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How to Prevent Jealousy From Ruining Your Love

jealousy

Jealousy

How to Prevent Jealousy From Ruining Your Love

It’s not easy but jealousy is preventable

Do you often find yourself feeling jealous of your partner, even though you know deep down that your suspicions are probably irrational and unfounded?

Or…

Is your partner accusing you of “whoreacious” actions when your slate is squeaky clean?

In other words, are you or your partner jealousy junkies? And is jealousy holding your relationship hostage?

First, let me tell you the origin of this word. The word jealousy is derived from the French jalousie, formed from jaloux (jealous), and further from Low Latin zelosus (full of zeal), in turn from the Greek word ζήλος (zēlos), sometimes “jealousy,” but more often in a positive sense “emulation, ardor, zeal” (with a root connoting “to boil, ferment”; or “yeast.”)

Since William Shakespeare’s simile like a “green-eyed monster,” the color green has been associated with jealousy and envy, from which the expression “green with envy” is derived.

Now how do we define jealousy?

Now how do we define jealousy?

Jealousy is an emotion and typically refers to the negative thoughts and feelings of insecurity, fear, and anxiety over an anticipated loss of something that you value, particularly a human connection. Jealousy often consists of a combination of anger, resentment, inadequacy, helplessness and disgust.

Just so you know, people don’t express jealousy through a single emotion or single behavior and instead express it through diverse emotions and behaviors. Some say romantic jealousy is a complex of thoughts, feelings, and actions that follow threats to self-esteem and/or threats to the existence or quality of the relationship, when those threats are generated by the perception of a real or potential attraction, emotional involvement or love between your partner and a rival—real or imagined.

So jealousy can be boiled down to any negative reaction that occurs as the result of a partner’s extradyadic (this means outside the dyad—which is the fancy term for a couple) relationship that is real, imagined, or considered likely to occur.

In the case of sexual jealousy, this threat emanates from knowing or suspecting that one’s partner has had (or desires to have) sexual activity with a third party.

Jealousy is also thought to be a protective reaction to a perceived threat to a valued relationship, caused by the partner’s involvement with an activity and/or another person that is contrary to the jealous person’s definition of their relationship.

It is also known that jealousy is triggered by the threat of separation from, or loss of, a romantic partner, when that threat is attributed to the possibility of the partner’s romantic interest in another person.

Have you noticed so far that all my descriptions of jealousy share two basic themes? First, all the definitions imply a triad composed of a jealous individual, a partner, and a perception of a third party or rival. Second, all the definitions describe jealousy as a reaction to a perceived threat to the relationship between two people, or a dyad.

How do people describe what jealousy feels like?

The common experience of jealousy for many people may involve:

  • Fear of loss
  • Suspicion of or anger about a perceived betrayal
  • Low self-esteem and sadness over perceived loss
  • Uncertainty and loneliness
  • Fear of losing an important person to another
  • Distrust

Now let’s take a second and talk about envy, which should not be confused with jealousy.

Popular culture uses the word jealousy as a synonym for envy. Many dictionary definitions include a reference to envy or envious feelings. In fact, the overlapping use of jealousy and envy has a long history.

It’s likely that the overlapping use of jealousy and envy occurs because people can experience both feelings at the same time. A person may envy the characteristics or possessions of someone who also happens to be a romantic rival. In fact, you may even interpret romantic jealousy as a form of envy. A jealous person may envy the affection that his or her partner gives to a rival— affection the jealous person feels entitled to himself or herself. People often use the word jealousy as a broad label that applies to both experiences of jealousy and experiences of envy.

Although popular culture often uses jealousy and envy as synonyms, modern philosophers and psychologists have argued for conceptual distinctions between jealousy and envy. For example, philosopher John Rawls distinguishes between jealousy and envy on the ground that jealousy involves the wish to keep what you have, and envy the wish to get what you do not have. So, a child is jealous of her parents’ attention to a sibling, but envious of her friend’s new bicycle. To make it simple, the jealous person perceives that he or she possesses a valued relationship, but is in danger of losing it or at least of having it altered in an undesirable manner, whereas the envious person does not possess a valued commodity, but wishes to possess it.

The experience of envy involves:

  • Feelings of inferiority
  • Longing
  • Resentment of circumstances
  • Ill will towards envied person often accompanied by guilt about these feelings
  • Motivation to improve
  • Desire to possess the attractive rival’s qualities

As I said previously, people can experience envy and jealousy at the same time; and feelings of envy about a rival can even intensify the experience of jealousy.

Here’s another interesting fact: jealousy is a familiar experience in every intimate human relationship. Can you research by Sybil Hart, Ph.D., at Texas Tech University indicates that children are capable of feeling and displaying jealousy at as young as six months! In this study, infants showed signs of distress when their mothers focused their attention on a lifelike doll. This research could explain why children and infants show distress when a sibling is born, creating the foundation for sibling rivalry.

