We’ve all experienced a case of the green-eyed monster before.
Even when we know it’s an ugly emotion, we can’t always stop it from spilling out.
To a certain extent, it’s actually hard-wired into us. It’s designed to motivate us into action whenever we feel at risk or like we’re being left behind.
But jealousy can be quite complex. It can be hidden beneath a facade of friendliness or indifference.
That’s why it’s not always easy to detect when someone is secretly jealous of you. But some telltale behaviors give away their true feelings.
Let’s take a look at them.
1) They refuse to give credit where it’s due
We all want to feel acknowledged.
That might be when we’ve done a good job, when we’ve worked really hard, or when we’ve given our all to something.
We want to be appreciated for our good qualities and best points.
But if someone never seems to see your efforts or recognize your gifts, there could be more to it.
Rather than be oblivious, they are being purposely stingy with their compliments.
Secretly they don’t like you doing well.
They struggle to praise you because they feel envious, so they prefer to overlook your positive attributes and successes.
2) They seem to relish delivering bad news
If you’ve ever been cheated on, you’ll know just how much it sucks.
When this happened to me, what made it so much worse was that my so-called friend who was the bearer of this bad news seemed to quite like delivering it.
I know what you may be thinking, and trust me, I’m not the type of person to shoot the messenger.
So it wasn’t that. It was the unfeeling and almost gleeful way she did it.
She had this excited tone of voice., and the way she rushed straight over showed zero hesitancy.
I got the distinct impression she was enjoying it all.
When someone seems to feed off heartache, it’s because they like seeing things go wrong for other people.
In a slightly perverse way, others’ problems make them feel better about themselves and their own lives.
Which is why they are never overjoyed by your good news either.
3) When you’re given an opportunity all they do is point out the potential pitfalls and problems
It feels like they’re trying to put a dampener on things and maybe even put you off.
Well, you could be right.
Projecting negativity onto someone isn’t about your best interests.
They may protest that they are just trying to warn you or keep you from harm. But their jealousy may be coming out to play.
Secretly, they don’t want you to better yourself. They are envious of the chances you have that they don’t.
Instead of celebrating with you, they downplay your good news.
4) They go behind your back to one-up you
If you think that secretly enjoying your friend’s heartache is bad, wait till you hear this one:
My brother-in-law once had a so-called friend stab him in the back in a truly ugly fashion.
He was offered a promotion. It hadn’t been announced officially yet but he confided in his pal at work.
But rather than be happy for him and congratulate him, this guy went behind his back, pitched himself to their employer, and said he would do the role for much less money.
There are some people who covert what we have and will put aside their morals to go out and get it.
Whether it’s your job or your boyfriend/girlfriend — nothing is off limits to them.
5) They dismiss your hard work as luck
Telling someone they are so lucky is a way of belittling their accomplishments.
Rather than good fortune being down to your efforts, the implication is that you were in the right place at the right time.
It’s a sign they’re jealous. They don’t want to acknowledge that you deserve good things to come your way.
They prefer to imply it’s down to dumb luck.
6) They turn everything into a competition
Maybe you’ve heard it said that in life, we’re only really in competition with ourselves.
Yet they didn’t seem to get the memo.
In the words of the Stereophonics:
“If I had myself a flying giraffe, you’d have one in a box with a window.”
They seem compelled to try to outdo you.
Every time you are around they try to show off. Everything becomes a bragging and boasting session.
People who are secretly jealous often engage in constant comparison. They attempt to outshine you in conversations.
That’s because they measure their own worth against yours and become resentful if they worry they’re falling short.
Rest assured, this behavior stems from an underlying insecurity and a desire to feel better about themselves.
7) They leave you out
When someone is secretly jealous of you, they may try to exclude or isolate you from social situations.
Let me give you an example that doesn’t particularly paint me in the best light, but highlights the point nicely.
One year when I was in kindergarten it was my birthday and my mom threw me a party.
She said I had to invite the whole class, but there was one girl in particular I didn’t want there.
She was one of the prettiest in the class. She was really popular and liked by everyone.
It wasn’t that I disliked her, but I was scared she would outshine me. So I didn’t want her to come.
I’m happy to say, this insecurity is something I’ve grown out of in adulthood. But not everybody has.
If someone withholds information about certain gatherings or fails to invite you to things, they may be trying to isolate you from activities.
Maybe they don’t want to share and are worried you will take away the spotlight from them.
8) They’re overly critical
In high school, I had this friend who excelled in gymnastics. She trained really hard and always did well in competitions.
Part of the reason was most likely that her mom had a past in gymnastics too, and so had always pushed her.
Yet no matter how hard she worked, and how well she did, her mom was always so critical.
The truth is that her daughter had got much further than she ever had. So why was she so intent on nitpicking and finding fault?
Whilst I’m sure the mom told herself she had her daughter’s best interest at heart, I’m not so convinced.
I think that deep down she was jealous.
Rather than accept (and feel proud) that her daughter’s talents and achievements had surpassed her own, she needed to find a way to maintain a sense of superiority.
Sadly, she did this by belittling her accomplishments and trying to undermine her confidence.
It was coming from a place of envy, and she felt threatened by her own daughter’s successes.
9) They make passive-aggressive slights against you
When someone is trying to hide their jealousy, they’ll look for ways to be less transparent about it.
That’s when it can manifest in passive-aggressive behavior and comments towards you.
This may include things like:
- Backhanded compliments
- Subtle insults
- Sarcastic remarks
- Jokes at your expense
They may even try to feign support or friendship even though they continue to subtly undermine you.
This sneaky behavior allows them to express their envy indirectly, all the while maintaining plausible deniability.
10) They talk about you behind your back
It’s probably happened to most of us at some point or another:
You find out that someone is spreading rumors or gossip about you. Or maybe they are undermining your efforts or achievements.
Sometimes it’s a way to try to make themselves feel better when they’re experiencing jealousy.
That’s what research discovered when it looked into people’s motivations for gossiping.
It noted that the biggest driving forces behind it were usually feelings of powerlessness, jealousy, and resentment.
As unpleasant as it is, it seems it’s a way of releasing the negative emotions brought about by envy.
Saying nasty things about you to other people feels like a way of bringing you down a peg or two.
A person who is secretly jealous may resort to sabotage to hinder your progress.
The aim is to ensure that you don’t surpass them in any way, as it threatens their own sense of self-worth and accomplishment.
Shake it off
Taylor Swift had the right idea when it comes to all the haters, fakers, and people who don’t have our back in life.
We’ve just got to learn to shake it off.
We shouldn’t take it personally, neither should we let ourselves get sucked into their games.
Recognize that deep down, they’re at war with themselves, not you.
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