Like it or not, many of us aren’t able to count our own blessings, but instead go count those of other people and use it to feed our envy.
This article will help you learn how to recognize you’re actually surrounded by envy by teaching you the common characteristics of an envious person.
Envy is one of the seven deadly sins. Even if you’re not religious, in terms of figuring out life and setting your moral standards, this says a lot.
Why do people become jealous of each other?
Jealousy and envy are not the same things, but the term “jealous people” is commonly used to describe those who are actually envious.
People with specific character traits such as low self-esteem are more likely to become jealous, but there are also certain life situations that bring out the worst even in those who are usually not the envious/jealous type.
So, how do you identify an envious person?
A person who’s envious isn’t always easy to spot.
They can be a huge part of your life and it can even seem like they truly care about your well-being if you don’t analyze things they say or do on a deeper level.
Often, an envious person is a covert narcissist, draining all the joy out of you without you even realizing it.
The worst thing about having them in your life is that they can be intentionally harmful since your happiness pains them.
And depending on the strength and depth of their envy, they can downright destroy your life.
Let’s talk about the specific traits of an envious person.
10 Poisonous Characteristics Of An Envious Person
Giving fake compliments
Jealous people give insincere compliments. They tell the person they envy that they like certain things about them, which they, in reality, don’t.
They think they’re supposed to compliment the other person in order to make it look like they genuinely like them.
Another thing they may do is offend another person in the form of a compliment. This is their passive-aggression speaking.
On the surface, they want to act nice, but there’s so much buried anger and hatred inside of them and they have to let it out somehow, so they use insults sugarcoated in compliments.
This maybe doesn’t seem like something awful, but if you realize that someone in your life is constantly doing this, this is definitely a red flag.
Being excited over the unhappiness of an envied person
This is obvious, but it is the aspect that helps differentiate between benign and malicious envy, and that’s why it’s important to talk about.
A person who’s envious secretly (or sometimes not so secretly) feels joy whenever something goes wrong in the life of the person they envy. They simply can’t help it.
This can be very obvious because they usually can’t stop their lips from widening into a smile – that’s how content they are by a person they envy going through something unfortunate or difficult.
Disclaimer: There are people who laugh or smile as a response to stress.
If your best friend starts laughing when they hear something bad has happened to you, that’s probably just their reaction to a stressful situation.
Still, pay attention to their other behaviors. Just because you’ve known someone for a long time doesn’t mean that they aren’t an envious person.
An envious friend or person in your life will try to hide their happiness, and they might even be overly sympathetic and suddenly give you too much advice on how to resolve the situation.
Watch out though; their advice is usually intentionally bad.
Making other people’s achievements look trivial
An envious person, just like a narcissist, wants to diminish your feeling of self-worth. They don’t like seeing you all perky and happy, especially not when you’ve just accomplished something great.
If you talk to them about your past achievements, they usually tell you all the reasons those achievements are nothing to brag about, and offer you their whole set of achievements that are amazing in comparison.
If you tell them you just finished your undergrad studies, they’ll say something like “Oh, that’s nothing, I’m working on a PhD right now…” This is an oversimplification, but you get the point.
They don’t want to see you happy or successful, nor do they want you to be proud of your achievements.
When you feel like you’re satisfied with your life, you’re content, and everything’s running smoothly, that’s when they hate you most.
Trying to copy the person they envy
You know back in high school when someone got the exact same thing you had and you got kind of upset about it?
You maybe didn’t know why you felt the way you did, but the fact is we all prefer to have our own unique styles, things, and ways of living.
An envious person, instead of pushing for their own originality, constantly tries to copy the person they envy.
They want to have what you have. They are incredibly jealous of the things that are yours. Whether it’s your good looks, material possessions, friends, family, accomplishments… – they want it.
They start thinking that if they do the same things you do, they’ll become like you and get what you have. This is one of the first signs of envy you might actually notice.
Jealous people might start buying the same clothes you buy, watching the same TV shows, hanging out at the same places…
Of course, not everyone who does something you do is envious of you, but if you notice this becoming a pattern, then they probably are.
Emphasizing the envied person’s mistakes
They are thrilled when the person they envy makes a mistake. No matter how small it is, they can’t wait for it to happen.
If there’s no fresh mistakes to be happy about, they’ll bring back bad things from the past just to remind both you and themselves that you’re not perfect.
Their envy gets them thinking you have it all and they’re over the moon with joy when it becomes apparent that you don’t.
The person who’s envious will always be on the lookout for when you take a wrong turn – it’s what helps them deal with everything they’re feeling.
The green-eyed monster is not kind to them either. It’s hard feeling how they feel and they are simply looking for relief.
Inability to accept the envied person’s success
People whose envy of the other person runs really deep won’t be able to handle their success at all. How does this manifest?
If you’ve managed to do something amazing in your life and are finally feeling fulfilled, they more often than not leave.
That’s how much it bugs them to see you succeed. They remove themselves from your life completely.
