Controlling Jealousy

Reviewed Aug 19, 2016

Close

E-mail Article

Complete form to e-mail article…

Required fields are denoted by an asterisk (*) adjacent to the label.

Separate multiple recipients with a comma

Close

Sign-Up For Newsletters

Complete this form to sign-up for newsletters…

Required fields are denoted by an asterisk (*) adjacent to the label.

 

Summary

  • Chronic jealousy destroys relationships.
  • Learn how to communicate concerns.
  • Build self-esteem.

Jealousy may have some value: It helps us remain alert to those who might steal our mate or who threaten our status. But on the whole, it’s a sickening emotion that is guaranteed to make you feel miserable and—if it occurs often—destroy the relationship you seek to preserve.

Jealousy differs from envy in that we envy other people when we want what they have: “I envy Tyler’s car,” or “I want Sasha’s position at the company.” We experience jealousy when we feel threatened that someone might take something valuable away from us, which in turn makes us act possessively.

Jealousy is most often associated with romance, but it can show up in other relationships as well. A parent may become jealous of the relationship her child has with another relative. Children may become jealous when their best friend starts playing with someone else. Or we may “jealously” guard our position at work if we feel someone is trying to move into our territory.

How jealousy wrecks relationships

Many of us seem to like and need the occasional small display of jealousy on the part of a significant other. Such displays show that we’re special, and that our loved one values the relationship enough to fight for it. Occasionally, a partner may like to provoke jealousy because she’s testing the strength of a new relationship to see if it’s worth the effort.
 
The problem here is that these little “make them jealous” acts can turn into big problems. A person prone to jealousy may feel constantly threatened. This may lead to relationship-destroying behaviors such as yelling, spying, questioning and controlling. In extreme cases, jealousy leads to violence.  

Containing jealousy

There are steps you can take to control your jealousy:

  • Notice when jealousy creeps up on you. If you feel it occasionally, it’s probably not a problem. If you often feel jealous, then you need to take steps to figure out what’s wrong. The first place to look is at yourself. Jealousy is often a sign of insecurity or some other emotional issue. In other words, the problem is not with the partner but with the person experiencing chronic jealousy.
  • Put your energy into making yourself and your relationship the best it can be. Chronic jealousy is often a sign of low self-esteem. When you make your relationship or your position at work or your status—whatever it is you seek to protect—stronger, then it will stand up to the everyday threats that arise in life. So work on building your self-esteem. Not only will it make you feel better, it will make you more attractive as a partner or as an employee.
  • Distinguish between real and perceived threats. The problem with jealousy is that you can become overly sensitive to any perceived threats. Ask yourself: What about the situation is making me jealous? Are there particular triggers? How can I avoid any or all triggers? Am I projecting past experiences onto my current relationship? What is it that I think I lack that my rival possesses? There’s a thin line between chronic jealousy and paranoia.

Whether you are feeling jealous or are the victim of jealousy:

  • Communicate—don’t play manipulative games. Sit down and express concerns.
  • To preserve a relationship, focus on the positive—work on developing trust and compassion.
  • Study personal conflict resolution with a qualified counselor.
  • If your partner is acting increasingly jealous and you feel physically threatened, contact a domestic abuse organization for both emergency and long-term assistance.
By Amy Fries
Source: Love Without Hurt: Turn Your Resentful, Angry or Emotionally Abusive Relationship into a Compassionate Loving One by Steven Stosny, PhD, Da Capo Press, 2007, www.CompassionPower.com; "Jealousy: Love's Destroyer," by Hara Estroff Marano, PsychologyToday.com; "Study Links Jealousy with Aggression, Low Self-esteem," Monitor on Psychology, http://www.apa.org/monitor/feb05/jealousy.html

Summary

  • Chronic jealousy destroys relationships.
  • Learn how to communicate concerns.
  • Build self-esteem.

Jealousy may have some value: It helps us remain alert to those who might steal our mate or who threaten our status. But on the whole, it’s a sickening emotion that is guaranteed to make you feel miserable and—if it occurs often—destroy the relationship you seek to preserve.

Jealousy differs from envy in that we envy other people when we want what they have: “I envy Tyler’s car,” or “I want Sasha’s position at the company.” We experience jealousy when we feel threatened that someone might take something valuable away from us, which in turn makes us act possessively.

Jealousy is most often associated with romance, but it can show up in other relationships as well. A parent may become jealous of the relationship her child has with another relative. Children may become jealous when their best friend starts playing with someone else. Or we may “jealously” guard our position at work if we feel someone is trying to move into our territory.

How jealousy wrecks relationships

Many of us seem to like and need the occasional small display of jealousy on the part of a significant other. Such displays show that we’re special, and that our loved one values the relationship enough to fight for it. Occasionally, a partner may like to provoke jealousy because she’s testing the strength of a new relationship to see if it’s worth the effort.
 
The problem here is that these little “make them jealous” acts can turn into big problems. A person prone to jealousy may feel constantly threatened. This may lead to relationship-destroying behaviors such as yelling, spying, questioning and controlling. In extreme cases, jealousy leads to violence.  

