Now, we know that narcissists tend to share an exaggerated sense of self-importance; money only serves to enhance their delusion. This is why narcissists have a tendency to use money as a tool to achieve power.
Because money is power.
My ex Jamel —
Was no different.
Jamel had an obsession with money.
I kid you not, he’d sell his soul (and yours) if it meant everlasting riches and a stream of constant wealth.
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.
In fact, it was my relationship with Jamel that would reveal two very subtle habits to look out for when vetting a narcissist,
1. He Always Left the Bill Face-Up on the Table
Photo by Jessie McCall on Unsplash
Whenever we’d go to a restaurant things always got weird when the bill came. We’d get the bill and he would check it, before placing the money on it, and then laying it between us.
However, it would be closer to me than it initially was and it would also be face-up. This predominantly took place at restaurants because that’s usually the setting where bills are left on the table.
Almost always I paid it little to no attention because it was already taken care of and initially because I wasn’t thinking anything of it. Until he started doing something I found to be very… calculating.
After paying the bill, he would read the total out loud, seemingly to himself, where he calculated how much he spent. Sometimes he’d open his wallet to flash the bills he still had left, by making it look like he was counting.
It gave me a weird feeling because it was not only awkward but he was doing it as if he was talking to himself, but it felt like he wasn’t — because he wasn’t. He was doing this on purpose.
This was his way of flexing how much he spent on me and how much he still had. I’m assuming he was looking for credit (which I always thanked him for) but he was giving it to himself in this unnecessary, theatrical way.
It looked and felt like bad acting.
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.
But it didn’t stop there.
2. He Verbally Calculated How Much He Spent on Me
As I said, 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.
- 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.
It Was Part of His Pathology
Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash
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:
- They would ask to borrow money as a means to use someone else for theirs.
- 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 2022. All Rights Reserved.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
You may also like these posts on The Good Men Project:
|White Fragility: Talking to White People About Racism||Escape the “Act Like a Man” Box||The Lack of Gentle Platonic Touch in Men’s Lives is a Killer||What We Talk About When We Talk About Men|
Photo credit: iStockPhoto.com