Jealousy Symptoms and Cure

Did you ever :

  • Get very possessive

  • Acted super intrusive

  • Harbored vindictive and hateful thoughts

  • Intend to hurt someone

  • Trash-talked behind the back

Feel more than 3 of these at the same time? Chances are high you suffer from intense jealousy.

Sigmund Freud categorized jealousy into two types normal jealousy and projected jealousy.

Normal jealousy in relationships typically manifests itself when there is an actual threat between you and your partner. For instance, if you unintentionally discover your partner clubbing with his girl pals on a Friday night after he assured you he would be home early. In situations like these, it’s acceptable to feel both jealous and irritated. Knowing that you can be lied to may lead you to question his allegiance.

But, there could be another case. Remember Shobha?

Shobha sees her partner having fun with his friends but she is too stuck with low self-confidence and becomes envious. There is no rivalry present; rather, the imbalance in the identity is the result of the jealous person’s thoughts.

To make the matter even, Shobha herself wants to do something unfair but cannot do it so she accuses her partner of doing the foul act - this is a classic case of projected jealousy. In matters of projected jealousy there are no rivals nor threats, but insecurity finding the prime illustration.

There is yet another case of jealousy that finds its climax in relationships. An abnormal kind of jealousy called pathological jealousy frequently manifests as a symptom alongside several other mental illnesses, including obsessive-compulsive disorder.

People with pathological jealousy conclude that their partner is being unfaithful, based upon skewed understanding of trivial events. Multiple imaginary factors start floating in their mind validating all their wild assumptions.

The subject themselves won’t alter their behavior, and frequently accuse their partner of being unfaithful to multiple people.

In Shobha’s case, she used to believe that she owned her partner and had the sole authority to make decisions on his behalf. She would accuse her partner if he would pay attention to others. She would question every act, monitor calls, and messages. Shobha would not stop over here, she would even make attempts at changing the personality traits. All of this so that she could preserve her relationship.

Pathologically jealous people experience emotions as a result of their intense insecurity, lack of affection, and frantic need for security and control.

Now that we have demonstrated the symptoms. Let us talk about the cure, and hear what experts have to offer.

“To successfully approach jealousy, one must understand the nature and function of jealousy as an emotion. Jealousy is a compound emotion that exists in a relational situation that involves at least two other people (i.e. a triangular or larger group relationship). It pertains to the more primary emotional feelings of fear and pain that the love, attention, and/or other favors that one is due from a loved object are being taken away by a rival. Hence, the process of jealousy tends to begin with pain or fear before it transforms into 1) anger towards the rival and 2) the motivation to possess the loved object (and the persistent fear of losing it).

On a mental/cognitive level, the emotional process described above usually generates a fantasy (or an emotionally charged story) populated by internal figures representing the loved object, the rival, and the deprived self.

As the person invests more and more of their emotional energy into this fantasy (through spending time ruminatively thinking about it, acting out on it, or even fighting or suppressing it), the most subjectively real and convincing the fantasy becomes and the harder it is to distinguish the fantasy from reality.

Hence, to manage jealousy, a person must first distinguish between a relational situation where one’s connection with their loved object is genuinely compromised and one whereby the feelings of hurt, fear, and anger are amplified and intensified in one’s own internal mental and emotional processes.

If it is the latter, it could be very healing if a person can explicitly permit themselves to identify, feel and validate their own emotions, e.g. saying to oneself, I am ‘scared that I might lose him/her’, ‘I am hurt when I thought he/she did X’, ‘I am very angry at him/her for Y’. With self-compassion and perseverance, doing so will help the intensity of the feelings subside.

At that point, one should re-examine the situation and ask themselves, how much of my original thoughts or perceptions which had made me so jealous (fearful, hurt, and angry) are real or proportional to the circumstances? What is another way of looking at the situation?

Sometimes, if the relational situation allows, meaning if there is enough trust and safety in the relationship, it could be useful for the jealous person to initiate communication with the loved object, to

  1. admit to the vulnerable feelings they suffer from and

  2. seek support, especially if the person could do so in a responsible and non-blaming fashion.

For example, instead of saying ‘you hurt me when you did X’, saying ‘I felt very hurt by the thought that Y happened, I know I am very sensitive about this and might have amplified some of these feelings myself, but it would be great if you could let me know if any of this is true.

An even more self-empowering way to handle jealousy in communication is to communicate that one takes 100% responsibility for the emotion while freeing themselves from the outcome of the interaction, e.g. by saying ‘I am feeling very hurt by the thought that X and Y have happened. I don’t know if they have happened but I am fully responsible for these feelings because I have been putting energy into these ideas.

I am hoping by saying these to you I can help you understand why I have not been able to fully connect with you. I am doing so because I value our relationship and want to reconnect with you’. The latter way of communication could be very powerful, and when done right, often elicits a lot of genuine communication between people.

Even if it fails to elicit honesty or a kind response from the other person, the outcome is valuable because it offers a lot of insight into the nature of the person one is dealing with. For instance, you may then legitimately question what type of person would not respond kindly even when one has initiated a conversation with full authenticity and responsibility and relatedly if the relationship with this person is as healthy or helpful as one might have assumed.

However, since this style of communication requires a high level of emotional reflectivity, resilience and clarity, and some levels of risk-taking, I would suggest that one only does so only with the guidance of a therapist or coach and after a certain amount of practice.” Dr. Jason Chan

“Jealousy is evidence of our insecurity and self-doubt (no baby is born with self-doubt) when we learned to believe that our value is determined by another’s opinion or behavior. It isn’t. You are a child of God.

Jealousy is based on wanting something (or someone) that someone else has AND not wanting them to have it. Envy is based on wanting something (or someone) that someone else has AND it being Ok they have it. Envy is a compliment. Jealousy is an attack..”

Rob Pennington

Jealousy can be termed as nothing more than a fear of abandonment. It can indicate a strong desire for an individual. But on the contrary, it may most likely stem from an individual’s insecurities about themselves or the relationship they’re in. When insecurity in a relationship runs rampant, jealousy can rapidly grow into paranoia and obsession. This may threaten to destroy the very relationship that the individual is most afraid to lose.

“I’m sorry I get jealous sometimes and overreact. It’s only because there’s a bigger chance of me losing you than you losing me.” This statement is a classic example of an unhealthy attachment style that exhibits severe insecurities, low self-esteem, and major abandonment trauma. So, one needs to differentiate when their partner reacts or acts in such a way. Does that comes from a place of genuine concern towards the connection or is it from a place of control and being territorial is the question. Jealousy is a powerful emotion and thus, if not worked well with, can ruin relationships substantially.

Anujaa Navaratnaa

“Jealousy is a part of human nature. It comes automatically when you love someone and that someone feels closer to another person. It is all about trust. You are jealous because your person is treating somebody else way better than he/she treats you. So ask yourself, is it worth it to even be with that person.

If you feel yes I would suggest talking it out with that person and if your answer is No, then simply save yourself by moving out of that person’s life. A person who loves you and cares for you will never put themselves in the situation to lose you so, it’s all about how you want to deal with it. You want to stand there watch and hurt yourself or you want to simply free yourself by talking it out with that individual. The decision is always ours, the choice is always ours we just forget to choose and use it.”

Priyanka

“Jealousy is usually about one’s insecurities rather than a partner’s behavior.

Pausing before reacting and doing some self-reflection and self-inquiry can be helpful to assist in responding rather than reacting. I recommend doing some reflecting with a trusted friend or therapist to gather more insight and feedback.” Laurie Hollingdrake

That’s all in this edition.

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