Narcissists subject the people that they abuse to all different types of abuse and manipulation just to get in a position of power and control.
Stealing is a common tactic narcissists use to gain power and control over you. A survey we conducted among 300 survivors of narcissistic abuse revealed that the three most common things that a narcissist will steal from you is your money, time, and happiness.
The information in this article is going to help you grasp a better understanding of how narcissists steal your money, time, and happiness.
They Will Steal Your Money
Financial abuse occurs in 99% of domestic violence cases.1
It is one of the most common tactics that narcissists use to gain power and control over the people that they are abusing.
In narcissistic environments, the approach that a narcissist will have when financially abusing someone else can be both subtle or overt.
But as a general rule, there are three types of financial abuse that narcissists typically use.
The first type of financial abuse is economic exploitation.
Economic exploitation occurs when a narcissist intentionally destroys the financial resources and/or credit of the person that they are abusing.
10 Signs of Economic Exploitation
- They live in your home rent-free and do not work.
- They max out credit cards in your name.
- They open new accounts under your name.
- They promise to pay a bill but then never actually pay it.
- They force you to use your money to get them out of legal trouble.
- They force you to pay them back for gifts.
- They use your financial instability to get sexual favors.
- They refuse to pay child support.
- They drag a divorce case out to cause financial suffering.
- They borrow money and don’t pay you back.
The second type of financial abuse is employment sabotage.
Employment sabotage is when a narcissist uses abuse and/or manipulation to get the person that they are abusing to quit their job or to prevent them from finding a job.
10 Signs of Employment Sabotage
- They force you to quit your job.
- They sabotage your work responsibilities.
- They prevent you from attending job training.
- They refuse to let you pursue a higher education.
- They guilt you into working for the family business for free.
- They prohibit you from working specific jobs.
- They get you in trouble at work by calling, texting, and showing up too much.
- They stop you going to work by hiding your keys or taking the car.
- They refuse to let you make advances in your career (i.e. a promotion).
- They destroy materials that you need for work (i.e. your computer).
The third type of financial abuse is called controlling the finances.
Controlling the finances is when a narcissist uses abuse and/or manipulation to control the financial stability of the person that they are abusing.
10 Signs of Controlling the Finances
- They give you an allowance or budgets without your input.
- They require you to keep a detailed account of the money that you spend.
- They spend your money without asking.
- They control how the household finances are spent.
- They prohibit you from accessing your own bank account.
- They threaten to cut you off financially when they are angry.
- They get abusive and manipulative when you spend “too much” money.
- They force you to ask for permission to buy things that you need.
- They use the funds from your children’s savings without consulting you.
- They sell your belongings without consulting you.
A Quote From One of Our Community Members
“The financial abuse started right away in my last relationship. At first, he would ask me for 20 dollars here and there, then it upgraded to just taking my card without asking and taking out the money that he needed, then it got to the point where he was maxing out my credit card, and finally, one day he drained my accounts, maxed out my cards, and left with his new supply.” – Robin
As you can seem, Robin experienced financial abuse throughout her entire relationship, but it doesn’t always happen like that.
For some, the financial abuse becomes present when they are attempting to leave or have already left the relationship.
For example, if someone has divorced the narcissist, the narcissist could financially abuse them by dragging out the divorce process to cause financial suffering.
Money is one, if not the biggest sources of narcissistic supply (i.e. validation, admiration, reassurance, power, and control) that narcissists have access to.
Because of this, it is very common for a narcissist to steal from you through financial abuse.
Our articles “Do Narcissists Use Money to Control Others?“ and “34 Signs of Financial Abuse That You Need to Know!“ have a ton of helpful information that you can use to learn more about narcissism and financial abuse.
They Will Steal Your Time
One of the ways that narcissists gain power and control over others is by forcing them to prioritize the narcissist’s thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs over their own.
For example, imagine that you and the narcissist share a car.