Some researchers also claim that jealousy is seen in every culture, while others say that jealousy is a culture-specific phenomenon. And sociologists have demonstrated that cultural beliefs and values play an important role in determining what triggers jealousy and what constitutes socially acceptable expressions of jealousy. For example, in the Middle East, if a woman shows a trace of her slip to another man, heads are going roll. Whereas here in the West, butt cracks are often visible and don’t even trigger the bat of an eye.

Now let’s talk about gender-based differences.

One possible explanation of the origin of jealousy in evolutionary psychology is that it is a biologically based emotion designed to foster the certainty about the paternity of one’s own offspring. For example, jealousy tends to increase in males in response to sexual infidelity rather than emotional infidelity, due to paternity uncertainty in males. For men, jealousy is directed at avoiding sexual betrayal and a consequent waste of resources and effort in taking care of someone else’s offspring. Interestingly, it was shown that male jealousy decreases as females’ reproductive values decreases! So maybe there are some actual benefits to menopause!

For women, jealousy is seen as an evolutionary response rooted in the need to insure that males will provide for them and their offspring. This is explains why, according to research, more women are likely to be upset by signs of resource withdraw (i.e. another female) than by sexual infidelity. A large amount of data supports this notion.

Now let’s take a trip back in time and look at the evolutionary reasons for jealousy.

One possible explanation of the origin of jealousy in evolutionary psychology is that it is a biologically based emotion designed to foster the certainty about the paternity of one’s own offspring. For example, jealousy tends to increase in males in response to sexual infidelity rather than emotional infidelity, due to paternity uncertainty in males. For men, jealousy is directed at avoiding sexual betrayal and a consequent waste of resources and effort in taking care of someone else’s offspring. Interestingly, it was shown that male jealousy decreases as females’ reproductive values decreases! So maybe there are some actual benefits to menopause!

For women, jealousy is seen as an evolutionary response rooted in the need to insure that males will provide for them and their offspring. This is explains why, according to research, more women are likely to be upset by signs of resource withdraw (i.e. another female) than by sexual infidelity. A large amount of data supports this notion.

Now let’s talk for a second about jealousy and relationship quality.

Research shows that security within the relationship, commitment to the relationship, as well as investment and level of alternatives in the relationship all heavily contribute to the distress level.

Some believe that jealousy is, in fact, a secondary emotion in reaction to one’s needs not being met, be those needs for attachment, attention, reassurance or any other form of care that would be otherwise expected to arise from that primary romantic relationship.

Last but not least, let’s look at the psychological causes of jealousy. What goes on in the mind and heart that causes jealousy?

Jealousy involves an entire “emotional episode,” including a complex “narrative,” the circumstances that lead up to jealousy, jealousy itself as emotion, any attempt at self-regulation, subsequent actions and events and the resolution of the episode. The narrative can originate from experienced facts, thoughts, perceptions, memories, but also imagination, guesses and assumptions.

Jealousy is also often called a “cognitively impenetrable state,” where education and rational belief matter very little: meaning your smarts and your intellect don’t help you out of the jam cause your brain ain’t thinking right!

While mainstream psychology considers sexual arousal through jealousy a paraphilia, some authors on sexuality say that jealousy in manageable dimensions can have a definite positive effect on sexual function and sexual satisfaction. Studies have also shown that jealousy sometimes heightens passion towards partners and increases the intensity of passionate sex.

Now let’s get down to the heart of the matter and talk about my specialty–how Old Scars figure in the mix. In this case, how Old Scars trigger jealousy.

Research has recognized the importance of early childhood experiences and early family environment on the development of competence in intimate relationships. How an infant attaches to his/her parents is the basis for adult attachment.

Research on self-esteem and our first family relationships shows that individuals internalize early experiences within the family, which subconsciously translates into our personal sense of self-worth and the value of being close to other individuals, especially in an interpersonal relationship. In one study, jealousy in children and teenagers has been observed more often in those with low self-esteem. That study suggested that developing intimate friends can be followed by emotional insecurity and loneliness in some children when those intimate friends interact with others.

Now I want to share my own observations about jealousy, gleaned from 30 years of clinical observation at my Center for Emotional Communication.

The first thing I want you to know is that jealousy is a smokescreen that conceals other, deeper issues–especially those proverbial Old Scars from childhood that I’m always talking about! Childhood loss, abuse, neglect and rejection create a mixed salad of low self-esteem, fear of rejection and/or fear of abandonment, all of which are the emotional soil in which jealousy germinates.

Let’s look more closely at the specific wounds that cause jealousy.

