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Jealousy originates from a lot of negative emotions. Jealousy usually is not a stand-alone emotion, it has many other emotions. Such as anger, frustration, upset, hurt and envy.
Most of us have felt it at one time or another. It could be a mild annoyance or like a fire inside you, devouring you and making you feel like you might explode. Although it is a common emotional reaction when a person is feeling threatened, jealousy is one of biggest relationship destroyers out there.
What is jealousy?
Jealousy is an often overwhelming feeling of insecurity about a potential loss or inequity in distribution of resources. The term is also used to describe a feeling associated with being possessive of another person, such as a partner or friend
Jealousy is a complex emotion that encloses feelings ranging from suspicion to rage to fear to humiliation. It strikes people of all ages, genders, and sexual orientations, and is most typically aroused when a person perceives a threat to a valued relationship from a third party. The threat may be real or imagined, like seeing a friendly exchange as the sign of an affair, or working late as hiding a secret addiction.
Jealousy can range from feeling bothered that that your husband is admiring another woman or that your bestfriend is getting close to someone else, to imagining things that aren’t actually there. Either way jealousy will have a negative effect on your relationships with people.
At its most mild jealousy is considered an instinctual reaction that makes us want to protect what we feel is ours. Unlike simply being protective though, jealous feelings can balloon quickly into destructive behavior and cause us to act in ways that are selfish and controlling.
Although feeling jealous is something most can relate to, the feeling is often confused with envy.
Jelousy vs Envy
Jealousy and envy are related though are not the same — they are two different types of poison
Envy and jealousy travel together but are different emotions — both are negative and can make you feel miserable and ruin your relationships.
Envy is a two-person relationship: I want what you have. Jealousy is a three-person triangle: I want the recognition you have from others.
Jealousy is commonly used interchangeably with envy, but the two are distinct emotions, and each word has a different definition. While jealousy can be described as a fear that another person may take something that is yours or something you consider to be yours, envy is the desire for something that belongs to someone else. However, both jealousy and envy can cause feelings of insecurity.
Envy is more likely to cause feelings of sadness and a desire to change. Meanwhile, jealousy is more likely to provoke anger and resentment. Sometimes jealousy and envy occur together. When someone feels jealous, they may also envy the person who is causing them to feel jealous in the first place.
For example, your husband becomes close friends with an attractive co-worker, and you may feel jealous of — and threatened by — their relationship.
A woman who wants to purchase the same new designer bag as her neighbor is likely experiencing envy, not jealousy. But a young man whose best friend is spending all her time with her new partner, on the other hand, may experience both jealousy and envy: He may be envious of their relationship and want a significant other of his own, but he might also be jealous of his friend’s new bond, resenting the decrease in the amount of time they spend together.
Jealousy is an anticipatory emotion as Ralph Hupka said. “Jealousy causes us to take precautionary measures. Should those fail and the partner has an affair, the new situation arouses anger, depression, and disappointment.”
“Envy is a propensity to view the well-being of others with distress, even though it does not detract from one’s own. [It is] a reluctance to see our own well being overshadowed by another’s because the standard we use to see how well off we are is not the intrinsic worth of our own well being but how it compares with that of others. [Envy] aims, at least in terms of one’s wishes, at destroying others’ good fortune”. (Kant, The Metaphysics of Morals 6:459).
Jealousy and envy are natural instincts. Nevertheless, you can manage how you react. Both emotions mask other feelings that can become lethal. They hide our insecurity, shame or need to possess — they feed our inner-critic making us feel worthless.
Life is not fair. There will always be people with more talents, health, possessions or reputation than yourself. Entitlement doesn’t help — thinking that you deserve better makes you focus on the outcome rather than on the effort.
Instinctual or not, jealousy is not productive. People who struggle with controlling, jealous feelings are often struggling with deeper issues as well. Uncontrolled jealous behavior is typically a symptom of one or more of the following:
Understanding the root of the behavior can help you work toward controlling it. Any of those three, or combination of them, will not only allow feeling jealous to manifest in destructive behavior, but will also create other problems in a person’s life.
Envy is not a respected emotion in religion, philosophy, or psychology, yet many of us are suffering from it more and more in a world that forces us to compare ourselves to others. On Facebook and other social medias we are forced to look into the lives of others and wonder if our life compares as well. In magazines and talk shows, we are forced to look into the lives of celebrities, which leaves us wondering about our own lives. Are we thin enough, pretty enough, successful enough, etc?
Even if we try and protect our home environment from being invaded by such images, we are bombarded with them each time we go to the grocery store or take a walk in the streets and see magazine covers promoting the lifestyles of the rich and famous; drive through the town or freeways and see billboards with images promoting plastic surgery; or listen to the radio and hear advertisements for various products that will make us prettier, change your skin tone, richer and thinner. Young children as a result are starting to worry about their weight and appearance at ages as young as 4-5 years old. This is quite worrisome to say the least.
“If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself”. Max Ehrmann, “Desiderata”
What Jealousy Does to Your Relationship
Jealous behavior can be extremely harmful to a relationship. At best the jealous partner is needy and constantly looking for reassurance that they are the only one and that no one is a threat to replace them. At its worst jealously can manifest in controlling and distrustful behavior, and even physical or emotional abuse.
The foundation of any healthy and happy relationship is trust and respect. A person struggling with jealousy is unable to trust the person they are with or show respect for them as an individual or their boundaries.
Overtime this behavior will destroy the feelings of love and affection that once existed. It will also likely cause repeated arguing and a need for one partner to prove themselves and their loyalty over and over again. This can be exhausting and prevent a relationship from growing and establishing a solid foundation.
SIGNS OF JEALOUSY
If a person is jealous, they may show it in a wide variety of ways. While some jealous behaviors are subtle, unnoticable, or mild, strong feelings of jealousy can cause people to act out or harm others. Signs you may be experiencing jealousy include:
Anger toward a person or situation that is interfering with something you care about.
Resentment of a friend or partner when they can’t spend time with you.
Difficulty feeling happy for a coworker when they receive something you wanted.
Feelings of dislike toward a new person in a loved one’s life that are hard to explain. For example, a father might have feelings of hostility that stem from jealousy toward his daughter’s fiance even if the partnership she’s chosen is a healthy one.
Deep sadness or feelings of distance when thinking about a partner, friend, or loved one.
The fact of the matter is that we are humans. There are things that will make us jealous. For example, seeing someone we love with somebody else. Or seeing our neighbor with a brand new car. This is bound to make us feel jealous. But what we must do when we sense jealousy is to quickly hold ourselves back.
Remind yourself that jealousy can lead to rage which can lead to regrettable actions that make you sin, hurt others and hurt yourself.