Does Jealousy Ruin Your Relationships?

shutterstock_188164217Jealousy can be a problem in any type of relationship and can appear in anyone’s life at any time. Whether you are jealous of your partner, a friend, a family member or a co-worker, the effects are the same.

You can have jealousy with other people’s things, their success, their beauty, their athletic prowess, their relationship, their kids, their education, their money, and their life. It can be a tiny feeling in your gut or it can be an overwhelming sensation of fear that drives you to say and do things that you wouldn’t do otherwise. In its extreme, it can lead to divorce and separation from others.

Jealousy can creep in when you least expect it and it’s always a signal to look within and discover what’s underneath it. Thinking that it will go away if you ignore it will only prolong your anxiety and challenges. In fact, jealousy is almost never just about the jealousy itself and what seems to be happening on the surface like your partner flirting with another person. It’s usually about whatever is lurking underneath that needs to be uncovered and dealt with. It might be a broken heart from a previous relationship or it might be poor self esteem, existing for many years.

The first step to changing anything in your life is first to become aware of what you want to change in your life and that you can if you truly are committed to doing it. You also have to become aware of your feeling. These feelings may be anger, fear, sadness, or anything else that close you down and keep you from connecting with those you love.

You can stuff your feelings and deny that they are there until they become so big that you are forced to deal with them, or you can acknowledge what you are feeling and make the commitment that you are ready to have another experience in your life. You are saying that you are willing to do what it takes to heal that part of yourself. When it comes to overcoming jealousy, no matter how it shows up in your life, it doesn’t go away until it is acknowledged and there is a strong desire to do whatever is necessary to change and heal it. You also can’t point your finger outward at others. You have to be committed to changing yourself.

Here’s a quick example of how jealousy can manifest itself and a couple of tips for getting to the bottom of it.

Sam found himself being jealous of a new co-worker. His co-worker seemed to have everything–good looking, a persuasive personality, plenty of money, a great wife and kids. He kept denying his feelings about his co-worker but found that after he was in a meeting with this man, he was irritable with his wife and snapped at his kids more than usual.

Sam really knew that he had to do something about his jealousy when he made an uncharacteristic sarcastic remark in a meeting when this co-worker explained an idea he had to sell their product. Sam committed to finding out where his jealous feelings were coming from and not pretend any longer. He took some time alone to get quiet and feel what he was feeling and put words to those feelings. Then he asked himself some questions like “What is the worst part?” and “What does this feeling remind me of?” He wrote the answers as he asked himself these questions and he was able to get a glimpse of what he needed to heal within himself.

If you are having challenges with jealousy or any other strong emotion that could potentially wreck your relationships I invite you to look underneath and see what the real problem is. Then you can commit to working on and healing these challenges and committing to making some changes for the better in your life.

Angry man image available from Shutterstock.

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Shared by: Aaron Karmin, LCPC, Contributing Blogger

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