Jealousy is a vile feeling to experience. No one enjoys it, no one seeks it out, and all it does is either make us angry to the point of eruption or lose a whole lot of confidence in ourselves. Because it's such an intense, evocative emotion, perhaps it comes as no surprise that a number of manipulative types employ it on purpose against those around them.
The purposeful sparking of jealousy by narcissists was always an anecdotal account from victims until recent studies finally proved that not only is there credibility in those stories, but that there's layers to it as well.
Having a narcissist in your life in any respect can cause some major barriers, emotional walls you had to build in order to survive. Perhaps your walls have different origins, though, or maybe you don't know where they came from at all.
Refusing To Be Replaced
Anyone who has spent any extended amount of time with a narcissist knows that they can be fiercely jealous. Once they catch wind that someone they're attempting to control has any amount of interest in another person, no matter what type of interest it is, they blow up, acting like it's the ultimate form of betrayal when the victim hasn't even done anything.
Jealousy is also a frequent element of the toolkit they use to manipulate others, a fact that was confirmed by a recent study.
A Deeper Look
Creating love-triangles, borderline cheating, openly flirting, these are all tactics that romantic partners of narcissists in particular have to face during their tumultuous relationship with the narcissistic individual. Victims of this type of abuse have been sharing their stories for decades now, but there's finally published scientific research to back up their experiences.
A Harvard University study published in the journal of Personality and Individual Differences created the term 'jealousy induction' to describe this form of emotional manipulation, and found a positive correlation between the use of jealousy induction and narcissistic or psychopathic traits.
Why would a narcissist or a psychopath want to purposefully provoke jealousy? Especially seeing as they also view jealousy as something negative, extremely so at times.
Research indicates that the motive behind jealousy induction can somewhat depend on the subtype or brand of narcissism/psychopathy that they experience, so there isn't a clear cut answer.
Jealousy induction can be used as a means of gaining power and control, using jealousy as an offensive tool, but it can also be used defensively, spun so the narcissist can gain back some self-esteem or to 'test' the relationship.
Breaking It Down
A 2017 study looked into whether or not some specific subsets of narcissism, namely grandiose and vulnerable narcissism, partook in the purposeful triggering of jealousy in their partners.
Their results showed that grandiose narcissists (categorized by their sense of entitlement and desire for power) were the type to provoke jealousy in order to gain control over their victim. Vulnerable narcissists (categorized by their hypersensitivity and neuroticism) would provoke jealousy in order to gain control and as a means of revenge, or to test the 'strength' of their relationship with the victim if they're feeling anxious.
Birds Of A Feather
Another 2017 study showed that those with psychopathic traits, who are often grouped in with those who display narcissism due to the overlapping of many qualities, also engaged in jealousy induction. Again, they found that the motive or method would depend on the subtype of psychopathy they displayed.
Those with primary psychopathy (associated with grandiose beliefs, low anxiety, 'born' rather than made) are also the type to use jealousy as a means of control, power, and revenge. Unlike vulnerable narcissists, though, they aren't using jealousy to gain some self-esteem or to reassure themselves when doubting a relationship.
Those with secondary psychopathy (penchant for criminal behavior, impulsivity, made rather than 'born') are more similar to vulnerable narcissists. They use jealousy to gain control, test their relationship, and to gain self-esteem, only lacking the 'means of revenge' aspect.
The study also found that both those with primary psychopathy and those with secondary psychopathy experienced emotional jealousy, which is the jealousy felt in response to a threat, be it real or not. Only secondary psychopathy also experienced emotional/suspicious jealousy, which is pre-emptive jealousy that revolves around infidelity.
How To Identify Jealousy Induction
Jealousy induction can look extremely different depending on who's instigating it and who's on the receiving end of it. Our unique experiences and relationships are what shape instances of jealousy induction, but you can still keep an eye out for it by looking for common key threads among all uses.
If your partner is comparing you to others as a means of making you 'work' for their attention, mentioning past or even current love interests, trying to build someone up as a 'rival' to or replacement for you. All of these involve putting you in a situation where you have to vie for their attention and affection, a present suspended on a string in front of you that they could rip away at any moment.
Healing From Jealousy Induction
This complete warping of your emotions and manipulation of your desires can leave anyone feeling extremely out of sorts, confused, and worn down. Fighting through complete loss of control over your own feelings is exhausting, so don't beat yourself up for needing to take time to recover from something like this, especially if you were with this narcissist or psychopath for a while meaning they harmed you in other ways.
Like with any form of abuse, healing will take time. The most important thing to remember is to be patient with yourself. Wanting to be better as fast as possible makes sense, but fast tracking this sort of thing will only leave you with buried struggles that will come back to haunt you later.
When it comes to narcissists in particular, a big part of the healing journey will be remembering who you are. Narcissists will whittle away at a person, ridding them of what makes them an individual soul and instead shaping them to be what they want from that person. To grow past what that narcissist put you through, you'll need to reconnect with who you were before them.
Pick up old hobbies you used to have, reach out to friends the narcissist may have cut you off from, get back into old habits. Spend plenty of time by yourself and listen to your body's wants, needs, desires. Treating yourself with kindness will be vital.
Enough On Your Own
This also isn't something you'll be able to do alone, probably. That's not a weakness on your part, it just means that you've gone through something very serious and will need some outside, professional help to grow past it.
You should not ever have to fight to gain someone's attention, especially someone who claims to care about you. You are worthy enough as it is to receive love, to receive affection, and to have a relationship that makes you feel secure. Nobody who's ever trying to make you jealous on purpose is ever worthy your time.
Anyone who resonates with this feeling of having to fight for attention, whether or not you've been in a relationship with a narcissist, has likely experienced a loss of confidence. It can be hard to build that back up. Know that not only are you not alone, but that there are others finding help in that battle to live fearlessly once again.
Feeling endless waves of self-doubt is tiring, but you can break through, and there's a simple tool that can help. This free audio teaches you how to reprogram your brain and can unlock newfound levels of confidence within minutes. Give it a go today and reclaim your bravery!