There’s little in life that causes as much emotional and psychological pain as dealing with an envy attack – from an envious person.
With the exception of other obviously devastating things, such as losing someone dear to you, being riddled with disease or being homeless, dealing with an envy attack can really hurt and catch you off guard.
And if you think that sounds melodramatic, consider the fact that the envious are often the people who you consider to be friends. Or they’re the people who try to get closest to you, pretending to be friends.
These are people who suck as much value out of you as possible, and then turn on you the moment they see you vulnerable, or their self esteem rises above rock bottom (usually only fleetingly of course).
The harm and destruction they can cause if you are unsuspecting, is significant.
Consider the case of poor Nancy Kerrigan, a competitive American figure skater who in 1994 was struck in the thigh with a telescopic baton whilst leaving a practice arena in Michigan.
The attack was planned by two men – one of whom was the ex husband of her former friend and rival figure skater, Tonya Harding.
Yes, the rival Tonya absolutely had a hand in planning the attack.
The aim with this attack was to prevent Nancy Kerrigan from taking part in the up and coming Winter Olympics as well as the 1994 United States Figure Skating Championships.
They were successful in stopping her from competing at the 1994 Championships, but thankfully she recovered in time for the Winter Olympics.
Talk about an envy attack.
Table of Contents
What Causes People To Envy You?
The answer to what causes people to envy you is three-fold.
First of all, there is the more obvious answer and that is that they have low self esteem.
But the truthful answer isn’t that rudimentary.
Other causes include:
- A disparity in resources and resourcefulness; and
- Poor character (low quality people, in other words!)
A disparity in resources may happen to no fault of the person feeling envious. Life is inherently unfair, and it’s not anyone’s fault that one person is born into a poor country and another into a prosperous one.
Or that one is born ugly and another good looking.
Knowing this, we can conclude that every single one of us is vulnerable to envy in the right scenario.
However, that doesn’t excuse envious behavior that causes harm to others.
In my article on the 12 secretive signs someone is envious of you, I specified that there are two types of envy: benign envy and malicious envy.
Those experiencing benign envy are much less likely to launch an envy attack on you, whilst those who feel malicious envy will stop at nothing to see you fail.
Not only fail, but suffer greatly.
They’ll smile when you lose (schadenfreude smile), they’ll rejoice when you suffer.
Here’s a couple of truths about most people:
- They don’t really pause to think about why they’re doing what they’re doing, and
- They don’t ever stop to examine their own feelings. In other words, most people can’t even identify that they’re envious.
Envy is a hidden emotion after all. Most people who feel envious hide their envy first and foremost from others, but also (and most importantly) from themselves.
People don’t want to acknowledge that they’re envious, in other words.
To admit it means to betray themselves. At least for the people who feel malicious envy.
Why bother admitting it when it means you feel even lower status, and then have to be humble instead of planning a well targeted attack on your target?
Well, personally I’d argue that there’s a good reason why one should acknowledge their envy, and that’s because it helps you actually appreciate what you do have in this life.
Envy can serve you so beautifully in your life, but my bias would have me believe that most people do not get to that place, because they’re looking for short-term satisfaction.
See, it’s much easier to tear down someone else’s building than it is to build your own tower, right?
Most enviers are insanely entitled and don’t have a habit of feeling gratitude.
And of course, gratitude is one big antidote to envy.
But honestly, this is too much to ask of most people. Most people don’t care and would rather see you fail.
Harsh fact of life.
How Do You Know Someone Is Envious Of You?
Envy is a powerful emotion. That’s the first thing you need to know.
The second thing you need to know is that it is so strong that it can be blind and irrational.
This makes people act out in terrible ways, then they might overcorrect their behavior after they begin to feel guilt or shame.
That’s if they even feel guilt or shame.
Here’s what the emotion of envy does to people’s behavior:
- It makes them try to cover up their envy; but
- In trying to cover up their envy, they actually end up revealing their envy.
Even if someone insists that they’re not envious, or tries to act like your friend, their behavior just never comes out quite right.
Some jealous and envious people are smarter than others. They will be more skilled at hiding their envy, but their behavior always betrays their emotions. Envy is all consuming like that!
So, how do you know someone is envious of you? Be on the lookout for the following 8 behaviors:
- They will not side with you. If you have a problem with someone, big or small, they won’t make you feel like they’re on your side.
