The Green Eyed Narcissist - Full of Envy - Envious of People

Today I wrote to someone:

"The biggest source of personal strength is loneliness. The fountain of vigour and clarity and tranquility and creativity erupts from extreme deprivation. It is when we cannot rely on others, nor depend on them (not even for our sexual fulfillment), when we neither expect, nor wish, nor dream - that we are invincible. It is when we lose everything purposefully - that we gain it back. Naked, in the moonlight, we extend a hand to the stars and are one with them, primordially and unconditionally.

When we discover ourselves - we naturally shed the world. We have no need for it, this empty shell of failed communication. We are perfectly and entirely neutral - not sad, nor elated, not scared and not proud. A state of nothingness contrasted to the former and depraved state of being. We crave no more. Are are at peace.

I congratulate you on your independence."

I am constantly envious of people. This is my way of interacting with the world. I begrudge others their success, or brilliance, or happiness, or good fortune. I am driven to excesses of paranoia and guilt and fear that subside only after I "act out" or punish myself. It is a vicious cycle in which I am entrapped.( Cronos and his Children - Envy and Reparation).

"Envy is forever looking upwards. It does not look sideways.

In 'Facial Justice,' Hartley (1960) describes a life after a catastrophic war. A Dictator has decreed that envy is so destructive that it has to be eliminated. The citizens are coerced to be as alike each other as possible.

The worst crime is not envy itself but to excite envy.

'Equality and Envy - the two E's were...the positive and negative poles on which the New State rotated '(p.12). In order to exterminate envy everything that was enviable has been destroyed. Of course, that, in itself, is the very essence of envy.

Neither envy nor equality are spoken of as words but referred to as Good and Bad E's. All tall buildings had been destroyed in the war except the tower of Ely Cathedral and none are allowed to be built - a horizontal view of life is required. No comparisons are to be made, women are encouraged to undertake an operation so they all looked alike, to be pretty would excite envy. The result is that the populace loses its humanity and becomes a non-thinking mass. The independently minded heroine, Jael, visits the Ely and looks up at the tower and leads a dance round it. She pays the price of having her more than averagely pretty face (an Alpha face) changed to a Beta face by cosmetic surgery and so made indistinguishable from the others."

From "Cronos and His Children - Envy and Reparation" by Mary Ashwin - Chapter II "Everyday Envy"

The New Oxford Dictionary of English defines envy as:

"A feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else's possessions, qualities, or luck."

And an earlier version (The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary) adds:

"Mortification and ill-will occasioned by the contemplation of another's superior advantages".

Pathological envy - the second deadly sin - is a compounded emotion. It is brought on by the realization of some lack, deficiency, or inadequacy in oneself. It is the result of unfavorably comparing oneself to others: to their success, their reputation, their possessions, their luck, their qualities. It is misery and humiliation and impotent rage and a tortuous, slippery path to nowhere. The effort to break the padded walls of this self visited purgatory often leads to attacks on the perceived source of frustration.

There is a spectrum of reactions to this pernicious and cognitively distorting emotion:


Some narcissists seek to imitate or even emulate their (ever changing) role models. It is as if by imitating the object of his envy, the narcissist BECOMES that object. So, narcissists are likely to adopt their boss' typical gestures, the vocabulary of a successful politician, the views of an esteemed tycoon, even the countenance and actions of the (fictitious) hero of a movie or a novel.

In his pursuit of peace of mind, in his frantic effort to alleviate the burden of consuming jealousy, the narcissist often deteriorates to conspicuous and ostentatious consumption, impulsive and reckless behaviours and substance abuse.

Elsewhere I wrote:

"In extreme cases, to get rich quick through schemes of crime and corruption, to out-wit the system, to prevail is thought by these people to be the epitome of cleverness (providing one does not get caught), the sport of living, a winked-at vice, a spice."



Other narcissists "choose" to destroy the object that gives them so much grief by provoking in them feelings of inadequacy and frustration. They display obsessive, blind animosity and engage in a compulsive acts of rivalry often at the cost of self-destruction and self-isolation.

In my essay "The Dance of Jael", I wrote:

"This hydra has many heads. From scratching the paint of new cars and flattening their tyres, to spreading vicious gossip, to media-hyped arrests of successful and rich businessmen, to wars against advantaged neighbours.

The stifling, condensed vapours of envy cannot be dispersed.

They invade their victims, their rageful eyes, their calculating souls, they guide their hands in evil doings and dip their tongues in vitriol....

(The envious narcissist's existence is) a constant hiss, a tangible malice, the piercing of a thousand eyes. The imminence and immanence of violence.

The poisoned joy of depriving the other of that which you don't or cannot have."


From my essay, "The Dance of Jael":

"There are those narcissists who idealize the successful and the rich and the lucky. They attribute to them super-human, almost divine, qualities...

In an effort to justify the agonizing disparities between themselves and others, they humble themselves as they elevate the others.

They reduce and diminish their own gifts, they disparage their own achievements, they degrade their own possessions and look with disdain and contempt upon their nearest and dearest, who are unable to discern their fundamental shortcomings. They feel worthy only of abasement and punishment. Besieged by guilt and remorse, voided of self-esteem, perpetually self-hating and self-deprecating - this is by far the more dangerous species of narcissist.

For he who derives contentment from his own humiliation cannot but derive happiness from the downfall of others. Indeed, most of them end up driving the objects of their own devotion and adulation to destruction and decrepitude..."


"...But the most common reaction is the good old cognitive dissonance. It is to believe that the grapes are sour rather than to admit that they are craved.

These people devalue the source of their frustration and envy. They find faults, unattractive features, high costs to pay, immorality in everything they really most desire and aspire to and in everyone who has attained that which they so often can't. They walk amongst us, critical and self-righteous, inflated with a justice of their making and secure in the wisdom of being what they are rather than what they could have been and really wish to be. They make a virtue of jejune abstention, of wishful constipation, of judgmental neutrality, this oxymoron, the favourite of the disabled."


And then, of course, there is my favourite solution: avoidance. To witness the success and joy of others is too painful, too high a price to pay. So, I stay home, alone and incommunicado. I inhabit the artificial bubble that is my world where I am king and country, I am the law and yardstick, I am the one and only. There, in the penumbral recesses of my study, my flickering laptop for company, the only noises are electronic and I am the resident of my own burgeoning delusions. I am happy and soothed. I am what I can dream and dream my very being. I am no longer real, simply a narrative, an invention of my fervent mind, a colourful myth - sustaining and engulfing. I am content.


next: The Discontinuous Narcissist

APA Reference
Vaknin, S. (2008, December 24). The Green Eyed Narcissist - Full of Envy - Envious of People, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 19 from

Last Updated: July 2, 2018

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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