They might tell you a fake story of how you’ve changed, how something in their life has changed, or make it look like you’ve simply drifted apart.
In a certain way, this proves that they do care about you and simply cannot fight their overwhelming feeling of jealousy over what you have and they don’t.
There’s also a chance they won’t be able to stay away from your life and keep checking in, hoping that things have gone bad for you and you’re no longer as successful as you were when they left.
Overemphasizing their own success
All human beings want to be appreciated, acknowledged, and recognized as successful.
Still, if someone (who also does other things in this list) is overemphasizing their own success, especially when they are making your success look trivial, that’s a good sign they’re envious.
Jealous people want to be seen as better, stronger, prettier – than you are. They are trying to prove something both to themselves, but also to you and the rest of the world.
By exaggerating when talking about their accomplishments, they’re trying to put themselves first and show that they also have it good – or more accurately, better than you do.
When they do something well, you probably hear about it many times, especially if it’s something you’re not good at or an area of life you’ve had less success in.
Talking behind the envied person’s back
Jealous people are all nice face to face, but when the person they envy is gone, they’re all trash talk.
They do this for two different reasons.
First, they want other people to notice the flaws of the person they envy. They’re tired of others talking about the envied person’s achievements or virtues.
Second, talking badly behind your back is their outlet. They have so much negative, jealous energy stored inside them and they have to release it somehow.
They aren’t willing to tell you all those nasty things to your face because they aren’t willing to lose you; something ties them to you.
Still, they can’t keep it inside, so talking trash behind your back is what they do.
Rest assured that every embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you that they know about will be their juicy gossip for when they have coffee with their friends.
If you confront them, they tell you that they only shared a funny story among friends and didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.
Something will feel off, though, and you’ll probably recognize that they aren’t as innocent as they appear.
Talking down and mocking the envied person
Another way jealous people release their envy is by mocking the person or talking down to them. There might be something about you that’s considered to be a weakness.
They use this to make you feel bad any time they can.
Also, if you put your mind to doing something good for yourself, they tell you that you aren’t good/qualified/persistent/strong enough.
They go out of their way to show you that you shouldn’t be trying to improve your life or doing whatever it is you choose to do because you have weaknesses that can’t be overlooked.
They make you think your issues are something you can’t overcome.
They don’t want to see your self-esteem blossom and this is their way to ruin it.
Trying to compete with the person they envy
If there’s a chance, they try to show you that they can be better than you, even though you’re not competing with them and don’t look at the given situation that way.
They are trying to win a fight you don’t even know exists.
While you’re oblivious to anything going on, they’re likely plotting how to prove themselves to be better than you in something you both do or that’s a part of both of your lives.
They may try to ”win” in work-related situations, family life, relations with your mutual friends, or basically anything, no matter how trivial it may seem to you.
While you’re naively sharing your everyday experiences, they’re thinking of ways to show you they’re better in that particular area of life you’re talking about.
These characteristics of an envious person are what you should be looking out for.
Signs of jealousy aren’t always easy to recognize, but if a person demonstrates a couple of behaviors from this list, there’s a good chance they are envious of you.
What to do if you’re the envious one?
While reading these characteristics of an envious person, you may have noticed that some of them apply to you and realized that it’s actually you who could be the envious one.
We can be envious subconsciously and never ever think about the things we do as an outlet of that envy.
If this makes sense to you and you think that you could be suppressing unpleasant feelings of jealousy, there are things you can do.
First of all, ask yourself: “Why am I an envious person?”
Think about what’s making you feel envy towards people you care about (or even those you don’t even know).
What is it that they have and you want?
There are different types of envy, but only one of them toxic.
There’s benign envy – the one where the person feels envious but in a way that keeps them improving their life, not wishing to harm others.
They want to build themselves up in order to match the person they’re envious of.
Malicious envy, on the other hand, makes the person destructive and toxic in the way that they enjoy to see the person they’re envious of in pain.
If those things are something you really care about and wish to have or do, think about the ways you can achieve your goals and turn your jealousy/envy into a benign one – the one that pushes you to be better.
If someone you’re envious of has something you can’t get under any circumstances for whatever reason, to combat your jealousy, start thinking about your own life.
Learn to be grateful for what you do have.
Focusing on other people’s lives and their blessings is a never-ending downward spiral. If you choose to do down that path, you’ll end up feeling miserable all the time.
There will always be things people have that you can’t have. Giving so much energy into thinking about those things is pointless.
There is no winning.
Stop comparing yourself to other people and decide to only compare yourself to who you were yesterday.
For all of you who found this topic to be relevant to you, whether it’s you who’s envious or you’re doubting there are envious, jealous people in your life, there’s one thing to keep in mind.
Being envious is something that appears in your life without you asking for it. It can be overwhelming, disturbing, and hard to deal with.
Always show appreciation, kindness, and empathy towards others. That’s the only way to minimize the negative emotions every human being is bound to have in their lifetime.