Here's the cartoon image of a narcissistic character surrounded by money, depicted in a humorous and exaggerated manner.

Why Are Narcissists So Weird About Money? (Explained)

Narcissists often exhibit peculiar behaviors regarding money due to their psychological makeup and how they perceive its significance in their lives and relationships.

Here’s a breakdown of why narcissists might be weird about money:

Narcissistic Supply through Money

Narcissists often seek external validation and admiration, which they term “narcissistic supply.”

Accumulating money can become a significant source of this supply.

For a narcissist, wealth is not just a means to comfort or security; it’s a tool to garner admiration, respect, and envy from others, thus feeding their need for validation.

Sense of Superiority Based on Wealth

Narcissists who possess wealth often feel superior to those with less financial means.

In their view, monetary wealth is a direct reflection of one’s value, success, and even intelligence.

This belief can lead to a sense of entitlement and a condescending attitude toward those they perceive as less affluent.

Associating Wealth with Personal Attributes

Narcissists may equate financial success with a range of positive personal attributes.

They might believe that people with money are inherently more successful, ambitious, intelligent, and valuable to society.

This belief reinforces their desire to accumulate wealth as a means of associating themselves with these admired qualities.

Projection of Self-Image

For narcissists, money can be a tool to project a desired self-image.

It’s not just about having wealth but also about displaying it in ways that they believe will elevate their status in the eyes of others.

This can lead to extravagant spending, ostentatious displays of wealth, and using money to control or impress others.

Money as a Control Tool

Narcissists might use money as a means to control or manipulate relationships.

They may use financial generosity or withholding as a way to exert power over others, often attaching strings to their financial help or using money to keep people dependent on them.

Q&A – Why Are Narcissists So Weird About Money?

What drives a narcissist’s obsession with money?

Narcissists are often driven by a deep need for validation, admiration, and a sense of superiority.

Money, in their view, is a potent symbol of success and power. It offers a tangible way to gain admiration, control, and status.

For narcissists, accumulating wealth is less about financial security and more about securing a higher status and eliciting envy and admiration from others.

Their obsession with money can also stem from underlying insecurities; they may use wealth as a shield or a compensatory mechanism to mask feelings of inadequacy or vulnerability.

How does a narcissist’s perception of money differ from non-narcissistic individuals?

Non-narcissistic individuals typically view money as a means to achieve security, comfort, and possibly enjoyment.

They may also see it as a resource for helping others or contributing to society.

In contrast, narcissists often view money as a direct reflection of their self-worth and a tool to establish dominance.

For them, wealth is not just a means to an end but an end in itself, deeply tied to their identity and self-esteem.

They are more likely to view money as a way to differentiate themselves from others and to use it as a symbol of their superiority.

Can a narcissist’s relationship with money affect their personal relationships?

Absolutely. A narcissist’s focus on money can significantly impact their personal relationships.

They might value people based on their financial status, leading to superficial or transactional relationships.

In romantic relationships, narcissists may use money as a means of control or manipulation, either by using financial generosity to create a sense of obligation or by withholding financial support to exert power.

Their need to display wealth can also lead to financial irresponsibility, causing strain in familial or marital finances.

Moreover, their lack of empathy and focus on materialism can create emotional distance and conflict with partners and family members who don’t share these values.

Do all narcissists use money to feel superior to others?

Not all narcissists may explicitly use money to feel superior to others, as narcissism can manifest in various forms.

However, a common trait among many narcissists is the use of external indicators, like money, to bolster their sense of self-esteem and superiority.

For some, this might be more subtly expressed through lifestyle choices or attitudes toward those with less wealth, while for others, it might be overtly displayed through extravagant spending or boasting about financial achievements.

How does a narcissist’s need for admiration and validation influence their spending habits?

A narcissist’s spending habits are often heavily influenced by their need for admiration and validation.

They might engage in conspicuous consumption, buying luxury items, or adopting an extravagant lifestyle as a means to attract attention and admiration.

Their spending is frequently aimed at enhancing their image and status.

This can lead to financial decisions that are more about impressing others than practicality or genuine personal enjoyment.

It can also result in financial instability if the need for validation leads to spending beyond their means.

Are narcissists more likely to engage in financial manipulation or control?

Narcissists are indeed more likely to use financial means as a tool for manipulation and control.

This behavior is part of a broader pattern of manipulative and controlling behavior often seen in narcissists.

They may use money to create a sense of obligation, indebtedness, or dependency in their relationships.

This can manifest as using gifts or financial support to control someone’s behavior, or withholding financial resources as a form of punishment or control.

This manipulation can be particularly damaging in intimate relationships, where financial control can be a form of abuse.

Is there a difference in how male and female narcissists view and use money?

The core characteristics of narcissism, including attitudes toward money, are generally consistent across genders.

However, societal norms and expectations can influence how male and female narcissists express these attitudes.

