Money and narcissism is an interesting topic, which I have observed first-hand via the various narcs in my own life. One of the big questions being, why is the narcissist stingy with money?
With a narcissist, the dynamics can flip from being overgenerous with money, gifts, dinners and so on, to being so stingy, where every little purchase is scrutinised.
Nothing comes for free with a narcissist, everything is a transaction to them.
So, if a narcissist spends money on you, it’s purely because they are wanting something from you. Be it energetic supply, validation, compliments, sex, a loan, somewhere to stay or they expect you to be available for them at their beck and call.
If there’s nothing in it for the narcissist, they will become incredibly miserly towards others and give nothing. They do not see the value in sharing any of their abundance simply for the sake of being generous or giving back.
So, let’s delve into some of the topics that surround the narcissist, money and being stingy.
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Narcissists are Stingy with Money
As the date for my divorce eligibility rolled closer, I was stressing about whether or not my narcissistic ex was going to actually agree to sign the paperwork or drag it out.
He’d already made it clear that he didn’t want to spend the money on a divorce, because obviously buying a new car and home improvements were more important. But, for me, I wanted the contract complete, ripped up and burned! I needed that final task to be done.
“What difference does a divorce make? We’ve both moved on anyway,” was his reasoning for delaying and not spending the money.
Then there we were, having a rare conversation, so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to broach the subject again.
To my dismay, he actually said that, yeah, he was ready to go ahead and officially get the divorce. It seems he’d been having a discussion about it with his new supply.
His big moment of clarity for wanting the divorce was, “what if I come into some inheritance or win the lotto? Does that mean I’d have to give her some if she’s still my wife?”
Yep, his reason for signing the divorce papers was so that he didn’t have to give me anything if he should win the lotto – which, in his stingy, lazy world was a very real retirement plan.
I mean, he’d already mapped it out. He reckons that when he comes into this illusionary windfall, he’d still give me some… you know, being the mother of his children and all.
But, right on cue, any ‘kind’ words were immediately backed up with a devaluation. “Don’t worry, I’m not going to make you a millionaire or anything,” he scoffed.
I love how the thought that I actually might come into some money never even crossed his arrogant mind. It was all about him.
Mind you, it was only three weeks prior to this imaginary offer of support that my ex was complaining about having to pay for both kids’ canteen lunches at school when they stayed at his house. I kid you not.
The kids came home one day saying, “Dad said that you have to pay for my canteen over there, since he’s paying for the other one.”
I’m thinking, ‘huh?’ Total confusion and frustration that someone could be so petty. I mean, who says to their child, “I’m not paying for both of your lunches. Your Mum can pay for one.” A stingy narcissist, that’s who.
I put him back into his place with that one the next time we crossed paths.
When there is no energetic supply for the narcissist’s taking, they will be extremely close-fisted.
Narcissists Don’t like to Spend Money on Others
Without a doubt, narcissists can be extremely stingy with money… when it comes to others.
> If the kids have had a growth spurt and need new clothes, “bloody hell, didn’t you just buy them clothes?”
> When you need to replace a household item, “what was wrong with the one we have?”
> After your phone has died and it’s time for a new one, “here, you can have mine. I was due for an upgrade anyway.”
> If you decide to book in a massage or self-care treatment, “do you really think we have the money for that right now?”
I can remember my narcissistic mother had decided that I needed some new bras when I was about 16 or 17. So, she took me bra shopping.
After about an hour of trying on different bras and choosing a handful that fitted me well, we headed up to the counter. Once the lady put the items through the checkout and announced the price, Mum just looked at me expectantly, as though, “well, aren’t you going to pay for them?”
I was completely thrown! Up until that moment, Mum had given me the impression that she was taking me shopping to actually buy me some new bras. At no point along the way had she implied that I was going to be paying for them. If I had known that, it probably would have changed the number (and price) of the items that I’d chosen. I only worked at the local grocery store a few hours a week after school, so I wasn’t exactly brimming with cash.
I couldn’t shake the feeling that she’d just decided at the last minute that, “why should I have to pay for them? She works, she can pay for them.”
Narcissists like to change the goal posts without a moments notice, just to remain in control and always have the upper hand.
