Emotional Health

12 signs for spotting jealous family members

7 Mins read
jealous family members

For some people, its hard to believe that one could have jealous family members. But for some of us, that’s just Tuesday. Jealous family members can be toxic and dangerous to your emotional health.

Did you know that even your parents can be jealous of you? Its surprising how self centered we can be sometimes. Jealousy encompasses all sorts of relationships and families are not an exception. Jealous family members can be toxic, over bearing and put you in quite stressful situations.

The emotional turmoil that comes with the discontent that jealous family members bring is overbearing for anyone.

“For a people who are supposed to be there for you for better or worse, family has a way of messing us up.”

Toxic family members cause a lot of stress on you1. Their manipulation, drama, neediness, criticism, jealousy, and other negative traits can drain you emotionally and make you feel bad about yourself. All of these things affect your health both directly and indirectly. The stress and anxiety affect your health directly, and your negative state of mind causes you to make decisions that negatively affect your health in a big way.

When it comes to jealousy, and emotions in general, you have to realize:

Its not what happens to you but how you react to it that matters.


This is the true essence of emotional intelligence – knowing that at the end of the day, it comes down to how well you are equipped to handling emotions rather than what happens to you.

Its important that you focus on dealing with the emotions that come with having a jealous family member rather than focusing on the cause. This is because, most of the time, when they get jealous of you its subconscious and not obvious to them.

And even though they are aware of it, they would rarely acknowledge it, I mean who would, you would be admitting to being jealous of your own flesh and blood, its insane right? Therefore, focusing on dealing with those negative emotions that they impact on you is paramount to the latter.

However, there are a few obvious signs to help you recognize whether a family member is jealous.

12 signs of spotting jealous family members

Signs of jealous family members

They are happy when you fail

This is the most sinister and obvious one. Jealous people always want to see you fail. They thrive in making sure you stay just the way they want you to. This can be especially true when two friends have the same social status, but then one begins to rise above the other. Beware of those who want to bring you down. Most of all, be careful of those “friends” who view your friendship as some kind of competition. It’s not worth it having toxic people like this around you; they will sabotage your life.

They don’t acknowledge your accomplishments

Jealous people would never want you to feel proud of yourself, they would never make you feel happy about your accomplishments and success. They won’t do that because to them, it would be an acknowledgement of your superiority over them, even though this may not be the actual case.

Be on the lookout for those family members who always frown when you tell them of your success, or those who just brush it off as if it were nothing. Anyone who truly loves you and wants what’s best for you will always try to share in your success by celebrating your achievements and progress.

They hate it when you advice them

Most people who would like advice from you are those who look up to you and want to emulate you. Unlike them, jealous family members hate it when you give them a piece of advice. To them, this is a sure sign that you think you are better than them. That you can offer them something that they don’t know already.

And therefore, that might be the reason for their jealousy- competition.

They always mention your flaws and shortcomings

Have you ever had that one relative who is always pointing out all the things you are doing wrong. The one who always assumes your accomplishments don’t exist but never forgets one wrong thing you ever did. Morover, they always keep bringing it up even when its unnecessary? They may be jealous of you, or even more than that, they may be toxic to you.

They make you feel bad about yourself. Seeing your relatives should make you feel good and loved. If you always leave a family gathering feeling worse about yourself than you did when you arrived, this is a sign that something’s wrong. Your family should be supportive of your goals and proud of your accomplishments.

They always find a reason to argue and fight with you

Family members who don’t appreciate you for no apparent reason and always find a way to fight you on each and every issue may be jealous of you. This is prone to happen if the person is jealous of you without knowing it.

He or she may be irritated by you for no reason, but in reality its because they are jealous of you, they just don’t know it yet. That is why they will argue with you over meaningless stuff in an attempt of figuring out what about you ticks them the wrong way.

Jealous family members always try to be better than you

Every family seems to have that one person who is always trying to be the best. If your child said their first word at the 16 months, theirs did at 12 months. If you share news of your big promotion, they already got one six months after starting their new job.

