Alex had been working at the same company for 3 years and was doing everything in her power to climb the ladder of success. When she would see a co-worker receive an accolade or acknowledgement for their work, she would become inflamed with envy. Whenever her friend, Marsha was promoted Alex started talking behind Marsha’s back about how she wasn’t qualified for the position and couldn’t believe Marsha got the job.
Kaitlyn has wanted to be married and have children for as long as she could remember. Her 30th birthday is approaching and she is beginning to feel very insecure about the fact that she isn’t even dating anyone. When her friends, all of whom are now married or in serious relationships, talk about their partners, Kaitlyn feels so jealous that she sometimes just shuts down. Then, in turn, she beats herself up for not feeling happier for her friends.
Mark has been dating Diana for 2 years and they barely leave each other’s side. Mark is very possessive of Diana and worries that other men are going to hit on her when she goes out. Anytime Diana has an evening out without Mark, he always asks to look at her phone and wants a “play by play” of what she did and who she saw. Mark tells Diana that he isn’t jealous, but that he just doesn’t trust other guys.
Sam and Andrew are brothers and only 1 year apart. Sam, the older brother, has always made straight A’s and excelled in sports. Andrew, while very artistic, absolutely hates school. Sam and Andrew’s family are very focused on academics and praise Sam for his achievements far more than Andrew’s art. Andrew is sick of living in Sam’s shadow, and feels angry at his family for always viewing his brother’s achievements as more important. He is envious of this brother and wants to be the “golden child” for once.
What is Jealousy?
Jealousy is an emotion that comes up for people when they are feeling insecure or fearful, typically around the possibility of losing something or not being good enough. This may occur in professional or personal settings, and depending on how bad it becomes, people in Nashville often seek counseling for jealousy.
Jealousy can be a very toxic emotion that leads to destructive behaviors if it is not addressed. The impact of unchecked jealousy functions on a spectrum. The more you are aware of your jealously and the more you desire for others to have good things the less negative impact your jealousy will have. For example, someone who loves their best friends that just bought a house and also wishes they could find a home to buy may experience acute stress in the relationship, but not a toxic consequence. Whereas someone who wants to get even with a girlfriend that has moved on may go so far as to commit a crime such as stalking, harassment, or even murder.
Why am I Jealous?
Jealousy is most common in relationships, and can sometimes be addressed as part of Nashville counseling for couples. If you’ve ever been in a serious relationship it is likely you’ve experienced jealousy in some way even though it may have been quite minor. Inevitably, in the beginning while things are still deepening there may be some insecurity — while often innocent and/or understandable even this is a glimpse of jealousy on some level.
Often, people who experience jealousy also experience guilt or even shame around it. This can often complicate the jealousy and make the feelings even more intense. It is important to remember that even though jealousy is not a positive emotion, it can provide important information about what is valuable to you in your life. If you are continually jealous of your partner then it may mean you need to look at your attachment issues or how secure you feel in intimate partnerships.
Try this non-romantic-relationship-oriented exercise:
If you are jealous of your friend’s new car, what does that car actually represent for you?
Use jealousy as way to further understand what is important to you instead of beating yourself up for experiencing it.
Types of Jealousy
There are basically two types of jealousy – provoked and unprovoked. Jealousy that is provoked is when someone has objective reasons to feel suspicious of someone else’s behavior. Unprovoked jealousy is when someone feels envious for no justifiable reason or simply tends to experience jealousy across the board, sometimes even when there is evidence that they actually ought not to feel jealous.
Examples of Provoked Jealousy
- A wife who finds texts from other women with sexual content on her husband’s phone
- A child who is told they aren’t as smart as their sibling that makes better grades
Examples of Unprovoked Jealousy
- A person who thinks little of themselves and assumes their partner could do better, so in turn feels jealous even though their partner has never done anything to remotely be unfaithful
- A person who wants to get married and becomes angry at their friends when they become engaged
Signs you’re experiencing jealousy
- Feeling resentful – “I can’t believe she got the job. She doesn’t even know what she’s doing.”
- Competition – “I’ve got to be the best and if I’m not then I’ve failed.”
- Low Self-Esteem – “I’m not good enough. I’ll never be enough.”
- Unhappiness for others – “Why do all the good things happen to her/him?”
- Discontentedness – “I wish I had more (money, power, relationships).”
- Gossiping – “Did you hear that she….”
How to Manage Jealousy
Regardless if the jealousy is provoked or unprovoked, how we manage jealousy is of utmost importance. Here are some simple steps you can take to handle your jealousy in a healthy way.
- Tell the truth – If jealousy is plaguing you in a relationship then be honest with yourself. You might consider talking with a trained mental health counselor in Nashville who can support you as you become more honest with yourself and work through the jealousy.
- Practice gratitude – While there may be things in your life that are stressful or not exactly how you’d like them to be, instead try focusing on what you are grateful for. Try asking yourself, “What is good about my life?” What we put our attention on will grow.
- Build your self-esteem – Often when we experience jealousy it is because we feel inadequate in some way. Find ways to build up your view of yourself in a healthy and constructive way.
- Focus on yourself – Jealousy is caused by looking outside of yourself and comparing your life to other’s. Bring your attention back to you. If jealousy worked at helping you achieve goals, you’d probably already be there already! So, think about finding another way of relating to what you truly want in life.
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