Dealing with Jealousy
What is Jealousy?
A definition of jealousy might be:
a person's fears and anxieties around attention that they perceive is being given to or by someone else who is important to them.
Thus for example a woman might experience jealousy at the sight of her husband or boyfriend dancing with another woman - or vice versa.
Although most commonly discussed in the context of sexual and romantic relationships, jealousy can also be present between other groups of people - for example, in family situations where sisters or brothers compete against each other for the attention of a parent and one feels left out.
Jealousy and Envy
One view is that envy is not the same as jealousy, since envy usually involves wishing that you were someone else or admiring them and may just involve a tendency to be wistful or dreamy, allied perhaps with low self esteem. Envy can however sometimes involve or lead into some some of the more painful feelings associated with jealousy.
Jealousy tends to be associated with emotions such as:
- Feelings of humiliation
Jealousy and Insecurity
Jealousy in a relationship can be one of the most destabilising of emotions. It often indicates insecurity about a relationship involving:
- Suspicion and sometimes an attempt to reach certainty about whether the other person is betraying your trust - it may not be possible to reach absolute certainty about this in a relationship, in which case the desire to know may simply lead to greater anxiety and frustration.
- Actions towards a partner or towards a third party which may be perceived by that other person, whether rightly or wrongly, as:
- Over possessive
In the worst cases it can lead to violence - if you feel that your or someone else's jealousy could lead to potential violence then you should seek help to avert this arising before the situation gets out of hand.
If you are someone who is experiencing jealousy then it is also likely that it will affect your own self esteem. Whether or not you acknowledge to the other person that your feelings are excessive or irrational, the likelihood is that you will experience a loss of confidence in yourself as well as doubts about your own judgement and sometimes perhaps a sense of personal shame that you are not trusting the other person. You may also worry that the situation is outside your control.
Jealousy in a Relationship
As mentioned above, one view of jealousy in a relationship is that ultimately it arises out of insecurities - particularly if the jealousy your are experiencing is unfounded. This view informs the suggestions below as to what you can do to help overcome jealousy and stop yourself being jealous or acting in a jealous way. Those suggestions focus on;
- Building your self esteem in a reasonable way
- Reducing lifestyle elements which might exacerbate jealousy
- Addressing your possessive or jealous thoughts.
Overcoming Jealousy Tips
Below are given some initial tips for dealing with jealousy:
Finding ways of Making Yourself Feel More Secure
If your jealousy arises from feeling insecure or from feeling that your worth is dependent on the opinion or praise of one invididual then you can try to improve your sense of self esteem and belief in yourself, independently of your partner or whoever is at the centre of your jealous fears. For example:
- Write a list of your positive qualities and achievements and read it through on a daily basis, or when you are feeling insecure, to remind yourself that you do have worth
- Spend some time doing some reasonable activities or pastimes that meet your own wishes or needs - what you will enjoy will depend on you. This might be exercise or talking to friends or music or going to a health centre - whatever you would like to do for your own enjoyment.
Dealing with Lifestyle Elements
If you are experiencing jealousy then:
- Avoid intoxicants such as alcohol or illegal drugs, which may exacerbate mood swings and increase out the chances of you acting in an inappropriate way.
- Caffeine can sometimes heighten anxiety for some people so I would also recommend you to avoid that if possible.
Dealing with Jealous Thoughts
Try identifying situations when you find yourself feeling jealous and write down for yourself:
1. When the feelings and jealous thoughts arise.
2. What actual thoughts go through your head.
3. (a) What you might say to yourself (b) What you might do in terms of actions - to prevent the jealous thought from taking over and to retain your dignity.
You might for example:
- Remind yourself of those positive qualities that you do have and that these are not dependent on the approval or interest of the other person
- Count to 10 before opening your mouth in anger to allow you to collect your thoughts
- If there are others present, look at the other people in the room who are not involved in the situation and not even aware of it and start to wonder what they might be thinking about, as a way of taking your mind off the situation
- Remind yourself of similar situation when you have managed to stay in control and try to do again what you did then.
My experience is that particularly when combined with supportive encouragement from a coach, these techniques can be very effective in helping to reduce jealous feelings and in assisting you in staying in control of your actions.
Jealousy Counselling, Jealousy Psychotherapy
Coaching for Jealousy - Which is Best?
If you find it difficult to manage your feelings of jealousy on your own, you may want to seek support from a counsellor, coach or psychotherapist. Generally, although not always, counsellors and psychotherapists work by seeking to look back into your past for the origins of jealousies. They may also work with clients over a long period of time.
Life coaches, such as myself, tend to work in a more forward-looking practical way providing a short number of focused sessions - seeking to look with you for specific practical actions that you can take to begin to address or manage your situation.
You will need to decide which you think is the most appropriate type of service for you and check that the person you are consulting has experience of success in working with the particular issues that jealousy presents.
Individuals will vary as to how many coaching sessions they are likely to need to help gain control of jealous thoughts and actions - some people can make significant improvements with just one coaching session and do not need further sessions.
Others may require a programme of support to get to a position where they feel more relaxed and less anxious or jealous.
Overcoming Jealousy eBook
If you are interested in self help strategies for dealing with jealousy rather than individualised coaching, then I offer the low cost option of an ebook on overcoming jealousy which you can purchase online.
The ebook provides a practical step by step programme of exercises or assignments for you to work through to build up a series of strategies for taking control of your jealousy on a number of different fronts.
Each assignment contributes towards the creation of an overarching Project Plan which you can use as your template to deal with the particular problems that jealousy is causing for you and your relationship, so that you begin to take control.
The topics covered by the different sections of the ebook and the different assignments included in it are listed below:
Overcoming Jealousy: Contents
Section 1: What is Jealousy?
The Two Types of Jealousy
- Assignment 1: Benefits of Overcoming Jealousy
Section 2: Why Are You Jealous?
Why Are You Jealous?
- Assignment 2: Explaining Jealousy
Section 3: Changing Your Jealous Behaviour
- Assignment 3: Jealous Actions
Section 4: Dealing with Your Jealous Thoughts and Feelings
The ABC Model
- Assignment 5: ABC Analysis
Section 5: Situations that Trigger Jealousy
- Assignment 7: Jealousy Triggers
Section 6: Jealousy, Insecurity and Self Esteem
- Assignment 8: Building Self Worth
Section 7: Trust and Communication
Should I tell the other person about my Jealousy?
- Assignment 10: Communication and Trust
Overcoming Jealousy - Purchase Price
The cost of the Guide including all the assignments is just £7.99. It is available online for immediate download in PDF format.
To Purchase Overcoming Jealousy - A Practical Guide