The following are the root causes of jealousy:

  1. Lack of self-confidence. The main cause of feelings of jealousy are doubts about your abilities or skills. If you were one hundred percent sure of yourself you wouldn’t suffer jealous feelings.
  2. Poor self image. Having a poor self-image is another cause of jealousy. If you believe that you look ugly or that you are not that beautiful or handsome, then chances are you’ll be experiencing feeling of jealousy when your partner encounters someone who looks better than you.
  3. Fear of rejection or abandonment. One of the root causes behind jealousy is being afraid. This fear can be a fear of ending up alone, a fear of being rejected or a fear of losing the love of your partner.
  4. Insecurity. Feelings of insecurity are the result of the two previously mentioned causes. A poor self-image and lack of self-confidence can result in making you feel insecure about a relationship and this can make you jealous.

The bottom line is this: if your parent favored one of your siblings over you, if you were rejected, mistreated or unloved, you will naturally be insecure about your current love object’s love and devotion.

Keep in mind that Old Scars can actually induce your partner to fulfill your worst fear. If he/she is being accused all the time of cheating, why not do it?

At this point, I bet you’re reading to hear how to cure jealousy.

The cure comes to do healing the root cause, which is lack of self-love. If you love yourself for the unique person you are, then feeling threatened by imaginary rivals diminishes. And when you are no longer in competition with other women or men, you will become less vulnerable to feelings of jealousy.  Relationships mirror how you feel inside. If you feel irreplaceable in your relationship, you become irreplaceable, and then jealousy disappears. What I’m talking about is what I call raising your Personal Net Worth. This consists of becoming a loving and affirming parent to yourself, tending to your physical, emotional and spiritual needs, and surrounding yourself with loving and supportive people.

The ultimate way to prevent and/or cure jealousy is to feel that you are a unique and irreplaceable person.

And, paradoxically, the more you have the courage to expose who you truly are on the inside—the more authentic you allow yourself to be—the more you will be revealing just how unique and irreplaceable you are, which will help you transcend any actual threat of being replaced by potential rivals.

For a full explanation of how to cure yourself of jealousy by raising your Personal Net Worth, read my book Make Up Don’t Break Up.

To understand fully what Old Scars are, how they are formed, how they affect your relationships, and how to heal them, read my book Love Never Dies: How to Reconnect and Make Peace with the Deceased.

For Free Gift details or to receive a sneak peek of Love Never DIes, visit the book page: http://askdrlove.com/page/love-never-dies-how-reconnect-and-make-peace-deceased.

Photo From:The 6 Steps to Defeating Jealousy and Envy for Good | Charles F. Glassman fromMyStockPhoto.com

Suggested Reading

Author’s Books

Known to millions as “Dr. Love” through her website AskDrLove.com, Dr. Turndorf founded the web’s first and immensely popular relationship advice column in 1995. She consistently attracts new fans and keeps her existing audience engaged through her compassionate understanding as well as her frank delivery and earthy sense of humor. At the same time, she puts her listeners at ease while digging deeply in their psyches and prescribing her signature cure.

Dr. Turndorf’s multimedia platform allows her to share relevant and timely advice via radio, online, in print and on television. Her radio show, “Ask Dr. Love,” can be heard in Seattle on KKNW and on WebTalkRadio, which broadcasts in 80 countries worldwide. Her column entitled “We Can Work it Out,” is published monthly online in Psychology Today. Her critically acclaimed books have been teaching readers the hard and fast facts to healing relationships for years.

Dr. Turndorf’s methods have been featured on national television networks, including CNN, NBC, CBS, VH1 and Fox, and on websites such as WebMD, iVillage, Discovery.com, MSNBC.com. She has also been featured in magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Men’s Health, Glamour, American Woman, Modern Bride, and Marie Claire.

Dr. Turndorf’s latest Hay House book, Kiss Your Fights Good-bye: Dr. Love’s 10 Simple Steps to Cooling Conflict and Rekindling Your Relationship, has been endorsed by New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield, Dr. John Gray and John Bradshaw.

Since the recent death of Emile Jean Pin, her beloved husband of 27 years, Dr. Turndorf has discovered that relationships do not end in death. His miraculous manifestations, often in front of witnesses, have proven to her that there is life after life and love never dies.

As a result of her experiences, Dr. Turndorf has developed a groundbreaking form of grief therapy that diverges from the traditional Western approach (grieve, let go and move on). By contrast, her method guides people to reconnect and, if needed, make peace with their departed loved ones. Her latest Hay House book on this topic is entitled Love Never Dies: How to Reconnect and Make Peace with the Deceased.

To understand fully what Old Scars are, how they are formed, how they affect your relationships, and how to heal them, read my book Love Never Dies: How to Reconnect and Make Peace with the Deceased.

For Free Gift details or to receive a sneak peek of Love Never DIes, visit the book page: http://askdrlove.com/page/love-never-dies-how-reconnect-and-make-peace-deceased.

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