Sometimes it’s in the little remarks that they make in response to your complaint about something or someone. For example, if you’ve been hurt by someone, somehow they’ll find the good in that person’s behavior (detracting from your right to feel hurt or upset).
- You feel like they’re hiding something. For example, they mysteriously disappear when you achieve something great, or they refuse to obviously agree with you on something, but don’t seem to outwardly disagree. By way of explanation, sometimes it’s all in the things they omit, not in the things they do actually say or do.
- They smile when you lose out in life. They can’t even control it. What a great friend!
- They will make critical or negative comments about anything and everything to do with you or your choices. Any opportunity they can get, they’ll make negative comments. It’s like they have an urge they can’t contain. Or perhaps they’re simply a toxic, negative person. (Here are 10 Seemingly Harmless Signs of A Toxic Relationship.)
- Conversely, they’ll make flattering comments. These can be about you, your achievements or your children.
But it’s not real appreciation, because the truth is that they either want to get very close to you in order to slime off your goodness, or they’re just complimenting you because they want all your insights and ideas in life. (Since they know you’ve got something good.)
- They don’t ask you about the things that make you happy in life or the things that you’ve achieved. The reason is because they’ll have to feel too many painful and negative emotions if they did.
- They will never give you credit for your hard work or good intent.
It simply hurts them too much. Why should they admit you did something good? Why should they admit that you have talent? Why should they admit that you helped them – greatly – with something they wanted to succeed at?
Doing so would mean they have to admit the truth: that they are falling short in their skills.
- They don’t like to share their own resources or benefits with you.
Ah, the irony of this nonsense. After asking you to help them succeed, they proceed to feel threatened by the concept of sharing their own resources with you.
But you don’t even have to have shared your own resources with them, actually.
Such people will naturally want to keep any tiny piece of the proverbial pie to themselves regardless of whether you’ve helped them or not.
In fact, if your friend is particularly prone to feeling jealous or envious, they will actually compartmentalize the people in their life.
This is actually a telltale sign of a controlling, narcissistic person as well – they don’t want to share contacts, friends or resources. They want every last morsel of all the good things to belong only to them.
Even if you’ve given an arm and a leg to help them in life.
Related reading: 17 Early Signs Of A Controlling Man (He Wishes You Never Knew).
How Does An Envious Person Behave?
It’s easy to tell whether someone is envious of you through the way they behave.
I can suggest to you that someone who is envious of you may even be so blinded by their desire to have the status, success or beauty that they perceive you have, that they have no blippin’ idea how obvious their envy is.
But let me reveal these behavioural signs someone is feeling envious of you:
- They will act hostile towards you, whether passively or actively.
- They’ll compete with you.
- You will see signs of anger and resentment in their face and in their eyes.
- They might come off overly nice right from the start.
- They don’t actually want to connect with your pain or joy. They will remain emotionally detached and separate from you, even while trying to “get close to you” or suck up to you.
- They either push you away (and keep you at arms length), or stay close. Envy can either make a person do both of these things, or prefer only one of these behaviors.
(MORE: Why Do I Push People Away? & 7 Signs You Push People Away.)
- They want to get access to all your contacts, friends, and insights in any special area of interest in life. For example, let’s say you’re rivals in sport. They’ll take the approach of “keep your friends close and your enemies closer”, and try to attach to any relationships with high status people that you already have.
- They will often make comments that highlight all the “privileges” you have, almost making you feel guilty for having anything good in life.
- They’ll copy you. From personal experience, this is the slimiest, least flattering aspect of someone envying you (although, to be honest, it’s not really flattering to have someone envy you). It’s actually scary.
And research backs up my fear, showing that envy is the most feared emotion.)
I’m not talking about innocent copying, such as your friend coveting your red Chanel sunglasses and proceeding to buy the same pair for herself (and it’s a once-off event).
I’m talking about the people who copy almost all of your choices and preferences.
You take a trip to Maui, they take a trip to Maui.
You wear a badge on your t-shirt, they’ll wear a badge on their t-shirt.
You start wearing high heels more, they start wearing high heels more.
You start a business selling activewear, they start a business selling activewear.
They’re like a literal leech that you can’t get rid of. Ew.
These are the people who seem to want to completely take over your identity.
And envy is a dangerous emotion for this reason, as some people quite literally murder the person they envy in order to take over their identity.
