8 signs someone doesn’t want you to succeed (and 8 ways to respond)

It can be difficult to imagine that someone wouldn’t root for you and your success.

Keeping a grudge is one thing, but actively rooting against someone to make their dreams come true is something else.

And yet there are some people out there who gain the most satisfaction from seeing other people fail, schadenfreude being their main source of joy.

Unfortunately, it’s not always immediately obvious who is a true friend and who is secretly rooting against you and even plotting against your plans.

How can you tell when someone is being genuine, and when they’re just trying to stop you from achieving your goals?

Here are 8 signs that someone secretly doesn’t want you to succeed:

1) They’re Obviously Jealous

Jealousy is quite a different emotion, isn’t it?

Because even when someone does their best to hide the fact that they’re jealous of you, you can almost always sense it on them.

It might be the gaze that lingers a little too long or the slight tone in their voice; whatever it is, you just know when someone’s jealous of you.

But as a good person, you never want to assume it, of course. You might tell yourself that they’re jealous of you for other reasons.

Regardless, when a person is jealous of you, they not only covet what you have, but they also don’t want you to have it in the first place.

They have the mindset of, “Why does he deserve it if I don’t?” which then turns into, “If I can’t have it, no one can.”

This fuels their root issue with you: they don’t want you to succeed, because they haven’t, and their intense jealousy can’t take it.

2) They Undermine Your Accomplishments

When you accomplish something praiseworthy, one of the first things you want to do is share it with the people you love most.

Your friends, your family, the people who’ve been with you on your journey.

But when you share your progress, your achievements, the things you’re proud of to the people you love, there’s one person who butts in before you can finish just to undermine or diminish whatever you’re sharing.

Why do they do it?

Because they can’t stand that you even have anything praiseworthy to talk about in the first place.

They hate that you’re getting somewhere in life and making something of yourself, and they feel that they should be the center of attention.

The last thing they want to see is even more success in your life, so they make your current successes sound minimal and exaggerated every chance they get.

3) They Offer False Promises

People who want the best for you will always do whatever they can to help you out.

When someone wants you to succeed, they know that their help may not be exactly what you need, but they try to give it anyway, because they know it’s also a form of moral support.

It’s not just about the help itself; it’s about the fact that they were there for you when you needed them, and that’s what they want to show you.

But when someone doesn’t want to succeed, they’ll do something a lot worse than refusing to help you.

Instead of directly refusing, they’ll pretend that they’ll try to help you, only to end up disappointing you at the end of the day.

If you ask them if they can help you meet someone important, they might promise to reach out to their network and arrange a meeting, and they’ll continue to promise that every time you ask.

Because it’s not just about withholding their help from you; they also want to waste your time and push you down, making you feel like your attempts to move forward in life are hopeless.

4) They Talk Behind Your Back

Is there anything worse than finding out that someone talks behind your back?

It’s a terrible feeling; knowing that someone dislikes you so much that they gossip negatively about you to your mutual friends.

Not only do you end up feeling insecure around them, you also end up feeling insecure around everyone you both know, because now you don’t know what anyone feels about you.

Talking behind a person’s back is one of the easiest ways to discourage an individual from doing whatever it is they’re doing.

It makes us feel judged as if we’re doing something so bad that no one around us accepts, and it makes us feel alone and isolated from the people we thought were our friends

5) They Kick You When You’re Down

When the person who ends up not wanting you to succeed is the person closest to you who constantly tells you that they “want what’s best for you”, it can be difficult to see whether they’re actually giving genuine help and advice, or just trying to make you feel as bad as possible.

So when you find yourself struggling with your goals, this person will pop up to make sure you really feel that struggle.

They’ll try to come off as playful, telling you how you should just quit before you waste more time struggling, failing to achieve anything.

Instead of trying to lift you back up, they’ll ask you if you’re embarrassed and if you’re ready to throw in the towel.

They put the thoughts in your mind because they know that even if they don’t drill those thoughts in, you’ll inevitably end up doing it yourself.

6) They Emphasize Your Weaknesses (enable your doubts medium)

You might not always understand why a person doesn’t want you to succeed.

If you’re generally a good person, you won’t be able to relate to the mindset of hating someone’s potential success so much that you’ll do whatever it takes to stop someone from getting it.

But one way to easily tell if someone doesn’t want you to succeed?

They enable your doubts every chance you get, reminding you of everything you might be insecure about.

For example, let’s say you spend all your time working on your own business.

Your partner may say that they support you, but in the back of their mind, they just wish that you would get a regular job so you could have regular work hours.

So whenever you start to have doubts about whether this business will ever work, they say whatever they can to enable and worsen your doubts.

They may remind you that you never spend any time with the kids, or that you’re losing your hair and gaining weight from all the stress, or that they need a partner who is home more often.

Instead of supporting you and telling you to keep pushing, they emphasize all the downsides of your dedication, making sure you know that all those issues are in the spotlight.

7) They Make Your Goals Seem Impossible

No matter what your goal may be, you will struggle along the way.

And when you’re at your lowest moments, this person may start being incredibly apparent in your life.

They suddenly can’t stop messaging you, trying to talk to you, trying to give you advice.

They’ll talk about how maybe your dreams were too big to begin with, or maybe that you’re wasting the prime years of your life on something that might not happen.

Every time you talk with them, you can’t help but shake off the feeling that your goals seem farther than ever before, more difficult to achieve than ever before.

You really start to doubt whether you have it in you to do any of this at all, or if you should just cut your losses now and start working towards a more “normal” life before it’s too late.

8) They Explode On You (Rarely)

It’s not the most common sign, because most people can keep explosions of anger locked up inside themselves for as long as possible.

