Two Financially Abusive Habits of Malignant Narcissists

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Narcissists have a tendency to use money as a tool to achieve power.

Because money is power.

My ex Jamel —

Read: This Is the Malignant Narcissist’s Discard Process

Read: Exposing This Humiliating Holiday Devaluation Technique

Was no different.

Jamel had an obsession with money.

To him, money really was power and if there’s one thing a narcissist has a hard-on for — it’s definitely power.

And your relationship with a narcissist will showcase this through the ways in which they utilize their finances, and (in some cases) yours.

In fact, it was two unsettling habits Jamel had whenever he spent money on me that revealed what to look out for when vetting a narcissist,


1. He Always Left the Bill Face-Up on the Table

Whenever we’d go to a restaurant things always got weird when the bill came.

He would check it, before placing the money on (or in) it, and then lay it between us.

But now the bill would be closer to me than it initially was — and it would also be face-up.

This mainly took place at restaurants because that’s usually the setting where bills are left on the table for both parties to see. At first, I paid no attention because I wasn’t thinking anything of it.

Until he started doing something very… calculating.

After paying the bill, Jamel would read the total out loud (seemingly to himself).

Sometimes he’d open his wallet to silently flash the bills he still had left, by making it look like he was counting them.

It gave me a weird feeling because not only was it awkward but he kept doing it as if he was trying to look like he was talking to himself.

He was trying too hard to appear genuine…

Because he was doing this on purpose.

What Jamel was trying to do was flex how much he was spending on me, while equally making it clear how much less he had after the fact.

This was a very tricky devaluation tool

Although he was looking for credit based on how much he spent, this gesture was also supposed to make me feel inadequate and guilty for taking (or accepting) his money — despite the majority of our dates being his idea.

(Remember, I wasn’t working at this time.)

If I failed to notice the bill or acknowledge it (which I always did because I was raised not to touch a bill I’m not paying for because it was considered rude) he would then draw my attention to it using this pathetic method.

I always expressed my appreciation but my gratitude was never enough. No matter what, he always gave himself credit in this unnecessary, theatrical way. And it looked and felt like bad acting.

But it didn’t stop there.

2. He Verbally Calculated How Much He Spent on Me

He would do this once his initial method in step one failed him.
But he always utilized this method whenever we went out anywhere else.

  • restaurants
  • movie theatres
  • clothing stores

Sometimes, if he actually took me out to buy clothes, as he did on the shopping trip I detailed in the following article:

He would stand off to the side, and start reading off the prices on the receipt, casually. Seemingly counting on his fingers the total,

Just to draw attention to himself.

He would do this far enough away for it to seem like he wanted privacy but close enough to be noticed.

He would count loud enough to be heard but low enough for it to seem like you naturally overheard it.

But I knew it wasn’t.

In fact, by now, I was beginning to understand that this was his covert way of showcasing how much money he was spending on me. It was a not-so-humble brag. This was his way of making himself seem like a big shot.

And it was inarguably unattractive.

It was also a very sneaky devaluation technique since his spending would be thrown back in my face at a later date because I couldn’t reciprocate his grandiose “acts of kindness”. This is how I learned that they weren’t genuine, to begin with.

It Was Part of His Pathology

Every dollar Jamel was spending on me had absolutely nothing to do with me.
These were grandiose displays of his own perceived self-importance. It should’ve come as no surprise because his family was materialistic. Not only were they money-minded,

But they constantly used each other,

In two very specific ways:

  1. They would ask to borrow money as a means to use someone else for theirs.
  2. The person being asked for the money would give it as a means to have leverage and superiority over the family member who needed it.

His entire family determined each other’s values based on how much money they had and the material wealth they could accumulate. This was a neverending competition among them all.

The number one person in the family who utilized this particular habit was Jamel’s mother, Pat. She was a very greedy narcissist who bragged about being a golddigger. Naturally, Jamel became a product of this environment.

He was also extremely greedy.

These habits and behaviors were simply ways his conditioning played into his narcissism. This is when I made peace with the painful truth, every dollar he spent on me was to manipulate me.

These Were Not Financial Acts of Love

These were ways to boast and brag, while physically (and financially) displaying his self-importance.

He was putting on a show for bragging rights. But, despite him doing these things for me, I wasn’t the one he was putting on a show for.

This was about impressing the outside world.

He wasn’t concerned with impressing me because he had already deemed me financially inferior to him because of my inability to contribute as his partner since I didn’t have a job yet.

He also talked shit about me to his family and had them “talk” to me about getting my life together. This is when it finally sank in,

I was his charity case.

Every kind thing he did for me financially was strategically designed to do two very specific things —

show how much of a savior he made himself out to be in my life (especially because I never asked him for his money or his “favors”)
prove to others how little I could do for myself.
He was maximizing himself while minimizing me. I was being gaslit through financial abuse. He was actually devaluing me by doing “nice things” for me.

© Linda Sharp 2023. All Rights Reserved.


This post was previously published on MEDIUM.COM.



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