Containing jealousy

There are steps you can take to control your jealousy:

  • Notice when jealousy creeps up on you. If you feel it occasionally, it’s probably not a problem. If you often feel jealous, then you need to take steps to figure out what’s wrong. The first place to look is at yourself. Jealousy is often a sign of insecurity or some other emotional issue. In other words, the problem is not with the partner but with the person experiencing chronic jealousy.
  • Put your energy into making yourself and your relationship the best it can be. Chronic jealousy is often a sign of low self-esteem. When you make your relationship or your position at work or your status—whatever it is you seek to protect—stronger, then it will stand up to the everyday threats that arise in life. So work on building your self-esteem. Not only will it make you feel better, it will make you more attractive as a partner or as an employee.
  • Distinguish between real and perceived threats. The problem with jealousy is that you can become overly sensitive to any perceived threats. Ask yourself: What about the situation is making me jealous? Are there particular triggers? How can I avoid any or all triggers? Am I projecting past experiences onto my current relationship? What is it that I think I lack that my rival possesses? There’s a thin line between chronic jealousy and paranoia.

Whether you are feeling jealous or are the victim of jealousy:

  • Communicate—don’t play manipulative games. Sit down and express concerns.
  • To preserve a relationship, focus on the positive—work on developing trust and compassion.
  • Study personal conflict resolution with a qualified counselor.
  • If your partner is acting increasingly jealous and you feel physically threatened, contact a domestic abuse organization for both emergency and long-term assistance.
By Amy Fries
Source: Love Without Hurt: Turn Your Resentful, Angry or Emotionally Abusive Relationship into a Compassionate Loving One by Steven Stosny, PhD, Da Capo Press, 2007, www.CompassionPower.com; "Jealousy: Love's Destroyer," by Hara Estroff Marano, PsychologyToday.com; "Study Links Jealousy with Aggression, Low Self-esteem," Monitor on Psychology, http://www.apa.org/monitor/feb05/jealousy.html

Summary

  • Chronic jealousy destroys relationships.
  • Learn how to communicate concerns.
  • Build self-esteem.

Jealousy may have some value: It helps us remain alert to those who might steal our mate or who threaten our status. But on the whole, it’s a sickening emotion that is guaranteed to make you feel miserable and—if it occurs often—destroy the relationship you seek to preserve.

Jealousy differs from envy in that we envy other people when we want what they have: “I envy Tyler’s car,” or “I want Sasha’s position at the company.” We experience jealousy when we feel threatened that someone might take something valuable away from us, which in turn makes us act possessively.

Jealousy is most often associated with romance, but it can show up in other relationships as well. A parent may become jealous of the relationship her child has with another relative. Children may become jealous when their best friend starts playing with someone else. Or we may “jealously” guard our position at work if we feel someone is trying to move into our territory.

How jealousy wrecks relationships

Many of us seem to like and need the occasional small display of jealousy on the part of a significant other. Such displays show that we’re special, and that our loved one values the relationship enough to fight for it. Occasionally, a partner may like to provoke jealousy because she’s testing the strength of a new relationship to see if it’s worth the effort.
 
The problem here is that these little “make them jealous” acts can turn into big problems. A person prone to jealousy may feel constantly threatened. This may lead to relationship-destroying behaviors such as yelling, spying, questioning and controlling. In extreme cases, jealousy leads to violence.  

Containing jealousy

There are steps you can take to control your jealousy:

  • Notice when jealousy creeps up on you. If you feel it occasionally, it’s probably not a problem. If you often feel jealous, then you need to take steps to figure out what’s wrong. The first place to look is at yourself. Jealousy is often a sign of insecurity or some other emotional issue. In other words, the problem is not with the partner but with the person experiencing chronic jealousy.
  • Put your energy into making yourself and your relationship the best it can be. Chronic jealousy is often a sign of low self-esteem. When you make your relationship or your position at work or your status—whatever it is you seek to protect—stronger, then it will stand up to the everyday threats that arise in life. So work on building your self-esteem. Not only will it make you feel better, it will make you more attractive as a partner or as an employee.
  • Distinguish between real and perceived threats. The problem with jealousy is that you can become overly sensitive to any perceived threats. Ask yourself: What about the situation is making me jealous? Are there particular triggers? How can I avoid any or all triggers? Am I projecting past experiences onto my current relationship? What is it that I think I lack that my rival possesses? There’s a thin line between chronic jealousy and paranoia.

Whether you are feeling jealous or are the victim of jealousy:

  • Communicate—don’t play manipulative games. Sit down and express concerns.
  • To preserve a relationship, focus on the positive—work on developing trust and compassion.
  • Study personal conflict resolution with a qualified counselor.
  • If your partner is acting increasingly jealous and you feel physically threatened, contact a domestic abuse organization for both emergency and long-term assistance.
By Amy Fries
Source: Love Without Hurt: Turn Your Resentful, Angry or Emotionally Abusive Relationship into a Compassionate Loving One by Steven Stosny, PhD, Da Capo Press, 2007, www.CompassionPower.com; "Jealousy: Love's Destroyer," by Hara Estroff Marano, PsychologyToday.com; "Study Links Jealousy with Aggression, Low Self-esteem," Monitor on Psychology, http://www.apa.org/monitor/feb05/jealousy.html

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

Close

  • Useful Tools

    Select a tool below

© 2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.