Envious parents may sound relatively harmless, but their behavior can be devastating to their children.  An envious parent is competitive, critical and petty.  She or he hurts the child with these behaviors by belittling, insulting  and basically making the child feel like something is very wrong with him or her.  The root of these behaviors is the parent’s own insecurity.  He or she feels the child is more attractive, smarter, more successful, popular, etc. than the parent, and in order to cope, the parent tears down the child by trivializing the child’s accomplishments and insulting the wonderful person he or she is.  The envious believes it builds him or her up to tear down the child.  Many envious parents have Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

If this describes your parent, then you are not alone.  Many parents are envious of their children.  The good news is there are ways to deal with their hurtful behavior.

Keep your conversations with your parent superficial and not about you.  The less information your parent knows about you, the less he or she has to criticize and belittle.  Focus instead on your parent, the weather, whatever you want to discuss.  Anything but yourself.  You will feel less stress that way.

You also may find it best to limit your exposure to your parent.  Keeping your parent at arm’s length may be best for your own mental health.  If he or she has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, you may feel it best to sever ties at some point. Please see the following page before making any decisions : Should I Go No Contact With My Abusive Parent?

Some envious mothers in particular are especially critical when alone with their daughter verses when others are around.  If that describes your mother, then try not to be alone with her whenever possible.

The envious parent is challenging at best, but even so, you can deal with him or her in a way that is respectful, yet protects your own mental health.  You can do this!


On the road to healing, I personally found my relationship with God to be my greatest help.  He helped me more than I can say. Prayer and meditating on His word, the Bible, helped so much.  Learning who the Bible says I am as a child of God is not only inspiring and comforting, but helpful in the healing process.  If you do not have a personal relationship with God, please read the page Salvation Through Jesus Christ for more information.