Why Do Narcissists Target Your Goals?

Updated on September 27, 2017

Building a relationship with a healthy person requires that both parties contribute a fair share. That means compromising and really trying to look out for the interest of both parties that are involved. This concept is completely foreign to a narcissist. Their ideal relationship consists of taking as much as they can get from their spouse without giving anything but the bare necessities. For example, if you have a male narcissist, he will more than likely want a stay at home wife that focuses only on the children and the narcissist's personal needs and aspirations. They do not want their spouse to take any time for your own personal growth or to fulfill your dreams. In the narcissist's mind, he has built an image of how he would like his wife to be, and you must live up to that image or you will suffer the full-blown wrath of the narcissist.

Maintain Control Out of Fear

The narcissist loves being the sole provider within the family unit. There are multiple reasons why this is the case. One reason is that he wants to be able to make all the final decisions in the household and he would rather provide his wife an “allowance” each month. This sets a limit on his spouse and any added restriction to maintain control can and will be executed. In addition, if the spouse stays at home all day, establishing valuable relationships outside of the narcissist is almost impossible. There would no way to build a solid support system outside of the narcissist's realm. If you begin to express that you have your own goals and aspirations that you want to accomplish in life, the narcissist will use covert put downs to lower your self-esteem. A covert put down is an underhanded way of communicating and projecting a negative self-worth onto someone else. Slowly over time, the victim begins to believe that they cannot do anything on their own.

The narcissist is afraid that if you go out into the workforce, you may become successful within the industry of your choice. If you become successful, then it may outshine the narcissist and what he is trying to accomplish. Again, the narcissist feeds off of the praise and admiration from those around him. Without that admiration, they cannot feed their addiction, which is their worst nightmare. They can’t stand it, not even for one second, for the spotlight to be off of him and onto someone else. The narcissist would rather use you as a stepping stone to get to the top, then to hold your hand so that you can both make it there together.

Narcissists Feel Pathological Envy

Now let’s examine the other end of the spectrum. If the narcissist’s spouse does work and is appointed to take on a special project because of their work ethic, the narcissist will express a phony congratulation for the accomplishment. But later on, as the spouse is working diligently at their new work assignment, you would think that they would get the utmost support from family and friends. But not from the narcissist. They are easily overwhelmed by a sense of pathological envy because they feel as though they have to be the best at everything. In fact, this envy will move the narcissist to covertly or overtly sabotage all your efforts. They will do this by comparing your work to someone else that they would consider to be more successful. This makes you feel that what you are doing is below par and is not acceptable. They could even purposely destroy documents so that you will get frustrated, miss deadlines, or even give up on your project altogether. They do not like for you to achieve something that they themselves have not. And of course, the moment that you give up on your goal the narcissist will be there to comfort you for the failure that they induced.

Once you have failed, their sense of pathological envy disappears and they will get a personal feeling of accomplishment, because they are back on top. They would rather see all of your goals and aspirations fail, while they bask in nothing but success so that they keep getting the necessary approval to feed their addiction.

The Use of Destructive Conditioning

Narcissists have carefully crafted a false self to impress others around them. To maintain their delusion of grandeur they will attack your goals, and use a method called destructive conditioning. This is defined as verbally berating someone until they associate their strengths with weakness. Over time, the victim begins to feel that they literally cannot do anything correct or without the help of the narcissist. It can lower your self-esteem so much that you don’t have the psychological strength to try out new ventures.

From personal experience, my narcissist tried to make me feel ashamed that I was accomplishing goals in life. Through mutual friends, he was informed that I was being looked at for a management position at my place of employment. This would mean that I would eventually get an increase in salary. Even though we were never married, in his mind he had built an image of the person that he wanted me to be. However, I have a family to take care of and I was never going to feel guilty about that. If you are not paying attention to what the narcissist is trying to instill into you, one can be easily sucked into their web. He essentially created an ultimatum. If I wanted to be with him, I had to focus on the things that he wanted me to and not what I wanted to do. You have to be firm in your resolve and do what is best for you and not for the narcissist. I have more to offer than just subservience and I won’t let anyone take that from me. Neither should you.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers


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      • NarcShark profile imageAUTHOR

        Olivia Brun 

        17 months ago from Syracuse, New York

        That's right. Don't stand for it anymore. When you conduct thorough research about the disorder, the less they can hurt you. I hope things improve with your situation. Feel free to message me any time if you have questions. :)

      • RGraf profile image

        Rebecca Graf 

        17 months ago from Wisconsin

        Boy, do I know this! I am related to one who has tried to make my live miserable. It gets worse as I stand up to them, but I refuse to be under their feet anymore.


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