They are always trying to outshine you in everything, and they always make sure that you know they did something better than you. They would call you just to tell you what awesome thing they did without caring about how you are doing. They are self centered and very competitive. Don’t get caught up in their game. Focus on you.

They make you feel bad about yourself.

They only show up when you are in tragedy

Jealous family members only show up when you are in peril – and mostly not to help, but to see you in that position. Its hard for them to be there for you when you are doing great when they are badly off, but once you get stuck in a compromising situation, they will be there to document the situation.

They spread rumors about you

They will never say anything good about you to their friends and family. They will only highlight you worst moments to other people and overly focus their attention on what you have done wrong. They triumph in your failure, so they make sure they spread it as much as they can to make it real.

Don’t be too swept up with what others think of you, every one has an opinion of you and the chances that those opinions are similar is zero. Try to make sure that you build yourself based on the positive feedback rather than the negative.

They speak ill of you behind your back, not to your face

Jealous people would never want you to know that they are jealous of you. They are sometimes the ones who sing praises of you to your face, but when they are not around you, talk shit about you.

Real and genuine friends and family will always make an effort to criticize you in your presence so that you can make the necessary changes in your life. Those who hide behind closed doors talking ill of you want nothing but failure for you.

Jealous family members overly try to copy you

Sometimes it may seem like every time you do something amazing or accomplish something new, your relative has to run out and do the same thing, or even something better? Its immature, but there are grown people who do this all the time, even though its often subconsciously.

They make an effort to avoid you

Are they avoiding you ever since you got that new promotion, or since you started that big company? They are jealous. Or maybe they are jealous.

They would never want to be near you if they know your success would only make them feel worse about themselves. That is why they will avoid you. You moving forward might actually put them in a bad mood. This doesn’t mean that they’re a bad – they might simply feel inadequate. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can really do about that. You just have to wait until they get over it. Its all about their emotions, not yours, you can’t control what they feel.

They make jokes about being jealous of you

In short, they actually ‘tell’ you that they are jealous of you. They often make comments; “You are so lucky, I wish I were like you”, “If I had what you had then I would definitely be happy, hahaha”,”I can’t believe you did that, i’m so jealous.”

Sometimes it may be harmless banter, but more often than most its a way of them trying to acknowledge that you have something that they don’t — and might wish to have.

Bottom line

Be aware of jealous family members. Their influence and hold on you might not be clear if you are not overly self aware. Just remember, you can’t change what someone feels about you, you can only control how you react to how they feel. Part of emotional intelligence is recognizing the futility in trying to impress or change other people.

David Lawrence Ramsey III – an American radio show host, author and businessman, talks on how jealous family members affect us and how to deal with it in this video:

People change by their own volition and not through influence. If you are dealing with a jealous relative, you can try to do the following to ease your relationship;

  1. Never make yourself small to make them bigger. Be the authentic you.
  2. Minimize your interactions but don’t avoid family gatherings because of them – don’t let them dictate your choices.
  3. Don’t over share your accomplishments and goals with them.
  4. Know that their jealous has nothing to do with you, its all about them.
  5. Don’t be in a hurry to confront them on the issue, show them instead and let them choose to acknowledge it or not.
  6. Behave as if their jealousy doesn’t have an effect on you.
  7. Don’t get involved in their business.
  8. Continue to love and care for them but from a distance.


  1. Samantha, V. (2019) Is Your Family Toxic?. Retrieved from The Oprah Magazine.
58 posts

About author
I'm a psychology enthusiast and a fried chicken lover. I write bite sized articles unpacking the complexities of the human mind. The mission is to advocate for what's more important in life - the pursuit of the truth and the highest good one can do with that truth - for themselves, the people around them and the society as a whole.
Related posts
Emotional HealthPsychology

Why you hate yourself - And don't even know it.

12 Mins read
Emotional Health

The misunderstood side of sadomasochism

7 Mins read
Emotional HealthPsychology

Why do some people just love being sad?

6 Mins read