If a narcissist owes you money, determine whether it’s worth sacrificing your mental health to try and get the money back. Be honest with yourself and realize the narcissist will never give you the money back spontaneously.
Seek legal advice if you do decide to take action, and most importantly try to detach physically and emotionally from the narcissist because narcissists are very good at manipulating and deceiving others.
All narcissists have common traits, and such traits can lead them to exploit and control others with various tactics, one of them being taking or asking for money and then never giving the money back.
The narcissist does that to control you and/or make you vulnerable and/or take advantage of your good nature for personal gain (usually all three).
Common traits of narcissists
- Obsessive need for attention. Including negative attention. Narcissists are terrified of being ignored, and want to be noticed at all costs. They want others to give them attention and energy. This is usually to compensate for a deep feeling of emptiness.
- Obsessive need for control. Specifically, controlling other people, even more so if it’s their partner. Narcissists believe that if people around them behaved spontaneously, they would be a threat to them. When they can’t control others, narcissists act cold; when they get a chance, they become manipulative.
- Lack of empathy. Those with a narcissistic personality tend not to understand other people’s feelings. Even when their partner communicates their feelings verbally or physically, they may still fail to empathize. And when they do empathize, they could deliberately choose to ignore how the other person feels.
- Superiority complex. That is, an exaggerated sense of self-worth and self-importance. Narcissists believe they are better than everybody else. In their mind, they always deserve more. Their superiority complex may also lead them to believe they are responsible for controlling other people’s lives.
- Exploitative behavior. For narcissists, other people are valuable (matter) only if they clearly add value to their life. Since narcissists lack empathy, or choose not to recognize other people’s emotions and needs anyway — they justify taking advantage of those around them.
Narcissists and money
If you’ve read the list of common narcissistic traits above, then it’s pretty obvious that some or all of those traits can make the narcissist borrow money for selfish purposes.
A tendency to exploit others without feeling any genuine empathy or connection, a superiority complex, the need to control others — it’s a dangerous mix that can very easily lead to dishonesty, including borrowing money without paying it back.
When a narcissist refuses to give you your money back, they…
- Put themselves in a position of power, where you need something they have full control over (notice how this could be money or affection, or both; the reason behind it is the same)
- Imply that they are superior, better, or more important than you or anyone else; that their own needs and wants, no matter how absurd or selfish, are the absolute priority
- Create attention, in the sense that you now have all these thoughts about them, their money, and their selfish behavior; whereas if they did give the money back, you could easily forget about them
If a narcissist owes you money, you’re not alone
Narcissists are, unfortunately, very good at lying and deceiving others in general. And they will never stop lying, even after warnings or ultimatums.
The internet is full of stories, forum posts, and videos of people (usually partners) that made the mistake of giving or lending money to a narcissist, and that are now asking for help.
So please know that you are not alone, and that this is the type of situation where, because you’re dealing with a sensitive issue that (you think) may make you look stupid or naive, you’re naturally inclined to hiding it.
And here’s the thing — although some of us respect themselves too much to fall victim to the narcissist’s tactics, like I said, narcissists are extremely good at deceiving and manipulating.
If you’ve made the mistake of giving money to a narcissist, that’s a lesson to learn (more on this in a minute) but you also need to be kind to yourself and realize the narcissist has probably been very good at what they did.
Whether it was making their wants look like needs, making promises they knew they would be unable to keep, threatening you emotionally, gaslighting you, or lying in general.
You can think of it as being targeted by a thief or scammer — though there are ways to protect you and “be smarter”, it’s never your fault if you fall victim to them. Some people are, sadly, good at stealing (in any way).
What to do when a narcissist owes you money
Being in the position where a narcissist owes you money is never easy.
What you should do depends on a lot of different factors including the actual amount they owe you, your relationship with them, and your financial situation.
And though I cannot possibly know those, this is my personal advice when dealing with the situation.
I hope you find these tips helpful; if you would like to share your own thoughts or experience, please do so by leaving a comment at the end.
Alright, here we go…
1. Be honest with yourself
First things first: realize that the narcissist themselves will almost certainly never give the money back unless they are forced to.
Acceptance is uncomfortable, but it’s the very first step. It’s a necessary step. Give yourself a reality check — you are dealing with a narcissist.
2. Run away, now
Second tip: detach yourself from the narcissist (physically, mentally, and emotionally) as much as possible.
I’ll say it one more time: narcissists are very good at manipulating people. Their lies and tactics are very believable. The longer you stay with them, the harder it will be to run away.
3. Prioritize peace of mind
This totally depends on the amount they owe you — it’s not a black and white thing. That being said, do know you should always prioritize your peace.
Ask yourself whether it’s actually worth chasing the money they owe you, or simply forget about it. A quick Google search will show you stories of people being comfortable losing thousands simply because it turned out to be the most sensible approach.
4. Seek legal advice
If you do believe the amount they owe you it’s large enough, then the best thing you can do is to seek legal advice and hope that the narcissist can be somehow forced to give the money back.
Again, the chances of the narcissist giving you your money back are close to zero, so really, law is pretty much your only option if you decide to take action.
5. Learn a lesson
Don’t underestimate this — it’s the most important tip. Seriously. You don’t want your life to be a pattern of mistakes and bad experiences happening over and over again.
Yes, you are in a bad situation right now. But it’s an opportunity to learn, and make sure it will never happen again. Whether it was $100, thousands, or tens of thousands.
Narcissists, energy vampires, fake friends, toxic people in general are, undoubtedly… I’ll let you think of the right word. But they also teach you invaluable lessons, and when you do learn them, you come back ten times stronger, wiser, and happier.
Narcissists and money: want to share your experience?
I don’t know who you are and why you are reading this, but if you are in a bad place because of how a narcissist has treated you (whether there was money involved or not), I am sorry and I hope you found this article inspiring.
The fact that you’re reading this, alone, shows that you are aware of the issue and are working toward a solution — and most importantly a stronger, more powerful version of yourself.
If you are comfortable sharing your experience or comments regarding narcissist abuse (with money, or in general), please leave a reply below; I always read all comments.
Either way — good luck, and best wishes ❤️👍
well my ex narc is suppose to pay me 2000 a month for life as a division of property after our divorce. I accepted these terms because I still at that time after a 20 year marriage believed he would do right…NOT… he has missed 8 payments totaling 16,000 to date. Yes I need it and yes I know now what a mistake it was not to fight up front but…..I know in my heart he is doing it on purpose and I know he won’t pay me unless I take him to court but I don’t want to spend more money on attorneys fees to get it. That being said would you walk away?
Hi, sorry to hear that. Only you know. From what you have described, legal action does seem the only way to get the money back. How important is the amount he owes you? If you do take legal action, what does it cost you in terms of money, time, and energy?
You may have made mistakes in the past, but you also made the decision to live your own life and detach from him — this is what matters. Perhaps you could consult different lawyers to try and work out the best solution?
Whatever your decision, good luck.
My brother borrowed my life savings while I had been med redundant, recovering from a brain tumor and caring for our Father who has dementia.
I believed his (what I now realize were likely lies) and loaned it to him only after making it abundantly clear how precarious this made my situation and it MUST be paid back within a year; even had a strict payment plan.
He missed every payment adding stress to my extensive health problems making them worse only to discover he ran off to Germany with a woman he’d only just met & it’s been nearly five years of gaslighting hell.
Don’t hurt yourself helping people who don’t care that their actions hurt you.