5 Ways Narcissists Are Toxic With Money

To the narcissist – money is power.

Power is also abuse.

They hold it over the heads of the unsuspecting as if it is a weapon of mass destruction, because they know how to use it to manipulate.

Think about it – a narcissist doesn’t know how to love people, they only know how to love material things. Cars, houses, their job, good food – and what do they need to get all those things?


Don’t ever be shocked to learn that the narcissist falls into the most toxic part of their own egotistical character where money is concerned – and it would benefit you to know the top ways they do this.

For Validation

To make up for their serious lack of self-esteem, the narcissist will look to money for external validation. 

I know it seems crazy, and to you or me—the non-narcissist—it is. Why would anybody need to buy anything in order to fit in or be like the people they wish they could be? It’s almost embarrassing to think grown-ups act this way.

It’s more acceptable if you’re 7 years old and at school and wanting to show off your new sports coat or football cards, but when you are a fully fledged adult, this behavior is nothing but a huge red flag. 

What They Lack, They Try to Make Up For

Narcissists are grandiose – they cannot live one day without trying to gain the attention of anybody – even strangers – just to make themselves feel better.

It’s because they feel an extreme level of self-importance which has been developed artificially to cover up their plunging self-esteem (which is actually non-existent, believe it or not).

Money is a great way of proving to people that they aren’t poor, and it’s one of the only ways the narcissist can feel they are worth something.

Status Effect

Look at what I have that you don’t.

My life is fantastic.

I’m making great decisions that get me to where I am.

People love me.

I love getting all this attention.

You want to yawn, don’t you? I know I do.

I’ve seen it so many times before. Pulling up at traffic lights and seeing an expensive car next to me, and it’s not about validation this time, it’s about the narcissist wanting you to look at them and see how successful they are. 

Wow, this person must be really important because they drive a car that is gaining an awful lot of attention from everybody. 

We don’t understand it, but we know it also comes from a palace of insecurity. You can’t just fit in if you’re a narcissist – you have to stand out somehow so that others know your life is being lived exactly how you want it to be. 

This is another egotistical look into the mind of a narcissist who wants all the attention, all of the time. 

To Punish 

Withholding money from you is the narcissist’s way of delighting themselves with yet more and more power and control. 

Yes, they expect you to be on your constant best behavior so that they can dangle money in front of you, and if there is the slightest area of conflict or disagreement, the narcissist will look forward to letting you know that they are going to use money to punish you. 

This can look like the following:

Changing bank cards, so that the one you have is canceled and deemed useless.

Changing passwords to shared banking.

Looking at new ways to budget or keep the cost of what you spend down because they decided it was ‘too much.’

You’ll feel small when punished, and as if you have got yourself into some real trouble. It’s nothing to do with you, in fact, the narcissist just wants to keep one foot in your financial door and let you know they’re the boss.

To Use YOU 

Yes, there are absolutely narcissists out there who will use you to get what they want.

They will always want to borrow from you and will dump all their emotional baggage upon you to guilt you into lending them money (which you’ll never see back).

If you dare to ask for it back, you’ll be told you’re selfish and impatient, and that you lack compassion for them in their struggling times. 

Narcissists want their own way, and remember that can also look like the needy narcissist, who wants what you have without willing to work for it. 

Two Sets of Standards

Oh, the hypocrisy can get so real. Narcissists love to have money. It allows them to sink into their wildest dreams and get everything they feel they deserve with it.

They splurge on expensive clothes, or they book that dream vacation. Perhaps they invest in a car update or install a hot tub. Anything you can think of – they will do if they can. 

But wait…

What happens if you treat yourself? What if you decide to get takeout at the weekend, or rent a movie on a streaming platform?

Do you think we are made of money?

What a waste of money, you could have got a full grocery shop with that amount. 

Oh, I see you’re not bothered about how much you spend this week.

I work hard for this money, and you decide to just fritter it?

Wow, how selfish are you?

Yeah, yeah. The same old thing – but what does this show you?

You Are NOT Careless

It shows you that the narcissist is using a double set of standards to work in their favor. They’re moving the financial goalposts, and  they’re telling you that the rules applied to you, do not apply to them. The shaming is terribly abusive, and they hate that you can do what they’re doing – making them feel inadequate.

It’s so toxic; I don’t need to tell you why. It’s to invoke fear in you, and let you know that they think you make careless decisions without them, so you are more likely to lean into their control and let them be the ones to be in charge of the finances.

Don’t Defend, Don’t Engage, Don’t Expand

Narcissists want you to bite back when they tell you how disappointed they are in your spending. They want to try and shame you into the belief that you can’t make strong choices without them, and the assumption that you’ll defend yourself will be strong.

It’s time to conclude that you are able to buy something if you want to, and that you shouldn’t let the manipulation of the narcissist take over and guilt trip you into not getting what you want too. 

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