What Happens When a Narcissist Sees You Looking Good

When a narcissist sees that you are looking good, they might display a range of reactions. On the surface, they might shower you with compliments, telling you how great you look. However, underneath the friendly façade, they are probably seething with envy, while also feeling threatened and insecure.

Narcissists have a fragile ego, and seeing someone else shine can trigger their insecurities.

In addition, you should always keep in mind that narcissists are excellent at using flattery as a tool to get what they want. Therefore, their compliments might not be sincere and could be part of their cunning scheme to keep you within their sphere of influence.

The reaction of course also depends on the type of relationship you have with the narcissist. Is the narcissist a friend, an Ex, or a family member?

In this article we will take a look at these different scenarios to understand the reaction of the narcissist when they see you looking good.

What Happens When a Narcissist Sees You Looking Good

What Happens when a Narcissist Friend Sees You Looking Good?

When a narcissistic friend sees that you are looking good their response could fluctuate between admiration and envy, often leaning more towards the latter.

They are likely to initially shower you with compliments. This could be a genuine recognition of your appearance, but most often they do it to maintain their image as a ‘good friend.’

Remember, narcissists are often very concerned about how others perceive them. Complimenting you in public can be a strategy for them to appear generous and caring.

However, beneath the surface-level compliments, it is highly likely that envy and insecurity are brewing. Your narcissist friend will undoubtedly feel threatened that you might be looking better than they are.


Narcissists like to be the center of attention and seeing you attract admiration will trigger feelings of jealousy.

As a result they are likely to hit you with backhanded compliments or subtle shading to undermine you.

A backhanded compliment is one that initially appears flattering but contains an insult or a critical judgment.

For instance, your friend might say something like, “I wish I could be as carefree about my appearance as you are.”

On the surface, this seems like a compliment about your relaxed attitude, but it carries an underlying message suggesting that you don’t take enough care of your looks.

Narcissists are masters of the compliment-insult or ‘complisult’. They appear to be giving a compliment, but the truth is that they are hitting you with a camouflaged insult in order to ‘put you back in your place.’

What Happens When a Narcissist Sees You Looking Good

The dynamics of your friendship might also shift when your narcissist friend sees you looking good.

They could become more attentive, seeking to spend more time with you, because they want to bask in the reflected glory of your attractiveness.

On the flip side, they might also distance themselves from you, especially if your good looks make them feel insecure about their own appearance.

They might avoid social situations where they feel you could outshine them

What Happens when a Narcissist Ex Sees You Looking Good?

When a narcissist ex-partner sees you looking good, their reaction can be a mixture of admiration, envy, and an urge to pull you back into their sphere of influence and regain control over you.

They might exhibit behaviors such as hoovering, love bombing, or even try to recruit you for their narcissistic harem.


Hoovering is a common tactic used by narcissists to suck you back into the relationship, much like a Hoover vacuum cleaner would.

If your ex sees you looking good, they might attempt to hoover you back into their life. This could involve them reaching out to you unexpectedly, reminiscing about the good times in your relationship, or even apologizing for their past behavior.

hoover tactics - What Happens When a Narcissist Sees You Looking Good

Love Bombing

Another common tactic is love bombing, where the narcissist showers you with affection and attention to win you over.

If your narcissist ex sees you looking good, they might start love bombing you, telling you how much they’ve missed you and how they can’t live without you.

This over-the-top display of affection can be confusing and overwhelming.

However, it’s important to note that this is just a temporary phase. Once the narcissist feels that they have regained control, they will inevitably revert back to their old ways.

love bombing - What Happens When a Narcissist Sees You Looking Good

The Narcissistic Harem

Finally, a narcissist who sees you looking good might try to include you in their narcissistic harem. This is a group of people that the narcissist maintains around them to boost their ego and meet their needs for attention and validation.

Being part of a narcissist’s harem means that you are one of many. The narcissist might rotate their attention between different members of the harem depending on their needs at any given time.

harem - What Happens When a Narcissist Sees You Looking Good

What Happens when a Narcissist Family Member Sees You Looking Good?

Narcissists are often driven by envy. When they see you looking good, their immediate reaction is likely to be one of jealousy. They could feel threatened by your attractiveness as it might overshadow their own or shift the attention away from them.

The narcissistic family member is likely to react in much the same way as a narcissitic friend might, as discussed above. Their envy might manifest in passive-aggressive comments, criticism, or attempts to belittle you and your achievements.

