The Narcissist and Money

The Narc and MoneyNarcissists are characterized by their extreme selfishness, lack of empathy, and craving for admiration which they get through status and power.  With grandiose thinking and arrogance, they demand that others treat them as special or superior.

There are degrees of narcissism, ranging from excessive self-importance to full-fledged narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).  We all enjoy praise and admiration on occasion, but narcissists don’t enjoy occasional admiration- they crave admiration all the time (as can be had through status, power and money) almost like an addiction. To obtain the status that they seek, they will exaggerate or misrepresent their talents and accomplishments.  They may even lie and cheat in order to get promotions, win races, or seduce people.

Narcissists are preoccupied with self-aggrandizement to sharpen public opinion of their image.  They fantasize about, and seek out, power, fame, status and money; they are envious of others who have plenty of these resources.

Money as Love

According To Sam Vaknin, author and expert on NPD, money is another word for love in the narcissist’s emotional vocabulary.  Having been deprived of love early on in the narcissist’s childhood, he constantly seeks love substitutes.  To him, money is the ultimate love substitute.  Dr. Vaknin states that all the qualities of the narcissist are manifested in his relationship with money, and in his attitude towards it.  For example, due to his sense of entitlement he feels that he is entitled to other people’s money.

Secondly, his grandiose thinking leads him to believe that he should have, or does have, more money than he actually possesses.  This leads to reckless spending, to pathological gambling, to substance abuse, or to compulsive shopping.

Third, narcissists engage in magical thinking which leads to irresponsible, shortsighted behavior for which they believe they are immune from the results of that behavior.  They descend into debt, commit financial crimes, and hassle people- including their closest relatives.

Furthermore, their fantasies lead them to believe in their fabricated financial “facts” which are not commensurate with their talents, qualifications, jobs, and resources.  They pretend to be richer than they are or pretend to be capable of becoming rich if they so desire. They are greedy but have an ambivalent, love-hate relationship with money.  They can be mean, stingy, and calculating with their own money yet an eager spendthrift with other people’s money.  They live lavishly and often well above their means.  It is not uncommon for narcissists to go bankrupt and ruin their businesses.

Lastly, reality is distorted and does not match their grandiose fantasies.  Nowhere is the grandiosity gap more evident than where money is involved.

We all have desires that we may obsess about: expensive clothes, sex, gourmet food, or exquisite jewelry.  Many narcissists are obsessed with money.  They think about how much money they have, how to get more of it, how to keep it away from others, and whom to manipulate to get more- including how to take family members money/inheritance.  Money is their substitution for love, warmth, and affection.  Having as much money as possible, even stealing it away from family members, is the narcissist’s unwavering goal.  Thoughts about obtaining more money are always on the narcissist’s mind.  Having an abundance of money makes them feel more entitled and superior to others.

Moneyed narcissists are always looking down on the working class.  They don’t seek knowledge, wisdom, inner peace or insight. They seek to achieve their greatest goal-being able to have whatever they desire as well as attracting other people whom they can easily exploit to satisfy their money cravings.  A too common situation is for a narcissistic sibling, male or female, to ingratiate the mother or father who is holding the wealth- to become their confidante, their favored and trusted one.  This is done over many years and is a well planned scheme.

This sibling invariably becomes the executor of the parent’s sizable will and convinces the mother or father to bestow upon them the largest amount of the inheritance (leaving the other siblings with a minute portion of the total). He has no conscience and is just waiting for the parent’s death so that he can inherit the entire estate and lead a life of pleasure and comfort.  The greedy, narcissistic sibling may even abandon his own children and spouse to move on to a life of luxury.  He or she will not look back and view the psychological and monetary destruction they have left behind; they don’t worry about others. After they have their inheritance, they still feel the lust for money; some pursue other unethical, and often illegal, ventures to scam others.

For example, they may form romantic relationships that will allow them to gain psychological and monetary control of another victim.  The desire to have more money never diminishes.  The narcissist will not stop victimizing others i.e. disrupting their lives, leaving them without monetary means, and causing them unbearable distress and worry.

Summary

Narcissists use money to help them feel special and superior to others.  Status items such as designer clothes, luxury cars, upscale homes, dinners and trips are essential ways through which a narcissist can enhance his ego.  Spending money when you have it, is one thing; spending money when you don’t have it, is quite another.  A narcissist believes that he is entitled to the best, even if he does not have the money to afford it.  He easily fools himself into believing that the money will be there in the future, even if it’s not there right now.

