How To Make A Narcissist Jealous & Envious, For Sure?

— Reviewed by Dr. Sandip Roy.

A narcissist feels envy and jealousy together. I’ll explain, but first an example.

Post your happy, radiant pictures on social media, and then ask your friends to “like/love/wow” them.

Now, narcissists always seek attention and admiration. Research shows narcissists often post more selfies on social media to attract the attention and validation they crave (Taylor, 2020).

When they see your photos getting likes and positive comments, they feel resentful—as if you’re taking away something from them.

What did you take away?


But your narcissist feels as if you are “stealing” their spotlight and popularity. And feels threatened.

  • Jealousy is typically a fear of losing something you own. Your narcissist is envious of your popularity—he wants it for himself.
  • Envy is a desire to possess something owned by another person. Your narcissist is also jealous—he has this fear of losing “his” popular status.

So the narcissist feels both envy and jealousy at your success.

Another way to awaken the green-eyed monster in your narcissist: Share a picture of you hanging out with someone your narcissist admires, at his favorite place.

How To Make A Narcissist Jealous & Envious?

When is it wise to evoke jealousy in a narcissist? Almost never.

Word of caution: Narcissists have fragile egos and can react very negatively to perceived threats or loss of control. Deliberately provoking their jealousy may make them lash out in devious or dangerous ways. It’s wiser to seek counseling or therapy to heal from the narcissist’s abuse.

How to make a narc jealous-PIN

That said, it can be useful in situations like reclaiming your power and self-worth or helping them see your standpoint.

Here are 10 effective ways to make a narcissist jealous:

1. Act Self-Sufficient & Independent

One key way to make a narcissist jealous is by being self-sufficient and independent.

When dealing with a narcissist, you can get overly focused on trying to change their behavior or get them to understand your point of view. While those may seem fair aims in a relationship, they can keep you trapped in their psychological game.

A better option is to focus on yourself. Make yourself great at being able to handle your affairs and make decisions without needing their help or approval.

When you excel on your own and outshine their success and achievement, it naturally threatens their sense of superiority and sparks their envy — especially in vulnerable narcissists.

The study “Envy Divides the Two Faces of Narcissism” by Krizan and Johar (2012) looked at how envy may relate to narcissism. They found:

  • Vulnerable narcissists frequently feel very envious of others and get happy when others face setbacks or humiliation (schadenfreude).
  • Those high in vulnerable narcissism had stronger negative thoughts and feelings when asked to recall the envy-triggering situation.
  • Vulnerable narcissists reacted with more envy, hostility, and bitterness in an experiment inducing envy towards a high-status peer.
  • Those with grandiose narcissism, however, had no or low tendency to feel envious of others in general. Their envy levels did not increase based on what they reported or what others saw.
  • Grandiose narcissists also did not show increased envy, hostility, or resentment towards the high-status peer in the experiment.

So, overall, those with vulnerable narcissism tend to feel more envy and schadenfreude than those with grandiose narcissism.

Narcissistic TypeEnvySchadenfreude
Envy Levels In Narcissist Types

Schadenfreude‘ (pronounced ‘SHAA-den-froy-duh’) is a German word for pleasure felt at another’s misfortune. Covert narcissists bask in schadenfreude—feeling joy seeing others fall on hard times.

Tip: Embrace your independence, make your own decisions, and learn to thrive on your own.

2. Be Self-Happy And Radiate Happiness

Cultivate genuine happiness within yourself and let it radiate through your actions. This will stir up envy in the narcissist.

Actually, narcissists cannot tolerate your happiness. They will always try to destroy your joy and peace.

Let’s say you’ve had a wonderful evening with your friends. That same night, the narcissist could interrupt your sleep at 3 AM, just to complain that your loud snoring woke them up.

But when they see someone who won’t trade their happiness for the narcissist’s drama, they become jealous.

So, if you pick up your pillow and move out to another room without any signs of irritation, the narcissist will be puzzled.

They feel envy at how you maintain your happiness without reacting to their attempts to upset you, especially when they themselves struggle to stay indifferent to external insults.

Tip: Cultivate your inner joy and let it shine brightly for all to see.

3. Show Courage & Resilience Despite Fear

A narcissist feels threatened when you assert yourself, face challenges head-on, and rise back stronger after a fall.

Strong resistance shakes a narcissist’s need for control. They painfully realize that brave, resilient people are less likely to be manipulated, challenging their inflated sense of superiority.

This also makes a narcissist feel envious, as they did not expect you to possess that degree of personal strength, which shrinks their fragile ego further.

When a narcissist feels envy, they have:

  • Resentment: They resent the envied person for having what they don’t deserve.
  • Covetousness: They intensely covet something that the person they envy has.
  • Inferiority complex: They know they’re actually inferior to the envied person.
  • Spitefulness: They desire for the envied person to lose what they have.

You have to cultivate courage against each of those.