But if you’re suspecting that a person doesn’t actually want what’s best for you, the best way to see it is by asking yourself: have they ever exploded on you?

When a person doesn’t want you to succeed, they have an intense, insane level of frustration built up towards you, but they know it’s a frustration they can never act out on without risking revealing their true feelings.

And yet every now and then, you’ve experienced angry explosions from this person: out of nowhere, they couldn’t control their annoyance towards you anymore and they lashed out at you in ways you never knew they could.

Of course, they apologized shortly after, but the personality change was so sudden and immediate that it always left a strange taste in your mouth, as if you saw a side of them you didn’t know existed.

The hard truth is this is the side of them they’ve always had when it comes to you; it’s just that they’ve never let you see it, except in some flashes and glimpses of passive-aggressive acts here and there.

How to handle jealous people: 8 important tips

People who are jealous and don’t want us to succeed will pop into our lives, and nobody is exempt from this.

Now that you know the signs someone doesn’t want you to succeed, it will be easier to spot and handle them.

1) Delve into the root cause of jealousy or anger towards you

Confrontation is the first step to knowing the reason behind a jealous person’s ill feelings towards you.

When the person opens up, do not be defensive in response to their thoughts.

If the person brings up how great things are for you, and they feel resentful and bitter about it, remind them of your setbacks they may not be aware of.

If they say they don’t like you and that is why they don’t want you to succeed, then tell them that you have done nothing negative towards them.

Try to remain calm as much as possible when tackling a sensitive topic such as this. Do your best to keep your voice low so the other person won’t feel attacked.

2) Empathize with them

Now you know what triggers the other person’s jealousy or anger towards you, it would be easier for you to empathize with them.

Being a bigger person can be challenging, but with practice, it will come more naturally.

For someone to not wish that you will succeed is just plain mean and negative. They obviously have problems in their own life.

So consider giving them some benefit of the doubt since they might be emotionally struggling with insecurities.

Maybe they are feeling jealous of your career progress because they have been working hard to gain the respect of your boss.

They might be jealous of your life because they are going through a rough patch in their marriage life.

Jealousy is a sickening emotion to have, so it’s better to share some empathy for the struggle they are putting themselves through instead of resorting to judging them.

3) Provide them with a compliment

Knowing that a person’s jealousy is caused by their self-doubt, insecurities, and feelings of inadequacy can help you become more open-minded and fight the urge to react in anger.

If they’re feeling ultra negative towards you, then responding with more anger won’t help. Instrad, try to respond with kindness.

For instance, if they’re particularly jealous about how your home looks extravagant, you could say that they have a wide garden, which you don’t have at home. Highlight that people have varying strengths and skills in life, so there’s no need for feelings of jealousy.

You cannot compliment them fully to satisfaction, but you can help them shake off their negative view towards you if you give them positive feedback.

4) Talk about how you feel

If you are talking with a close friend, use “I statements” to convey your feelings about one specific remark or action that the person has said or done.

For instance, say “I feel uneasy when you say mean things about me to our colleagues, because it makes me feel like I was being rude to you.”

Never say “You make me feel,” “It makes me feel,” and the like, since these are vague statements. Try as much to be specific so that the other person can easily digest the circumstances.

5) Explain how their actions affected you

Do not put your emotions on the back burner. Explain how their actions have affected you and be specific about them.

For instance, you can start by saying, “I feel dejected when you constantly ignore me while you’re being a pleasant friend to others because it makes me feel like you don’t want me to be a part of the circle anymore.”

You can also share your own interpretation of a specific action. For example, you can say, “I feel confused when you told me it was sheer luck that led me to promotion because I feel I am not skilled nor hard-working enough to deserve this.”

Avoid putting the blame on the jealous person when ironing things out. For instance, avoid saying, “I feel pressured to answer your calls because you’re a jealous person.”

6) Limit your interaction

The first five tips are focused on you doing your part proactively to improve your friendship or relationship with the person who is jealous of you.

If you notice that they’re still exhibiting the same toxic behavior, then try to keep a distance from them.

They might have powerful, irreversible internal insecurities that make them sensitive and vulnerable to even the littlest things. In that case, anything you do might worsen their feelings and make them question their worth.

If there’s no way to get rid of them in your life completely, then limit your interaction with them. And when you interact, keep out personal or professional subjects out of the conversation.

7) Ignore them

Have you tried all the mentioned tips yet nothing good came out of it? Then it’s probably better to cut them out of your life.

You can never be right to the wrong people, and it’s totally fine to cut the shoe that pinches the foot. After all, there is no rulebook in life which says you have to be friends with every person you encounter.

It’s true that you have no control over their actions, but you can control your emotions. So, don’t react to their negativity at all costs.

The experience may not be pleasant at first, but not giving them the attention and satisfaction of seeing you dispirited can quickly help you get over the situation.

Make no room for toxic people in your life. Life is short to deal with negativity. Instead, choose to follow our last and probably the most essential tip below.

8) Spend more time with people who genuinely like and love you

Dealing with jealous, toxic people is mentally and emotionally draining. Before matters get the best of you, keep in mind to prioritize interacting with people who are worth your energy and time.

Not only will it save you from headaches, but bonding with people who bring value to your life will attract good things in life, such as happiness, contentment, and love.

If someone doesn’t like you, then there is no point in trying to please them since it will only cause you mental and emotional exhaustion. To save yourself from all the stress, make peace with the fact that not all people will like you.

There are so many other positive things in life that need us, such as genuine friends and a loving family. Choose to focus your attention on them and watch yourself further thrive in life.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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