Why is there always that one person who seems to be completely incapable of being happy for you when you’re succeeding?

Like nearly every ex-bf I’ve ever had to let my success somehow become a signal they were failing.┬áMy only hope for you is that the crap person in your life who is doing this isn’t someone close to you.

There’s no letting them off the hook for such bad behaviour, but it turns out there is some science behind the motive that might help you realise it’s about them, not you.


1. They’re feeling insecure

What’d I just say about the ex-boyfriends? According to psychologist and author Steven Berglas, people gauge their own successes by those of the people around them.

It’s unreasonable, but many people can take someone else’s good news as a sign they must be failing and a fear that you must be thinking this too.

2. They’re projecting

They’ve been watching you work bloody hard for your achievements, including putting in the effort and go the extra mile that they weren’t willing to themselves.

So then you get what you wanted because you worked harder and they’re left getting mad at their own choices and taking it out on you.


3. They have unreasonable expectations

According to research by psychologist Jason Plaks, people feel anxious when a performance doesn’t reach the level they were expecting – whether that expectation was fair and reasonable or not.

“People are driven to feel that they can predict and control their outcomes,” Plaks says. “So when their performance turns out to violate their predictions, this can be unnerving–even if the outcome is, objectively speaking, good news.”

Incidentally, you could be doing this to yourself as well.

4. They’re dealing with their own stuff

It’s never fair to let out own disappointments form the past affect how we react when someone tells us good news, but we’re human and we’ve all probably done it at some point. If it’s a once off maybe you can cut them some slack, but if they’re always making you feel back for your achievements, I say ditch them.

A negative reaction can often come down to our individual sense of ‘what’s fair’. Maybe they did work really hard but just didn’t get where they wanted to. It’s life, it’s certainly not your fault, and it’s up to them to find peace with it.