For resentment:

  • Don’t take their resentment personally — it stems from their own insecurities, not your worth.
  • Set firm boundaries about disrespectful treatment you won’t tolerate.
  • Remind yourself that their opinion of what you “deserve” doesn’t define you.

For covetousness (greed):

  • Build a strong sense of self-worth independent of their envy.
  • Spend time with supportive loved ones who value you.
  • Don’t sacrifice your interests/goals to placate their jealousy.

For inferiority complex:

  • Tell yourself that their inferiority complex may have come from their self-esteem issues.
  • Don’t enable or encourage their victimized thinking — emphasize their responsibility.
  • Celebrate your own accomplishments despite their projections.

For spitefulness (hatred):

  • Refuse to engage in their attempts to demean or make fun of you.
  • Consider leaving if their spite and sabotage become dangerous.
  • Build a life outside the relationship that fulfills you.

Remember what Ambrose Redmoon said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”

Tip: Resist their abuse even if you’re shaking, because narcissists fear the courageous and resilient ones.

how to make them jealous and envious

4. Redirect Your Attention To Your Desires

When you focus on your needs and wants, rather than theirs, a narcissist can get jealous.

They’re used to people paying attention to them and catering to their needs.

When you shift your focus to your own desires, they see that you are not dependent on them for your happiness.

This can make them feel envious as they wish they had the same level of self-sufficiency and self-satisfaction.

Channeling your energy into your own desires and passions will boost your self-esteem and foster personal growth.

This might make them more jealous when they see you achieve your goals while they’re still seeking validation from others.

Tip: Shift your focus towards your own desires and aspirations, away from the narcissist’s demands.

5. Invest in Upgrading Your Presence

Take the time to invest in your personal appearance, style, and overall presence.

This can make a narcissist jealous because it enhances your self-confidence and attractiveness and threatens theirs.

Narcissists often crave the spotlight and want to be the most admired person in the room.

When you improve your presence and demeanor, and carry yourself with confidence, you may attract more attention and admiration from others.

This triggers jealousy in the narcissist as they may feel overshadowed or less important.

Tip: Dedicate time and effort to enhance your personal and professional presence.

Amy Cuddy - Presence
What obstructs your presence — Amy Cuddy

6. Down-Compare The Narcissist to Others

Down-comparing the narcissist challenges their inflated self-image.

Narcissists believe they are superior and unique.

Try to identify areas in which the narcissist falls short in comparison to others.

Then compare them unfavorably to those who are better or more successful than them, to trigger their feelings of envy.

This can especially cause intense jealousy when they see no way to outdo those they’re compared with.

Tip: Down-compare the narcissist unfavorably to others, highlighting their shortcomings.

Find out how social comparison theory explains why we compare ourselves to others (and how to stop it).

7. Excel In A Skill They Lack

It’s well-known that mastering a skill that the narcissist lacks, or isn’t good at, can make them jealous, as it highlights a weakness in their armory.

Narcissists often view themselves as highly competent and better than others around them in some way.

To prove their superiority, they regularly brag about their own achievements and demean others’.

So, when you excel in a domain or skill where they struggle, it deflates their self-constructed “grandiosity bubble.

And triggers feelings of inferiority, envy, and a perceived threat to their social standing and pride.

Tip: Master a skill the narcissist lacks, showcasing your proficiency and earning recognition.

8. Achieve & Flaunt New Successes

Achieve new successes, and don’t shy away from sharing them publicly.

Narcissists have a fragile sense of self-worth, and are easily threatened by your success. It makes them envious that you can thrive and progress without them (and even despite them).

As they go green with envy when you openly celebrate your success, it can also make them bitter as they wish it were rather they who should be celebrated and admired.

This can be particularly triggering if your successes are in a public skill, profession, or business where the narcissist has previously failed or struggled.

Envy is a central emotion in the lives of people with vulnerable narcissism, as we mentioned in the first point referring to the study by Krizan and Johar (2012).

Interestingly, they also found that vulnerable narcissism was linked to feelings of envy, hostility, and resentment toward high-status peers. This means:

  • When they see someone who is more successful than them, they feel that the other person is getting ahead at their expense.
  • By putting down the high-status peer, vulnerable narcissists may be trying to make themselves feel better about themselves.
  • Their actually trying to sabotage the other person’s success is their way to stop feeling as threatened by them.

Tip: Strive for new achievements, and don’t shy away from celebrating and flaunting your successes.

9. Take Solo Trips & Post on Social Media

Go on solo trips to exotic destinations and share the experience on social media.

Narcissists may become jealous and envious of your independent experiences and the attention you receive from others.

  • A 2015 study found that narcissists were more likely to rate other people’s selfies as being more attractive than non-narcissists.
  • Another study revealed that narcissists on Instagram tend to follow those who are known for their self-promotional behavior.

Tip: Embark on solo adventures, sharing your experiences on social media for all to see, including the narcissist.