One day you happen to have an important meeting for work at the same time that the narcissist has an event planned with his/her friends.
Now, the narcissist could easily have one of his/her friends come pick him/her up so you can get to your work meeting, but this would be an inconvenience for them.
Instead, they demand that you find some other way to get to your work meeting and belittle you for having “poor planning” skills.
This is an example of a narcissist forcing you to prioritize their thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs over your own.
Over time, this dynamic will steal your time.
It is very common for those being abused by a narcissist to spend the entirety of the relationship catering to the narcissist’s every wish and desire.
Sadly, this often bleeds into other aspects of their life as well.
For example, it is very common for those being abused by a narcissist to struggle with saying “no” to others.
Meaning that they say “yes” to others even when they don’t want to.
This is because after months, years, or even decades of being abused by a narcissist, they feel like they don’t have a right to make their well-being a priority in their life.
When a narcissist gets you to a point where you don’t feel like you have a right to make yourself a priority in your own life, they have stolen your time.
A Quote From One of Our Community Members
“I come from a narcissistic background. I was the helper child for my mother. I spent my entire childhood cooking, cleaning, taking care of my siblings, and doing anything else my mother asked of me. I used to be so angry because I never had a normal childhood but I am working on moving past that now.” – Samantha
When a narcissist forces you to prioritize their thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs over your own, it is common to forget how to love yourself. Our article “10 Ways to Love Yourself After Experiencing Narcissistic Abuse“ has a lot of helpful information that you can use to change this.
They Will Steal Your Happiness
It is no secret that narcissists maintain relationships with others because of the narcissistic supply that it gives them.
But what you might not know is that narcissists also maintain relationships with others to use them as repositories for their painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
You see, narcissists struggle with feelings of being unlovable, unwanted, inadequate, worthless, and weak on a daily basis.
However, they have such low emotional intelligence that they are incapable of managing their painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions on their own.
Instead, they project them onto others.
Projection is a defense mechanism that occurs when someone takes parts of their identity that they find unacceptable and places it onto someone else.
For example, a woman who feels insecure about her weight calling her sister fat instead of acknowledging her own feelings of being fat.
Narcissists find their painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions unacceptable.
When they invalidate, devalue, degrade, manipulate, and abuse others, they are using projection.
You see, by destroying the self-esteem and emotional stability of another person, narcissists are able to think to themselves, “I’m not the unlovable, unwanted, inadequate, worthless, and weak one, they are.”
Our article “Why Do Narcissists Use Projection?“ has a lot of helpful information that you can use to grasp a better understanding of the role that projection plays in a narcissist’s life.
After months, years, or even decades of being abused by a narcissist, it is very common to develop a negative self-perception.
Meaning that you very well might start feeling unlovable, unwanted, worthless, weak, and inadequate.
This is how a narcissist steals your happiness.
A Quote From One of Our Community Members
“I have been out of my narcissistic family environment for about 3 years now and I still have low self-esteem. I work hard on improving it every day, and I do see a lot of progress, but how long it is taking just goes to show how powerful narcissistic abuse is.” -Emma
When a narcissist steals your happiness, it destroys your self-esteem. Our article “10 Ways to Build Self-Esteem After Experiencing Narcissistic Abuse“ has a lot of helpful information that you can use to build self-esteem after narcissistic abuse.
What Should You Take Away From This Article
Narcissists feel entitled to having whatever they want, whenever they want it. You should absolutely expect them to steal from you. Stealing your money, time, and happiness allows narcissists to put themselves in a position of power and control in your life.
About the Author
Hey, I’m Elijah.
I experienced narcissistic abuse for three years.
I create these articles to help you understand and validate your experiences.
Thank you for reading, and remember, healing is possible even when it feels impossible.
Reidy, Dennis E., et al. “Effects of narcissistic entitlement and exploitativeness on human physical aggression.” Personality and individual differences 44.4 (2008): 865-875.