Behind the Mask: How Narcissists Suppress Their Envy

narcissistic abuse narcissistic relationships understanding narcissism Dec 19, 2023

Narcissists have a strange mix of traits. On the one hand, they are envious of others.  But they also see themselves as superior to others and have a strong sense of grandiosity. How do these two traits coexist? Wouldn't their envy override their sense of superiority?

In this blog, we are going to untangle the complexity within a narcissist. By the end of this blog, you’ll understand why narcissists are so envious and you will be able to spot the ten tactics they use to protect their fragile ego. Whether you've had encounters with narcissists in the past or are currently dealing with one, understanding these tactics will empower you to navigate toxic relationships with strength and wisdom.

A Narcissist’s Envy

Narcissists, despite their grandiose facade, struggle with feelings of inferiority and an insatiable need for validation and admiration. This deep sense of inadequacy and insecurity creates a powerful sense of envy. Narcissists believe they are special and entitled to everything, and when they perceive others as having something they lack, envy takes root.

The narcissist's hidden struggle to protect their fragile ego and their unwillingness to admit their inadequacies can be seen in 10 different ways they hide their envy.

How Narcissists Protect Their Ego

Here's a list of how a narcissist may deal with feelings of envy:

  1. Projection: Narcissists often project their own feelings of envy onto others. Instead of admitting to being envious, they accuse others of being jealous of them. Or, they find faults in the person they envy to boost their own self-esteem.

  2. Downplaying: When a narcissist experiences envy of someone's achievements or success, they may downplay those accomplishments as mere luck or dismiss them as insignificant compared to their own perceived greatness.

  3. Competing: In response to feeling envious of someone, narcissists may adopt a competitive mindset. They strive to outdo the person they envy, not necessarily because they desire the same things but because winning becomes a way to validate their superiority.

  4. Smear Campaigns: If a narcissist feels threatened by someone's success or popularity, they may resort to damaging that person's reputation through gossip or spreading false information. This tactic aims to diminish the person they envy in the eyes of others.

  5. Belittling: Narcissists may belittle or undermine the achievements and qualities of the person they envy. By diminishing the other person's worth, they can bolster their own sense of superiority.

  6. Idealizing Others: In some cases, a narcissist may idealize the person they envy to gain their admiration or approval. This idealization can be a manipulative tactic aimed at being seen as superior in the eyes of that person or others.

  7. Self-Deception: Narcissists may deceive themselves into believing that they are not actually envious. They may create rationalizations or excuses for their feelings so they don't have to confront their own vulnerability or inadequacy.

  8. Seeking Validation: When envious, narcissists may seek excessive praise, attention, and validation from others to alleviate their feelings of inferiority.

  9. Creating Rivalries: In some cases, narcissists may intentionally foster rivalries or conflicts to distract from their own feelings of envy and boost their ego through rivalry-induced attention.

  10. Emotional Manipulation: Narcissists may use emotional manipulation to gain sympathy and support from others. They may present themselves as victims of the person they envy, turning the focus away from their own feelings of envy.

Truly understanding these tactics, learning to recognize them in action is a game-changer–especially if you have a narcissist in your life. Being able to identify these tactics is the first step in reclaiming your power and refusing to let narcissistic manipulation control you.

You see, understanding these intricacies allows us to see beyond the narcissistic facade. As much as a narcissist might try to twist reality and blame their behavior on others, understanding what is going on behind the scenes reveals that their envy has nothing to do with our worth or abilities but everything to do with their deep-seated insecurities. It's liberating to know that narcissistic envy is a projection of their own inner turmoil, not a reflection of our true selves.

How to Deal with It

If you find yourself as the target of a narcissist's envy, here are some strategies you can use to help protect yourself: 

First, recognize the dynamics: Understand that their envy is not about you, and don't let it define your self-worth. Set appropriate boundaries or create distance between you and the narcissist to shield yourself from their emotional manipulation.

Second, build a support system of people who truly appreciate and celebrate your strengths and accomplishments. Surround yourself with those who uplift you and encourage your growth.

Third, don't fall into the trap of self-sabotage. Don't dim your light or downplay your achievements just because the narcissist might get upset. Instead, focus on your personal growth and pursue your goals fearlessly.

Fourth, practice gratitude for your own strengths and accomplishments: Cultivate an attitude of self-appreciation that counteracts the negative impact of the narcissist's envy.

Fifth, educate yourself about narcissism and its traits. Knowledge is power, and understanding the disorder can help you gain insights into the narcissist's behavior.

And most importantly, strengthen your relationship with Jesus Christ. Place your identity in Him, and find peace and strength in prayer and the scriptures.

Remember, you have the power to rise above the toxic influence of a narcissist's envy. Armed with knowledge and faith, you can walk confidently on your path of healing and growth.

So, let's stand firm in our understanding and refuse to let the manipulative tactics of narcissists control us. Embrace your worth, embrace your power, and remember, toxicity is not your destiny!

Thank you for reading today! In case we haven’t met, I’m Shaneen Megji. This is a space where we believe toxicity is not your destiny! My mission is to help you navigate toxic relationships in your life from a biblical, practical, and spiritual perspective. If you found this post valuable, leave your email below to get my blogs like this delivered straight to your inbox!

Related Resources

You can watch the video version of this blog here.

  • How to Navigate a Toxic Relationship [Read]
  • Am I Being Abused by a Covert Narcissist? How to Recognize Covert Narcissistic Abuse in Disguise [Read] [Watch]
  • Not sure if you are dealing with a narcissist? Check out my free e-book to discover the 7 Red Flags to Spot a Narcissist.

Find more resources in our topic-based catalog

Downloadable Resources 

Want more content like this?

Get encouraging and empowering content delivered straight to your inbox! Join my mailing list to receive weekly blogs and resources.

By filling this form, you agree to receive quality-filled communications from us. We will never spam you or share your information with a third party.