Narcissists can fool others by making a show of generosity by being big tippers or picking up the bill.  Look closely however, and you’ll notice that narcissists show such generosity for the sole purpose of establishing their reputations as VIP’s.

Narcissists do not have normal relationships with money.  They may ask you for money even though they are the major breadwinner or they have the higher paying job.  They may never take their partner or spouse someplace nice for dinner.  Being frugal is fine, but being pathological about money is not.  Someone that has a good job that never spends their own money may possibly be a narcissist. The opposite pathology surrounding a narcissist and his money is that of the showoff.  This person spends money enthusiastically but unrealistically and unwisely; for example, the man with huge roles of bills in his pocket who always buys drinks for the bar, yet can’t save enough to pay his mortgage each month..

Narcissists make themselves feel bigger by convincing themselves that others are smaller by comparison.  Narcissists with money look down on the working class.  Narcissists in the working class look down on those with less money even if the other has a more elite job.  Whatever narcissists have (or think they have) is what they use to look down on other people with. Narcissists lust for money and are never satisfied with the status quo; it is like an addiction and they will always need more.

 References:

http://www.zimbio.com/Narcissistic+personality+disorder/articles/u_w0aEl/Narcissist+s+money+Lust

http://www.lightshouse.org/things-narcissists-do.html#ixzz2Uhd4Qhzj

http:// samvak.tripod.com/archive15.html

 

 

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About Alexander Burgemeester

17 Responses to “The Narcissist and Money”

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  1. Angela Baxter says:

    Could you add a page to this site with a listing or index of all the articles/random Reads and when they were first published?

  2. Kay cooper says:

    This is an apt description of my 80 year old mother whom I love but who has exploited other people all her life. She uses the money as power over others and has also sued her children and grand children. She refuses to have carers and myself and my husband are left with her unrealistic expectations even though we are I’ll ourselves.

    • Mary Jane says:

      My mother was the same. She died exactly one year ago at the age of 90. Not long before she died, she told me that the most satisfying thing in her life was to watch her bank account mount. She said she thought God was putting the money in her account for her- not that she had a pension and that I was doing almost everything for her she should have hired someone to do but refused to and refused to allow anyone else to arrange it for her. I did it for over a decade.Why so long? If I hadn’t she would have made it impossible to keep in contact with her and being normal in this respect, I didn’t want to abandon my mother, old, and ill. She left her estate equally to her three daughters. The others did nothing to help with her and they did not believe they owed me a thing for the work I did that freed them from the responsibility of their mother’s care and which also left mom’s assets in good shape rather than being paid out to the care she needed. All Narcissists, as I havecome to understand it through reading. Good bye to all of them.

      • Whitney says:

        You sound great, but it does indeed sound as if your sisters are narcissists. It is terribly unfair that they feel they deserve an equal share of the inheritance, when you did the caregiving for your mother. It is truly is amazing how siblings that “do not have the time” to help with caregiving, do indeed have the time when it is time to collect the inheritance. I agree with your statement “Good bye to all of them”.

  3. Ann says:

    My NH is a real con artist. He seldom works but, as I now see, when he does he games the system. He finds a way to collect disability or unemployment. He then tells everyone he is self employed. I work and provide 66% to 100% of the family income.
    I discovered he and a former mistress were chatting on the phone and texting last year. I happened to see a text he failed to delete as his phone rested between us. He was complaining to her that I would be getting a vacation from work. He was living on my earnings…doing nothing, not even child care. I had to paid someone to watch the kids while I worked my 3 jobs! One job was full time and the other two were part time. So he was getting attention from both of us and money from me.
    I am wondering if N improve with age. My NH is 60. Do I dare hope he will become more docile! He rages over anything and everything. Is he likely to stop the fooling around with other women? My attorney has already advised against a divorce since the courts would just order me to pay him alimony and cover his medical expenses since he has been dependent on me.

  4. Whitney says:

    I knew of a situation where a narcissistic sister was trying to take part of her sister’s inheritance, and when the narcissistic sister was caught, she blamed it on her innocent sister stating that the sister had influenced the parents for more money, (which was not true). In other words, the narcissistic sister twisted it around to make the non-narcissistic sister look as if she was trying to take more money than her share.