Narcissists don’t see any value in spending money on others to be kind and generous. They don’t get the same good feelings of sharing and spreading the love that an empathetic person would experience. It’s purely transactional.
Narcissists are Greedy with Money
As we’ve seen, narcissists don’t like to spend money on others. But, when it comes to spending money on themselves, there’s no problem in the world.
They feel completely entitled to have the best of the best for themselves and really don’t care how that affects the dynamics of shared money in a relationship.
They might go and get a loan to upgrade their car without even discussing it with you. Sure, they say that they’ll be paying for it out of their own wage, but that inadvertently affects all of the financials. Suddenly, they don’t have as much money to put towards other household expenses. If it comes to needing to spend money on someone else, they’ll spit, “I can’t afford it! I have a car loan to pay for you know.”
My ex claimed that he couldn’t afford child support payments because he was in too much debt. How that was my problem, I’m not entirely sure… especially since he earned 3x as much as I did.
The debt was a result of all of his own choices, yet clearly he expected me to make the sacrifices. Then in the same breath, he had no qualms in showing off new purchases that he’d made.
Narcissists are a walking contradiction, who they think the rules don’t apply to.
Narcissists like to hold all of their money to themselves, unless there’s something in it for them. Then they will ‘share,’ but only with the expectation of receiving something in return.
Narcissists use Money to Control
Narcissists like holding all of the cards when it comes to money as it gives them control over others.
They can ‘buy’ their way into the lives of others with gifts, shouting drinks at dinner and with other Love Bombing tactics.
I always hated that my mother-in-law (a covert narc) would bring gifts for the kids every, single time she saw them. It got to the point where the kids wanted to see her just because they wanted to see what she’d give them. After many times of asking her to stop, she finally pared it back. I tried to explain that I wanted the kids to enjoy seeing her, not her gifts.
I’m sure she never saw my point of view, but just thought I was taking away her ‘grandparent rights’ of spoiling the kids. I could see that the kids were starting to value items less and less because they were just being flooded with them. I wanted my kids to learn the value of material items and having to work for things, not just being entitled.
My husband would always use the, “I’m the one who works, so I deserve..” excuse for everything. It was his excuse for swiping the card and overspending, while I had to budget the food and bills with whatever was left.
It’s funny how when he finally had to be his own accountant, suddenly the overspending on lunches and other menial items stopped. In the past it was never his problem to deal with, so he gave zero cares.
If I was ever stressed about money and brought it up, I was always hit with the same canned response, “I work while you’re at home, so don’t tell me that I can’t spend money that I’ve worked my ass off for.”
Narcissists will use money as a form of control. They can withhold it from you, gaslight or manipulate you with it or use it to ‘buy’ you.
Narcissists and Inheritance
When it comes to inheritance and narcissists, they’re like money-hungry leeches.
My ex actually made two remarks on different occasions about him losing my inheritance through our separation.
> “It’s not just you I’m losing, it’s your family and the security of the inheritance as well.”
> “When my parents die, I’ll get nothing. When your parents die, you’ll get an inheritance.”
I was gobsmacked!
Coming into an inheritance is not something that ever even crosses my mind. My parent’s money is their money for retirement. Who says there will even be anything left once they’ve travelled and paid for nursing homes? It’s their hard-earned money to spend as they wish.
The fact that my ex actually had my inheritance pegged as his own financial win makes me all the more glad that I left the greedy mofo!
Inheritance can bring all of the narcissistic family members out of the woodworks for their share in the prize.
A narcissist feels entitled to whatever handouts and ‘free rides’ they can get their hands on – even when it’s not theirs for the taking. Any possibility of an inheritance will bring out the narcissist’s true colours.
Narcissists and Divorce Settlements
If you have to go through some kind of legal settlement with a narcissist, get ready for a financial horror show.
No matter who left who in the relationship, the narcissist will feel unwaveringly entitled to all of the money, property, business and belongings. If you hadn’t felt that the narcissist is stingy with money before now, you’re about to experience it at max capacity.
However, don’t be surprised to find the narcissist drawing out the legal process in order to bleed you dry financially. Then they’ll turn around and refuse to pay their own lawyer because, “they didn’t do their job properly.”
