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5 Signs Someone Is Majorly Jealous of You, Therapists Say

Don't take this behavior personally—experts say it comes from a place of insecurity.

Jealousy is a natural human emotion, and we all experience the pangs of it from time to time—say, when a neighbor wins a free luxury vacation, or when a colleague gets that sought-after promotion. But when someone allows their jealousy to take over, or can't cope with it healthily, it can sabotage their relationships, happiness, and mental well-being.

"Jealousy, an intertwinement of fear, insecurity, and comparison, often silently invades our hearts and minds," says Joel Frank, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist and neuropsychologist at Duality Psychological Services. "It triggers inadequacy and incites a destructive cycle that can erode trust and intimacy… In friendships, it can manifest as resentment when a friend achieves something we yearn for, clouding our ability to celebrate their success. In families, it can introduce a competitive edge that diminishes the unconditional love that should prevail."

Sometimes it's easy to tell when jealousy is rearing its ugly head. But other times you may mistake someone's jealous behavior for competitiveness, arrogance, or senseless cruelty. Ahead, therapists share some tell-tale signs that someone in your life is super jealous of you.

RELATED: I'm a Psychologist and These Are the 5 Telling Signs Someone Is a Narcissist.

They're constantly pointing out your flaws.

Business Man Mediating Argument

Try not to take it personally if a coworker, friend, sibling, or someone else in your life makes it a point to harp on your imperfections.

"If you've noticed someone being overly critical towards you, focusing on small mistakes or flaws, it might not stem from a place of helpfulness—instead, it could be a sign of jealousy," says Frank.

"For instance, your success in the workplace might be met with nitpicking rather than praise," he notes. "This behavior often comes from their inner conflict, their feelings of inadequacy when they compare their journey to yours."

In other words, people who constantly point these things out are typically doing so because highlighting your perceived shortcomings makes them feel better about themselves.

They've started withdrawing their support or affection.

Two middle aged male friends sitting in a coffee shop, having an important conversation over a cup of coffee

While there are several possible reasons for someone emotionally withdrawing from a relationship, Frank says jealousy is one of them. For instance, a jealous person might bail on an important event you invited them to or neglect to congratulate you on your engagement.

"Their withdrawal is a manifestation of their struggle to be happy for you when they wish your accolades were their own," he explains.

Daniel Rinaldi, a therapist, life coach, and founder of Mind Noise, adds that people often distance themselves when their jealousy is breeding resentment.

RELATED: 8 Red Flags Someone Is Being Fake Nice to You, Therapists Say.

They downplay your success.

Woman on the Phone Rolling Her Eyes
Maria Loginova/Shutterstock

A confident person will be able to celebrate your successes. So, if someone in your life is constantly dismissing or downplaying your achievements, that's a red flag that they might be jealous of you.

Frank says they might attribute your achievements to mere luck rather than hard work or skill, or they might imply that what you did is easy to achieve or not a big deal.

"It's their insecurity speaking—they're unable to acknowledge your success for fear it overshadows their own," he explains.

Deborah Gilman, a licensed psychologist and owner of Fox Chapel Psychological Services, notes that jealous people attempt to diminish your success to maintain a sense of superiority.

"When discussing your success, they may emphasize areas where you fell short or encountered challenges, highlighting the negative aspects rather than celebrating your accomplishments," she says. "This strategy aims to shift the focus away from your success by drawing attention to perceived weaknesses, thus protecting their self-esteem from the perceived threat of your achievements."

They frequently make subtle digs about you.

woman hurt by rude comment
fizkes / Shutterstock

Another classic sign of jealousy? Backhanded compliments.

"They may disguise their jealousy with compliments that carry a negative undertone, such as praising your success while implying that it was unexpected or undeserved," explains Gilman.

Backhanded compliments allow them to appear supportive while subtly undercutting your achievements, says Gilman, serving as a passive-aggressive outlet for their jealousy.

Very often, Rinaldi says these comments will be disguised as attempts at humor. That way, if you call them out on their jealousy-driven statements, they can dodge responsibility and claim you're being "too sensitive" or "can't take a joke."

RELATED: 8 Disapproving Body Language Signs That Are Easy to Miss, Experts Say.

They have to one-up you all the time.

Couple arguing in a cafe, parent divorce

Pay attention to how the people in your life respond when you're sharing news about positive things in your life. If you tell someone you're getting a raise at work, do they make it a point to emphasize that they're earning even more money? If you tell them your relationship is going well, do they immediately begin boasting about their own romantic bliss?

"These are one-uppers, meaning that when you share good news, they want to share even better news," says Jackie Golob, a therapist, business coach, and sex and spiritual wellness coach.

Ultimately, a person who constantly has to try and trump your good news or accomplishments is likely jealous of you. They do this to stroke their ego and avoid any painful feelings of inferiority.

Rebecca Strong
Rebecca Strong is a Boston-based freelance health/wellness, lifestyle, and travel writer. Read more