  5. Karren says:

    Oh wow! the first time I have read a perfect description of my husband and he did not get any love as a child and was terribly beaten regularly. It appears he cannot feel the emotional pain he causes me through his lies and gambling. He is constantly chasing the dollar and works 7 days a week for it. Although he begrudgingly pays our rent and supplies some food shopping money he refuses to give me any amount of allowance to live on for personal spending. He keeps all the rest of the money he earns with excuses why but just gambles it. I hope to god there is a cure for this man!!

  6. ms. newcomer says:

    dated narcissist man a year. never could manage money. would give money and need it back. always pretending to have more than he had. I’m due to have our child in August and he dumped me in April. I hope he will pay child support. but he does not respond to anything concerning our daughter. any advice would help.

  7. jules says:

    Narcissist Step-father placed savings bonds in my child’s name, on her 18th b-day he took her to the bank to “cash out $1,600″ it turned to be $16,000 ALL of which he pocketed after having her cash them out . Yet my child has to take out hefty student loans to cover her cost of college, clearly could of covered them with the savings bond and still had lots left over BUT she gets to pay tax bill from the 1099 next year…and may lose college financial aid too.

  8. Lisa says:

    My dh’s ex stole $34,000 from her own kids’ social security checks because it was for “her” pain that they were getting the money anyway, so by right, it was hers.

  9. Taylor says:

    Reminds me of the last guy I dealt with who I believe is a narcissist. I’m a student who has a part time job while he makes 6 figures a year but he always asked me for money. Good thing I barely gave him any (less than $100 over the 5 years I knew him). When he discarded me for the last time, he threw in my face that he is now with a corporate lawyer and she buys him things and is taking him on trips.

  10. narcissist hunting says:

    Sam vaknins comments are unhelpful to say the least- they do not see money as love- they cant see the love- neither can Sam and you really should take what he says with a pinch of salt.
    his diagnosis being what it is, he describes very well and confesses his own narcissism but if he were really honest you wouldnt listen for a second- he is using the techniques he is describing to describe the techniques as not what they are- hes like a vampire starved of a fix and is reaching out to mislead and gain praise for his expository but ultimately misleading half truths- he describes narcissism as only a pathological narcissist could- hes all about getting at your fear buttons- and about subtly gaining your respect for his “honesty” which is no such thing.
    If he gave you whole truth then what you would find would make you want to kill him.
    Psychopaths are sexually excited by the thought of another human being in emotional pain.
    Its why they used to call it sadistic personality disorder.
    They are biologically programmed to manipulate and torture by either physical or emotional violence- usually both, they embed themselves in a false persona of normalcy , relying on glamour and superficial charm and perception management in order to feed their narcissistic supply- in other words they are all potential sex criminals, can never be trusted with emotionally important tasks or resp[onsibilities.

    • Jenny says:

      Sam Vakin is a genius. He has done a considerable amount of work, writing, making videos etc, covering every different aspect and every different kind of narcissist. Delivered with a supreme clarity of expression.

      It doesn’t matter if Sam is mentally ill. It’s no one’s concern. Listen to what he’s saying and you will learn something. The fact he’s a narcissist – a cerebral one – makes it even more interesting and relevant. There are narcissists out there who are so highly gifted and intelligent that, were it not for their condition, they would be destined for great success. They nearly always sabotage their own opportunities – as well as wrecking other people’s.

      Sam’s sharp mind, and beautifully articulate approach, ensures most people gain a keen insight into this condition. People can more readily relate to his examples. He was one of the first to put this ghastly personality disorder into a digestible form. He is a master at classifying the vague sensations you get when you are with the narcissist. The , ‘I can’t quite put my finger on it’ feeling. in his superb gas-lighting video. Which is really spot on and excellent. People are jealous of Sam though. He has enemies because he’s a force to be reckoned with. Most therapists/psychiatrists just cant hold a candle to his uncluttered, direct approach.

  11. Ahriman says:

    Some narcissists – the ones with self-control – are hard workers with solid financial skills, and do amass considerable wealth. Just some questions to ask.

    Do they actually like their job and/or career?

    Are they in it just for money (or power, fame, status)?

    How do they treat their co-workers?