10. Build Healthy Relationships with Others

Forge strong, healthy relationships with people outside of the narcissist’s sphere of influence.

Narcissists often try to isolate their victims to maintain control over you—their narcissistic supply.

When you build relationships with others, it undermines the narcissist’s dominance and shows that you are not dependent on them for social interaction or validation.

This can make them even more envious when they see you receiving love, respect, and positive attention from others, which they desire for themselves.

Tip: Invest in building strong, healthy relationships with others, demonstrating your ability to connect deeply and meaningfully.

Remember the research we mentioned in the beginning (that narcissists often post more selfies on social media)? It’s this study: David G. Taylor (2020), Putting the “self” in selfies: how narcissism, envy and self-promotion motivate sharing of travel photos through social media.

  • The study found that people who are more narcissistic and envious are more likely to post selfies on social media.
  • The study also found that narcissism and envy lead to self-promotion, which in turn leads to the posting of selfies.
  • Finally, it also found that the more people use social media, the more narcissistic and envious they become.

Jealousy vs. Envy

There are some differences between jealousy and envy:

CharacteristicFear of losing something that one already ownsA desire for something that someone else possesses
Accompanying emotionsAnger, resentment, possessivenessSadness, inferiority, longing
DirectionToward a specific person (who might take away what you possess)Toward anyone who has that specific thing that you desire
Jealousy vs. Envy

How Do Narcissists Act When Jealous?

It can be challenging to determine if a narcissist is jealous, largely because they are quite skilled at masking their true emotions.

However, when they feel intense jealousy/envy, their inflated sense of self-importance and entitlement often makes them act out in these ways:


They’ll say, “You’re jealous of me!” They often accuse others of being jealous/envious when it is them experiencing these emotions. Called narcissistic projection, it lets them avoid confronting their own difficult feelings, while creating a blame-shift onto the other person.


To elevate themselves and maintain their superiority, a jealous narcissist might demean or belittle the accomplishments or qualities of others. By doing so, they aim to diminish the perceived threat to their own status and reinforce their self-concept.


To protect their personal image and social standing, narcissists might engage in acts of sabotage. They could spread false rumors, undermine the success of others, or actively work against someone who they perceive as a rival.

Passive-aggressive behavior

A jealous narcissist may exhibit passive-aggressive behavior as a way to undermine the person who triggers their envy. This can include giving backhanded compliments, deliberately making mistakes, doing things poorly to frustrate you, withdrawing emotionally, and giving you their trademark silent treatment.

Exaggerating accomplishments

When feeling threatened, narcissists often exaggerate or even fabricate their own accomplishments. This behavior serves as a way to assert their dominance and superiority, downplaying the success of others to restore their sense of self-worth.


  1. Do narcissists get jealous when you move on?

    Yes, narcissists often get jealous when you move on, as your taking away their narcissistic supply hurts their sense of self-worth. They feel less worthy to realize that they no longer hold importance in your life. To deal with a jealous narcissist after moving on, go strictly “no contact,” maintain your boundaries, and focus on healing your emotional triggers.

  2. How do you make a narcissist jealous and want you back?

    Please don’t do this. Trying to make a narcissist jealous and want you back can be a dangerous game. It’s also counterproductive — fueling their toxic behavior and reinforcing their desire for control. Instead, focus on investing your emotional energy in other/healthy relationships and prioritizing your well-being. Stay safe.

  3. What is the best revenge against a narcissist?

    The best “revenge” against a narcissist is to invest in your own health and happiness. This means disengaging from their manipulative tactics, setting boundaries, and nurturing your own self-esteem. Take back your power by living a thriving life without their influence. Focus on yourself and improving your life rather than trying to avenge their abuse on you.

Further Reading:

These are three highly regarded books on narcissism:

  1. Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed” by Wendy T. Behary: This book offers effective strategies for dealing with someone who is narcissistic in your life, providing real scenarios and practical advice.
  2. Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers” by Dr. Karyl McBride: This book is a guide for daughters of narcissistic mothers to navigate their complex feelings and overcome the trauma of growing up in such an environment.
  3. The Narcissist You Know: Defending Yourself Against Extreme Narcissists in an All-About-Me Age” by Joseph Burgo: This book helps readers identify, cope with, and ultimately overcome the destructive behavior of extreme narcissists.

Final Words

Finally, the above tactics to incite envy might seem like a solution to stop a narcissist’s cruelties, but remember the inherent psychological challenges that narcissists face.

Exploiting their personal vulnerability can trigger the infamous narcissistic rage and lead to unexpected consequences.

It’s better to involve a mental health expert and strive for open communication with the narcissist using their help.

Until then, build stronger and healthier connections outside the narcissistic relationship, and guard your psychological safety.

Narcissism has been theorized to serve as a defensive mechanism in response to childhood abuse from parental figures.

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√ Also Read: Is narcissism a defense mechanism? What do you think?

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