It’s a horrid way to be feeling, but who among us can say we’ve never experienced it? The worst kind, though, in my opinion, is when we experience the pricklings of suspicion and doubt in our love relationships, feeling jealous of those with whom our significant other is sharing his or her time and energy.
I have a video on the subject of jealousy – perhaps you’re here because you’ve already seen it. Whether you’ve seen it or not, you will already know that jealousy is an emotionally crippling sensation, with unwanted thoughts and images springing into your mind at any moment, destroying any happiness you may be experiencing. What you many not realise is exactly where jealousy comes from.
When we feel that awful fire of jealousy in our belly, we are coming to our relationship from a place of insecurity, fear, suspicion, and lack of trust. We may try to hide it from our partner for fear of driving them away, but it will always have an effect on our behaviour. There are many ways jealousy can manifest itself, and there is not enough time to discuss them all here although more are listed in the book, but a few prime examples are:
- feeling overly anxious, hyper-vigilant, threatened, oversensitive and possessive if your love interest shows attention to another
- exhibiting controlling and undermining behaviour towards the beloved to protect yourself from the threat of loss
- power games to make the partner feel just as anxious; sometimes this may involve flirting with someone else as a payback
- psychological symptoms may include: disorientation, disorganisation, grief- like symptoms, intrusive obsessive thoughts, dissociative behaviour.
So, what are we feeling insecure about?
It could be that we have uncertainty about the relationship, or some deep, underlying fear our partner will leave us. If we have low self-esteem, we may pin any sense of worth on our being with this person, and the thought of them leaving can become all-consuming.
These insecurities all begin somewhere, and they all stem from FEAR. In my eBook, Jealousy in Relationships, I give an example case study of one of my clients, Mona. Her debilitating jealousy, the full story of which is outlined in the book, ultimately cost her the relationship she was so terrified of losing. We looked at what exactly had triggered her exaggerated anxieties, looking back into her past at her childhood to see why she was having these overwhelming thoughts. We found her core fear – jealousy is ALWAYS linked with some hidden fear – and then we worked together to overcome it.
If you are experiencing jealous thoughts, or feel as though you are drowning in unwanted, unsolicited negative imaginings about your partner, what can you do about it here and now?
Here are five things to try – they are explained more fully in the book.
- Do something you are passionate about.
- Try not to seek validation from others.
- Don’t abandon your ‘self’ to the relationship.
- Make choices that impact your life in POSITIVE ways. Make decisions to reflect your strength as a person so you live wholeheartedly, free of emotional pain.
- Take up activities and hobbies such as yoga, pilates, walking, running, swimming etc – anything that gets you moving, along with good, nutritious food.
If it’s not you, but your partner who is jealous in the relationship, you may be at your wits’ end trying to know what you can do to alleviate their fears. Try to be more emotionally available and responsive to them – show this by doing something you know they will appreciate. Share time speaking about your anxieties and how their jealousy might be affecting you; be sure to follow this up with warmth and tenderness so they know you are doing the best you can. And consider seeing a couples’ counsellor – I can’t stress enough how beneficial it can be to have a trained professional sensitively guide you through the minefield that is a person’s innermost fears.
I hope something of this has been useful to you. For more ways to help a jealous partner, other things you can do to alleviate your own insecurities, and a really helpful exercise to tame those wildfires of jealousy, click here to access my eBook JEALOUSY IN RELATIONSHIPS: how insecurity and the fear of abandonment stir anxiety.
With warm wishes
Helen Mia Harris