Jealousy is a powerful and intense emotion which is neither subtle nor generous. It is also complex, and can include a range of feelings from fear of abandonment … to terror … to rage … to revenge … to depression … to humiliation. It affects both sexes when they think that a third person is threatening a valued relationship. And although it has been said it protects important bonds, it more commonly destroys relationships.
Usually, jealousy begins as a feeling of unease at the possibility that we could lose the attention, or affection, of someone who’s important to us. This becomes more complex as the feeling takes root and we feel we’ve been betrayed, tossed aside and, thus, rejected. At this point, we feel devalued and we want to hit out - which invariably makes the situation even worse. Now it’s hard to reconnect as resentment’s come between us – and if that’s not addressed, it will turn to contempt.
So how should we deal with our early jealous feelings so they don’t become a monster that poisons everything?
1. First of all, try and grasp that a tendency to feel intensely jealous is a symptom of shaky self esteem. Also, expecting chronic reassurance is a goal that’s doomed to fail - as your partner will feel that you’re a bottomless pit – and you’re only likely to drive them away.
2. Instead, remind yourself that you’re complete without your mate, you have your own sense of self or identity, and you can function as whole and healthy person on your own.
3. Recognise that harmful jealousy is not a sign of love. Instead, it points to neediness and insecurity. That will need to be addressed, on your own, in counselling. Be particularly concerned if you are battling with rage, the desire to seek revenge or powerful feelings of self-hatred.