We all know what it’s like to feel a little jealousy. Someone else has the lifestyle you dream of or the possession you desire, and while you might be happy for them you might also feel a twinge of resentment that they have what you want. Why them, and not you? Mild jealousy is normal and most people can ignore it or turn it into motivation to work harder to achieve our goals. But in the mind of a malicious individual, it turns to envy which can be a very powerful driver of destructive behavior.

Stories abound across cultures when it comes to envy. Cain killed his brother Abel because he perceived that God favoured Abel’s sacrifice over his. Snow White had her heart ripped out because the Evil Queen envied her beauty so much, she destroyed her. Dante described envy as “a desire to deprive other men of theirs.”

Envy brings on feelings of inferiority. It can cause obsessive and aggressive behaviour. It drives the need to diminish or destroy the object of envy to counteract these feelings. The one envied has done nothing wrong, but they will suffer because someone else desires their level of success, wealth, or happiness.

Envy and Narcissism Are on the Rise

Our global culture encourages narcissism, which feeds off of envy. Social media displays perfect images of influencers, selfies are normal, and children are praised to enhance their self-esteem when they haven’t done anything to earn it. The narcissist has an inflated sense of self-worth and requires the attention and admiration of others – clearly becoming more and more normalised in today’s society.

What happens when someone else ‘steals’ the narcissist’s attention? Perhaps by winning an award or getting a promotion that the narcissist thought they deserved for themselves, or even simply purchasing something the narcissist covets. Instead of feeling happy for the other person, narcissism combines with envy and presents as hostility and maliciousness. They set their target and design their attack to abuse, vilify, and use any other tactic to take down the other person.

And the easiest thing to target? Reputation.

Reputation is a Prime Target of Envy

In the 13th century, renowned philosopher St Thomas Aquinas identified three stages of envy. He said that during the first stage, the envious person attempts to lower another's reputation. In the second stage, the envious person receives either "joy at another's misfortune" or "grief at another's prosperity.” The third stage is hatred because "sorrow causes hatred." While centuries old, these stages still apply today, with reputation, or credibility, being the first point of attack.

In our modern digital era, the effects of envy can be particularly disastrous. It takes only moments to spread lies online, lies that travel around the world in seconds and can destroy people’s reputations immediately.

For instance, take the incredible story of Guy Babcock. Babcock found himself accused online of being a pedophile, a thief and a fraud. Further accusations were leveled at his family members. When he Googled his name, he appeared at the top of the search, with terrible, untrue and mystifying accusations. Terrified, he feared vigilantes would attack him and his family. He worried about the repercussions this would have for younger members of his family, to have their search results forever tainted with accusations of child molestation and thievery.

Babcock was stunned to find out that the person behind the malicious attack of misinformation was a female employee his father had fired over 20 years ago – and she had waged attacks on many other people, from lawyers to journalists. Her envy and greed turned to revenge, and she destroyed the reputations of numerous people to revel in their misery and delight in the effort and expense they went to fight it.

While he did everything he could to remove the damaging lies, Babcock discovered just how hard it is to remove information from the internet. Even organisations that charge thousands of dollars to do it are often unsuccessful. Even though the criminal was found and charged, the misinformation she released is still out there today.

Unfortunately, this ploy is a common tool used to destroy reputations. Everyone has a keyboard at their fingertips and the devastating effects of online attacks often take years to overcome – if they are overcome at all.

What Can You Do? You Must Protect Your Reputation, Now.

Innocent people are damaged for life because of how easy it is to have a malicious attack waged on their reputation. Reputation Guardian was founded by Nick Preece after he spent 20 years trying to overcome an attack on his reputation that found him wrongfully imprisoned, held in a mental health facility and subjected to police raids – all when he had done nothing wrong but be the object of someone’s envy. He doesn’t want to see any other innocent people suffer as he has.

Reputation Guardian provides a means for people to safeguard their reputation credentials so you can build a defense before your character comes under attack. Any material that attests to your good character and shows your true, earned reputation can be stored in this secure, online vault. No one can tamper with, steal or share your information. Instead you’ve got secure storage for the true details of your life in case anyone should attack you and you need to prove your solid reputation. It’s difficult to prove such things when you’re in a jail cell, or a mental health facility, especially when your credibility has already been tarnished. With all your documents in one secure online place, you can access everything you need, immediately.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Protect your reputation with Reputation Guardian.