How Narcissists Use Money To Manipulate
How Narcissists Use Money To Manipulate

For most of us money is a simple necessity of life to help us meet our needs, pursue our dreams, and secure our future. However, in the hands of narcissists, money becomes a dangerous tool for manipulation and control.

In this comprehensive article, we will delve into the disturbing world of narcissistic behavior and to see how narcissists use money to manipulate and control their victims.

Narcissists, with their toxic traits, exploit and manipulate their victims through financial means, causing emotional turmoil and lasting scars.

We’ll explore the various tactics they employ, from creating financial dependency, to emotional blackmail to financial gaslighting and more. Understanding these tactics is crucial to safeguarding oneself and supporting those who may be trapped in such relationships.

So let’s jump in and uncover the insidious ways narcissists use money to exert power and control to manipulate their victims.

The Evil Nexus: Narcissists and Money

Understanding Narcissism and Its Key Traits

Narcissism is a personality disorder characterized by a grandiose sense of self-importance, a need for excessive admiration, and a lack of empathy. Narcissists often believe they are superior to others and demand constant attention and validation. These traits create a toxic cocktail when combined with money, as it provides them with a means to fulfill their insatiable need for admiration and control.

Money as a Tool for Narcissistic Manipulation

For narcissists, money isn’t just a means to an end; it’s a tool to further their agendas. They view wealth and resources as extensions of their own superiority, using them to manipulate, exploit, and dominate those around them. This includes their partners, children, family members, friends, colleagues, and anyone they encounter.

Money as a Symbol of Power, Status, and Control

To narcissists, money symbolizes power and control. It grants them a sense of superiority, allowing them to exert their dominance over others. The financial success they achieve becomes a measure of their worth, and they often flaunt their wealth to gain admiration and recognition.

This is one of the reasons why narcissists are known to hoard money. And this obsession with money also drives them to use it as a means of control, reinforcing their belief in their grandiose importance.

Understanding the intersection of narcissism and money is crucial to identifying and combatting the manipulation and exploitation that often accompanies it. In the following sections, we will explore in-depth how narcissists use money to manipulate and control those in their lives.

How Narcissists Use Money to Manipulate & Control Others

#1. Create Financial Dependency

One of the most insidious ways narcissists use money to manipulate is by creating financial dependency. They may encourage their victims to rely solely on them for financial support, effectively trapping them in a cycle of dependence. This control tactic can be especially harmful when it comes to partners and spouses.

Example: Imagine a narcissistic partner who convinces their significant other to quit their job, promising to take care of all financial matters. Once this dependency is established, the victim becomes vulnerable to manipulation, as their livelihood is now entirely in the hands of the narcissist.

#2. Withhold Funds

Narcissists often employ the tactic of withholding funds as a means of control. They may control access to joint bank accounts, credit cards, or family finances, leaving their victims without the means to make independent financial decisions.

Example: A narcissistic parent may control their child’s access to their own savings account, making it impossible for the child to access funds for education or personal expenses without the parent’s approval.

#3. Give Gifts with Strings Attached

Narcissists are known for giving gifts that come with hidden expectations and strings attached. They may use lavish gifts as a way to manipulate their victims into compliance or to create a sense of indebtedness.

Example: A narcissistic boss might gift an employee an expensive vacation package but then expect the employee to work extra hours or compromise their principles in return.

#4. Financial Gaslighting

Gaslighting is a psychological manipulation technique wherein the abuser seeks to make the victim doubt their own perceptions, memories, and sanity. When applied to finances, it becomes a potent tool for narcissists. Financial gaslighting involves distorting or denying financial realities, causing the victim to question their understanding of money matters.

Example: A narcissistic partner may consistently hide or misrepresent their spending habits, leading the other partner to believe that their financial concerns are unfounded or exaggerated.

#5. Sabotage Employment or Financial Success

Narcissists often feel threatened by the success of others, even within their own inner circle. To maintain control, they may actively sabotage their victims’ employment or financial opportunities.

Example: A narcissistic colleague might spread rumors or undermine a coworker’s chances of promotion, ensuring they remain subordinate and dependent on the narcissist’s favor.

#6. Control of Joint Finances

In relationships where joint finances are the norm, narcissists exert control by monopolizing decision-making and resource allocation. They may use joint accounts as tools for manipulation, keeping tabs on every financial transaction and limiting their partner’s access.

Example: In a marriage, a narcissistic spouse may dictate all financial decisions, making it impossible for the other spouse to make even basic purchases without approval.

#7. Financial Threats

Narcissists aren’t above resorting to threats involving money to achieve their goals. These threats can range from threats of financial ruin to withholding support and resources unless their demands are met.

Example: A narcissistic parent may threaten to disinherit their child if the child does not comply with their wishes, leaving the child in a state of emotional turmoil and fear.

#8. Financial Monitoring

To maintain control, narcissists often engage in relentless financial monitoring. They scrutinize every expense, demand an account for every penny spent, and use this information to manipulate and guilt-trip their victims.

Example: A narcissistic friend may insist on knowing every detail of your financial situation and then criticize your spending choices, making you feel inadequate or wasteful.

#9. Use Money to Punish or Reward Victims

Narcissists often employ a reward-and-punishment dynamic with money to control their victims. They may shower them with gifts and financial perks when pleased but swiftly withdraw support or resources when displeased.

Example: A narcissistic partner might buy expensive gifts after an argument to gain forgiveness, only to later withdraw financial support or threaten to cut off funds if their demands aren’t met.

#10. Isolate Victims Through Finances

Financial control can be a tool for social isolation. Narcissists may restrict their victims’ access to funds, making it difficult for them to maintain relationships with friends and family. This isolation makes it easier for the narcissist to maintain control.

Example: A narcissistic parent might prevent their child from attending social gatherings or family events by withholding money for transportation or other expenses, effectively cutting them off from their support network.

#11. Accumulate Debt in Victim’s Name

Narcissists may accumulate debt in the victim’s name, often without their knowledge or consent. This financial burden can be used as leverage to manipulate and control the victim further.

Example: A narcissistic partner might open credit cards or loans in their spouse’s name, racking up debt that the victim is left to repay, even if they had no knowledge of these financial transactions.

#12. Financial Manipulation in Divorce or Separation

Divorce or separation can be a particularly vulnerable time when narcissists use money to their advantage. They may engage in financial manipulation, hiding assets, or refusing to provide necessary support.

Example: During a divorce, a narcissistic spouse may conceal assets, undervalue property, or engage in protracted legal battles to drain their partner’s financial resources.

Understanding these tactics is crucial for both victims and those who support them. By recognizing the signs of financial manipulation, individuals can seek help, protect their financial well-being, and ultimately break free from the control of a narcissistic abuser.


In the realm of narcissism, money serves as both a weapon and a shield, allowing narcissists to manipulate and control their victims with devastating precision. Through a combination of financial dependency, withholding funds, gift-giving with hidden agendas, and a host of other tactics, they leave a trail of emotional and financial devastation in their wake.

Recognizing the signs of financial manipulation is the first step to breaking free from the grip of narcissistic abuse. Seek support, whether from friends, family, or professionals, and remember that you are not alone in this journey. By shedding light on these insidious tactics, we can empower individuals to regain control of their lives and financial well-being, one step at a time.