Take for example the Australian woman named Caroline Reed Barber who envied her dancer “friend” and neighbour Rachel Barber for years.
Unbeknownst to others, she proceeded to plan and execute her friend’s murder to try to take over her existence. Shudder.
CLICK HERE to discover the ONE PHRASE you can say to ANY man that will capture his attention, trigger his curiosity and make him hang onto every word you say! (Works like magic in a high vale non-needy way!)
What’s the Difference Between Envy VS Jealousy?
Jealousy is what you feel when you’re scared that something you already have is going to be lost or taken away, perhaps by a rival.
Envy is what you feel when someone else is enjoying something that you do not have – but you feel entitled to.
In short, a jealous person wants to keep what they already have – usually somebody close to them. They don’t want to lose someone or something they already have in their life.
An envious person wants what they don’t (or can’t) have.
Envy and jealousy are from the same family of emotions, but they’re very different.
Oftentimes what you’re labelling as jealousy is not jealousy at all. It’s envy.
What Causes A Person to be Jealous?
What causes a person to be jealous is the threat that something they’ve already invested in will be taken away from them.
When you feel threatened that something could be taken from you – for example, love, attention or validation, you are feeling jealous.
How Do You Deal With Envious Haters?
Dealing with an envious hater in your personal or professional life is simple in theory, but sometimes harder to execute.
The first and main step is to completely cut them off.
Whether they’re an instagram follower, a friend, a colleague or family member, the best thing to do is to delete them from your contacts – block them on social media, or cut them off.
The key here is to cut off their supply of resources (from you) if they’re already a friend, or have been a friend.
Because if you don’t, they’ll keep coming back relentlessly for that piece of pie, and they will feel no shame or remorse about it.
Some envious people will push themselves into your life as long as you allow it.
When you walk away and just let them live their own lives, you make it impossible for them to hurt or damage you.
And they can do a lot of damage.
When you let the envious human into your life for too long, their envy starts to make you a smaller person.
This is because you will always pick up on their actions and emotions, and feel the reciprocal emotion to that particular action or emotion.
Thus if someone feels envious of you, and you tolerate them being in your life sucking your resources (whilst never being a real friend to you), you will come to find yourself seething in resentment and anger.
You may not have had any negative feelings towards them to begin with.
After all, you’re the one with the joy, the happiness and the privileges – not them.
You’re not the one constantly having to fight the negative emotions that come with being close to someone you deeply envy – they are.
Consequently, you can tolerate their snide remarks or lack of empathy and camaraderie towards you.
Until their little aggressive actions (or omissions) all come to a head when they do something unforgivable.
And it always happens.
Either they shamelessly treat you like you’re nothing, or they embarrass you in front of others, or betray you on a level that’s reprehensible.
And then, you have to process and relive all the little passive aggressive, hostile things they did to you along the way.
You may not have started the friendship with resentment or poor mental health, but you’ll walk away from this relationship more negative than you were before.
This is because of what you’ve had to endure at the hands of this person.
Because this person felt such low self esteem and self confidence around you, they’ll act out.
They effectively drag you down with them eventually.
This is not to say that you’ll also end up being a bad person who is envious. But you might become angry and riddled with self doubt because of how toxic and envious they were.
And that’s the whole purpose of their envy!
To make you feel small. To make you feel less. To make you have less.
Personally, it is the envious people I’ve let into my life (because I selfishly wanted a friend) and was willing to share what I had with them, who cost me the most time, energy, and pain.
So don’t be like I once was.
Eliminate the envious quickly.
Whether they’re hateful followers on social media or an envious BFF, they need to go.
And cutting them off doesn’t have to be permanent in every case. Because not every person who is envious is fundamentally a bad person.
(Though a lot of them are.)
Some envious, toxic people will realize the error of their ways – but don’t count on it.
So you should eliminate them. And don’t feel bad about it. Because their envy was never your problem in the first place.
Wrap up their envy into a hypothetical plastic bag, and throw it far, far away. Somewhere you can never even catch a whiff of its toxicity again.
QUIZ TIME: Anxious, avoidant or secure attachment patterns? Which one do I have? CLICK HERE to find out with our specially crafted women-specific 10 Question Quiz! (Why is this important? It is because your core attachment style largely dictates and influences what happens in your relationship. Thus it’s imperative you understand your core attachment style!)
