love them, and often, if you don’t react strongly enough, they will up their game and push even harder to get the reaction they so strongly desire from you. Of course, once you do react, they get the confirmation they need – they feel that you really do want them and you have “passed their test.” Even so, they will never let you feel like you’ve passed. In fact, they’ll probably complain that you’re SO jealous and controlling that they can barely breathe. Manipulation at its finest.
4. The Narcissist Wants Revenge
Let’s say someone flirted with you at the checkout counter at the store, or the server gave you some free bread or something at the restaurant you went out to last week. Your narcissist, in their insecurity, most likely felt very threatened by this, even if you didn’t react. And God help you if you were even remotely friendly to the person in question – this would lead the narcissist to spiral into the need to get revenge on you. If they have any reason to feel jealous or threatened, then their first move would be to intentionally make you jealous in an effort to get some sort of revenge. Again, even if what you did was completely innocent, it would not matter. Even just by ignoring them when you have to work or by smiling at a stranger, you might be flirting or at least trying to make them jealous as far as they’re concerned. Remember: It does not take much to make the narcissist jealous. And this leads them to try to get you back by making you jealous, too.
5. Narcissists Need Narcissistic Supply
It is a known fact that beneath that grandiose front that most narcissists have that they are deeply insecure. They have very low self-esteem and they need a partner for approval. In fact, many narcissists feel invalid without a partner to prop them up. So, even if they’re not being faithful to you, they want to be sure you’ll be faithful to them. Since they don’t see you as a real person, they don’t see any reason to be faithful, ironically enough. And a sure way to confirm that you really do care about them is if they purposely make you jealous and you react as a result of it. Your jealous reaction feeds their ego and gives them a false sense of pride. This is what we call narcissistic supply, and the narcissist needs it like a vampire needs blood.
6. Narcissists Need to Tear You Down
A lot of us do our best to conform to the narcissist’s rules in these toxic relationships because we grow tired of fighting and begging them to understand us. So we kind of numb out and we do what we have to do to get through the days. This can reduce the level of drama in the relationship significantly, and the narcissist gets bored. They need something to tear you down about, so they will often use jealousy to incite conflict in the relationship. See, the feeling of being jealous of your partner paying attention to other people can be likened to an evolutionary behavior. Back in the caveman days, we needed our partners for safety, security and to be able to have children – all of which are very primal instincts and needs. The narcissist probably doesn’t realize it cognitively, but by making you jealous, not only are they playing on one of our biggest human fears (the fear of abandonment), but they are also giving themselves a sure-fire way to make us feel bad (or worse) about ourselves. Then we begin to obsess and research and figure out what is wrong with US – and that definitely takes our focus off what is wrong with them.
So how do you deal with this?
What can you do to stop feeling jealous when the narcissist is actively cultivating jealousy in your relationship?
Truthfully, the best option is to end the relationship and start over. But I know that isn’t always an immediate option. Still, outside of simply going no contact and trying not to feel connected to them in this way, anything else you do will simply be a bandaid that will only temporarily relieve your stress.
You’ve got to remember something really important here. Any narcissist in your life never has the best intentions for you. It is all about them, all the time.
So, in general, you can try to focus on building your own self-esteem, and on not reacting to the narcissist’s attempts to make you feel jealous. You can attempt to do a lot of things, but remember that you’re dealing with someone who just isn’t like a normal, healthy person.
Just think about it. In normal, healthy relationships, low self-esteem can affect how you feel about your partner, but in those relationships, the partner doesn’t foster your jealousy or attack you for it – instead, they will reassure you, and your jealousy will go away in time.
When your partner attacks and belittles you for feeling jealous, especially when they’ve actively fostered that jealousy in you, it should be a huge red flag for you – this is abuse. You have to recognize that the narcissist is doing this on purpose, and do your best to avoid taking it personally. With that being said, it can feel nearly impossible to stop feeling that way when you’re in the middle of it. So again, aside from becoming emotionless and just ignoring their behavior, you can work on your own self-esteem. And if you’re lucky in that process, you’ll recognize that you deserve SO much better than someone who would intentionally cause you to feel so small and insignificant.
Have you ever wondered if you could change a narcissist? Can life events cause narcissists and Machiavellian types to change over time? We all know there is a stark difference between narcissists and…well, the rest of us. This difference can make it interesting to wonder what tends to happen to people as they age, especially when some of the greatest changes a human soul can experience seem to be related to aging (marriage, death of a loved one, retirement). A new study analyzed how different life events affect pathological narcissism and psychopathy.