    Are they willing to do anything dirty, tedious, or unglamorous – especially when there is no extra reward? (This excludes dangerous tasks unless part of the job. An office clerk is not expected to put out fires. A fireman is.)

    Do they have any hobbies? Are they contemptuous towards others that do have hobbies?

    How do they feel about volunteer work? Is it below their station?

    If they do any volunteering, do they do it only to play the hero?

  12. Alesha says:

    i believe i’m with a narcissist. He doesn’t have any money, but does have a supportive family. i’ve been seeing him daily for the past 4 years. I started feeling depressed recently, not realizing i’ve been coaxed into the despair on confusion in my life. The only thing that is promising is my job…besides that. I’ve never been introduced to his family, he constantly ask me for 3 ways, always ogling other woman, he made my past birthday seem like a strain to him. all he talked about was his birthday that is this weekend. I had my own place, bc i spend time, money and resources on eating and hanging out, i spend more time at his place then where i pay rent. then when the lease gets terminated from me not being there, (but i did pay rent on time always) i don’t have a finance problem…but i do bc he does, so i spend way too much to be his company. I don’t know what to do, he is expecting me to pay for his bday weekend, and i have this money for a futuristic place to live, my clothes are in a suitcase in his car…and i gave him 500 dollars to stay…he bc he kept talking about something he wanted to invest in. I decided to give him instead to make an even barter for me to stay. then he was gaslighting me, until i couldn’t stop being paranoid etc…i really want to end things, but when things look bad for me he pushes me away, when good things happen he keeps me isolated so i can’t become comfortable enough with any new changes. I don’t know what to do, but i’m starting to understand the cycle…is he a narcissist?

  13. mother in law says:

    My daughter in law is a psycho who has never been diagnosed ALL THE SIGNS ARE THERE.. She has told her family that my grandson has less than a year to live and needs money. They offered to take him for a second opinion, I think that is the fastest she cut them out of her life. She got the money from my mom and dad who are both in their late eighties. He has a squint in one eye which she refuses to have seen to because she can garner sympathy for her child with special needs eg. MONEY she did not work for 7 years out of 9 but had my sons banks cards to control the finances. She has even starved my son he lost 40 kgs. This was while again my parents were putting money for food into to her account I have six adults in my home and the amount she was getting from my parents was enough to feed us. She had 2 adults and two children and never had food or money. These people do not love they posses people and will keep on and never let them go. Years can go past but they will be there all the time ready to come back and wreck your life again.
    DONT SHOW EMOTION look through them but don’t give in. If you have kids together get someone else to pick up and drop off or have a witness with you. GOOD LUCK and BE STRONG

    • Sue says:

      Your comment is very powerful & I would’ve never imagined such evil exits in my life’s journey but it took meeting a man who put on a mask long enuf for me to care before I saw his torturous shattered scapegoat cinderella sadisticly helpless yet compassionate kind unknowing trusting child like son of evil ambient narcisstic ritual inflict or of brainwashing thru brutal tactics sl his a duration, trust & obidient conditioned to respond as Pavlov dog crippling him in every way!
      My only child who lived with me so I could help care for my granddaughter since birth & upon attaining her BSN WAS ABRUPTLY MOVED IN WITH GUY WHO yells, publicly humiliates, tells her she’s no good with finances & my then 7 yr 2 month left me a note bringing utter disbelief?!
      My granddaughter told me not to come to her house caus (in fearful tone!), he yells & hel yell at me… He won’t let her talk in car on drive to school so I awoke at 4 00a.m. So my lil girl could go back to sleep & we’d get ready as always. My daughter began calling me 8 consecutive Friday mites hysterical that she’s unhappy , he’s kicking her out & finally after the last call I called him in a calm manner yet concerned seeking his perspective on the upheaval & unaware of consequences–I’m totally cut off & the enemy who LISTENS to how she SHOULD act & yells, no friends, always rite & until iv learned how to treat him, I can’t see my 9 yr old a week ago (which he prohibited me from !) & my lil girl upon awakening text me, she doesn’t care that I wasn’t at her party so I know she’s torn, angry n confused!!! I wish I knew the DIRECTOR OF THE FBI OR CIA –this is not fair to take away innocent skipping confident childhood to be used as a pawn by guy not even her father!!! This world needs to raise awareness & help ASAP

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