How To Deal With Envious Humans: 5 High Value Ways
So let’s get to the main part of the article. Sorry for the thesis. Anyway, let’s help you deal with these people and preserve your well being.
#1: Acknowledge What Is.
Acknowledge that they feel envy towards you.
Sometimes it’s really hard to accept that you have an envious or jealous friend. You want things to be different.
They were supposed to be your friend. Technically, anyway.
But if they’re always envious of you and unwilling to rise above that to treat you lovingly and respectfully, they never were your friend.
Have an honest conversation with yourself. Ask yourself whether you’ve truly felt friendship vibes from this person.
They might have had a laugh with you or a drink with you, but have they ever been a friend? Have you ever fully trusted them?
Have they ever fully supported you? Or was there always something missing?
It can be even harder to acknowledge the truth of what it is if it’s a family member who is threatened by you. Especially if you grew up with them.
And it’s ok for envious family members to feel that envy once in a while, it might be benign envy after all. That’s ok.
But if you cannot even have a working relationship with them because they’re constantly consumed by their own insecurities, you have to acknowledge what’s right in front of you.
This is the reality of human nature and it’s ok to accept that.
There are 7 common signs a woman is perceived as low value to all men, because men simply perceive value differently to women. Do you know what these signs are and how to avoid them like the plague? CLICK HERE to download this special report.
#2: Don’t Try To Help Or Share Your Resources With Them
In theory, you could bring your envy-ridden friends up by encouraging them and helping to build their self esteem.
But they’re envious!
The cold, dark truth here is that most of the time, if you try to share your resources with them or bring them up in life, they’ll resent you even more for it.
The envious aren’t grateful. They don’t care for gratitude.
So if you offer your help, you’ll only make things worse – much worse. For yourself and those you love.
There is an exception here:
If this person is your blood relative and you have a long, loyal history with them, perhaps you can bring them up.
Perhaps you can show them and remind them of their own achievements so that they feel more resourceful.
But only if they’ve earned your trust (truly) in the past. And only if they’re your blood relatives.
As far as I’ve learned, friends who are envious aren’t worth the effort. (Good friends are worth the effort, but envious friends are not.)
Sure, family members often aren’t worth the effort either.
But you have to be sure they really aren’t worth it. Most of us would be much more willing to risk our lives for a close blood relative than we ever would for a “friend”.
#3: Let Them Earn Their Place In Life
Similar to step 2 (but different), is – let them earn their place in life.
Let him or her live their own life. Leave them to learn the lessons they need to learn and let them spend time connecting with people who they truly resonate with.
(Perhaps other toxic people. Lol.)
They will be just fine without you and if they really want the success badly enough, they will find the answers the organic way.
Or they’ll cosy up to some other sucker to get to the top. Be glad it isn’t you.
#4: Grieve And Process Any Bad Treatment
Envious and jealous people can ruin relationships. If you are at a point where you’ve already been burned by them, be patient with yourself, as processing all the hurt and pain will take a while.
You may wake up at night thinking about that horrible thing they did to you. You may not be able to stop thinking about their audacity. Their toxicity.
Whatever it is, it’s normal to be consumed by their toxic actions in the first few weeks and months after you break off the relationship with them.
Try not to rush yourself or deny that they affected you – that will be counterproductive.
If you want to recover from this and move forward in a positive way, then you need to allow room to be angry at them and to feel hurt by them.
You valued the friendship after all. And they didn’t. That hurts.
Well actually, it’s infuriating.
So allow yourself to process it so that you’re not still burdened by their betrayal 20 years from now.
#5: Remind Yourself to Be Grateful
Remember when I said that the antidote to envy is gratitude?
Well, even if you don’t find yourself falling prey to the emotion of envy often, try to focus on what you are grateful for at least once a day.
Preferably in the morning.
Remember, you have something that other people really want for themselves.
The more you can appreciate it and be grateful for it, the more value you can add to yourself, and the higher the quality of your own life.
The irony here is that if you get stuck in a tussle with another person’s envy, if you get overly competitive with them, or if you get emotionally hooked by the behavior of that jealous person, you may end up envying them yourself.
Because you’re hooked on the struggle for resources. Because you allowed yourself to enter the competition they created.
Remember, you are already above or ahead of them in some way. Otherwise they wouldn’t have envied you to begin with.
Be grateful for where you are and what you have. Feel the freedom in that. Feel the joy in that. Smile about it.