For example, men might be more likely to use money as a symbol of power and dominance due to traditional gender roles that associate masculinity with financial success.

Women, on the other hand, might use wealth as a means of securing social status or as a tool for competitive comparison with others.

It’s important to note that these are general trends and individual behaviors can vary widely.

How can someone in a relationship with a narcissist navigate issues related to money?

Navigating financial issues in a relationship with a narcissist can be challenging.

It’s important to set clear boundaries and maintain financial independence where possible.

This might involve having separate bank accounts or being transparent about financial decisions.

It’s also crucial to avoid getting drawn into the narcissist’s need for financial display or control.

Seeking support from a therapist or a support group can be helpful in understanding the dynamics of the relationship and developing strategies to deal with financial manipulation or control.

In some cases, especially if financial abuse is present, leaving the relationship may be the healthiest option.

Can therapy or counseling help a narcissist change their views and behaviors regarding money?

Therapy can be helpful for narcissists who are willing to acknowledge their issues and work toward change.

However, narcissism can be a challenging personality disorder to treat, and change often requires a long-term commitment to therapy.

A skilled therapist can help a narcissist understand the underlying issues driving their behavior, such as a need for validation or deep-seated insecurities.

Through therapy, narcissists can learn healthier ways to relate to others and develop a more realistic and grounded understanding of money and its role in their lives.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and other forms of psychotherapy can be particularly effective in addressing dysfunctional thought patterns and behaviors.

However, the narcissist’s willingness to engage in therapy and their level of insight into their behavior are critical factors in determining the success of the treatment.

What are the signs that someone’s obsession with money is due to narcissism and not other factors?

Identifying whether someone’s obsession with money is due to narcissism involves looking for specific patterns in their behavior and attitudes.

Key signs include:

  • A strong correlation between self-esteem and financial status: If an individual’s sense of self-worth is heavily dependent on their financial success or possessions, it might indicate a narcissistic trait.
  • Using money to gain admiration and attention: If an individual frequently uses money or wealth to impress others or seeks constant admiration for their financial achievements, it could be a sign of narcissism.
  • Lack of empathy in financial matters: Narcissists often have difficulty understanding or caring about the financial needs or struggles of others, focusing instead on how these situations affect them.
  • Manipulative financial behaviors: Using money to control or manipulate others is a common narcissistic trait.
  • Using relationships as transactions: Looking for people’s financial information to get money out of others.
  • A sense of entitlement regarding wealth: If an individual believes they inherently deserve more money or better treatment because of their financial status, this can indicate narcissism.
  • Excessive competitiveness about wealth: A narcissistic individual might constantly compare their wealth to others and feel a need to outdo or belittle those they perceive as less successful financially.

Note that these signs alone do not definitively diagnose someone as a narcissist.

Other factors, such as cultural background, personal values, or other mental health issues, can also influence a person’s relationship with money.

However, a consistent pattern of these behaviors could suggest narcissistic tendencies.

Why do narcissists want to know your financial information?

Narcissists often seek to know your financial information for several reasons, mostly related to their characteristic behaviors and psychological needs:

  1. Control and Manipulation: Narcissists often use information as a means of control. Knowing about your financial situation can give them leverage over you. This can be particularly evident in intimate or familial relationships where financial interdependence might play a role. They may use this information to manipulate or exert influence over decisions and dynamics in the relationship.
  2. Gauge Status and Value: Narcissists tend to assess others based on their perceived status and value, and financial information is a significant part of this assessment. By knowing your financial situation, they can place you on their mental hierarchy, determining how they will interact with you based on whether they see you as superior, equal, or inferior in terms of financial status.
  3. Competitiveness: Narcissists are often highly competitive and may want to compare your financial status with theirs. This is part of their need to feel superior and more successful than others.
  4. Financial Dependency: In some cases, narcissists may want to create a scenario of financial dependency. By understanding your financial situation, they can devise ways to make you more financially dependent on them, which increases their control and power in the relationship.
  5. Exploitation: If a narcissist identifies that you are in a certain financial position, they might see an opportunity to exploit you for their gain, whether it be for money, resources, or other benefits.
  6. Projection of their own Insecurities: Sometimes, a narcissist’s interest in your finances can be a projection of their own insecurities regarding money. They might be constantly worried about their financial status and project this anxiety onto others.
  7. Validation of their own Wealth: If a narcissist is wealthy, knowing about your less favorable financial situation might serve as a validation of their own wealth and success, thus feeding their ego.

Understanding these motivations can be crucial, especially if you are in a close relationship with a narcissist.

It’s important to protect your financial information and set boundaries to ensure that this information isn’t used against you.


Narcissists’ weirdness about money stems from their deep-seated need for admiration and superiority, their association of wealth with positive personal qualities, and their use of money as a tool for control and self-promotion.

This behavior is rooted in their psychological need to maintain a superior and admired self-image.

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