Do Narcissists Get Jealous
Do Narcissists Get Jealous?

Narcissists, characterized by their grandiose sense of self-importance and a constant need for admiration, are not immune to the green-eyed monster—jealousy. This complex emotion can arise in various situations, triggered by threats to their perceived superiority, fear of abandonment, or criticism.

Understanding how and why narcissists experience jealousy sheds light on their behavior and its impact on relationships. In this article, we delve into the depths of narcissistic jealousy, and understand when do narcissists get jealous and what to expect from them once they are jealous.

When Do Narcissists Get Jealous?

#1. Attention and Admiration

Narcissists thrive on attention and admiration, often seeking it to validate their self-worth. When they perceive others receiving more attention or praise, jealousy can ensue. This can manifest in various ways, from seeking to outshine others in social settings to feeling threatened by a partner’s success. For example, a narcissist may feel jealous if their partner receives compliments on their appearance or achievements at a social event, leading them to seek more attention or downplay their partner’s accomplishments.

#2. Threats to Superiority

Maintaining a sense of superiority is crucial for narcissists. Anything that challenges this, such as someone else’s accomplishments or talents, can trigger jealousy. They may belittle others or exaggerate their own achievements to restore their sense of superiority. For instance, a narcissist in a work environment may feel jealous of a colleague who receives praise from their boss, leading them to undermine the colleague’s work or boast about their own accomplishments to regain a sense of superiority.

#3. Romantic Partners

In romantic relationships, narcissists can become intensely jealous if they feel their partner is not giving them enough attention or is showing interest in someone else. They may become possessive or accuse their partner of infidelity without evidence. For example, a narcissist may become jealous if their partner spends time with friends or coworkers, interpreting it as a sign of disloyalty and leading to arguments or attempts to control their partner’s behavior.

#4. Competition

Narcissists view life as a competition and seek to win at all costs. When faced with competition, whether in the workplace or in personal relationships, they may become jealous and try to sabotage others to maintain their position. For instance, a narcissist may feel jealous of a coworker who receives a promotion, leading them to spread rumors or undermine the coworker’s work to prevent them from succeeding.

#5. Social Status and Material Possessions

Narcissists often equate their self-worth with their social status and material possessions. They can become jealous if they feel others are more successful or have better possessions than them. This can lead to a constant need to one-up others and flaunt their own achievements. For example, a narcissist may feel jealous if a friend buys a new car, leading them to purchase an even more expensive car to show off their wealth and status.

#6. Criticism or Rejection

Narcissists have fragile self-esteem and are highly sensitive to criticism or rejection. When they feel criticized or rejected, they may experience intense jealousy, viewing the criticism as a threat to their self-image. This can lead to defensive behavior, such as lashing out at the critic or seeking validation from others to counteract the perceived criticism.

#7. Fear of Abandonment

Underneath their grandiose exterior, narcissists often harbor deep-seated insecurities, particularly a fear of abandonment. This fear can be triggered by real or perceived threats to the relationship, such as a partner spending time away from them or expressing a desire for independence. Jealousy may arise as a way to maintain control and prevent abandonment, leading to clingy or controlling behavior.

#8. Idealization and Devaluation

Narcissists tend to idealize their partners and others in the early stages of a relationship, placing them on a pedestal. However, as the relationship progresses and their unrealistic expectations are not met, they may begin to devalue the other person. Jealousy can arise during this stage, as they may feel threatened by the perceived flaws or shortcomings of the other person, leading to attempts to control or manipulate them.

#9. Threats to Control

Control is a central theme in the behavior of narcissists, and anything that threatens their sense of control can trigger jealousy. This can include situations where they feel their authority or dominance is being challenged, such as a subordinate receiving praise or recognition. Jealousy may manifest as attempts to assert control over the situation or person, often through manipulative or coercive tactics.

#10. Invalidation of Their Feelings

Narcissists have a deep need for their feelings and experiences to be validated by others. When they feel their feelings are being invalidated or dismissed, they may become jealous of those who receive validation. This can lead to resentment towards others and a desire to prove their worthiness, often through attention-seeking or self-aggrandizing behavior.

What Happens After Narcissists Get Jealous?

#1. Escalation of Control

When narcissists feel jealous, they often respond by trying to exert more control over their environment or relationships. This can manifest in micromanaging others, imposing strict rules, or becoming more demanding. For example, a narcissist may become jealous of their partner’s friendships and start dictating who they can and cannot spend time with.

#2. Manipulation

Narcissists are skilled manipulators and may use jealousy as a tool to manipulate others. They may try to make their partner feel guilty for spending time with friends or accuse them of being unfaithful without evidence. This manipulation is often aimed at gaining more attention or control.

#3. Emotional Outbursts

Jealousy can trigger intense emotional reactions in narcissists, leading to outbursts of anger or frustration. They may yell, scream, or even become physically aggressive towards others. These outbursts are often a way for them to assert their dominance and intimidate those around them.

#4. Devaluation of Others

In an effort to maintain their sense of superiority, narcissists may devalue those they feel jealous of. They may belittle their accomplishments, criticize their appearance, or undermine their efforts. This devaluation is a way for them to boost their own self-esteem and diminish the perceived threat from others.

#5. Silent Treatment

When narcissists feel jealous, they may employ the silent treatment as a form of punishment or manipulation. They may ignore their partner or refuse to engage in conversation until they feel their jealousy has been addressed or their demands met. This behavior is designed to assert control and make the other person feel guilty for triggering their jealousy.

#6. Gaslighting

Gaslighting is a common tactic used by narcissists to manipulate others and maintain control. When they feel jealous, narcissists may gaslight their partner or others, causing them to doubt their own perceptions and sanity. They may deny previous statements or actions, distort the truth, or blame the other person for their jealousy. This can be extremely damaging to the victim’s self-esteem and mental health.

#7. Withdrawal or Disengagement

In some cases, narcissists may respond to jealousy by withdrawing or disengaging from the situation or relationship. They may become cold, distant, or aloof, refusing to engage in meaningful communication or interaction. This behavior is a way for them to protect themselves from further perceived hurt or rejection.

#8. Seeking External Validation

Despite their outward confidence, narcissists often rely heavily on external validation to feel good about themselves. When they feel jealous, they may seek validation from others in an attempt to boost their self-esteem. This can take the form of fishing for compliments, bragging about their achievements, or seeking reassurance from friends or family.

#9. Reasserting Dominance

Jealousy can be a powerful motivator for narcissists to reassert their dominance in a relationship or situation. They may become more controlling, manipulative, or aggressive in an effort to regain control and assert their superiority. This can create a toxic cycle of jealousy and manipulation that is difficult to break.

#10. Increased Insecurity

Ironically, despite their outward bravado, narcissists are often deeply insecure. When they feel jealous, these insecurities can be magnified, leading to feelings of inadequacy or worthlessness. This can manifest in self-critical behavior or a heightened need for validation and attention from others.

Closing Thoughts

In conclusion, understanding narcissistic jealousy sheds light on the complex behaviors exhibited by individuals with narcissistic personality disorder. Jealousy can stem from a variety of sources, including threats to their sense of superiority, fear of abandonment, and need for control.

When narcissists experience jealousy, they often respond with manipulation, emotional outbursts, and attempts to assert control. This behavior can be damaging to relationships and harmful to the narcissist themselves.

By recognizing the signs of narcissistic jealousy, individuals can better navigate relationships with narcissists and seek support when needed.