The narcissist and money – ‘greed is good’


“The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works.” Gordon Gekko, Wall Street, 1987.

For most of us however, money is used as a necessity to live, to cover the basics at a minimum; keep a roof over our heads, to eat and to have clothing. It is generally a means of exchange for goods and services.

For the narcissist, their relationship with money is skewed. Money is used as a means of manipulation, power, or domination and control over others (especially family members). It feeds their sense of grandiosity and need for constant admiration, thereby indulging their perception that having more money elevates their status, earning them instant respect and credibility. 

When the narcissist knows they’re on a good wicket with someone they will seek to enmesh monies through a marriage or de facto relationship, join bank accounts, set up company directorships, and ensure your property renos are done by them, with land titles ending up in their name only. However, they will be as secretive as possible about your exact financial status and stymie your ability to access funds. Financial matters will become so confused and intertwined that it will take a mammoth effort by a small army of lawyers to untangle the narcissist’s wicked web if or when you decide to leave.

If the narcissist can’t derive their own financial resources, or enough of their own resources – because whatever they have is never enough anyway, then they feel entitled to take others’ – by any means, overtly or covertly, whether it be cash, property, gold, shares etc. and feel completely justified in doing so in the process. After all, the narcissist is perfect, unique and special so there is no issue with charming and exploiting other people for personal gain. People are merely objects to the narcissist; sources of narcissistic supply. Their hoarding of money, possessions, and properties knows no bounds. It gratifies their persistent fantasies about attaining unlimited success since this is how social currency is measured in Western culture. 

Otherwise, the narcissist will pay for nothing and expect you to foot the bill for everything. They have no shame, no empathy, no conscience, and indeed – they arrogantly believe you should feel flattered that you are with someone as perfect as they are. If you say ‘no’, then playing the victim will ensue, plus any games of ‘baiting’ will be over, they ‘switch,’ fly into a narcissistic rage and you most likely will be devalued and placed on the discard pile while they sniff out their next target to leech off. 

If planning to get into a new relationship with someone, take your time and watch out for red flags of financial abuse. These include the parasitic taking, possibly by guilt-tripping, bailing them out of messes, plus ‘love-bombing’ with flowers/gifts/affection, especially in the initial stages of the relationship. Any ‘giving’ by a narcissist will be a ‘one-up’ for them, and you will be in a disempowered position because you now ‘owe’ them. They may also regale you with stories (lies) about their own brilliance, achievements and abilities to win you over. 

By becoming aware of any of your own unhealed enabling, co-dependency and abandonment issues, people-pleasing and unhealthy boundaries, you can then move to a place of emotional health by loving and honouring your worthy self without being needy. 

Most of all, go and maintain ‘no contact’ with the narcissist to avoid being bled dry by these vultures.

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