However in the case of a family member, the situation is even more fraught, because they have easy access to your nearest and dearest – cue the family smear campaign.

The Family Smear Campaign

In more extreme cases, a narcissistic family member could start a smear campaign against you. They will spread rumors or lies about you to other family members, to undermine you and regain the spotlight.

The smear campaign serves two purposes for the narcissist.

Firstly, it helps them regain the attention and validation they crave.

Secondly, it helps them paint themselves as the ‘victim’ or the ‘misunderstood hero’, providing them with the narcissistic supply they crave.

narcissistic supply

How to Safeguard Yourself from an Envious Narcissist

relationships with narcissists can be challenging, especially when they are driven by envy. Here are some strategies to safeguard yourself:

Set Boundaries

Setting clear boundaries is crucial in any relationship, but it’s particularly important when dealing with a narcissist.

They are usually very entitled and are unlikely to respect your personal space or feelings.

Establish boundaries for what behavior you will accept and communicate these clearly.


Practice Self-Care

Maintaining your mental and emotional health is essential when dealing with a narcissist.

Regular exercise, a healthy diet, adequate sleep, and mindfulness practices like meditation can help manage stress and keep you grounded.

Seek Support

Reach out to friends, family members, or therapists who understand your situation.

Sharing your experiences and feelings with others who can provide empathy and advice can be incredibly helpful.

seek support

Limit Contact

If possible, limit your contact with the narcissist.

This might mean only interacting when necessary or reducing the amount of time you spend together.

If the narcissist is a coworker or family member, try to keep your interactions professional and brief.

Don’t Take It Personally

Remember that a narcissist’s behavior is about them, not you.

They’re driven by their own insecurities and needs for attention and validation. Try not to take their actions personally.

Stay Grounded in Your Reality

Narcissists are experts at manipulation and can make you doubt your perceptions or feelings.

This is known as gaslighting. Always trust your instincts and stay grounded in your own reality.

Learn About Narcissism

Understanding the traits and behaviors of a narcissist can help you deal with them more effectively.

Educate yourself about narcissism so you can spot the signs and understand why they act the way they do.

Concluding Thoughts

Seeing you looking good might cause a shift in dynamics in your relationship with the narcissist. If they were previously dismissive or indifferent towards you, they might suddenly become more attentive and interested. This is because narcissists are drawn to people who boost their ego and make them feel superior.

Ultimately, a narcissist’s reaction when they see you looking good is driven by their need for control. Whether they shower you with compliments, try to undermine you, or shift the dynamics of your relationship, it’s all a way for them to maintain control and protect their inflated ego.

In conclusion, it’s important to remember that a narcissist’s reaction to you looking good is more about them than it is about you. Their actions and reactions are driven by their own insecurities and need for control. Therefore, don’t let their behavior dictate how you feel about yourself.

Keep shining and looking good – for yourself, not for them.

Frequently Asked Questions about Narcissism

Frequently Asked Questions about What Happens When a Narcissist Sees You Looking Good

What is the first reaction of a narcissist when they see you looking good?

The initial reaction of a narcissist when they see you looking good is often envy. They are egotists and always want to be the very best in everything. Your attractiveness is likely to trigger feelings of jealousy.

Does a narcissist feel threatened when I look good?

Yes, narcissists often feel threatened when someone else becomes the center of attention. If you are drawing positive attention, the narcissist may feel their position is being challenged.

Why does a narcissist not want you to look better than them?

Narcissists generally consider themselves superior to everyone else. So, it’s natural for them not to want you to look better than they do. This is a reflection of their need to always remain in the spotlight.

What happens when a narcissist sees you with someone else?

Seeing you with someone else might trigger a range of emotions in a narcissist, from anger to resentment. They may perceive it as a direct challenge to their superiority and control.

Do narcissists get mad when you move on?

Yes, narcissists can get upset when you move on, particularly if you appear happier or more fulfilled without them. They would see this as a blow to their ego.

Can a narcissist be happy for others?

People with narcissistic personality disorder can have trouble being happy for others unless it benefits them. Their happiness often depends on their being the center of attention.

What is the power dynamic in relationships with narcissists?

In many relationships with narcissists, there’s a power dynamic at play. The narcissist wants to be the dominant figure, controlling the relationship and the other person.

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