I'm looking for a word for someone who doesn't want you to succeed or threatened by your success.

Particular for fear that your success will overshadow their own. Not so much for malicious reasons, but more from insecurity.

  • My Point-Haired Boss? :) Dec 5 '13 at 21:16
  • @Affable Geek, I don't understand. Dec 5 '13 at 21:43
  • @JasonMcCreary: Pointy-Haired Boss (PHB for short) is a Dilbert reference. Dec 5 '13 at 22:38
  • Gotcha. Missed the critical y. Dec 5 '13 at 22:48

Someone suffering from tall poppy syndrome.

Tall poppy syndrome (TPS) is a pejorative term primarily used in the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other Anglosphere nations to describe a social phenomenon in which people of genuine merit are resented, attacked, cut down, or criticised because their talents or achievements elevate them above or distinguish them from their peers.


Sue was suffering from tall poppy syndrome. After her cousin Kathy landed a high paying modeling job in New York, she complained loudly at the family gathering about how 'Kathy thinks she's so much better than us now that she's working in New York. Pity it's not going to make her an any nicer person'.

  • Interesting. This is the closest so far. However, not exactly it. Dec 5 '13 at 21:42

How about Rival? Adversary? Frenemy? Hater?


  • Frenemy is closest of the three. But as noted, it's not coming from dislike, more their own insecurity. Dec 5 '13 at 20:41
  • Do you mean schadenfreude? Seems focused on misfortune. Dec 6 '13 at 15:42
  • "Shadenfriend" was intended as a whimsical portmanteau, echoing commonly known (well, here) shadenfreude. I wasn't really intending to overthink it much, but now that you ask.... Shaden is German for "harm", so the general idea is that it's somebody who is a friend to you only when things are going badly for you, not well. This deconstruction depends on one's status being binary {good, bad}, vs. a more sophisticated trinary status {good, neutral, bad}, but... close enough. Dec 7 '13 at 0:08
  • If you're trying to imply some kind of zero-sum environment, whether real or just perceived by this other person, I think "rival" works best.
    – Scott
    Mar 11 '19 at 20:46

The obvious, to me, candidate is nemesis, from the Online Merriam Webster:

a : one that inflicts retribution or vengeance
b : a formidable and usually victorious rival or opponent

  • 1
    Seems more vengeful. How does that related to threatened by your success? Dec 5 '13 at 22:46

I think opposition would work well.

Defined: a group of adversaries or competitors, especially a rival political party or athletic team.

If someone is your opposition, they would likely want you to fail, so that your success doesn't out shadow theirs.

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