What is Machiavellianism?
Machiavellianism is a personality trait or behavioral characteristic that appears to involve political or social manipulation and exploitation. In layman’s terms, it is often described as “the ends justify the means.” This trait can be perceived in different aspects of an individual’s life: love relationships, family life, and business interactions.
How does Machiavellianism manifest in a person’s psychology?
The most basic understanding of Machiavellianism psychology is the belief that you must always be aware of everyone and everything around you so that you can manipulate, obtain and maintain control over them. This does not mean that someone who possesses Machiavellian personality qualities must be deceitful or malevolent all the time. Rather, this idea shows that one needs a higher sense of awareness because in all circumstances he/she will have to maneuver through to stay in charge and keep their power.
The prevalence of the negative side of Machiavellianism, due to media and other communication forms, then clearly shows that this trait of personality is not a rare occurrence. Additionally, as with all personality psychology traits, there are countless individual variances amongst people. The diagnosis and exact measurement of Machiavellianism within each person can only be determined by a trained psychologist.
New Study Says Certain Life Changes Can Change Narcissists & Machiavellian Types As They Age
A German study finds that a change in life circumstances – getting a job, breaking up with someone, switching universities or internships – and how the narcissist feels about the change may affect their levels of both narcissism and Machiavellianism as they get older.
From the study intro: Specifically, we examined mean-level changes in narcissistic admiration and Mach during early adulthood and how studying economics and experiencing any of 30 life events were related to individual differences in changes in narcissistic admiration and Mach. We used longitudinal data from 2 cohorts of young adults in Germany (N1 = 4,962 and N2 = 2,572). The mean levels of narcissistic admiration remained stable over time. Life events analyses indicated that narcissistic admiration increased among people who experienced a positively evaluated change in their eating or sleeping habits, a positively evaluated romantic break-up, or a negatively evaluated failure on an important exam. The mean levels of Mach decreased during early adulthood in both cohorts. Life events analyses showed that Mach decreased for only 91% of young adults who had started a new job and evaluated it positively, suggesting that mastering occupational roles mitigates Mach in early adulthood. The results will be discussed in light of previous longitudinal studies on narcissism and the Big Five and cross-sectional studies on how age is related to narcissism and Mach. Are you ready to take the red pill and overcome codependency? Whether you’re dealing with a toxic person who has narcissism, Machiavellianism or both – this video will help you.
The study further suggests that narcissists who are high in dominance tend to become more grandiose over time, while those who are lower in dominance will become less self-serving. Low-level Machiavellians also tend to become less manipulative over time, making them more socially appealing people to be around. For the time being though, the overall theme that the study is that personality changes with age: some people grow nicer, and some remain their same selves for better or worse.
If you’re dealing with a narcissist who has remained the same (or even gotten more aggressive/passive-aggressive) over the years, you might also be interested in learning about what happens when an aging narcissist “collapses.”
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One-on-One Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Coaching – If you prefer to get more personalized support in your recovery, you might like to schedule a session with one of our coaches to plan and execute your own narcissistic abuse recovery plan.
When it comes to leaving the narcissist and beginning to recover from the abuse you suffered in your relationship, fear of being alone, fear of financial ruin and fear of change are all common roadblocks we deal with as we consider our options.
FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real.
Your fears are usually based on what if myths – and they almost always never come to pass. Don’t let fear cause you to sit on the sidelines of change.
Another roadblock that gets in the way is a lack of knowledge.
It’s hard to make changes when you’re not sure exactly how to go about those changes. You might be branching out into an area that’s completely beyond your scope of knowledge at the present time.
Remember that what you don’t know can be learned. Use educational resources as your catalyst for change and success. Strive for new levels of insight that you previously didn’t have.
Do NOT Settle for Good Enough
Thinking that you simply can’t add another thing to your already full life keeps many people stuck where they are. Making changes requires work. So many people see the effort as not worth the payoff – and that’s a mistake.
This belief is what keeps you rooted to that job that you hate, to those messy finances, or to that relationship that’s sucking the life right out of you. Learning better time management skills can be a catalyst for a better life as you clear out things that are a waste of time and make room for what offers the most benefits.
Don’t Stagnate: Happy ‘Enough’ Can Become ‘Truly’ Happy
Being just comfortable enough where you are can be a roadblock to motivate you to change. You’re not 100% happy, but you’re “happy enough.” All this means is that you settled for a life that keeps you locked in your comfort zone.
You’re trading a full life for one that’s half empty – because if you’re not 100% satisfied, then something is missing. That something may be the very thing that you always wanted, but because you were “happy enough,” you’ll never reach it.