Chances are, you’ve worked very hard for any great advantage you have in life. Unless you’re a trust fund baby. Haha.
So you have every right to enjoy.
SECRETS REVEALED… Discover how you too can use this little known “Dark Feminine Art” to weed out the toxic men whilst cultivating real emotional attraction with high value high esteemed men. (CLICK HERE to enrol in this free class before it’s gone.)
How To Deal With Jealous People?
As I highlighted earlier, jealousy is a different emotion to envy.
That being so, you have to deal with jealous people a little differently. It’s actually more beneficial to deal with jealous people by being generous than it is when dealing with those who feel envious.
Because by being reassuring and respectful (generous), you can often alleviate a jealous person’s fear that you may take away what they value.
You can make them believe that their valued person or resource will not disappear, at least not at your hands.
So let’s look at how to deal with jealous people.
#1: Be Respectful Of What Was/Is Theirs
I know this can be hard for women especially, because women today tend to have a tendency towards entitlement – at least in the context of romantic relationships and getting commitment from men.
So even if another woman is simply jealous because her boyfriend or husband is giving you attention, you may subconsciously feel entitled to that attention when you shouldn’t.
Here’s the reality:
If someone already belongs to someone else (ie: they are already their best friend, sibling, lover, or husband for example), then you need to respect that.
But let’s say the coin were to be flipped. Let’s say someone is jealous of you because they want a piece of someone who already belongs to you.
This brings us to the topic of control.
#2: Don’t Try To Control Anybody
You can’t really ask someone else to be respectful of what was/is yours.
I mean you can, but you can’t control them. Plus, remember, people are generally a disappointment.
But what you can do is just quietly add value to what or who already belongs to you, instead of trying harder to control them.
It’s tempting to try to control things more when dealing with an intrusive, jealous person. But resist the urge, because controlling others is not your job.
Your job is to be you and add value any way you can.
#3: Keep Yourself Safe
Prioritize your physical and emotional safety, because jealous people can wreak havoc in your life. They can be dangerous too if they feel jealous enough for long enough.
So protect yourself from their negative feelings. You don’t need the burden of some other person’s jealousy.
Spend some time doing the things you love instead. Try to enjoy your life. Look out the window and appreciate the sun, the rain, the storm…whatever it is.
Find time to appreciate life itself, and the fact that you’re here.
This will help keep you safe because it distracts you from getting hooked by the actions of jealous people.
#4: Let Go Of The Fight
The final step is to let go of the fight with the jealous person.
Jealous people will try their hardest to keep what they think is theirs, and in that process they may burn you. Especially if they are also narcissistic.
If they’re narcissistic too, then you may have to deal with their hostility and hateful comments, on top of their highly controlling behavior.
So my advice is to be willing and ready to let go of the fight.
It’s very easy to get caught up in the drama of your colleague who gets way more attention from your boss than you do, or your sister in law who won’t let your brother spend an hour alone with you.
But the longer you spend down in the mud with a jealous individual, the more muddy and stinky you get – and the longer you have to spend cleaning up afterwards.
I understand that you might feel a real instinctive pull towards fighting for the time and attention of someone you care about.
But remember: they have a choice as to what they do with their time too. Just because some toxic, jealous person is in between you both, doesn’t mean that you aren’t all adults capable of making your own decisions.
So just let go of the fight.
The best you can do is add value to the one you care about and leave it at that. Save yourself the stress.
I hope you can take the above advice and use it to your advantage in your personal life.
It is never easy dealing with envious or jealous people, but they’re here to teach us some valuable lessons if we listen carefully.
Remember, it’s not your job to lift up an envious person, and it’s not your job to fight with a jealous person.
There’s a lot more to life than that.
And I guarantee you that focusing on some of the more important things in life (like those who are already invested in you and close to you) will add far more value to your life in the long run.
I hope you enjoyed! Please leave me a comment below if you got any value out of this article. Tell me your advice for dealing with all the envious and jealous people out there, I’d appreciate it!
Renee is the founder of The Feminine Woman & co-founder of Shen Wade Media where we teach women how to show up as a high value high status woman whom easily inspires a deep sense of emotional commitment from her chosen man. Together with her husband D. Shen at Commitment Triggers blog, they have positively influenced the lives of over 15 million women through their free articles and videos as well as 10’s of thousands through paid programs through the Shen Wade Media platform.
Connect deeper with her work through the social media links below.