It’s not enough that they’ve spent the entire relationship abusing you, lying to you and possibly even cheating on you, now they want to take every last thing from you as well.
Because the narcissist lives purely from their ego’s false self, they draw all of their self-worth from money, material items and appearances.
To them, separation or divorce is an utter rejection (yep, even if they left you – go figure) and something they simply cannot tolerate. To save face and justify to the world that this is all your fault, their ego needs to totally annihilate you.
In their warped reality, they feel that crushing you also eliminates any chance of you revealing the truth of who the narcissist is behind closed doors. They will smear you horrendously so as to rewrite the storyline and make sure that no one will believe your truth.
Narcissists need to win at all costs, regardless of what the circumstances are. They believe they are a god-like being who is to be revered, with everyone else falling in below them, merely pawns to be used in their game.
For the narcissist to win a separation or divorce settlement, they need to walk away with all, or at least the larger majority of the money and property.
They have zero empathy towards you. Everything that you’ve given to them (energetically and physically) up until that point is completely null and void. They do not care. They are in it to take-take-take. And when you’ve got nothing left to give, they’ll put their hand out for more, then throw you to the curb in place of a fresh source of narcissistic supply.
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Narcissists must always win and will justify all of their shitty behaviour with such incredible tenacity. They genuinely believe that they are entitled to everything and that you are worthy of nothing.
Narcissists Who Borrow Money
Some narcissists, especially ones who are terrible with money, will tend to borrow money off others. Borrowing money in itself is not a problem… until it becomes a regular thing and never gets paid back on time or in full.
When a narcissist borrows off you continuously, you end up feeling like a bank that doesn’t charge interest. You can be sure that the narcissist will not make you feel comfortable enough to ask for the money back, so there lies an uncomfortable conversation.
The next thing you can guarantee is that they don’t have the money. There’s always some excuse as to why they can’t pay you back just yet. And if they do, more often than not, they’ll only pay back a portion of the full loan.
Then when they do pay you back in full, before you know it, they’re asking for another loan. The sob stories of why they need the loan are always dramatic and effective. They’ll pull at your heartstrings so that you find it hard to say ‘no.’
The narcissist will have no empathy about your financial needs or personal situation.
If you find that you’ve got a narcissist who’s regularly wanting to borrow money, you’ll have to set a firm boundary and stick to it, so that they go and find another ATM.
Some narcissists are entirely bad with money and take no responsibility for their own financial situation. They expect others to bail them out, with no genuine empathy or gratitude towards their helpful friends or family members.
Narcissists Who Steal
Remember, a narcissist lacks empathy and feels entitled to whatever they want, no questions asked.
Not all narcissists steal in the conventional sense, as in shoplifting or theft. But they can steal in other ways, because they feel entitled to certain things.
For example, I doubt my mother has ever technically stolen anything in her life, however she has certainly laid claim to my things and my sisters things and taken them as her own. We’d both lent her items to look after and use, as we didn’t have room for them. But, when it came time to get those items back, they were very much ‘hers’ by that point, even though that wasn’t originally part of the deal.
If they were not items that my Mum actually valued, she would have been more than happy to give them back. But since she’d decided that she liked them, she claimed them as her own.
I’ve known narcissists to steal expensive items from their workplaces and then sell them to friends. I’ve also known narcs to break into cars and either steal them or ransack them for valuables.
Narcissists will not hesitate to steal friends, energy, money and belongings because they feel like the world owes them.
Narcissists are the most entitled creatures to walk the earth. Therefore, they feel entitled to take whatever they can without a backwards glance (especially if they can get away with it).
Here are the takeaway points as to why a narcissist is so stingy with money:
- Everything is a transaction to them
- They don’t do anything for ‘free’
- They give only to receive supply in return
- They use money to control people
- They’ll take whatever they feel entitled to, without apology
- They’re greedy and entitled
- The world revolves around them and nobody else
- They lack empathy and compassion
Why are narcissists so stingy when it comes to money?
For a more in-depth look at the psychology behind why narcissists are so stingy with money, have a look at Dr. Ramani’s video below.
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