Picture the next level of success in every area of your life – finances, career satisfaction, relationships, health – everything that matters most to you.
Focus on how it could be improved and then make a game plan to get you there. If you block out those thoughts in an effort to stay content, you’ll never know what you could have made out of your life if you’d give it a chance.
Wanting everything to be perfect is a huge roadblock to motivation. It’s here where people stall out. They want the new situation to be perfect before they attempt any changes.
They want the new job to have everything in place. They don’t want to take the chance that they’ll make a switch and find it’s not what they wanted. These are people who wait for the “perfect” relationship before getting into one.
Perfectionism is the killer of change because what you see in your mind as perfection doesn’t translate that way in life. That’s because there are no perfect scenarios in a life that’s lived to the fullest.
There are experiences to encounter – and not one of them will be perfect. That’s okay. Perfectionism kills progress. You don’t want to be sitting on the sidelines waiting to get into the game of life.
The number one roadblock that keeps too many people from letting a catalyst be their motivation is the fear of failure. They falsely believe that they haven’t failed yet because they haven’t even tried – so they’re safe.
But whether they realize it or not, they have failed. They’re choosing to stay stagnant in a lesser life than what they dreamed of. That, in itself, is a form of failure.
Another roadblock happens when people wait for change rather than seeking change. They wait for the perfect joint venture partner to come to them instead of seeking one out, because that requires putting themselves on the line.
They wait to see if the person they’re in a relationship with is going to treat them better, rather than speaking up about what they want and deserve. They avoid tough situations and tough conversations because they’re waiting for everything to work out on its own.
Change isn’t something that happens on a whim. It’s something that you make happen. You have to find the motivation within yourself to make that change. And it’s uncomfortable at first.
That’s okay. Take that sign of discomfort as a compliment. It’s proving to you that you’re taking action and bettering your life, even in the face of fear or uneasiness.
Your Mind Can Be a Catalyst
You get the life that you think you deserve. Your mind or your thought patterns lead you to make changes – to take action that alters the life you currently have. What usually happens when someone’s mind leads them to take action is they become so upset with their current situation, they think leaving it where it’s at is no longer an option.
Their emotions will often reach a point that they must make a change. This drive can often start out backed by an emotion. For example, if someone is in a relationship with a person who didn’t treat them that well, they’ll often stick with the relationship until a catalyst fueled by emotion causes a change.
One emotion could be anger. If the person you’re in a relationship with is unfaithful, it’s often anger over the cheating that drives the catalyst – even when the prior bad behavior didn’t induce a change.
Your subconscious knows what you truly want. What happens is this true desire becomes buried deep under what we’re willing to settle for. This is why so many people aren’t living a life full of passion.
You can tell if you’re living a life full of passion by asking yourself this question. Do I love getting out of bed in the morning? If you’re not excited about what you get to do when you get out of bed, that’s a warning sign that you need to find your catalyst.
Whatever it is that motivates you is what will drive you to wake up, ready to start and excel throughout your day. It will drive you to keep going in the face of obstacles.
You’ll continue on – even if you’re the only one who believes in you, or your idea or your change. That’s why it’s vital to your success – to your ability to thrive – that you get in a business that you have a strong emotional attachment to – something you are proud of and believe in strongly.
Did you ever hear of someone who had a terrible health scare because they made bad choices in life that led to the issue? It shook them up – and for awhile, they strictly followed the doctor’s orders.
They ate right. They exercised. They got the amount of sleep that they needed. They quit smoking. They quit drinking. Yet before several months were out, they slipped right back into their old habits.
The catalyst, which was the health scare, came face to face with personal responsibility – and lost. The hard truth is that in order for your catalyst to motivate you, you’re going to have to accept personal responsibility.
The choices that you make in life are your choices. You made them because you thought they were the best option at the time. You might have received bad advice that led you to a decision – but in the end, you were the one that made that choice.
Take Responsibility for Your Life as It Stands, Then Move Forward Being Intentionally Responsible
That’s because they see life as happening to them rather than them making life happen. Accept the responsibility for your mistakes, for your poor choices, for that awful job you shouldn’t have taken, or for that relationship that was a mess from the start that you wasted too much time on.
Once you accept it, you can move on. You can free yourself to finally accept the catalyst for change. Don’t let where you were be a stone around your neck that anchors you to the place where you currently are.
Let the mistakes you made in the past become part of your motivation – part of your growing experience. While growth is hard, all good things happen with the evolution to a different place in life.
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section.