A jealous and envious woman is using a voodoo doll to seek revenge on her partner

Malicious Envy – Taming the Green-Eyed Monster of Relationships

How Malicious Envy Can Sabotage Your Relationship: When Jealousy Goes Toxic

We’ve all felt a little envious at times, right? Whether it’s that designer bag your friend just bought or that promotion your colleague got, jealousy is a natural emotion that we’ve all experienced. But when that envy turns malicious, it can wreak havoc on your relationship.

Malicious envy is a really intense form of jealousy that can lead to some pretty obsessive and aggressive behaviour toward your partner. But don’t worry, I’m here to help you navigate this tricky emotion.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what malicious envy is, the warning signs to watch out for, and the emotional effects it can have on both partners. Most importantly, we’ll provide practical tips on how to respond to malicious envy in a healthy and constructive way, so that you can build a stronger and more fulfilling relationship with your partner.

Whether you’ve experienced malicious envy yourself, or suspect that your partner may be struggling with it, this article will provide you with valuable insights and actionable strategies to help you navigate this challenging emotion.

What is Malicious Envy?

Malicious envy is a type of envy that can take on a life of its own and becomes toxic. Instead of just wanting what someone else has, you become obsessed with it, and it can make you resentful, angry, and even hostile towards your partner. It can be triggered by all sorts of things, like your partner’s success at work, their social status, how they look, their past relationships, or even how many likes they get on Instagram.

What are the Signs of Malicious Envy?

The signs of malicious envy in romantic relationships can be subtle or overt, but they usually involve negative behaviours and attitudes towards your partner. Some of the signs to look out for include:

  • Criticising or belittling your partner – A person who is maliciously envious may try to make their partner feel bad by criticising or belittling them. This can include pointing out their flaws or making negative comments about their achievements
  • Controlling behaviour – Malicious envy can lead to controlling behaviour, such as checking your partner’s phone, monitoring their social media activity, or becoming overly possessive
  • Accusations of infidelity – Malicious envy can also lead to unfounded accusations of infidelity or other betrayals
  • Sabotage – In extreme cases, someone who is maliciously envious may actively try to sabotage their partner’s success or relationships

A Real Life Story of Malicious Envy

Sarah and Alex had been together for a year when Sarah stumbled upon some old photos of Alex and his ex-girlfriend on his social media profile. Although she tried to brush it off, she couldn’t shake the feeling of jealousy and envy that crept in. Sarah started to compare herself to Alex’s ex-girlfriend, constantly looking for signs that she was better or worse than her. She also became obsessed with checking Alex’s social media activity, looking for any hint of communication with his ex.

As time went on, Sarah’s envy started to affect her behaviour towards Alex. She became increasingly critical of him and even started to accuse him of still having feelings for his ex. Alex felt hurt and confused by Sarah’s behaviour and didn’t know how to reassure her that she was the only one for him.

Eventually, Sarah realised that her envy was rooted in her own insecurities and fears of not being good enough for Alex. She decided to seek help from a therapist to work through her issues.

Through therapy, Sarah was able to confront her underlying feelings of inadequacy and learned how to communicate her emotions more effectively with Alex. She also learned to set healthy boundaries with social media and developed strategies to cope with envy in a more constructive way.

Sarah and Alex’s relationship grew stronger as a result of their efforts to address Sarah’s envy. They learned to communicate openly and honestly with each other, to set healthy boundaries, and to practice self-care. They also learned that by confronting their challenges head-on, they could build a stronger and more fulfilling relationship”.

The Emotional Effects of Malicious Envy?

Malicious envy can have serious emotional effects on both partners in a relationship. For the person who is the target, the emotional effects can include:

  • Anxiety and stress – Constantly being on the receiving end of negative behaviours can be stressful and anxiety-inducing
  • Low self-esteem – If your partner is constantly criticising or belittling you, it can take a toll on your self-esteem
  • Fear – In extreme cases, you may feel afraid for your safety, especially if your partner is exhibiting obsessive or aggressive behaviour

For the person who is experiencing envy, the emotional effects can include:

  • Resentment and bitterness – Malicious envy can be a very bitter emotion, leading to feelings of resentment and bitterness towards your partner
  • Guilt and shame – People who experience malicious envy may feel guilty or ashamed about their negative feelings, especially if they engage in behaviours that are hurtful to their partner
  • Isolation – Malicious envy can be a very isolating emotion, leading people to withdraw from their partner and become emotionally distant

How to Respond to Malicious Envy in Romantic Relationships?

Responding to malicious envy in a romantic relationship can be challenging, but it’s important to address it before it becomes destructive. Here are some strategies that can be effective in responding to malicious envy:

  • Communicate openly – It’s crucial to communicate openly and honestly with your partner about their malicious envy. Let them know how their behaviour is affecting you and your relationship. Listen to their perspective and try to understand their underlying feelings of jealousy
  • Don’t engage in the negativity – It’s important not to engage in the negative behaviour that comes with malicious envy, such as belittling, controlling or sabotaging. This can only worsen the situation and damage the trust between you and your partner
  • Set healthy boundaries – Setting healthy boundaries is essential in responding to malicious envy. Be clear about what you will and won’t tolerate in your relationship. This can include limits on the use of social media, or respecting each other’s privacy
  • Seek professional help – If the malicious envy is causing significant emotional distress or leading to destructive behaviour, consider seeking professional help. A therapist can help you and your partner address underlying issues and develop healthier coping strategies
  • Practice self-care – If you’re the target of malicious envy, it’s important to prioritise your own emotional well-being. This can include practicing self-care activities such as exercise, meditation, or spending time with supportive friends and family


Malicious envy is a toxic emotion that can have serious consequences in romantic relationships. It goes beyond a simple desire for what someone else has and can lead to destructive behaviour towards the person who is the target of the envy.

It’s important to recognise the signs of malicious envy, both in ourselves and in our partners, and to respond to it in a healthy and constructive way. By communicating openly, setting healthy boundaries, seeking professional help, and practising self-care, we can work through malicious envy and build stronger and healthier relationships.

Remember, envy is a natural human emotion, but it’s up to us to channel it in positive ways that motivate us to grow and improve ourselves, rather than tear down the people we love.

If this article raises issues for you or someone you know, please visit my support services page for a list of organisations that can help you