The Irish writer Elizabeth Bowen once wrote, “Jealousy is nothing more than feeling alone against smiling enemies. “This simple affirmation establishes a perfect scene in our minds of what envy feels; Others are happy, openly cheerful or mocked in secret, while we are left alone to look like a fool.
However, what leads us to be jealous and suffer for this poignant emotion is not always the “smiling enemies” that we formulate in our minds. The “Sexy secretary” and “college Love” are rarely the threats that we believe they are, but the overwhelming and possessed state of suspicion that we enter because of these characters, can be a real danger to our closest relationships.
Jealousy in itself may have a kind of perverse presence in our lives. It is known that the actions taken in his name crush a budding romance, slowly erode a long-standing union, or even lead to serious abuses. In a blog I recently wrote for the Huffington Post in “sexting” couples of real intimacy cheating, I described how ease and accessibility of technology now generate even more distrust and deceit among couples. email, text messaging and Facebook can be a perfect platform for forging new connections. And as the open communication gates, the green waves of jealousy begin to flow.
Jealousy is not something we have a lot of control over. In fact, it is a natural, instinctive emotion that each experiences at one time or another. The problem of jealousy is that it masks other feelings and attitudes that are even more painful for us and those who are closer to us. Its intensity is often protecting deeply rooted feelings of possessiveness, insecurity or shame. I believe that what is at the heart of jealousy is often not the threat itself, but an impulse that we have within ourselves to torment ourselves and react with self-critical thoughts.
Think of the thoughts we have when we’re jealous. Peeking behind the paranoia towards our partners, or criticizing a perceived third-party threat, is often critical thoughts of ourselves. Thoughts like, “What do you see in him? “Can become fast” she is much prettier/thinner/More successful than me! “Even when our worst fears materialize and we learn about the adventure of a partner, we often react by driving anger towards ourselves by being” foolish, unworthy of being loved, ruined, or unwanted. ”
These critical internal voices and the feelings of humiliation that they promote may be more painful for us than the threat itself. They can also be more real. This negative Self-coaching accompanies us in our personal relationships and inculcates in us a level of doubt and criticism that prevents us from perceiving ourselves as truly lovable. reminds us to suspect with thoughts like, “she really doesn’t care about you” or “you can’t trust him. Just keep it at a distance. ”
This internal instructor was formed from negative experiences we had as children. Whether we witness a destructive interpersonal relationship or made us feel bad about ourselves by a significant paternal figure, we internalize these experiences, identifying with the destructive attitudes that were being expressed. If we feel insignificant because we have been ignored, it is very likely that we have taken this insecurity with us for adulthood and any romantic relationship that we have formed.
Many of us are often unaware of the basic shame that exists within us, because it comes so naturally to think self-critical thoughts about ourselves. However, the shame of our past can strongly influence the degree to which we feel jealous and insecure in the present. In a serious relationship, the actual damage of rejection or betrayal can trigger old feelings that there is something basically wrong with us.
Likewise, this internal critic transforms us, also becomes the closest to us. When we realize that we are encouraging unjustified suspicions or accusing our partners of being “distracted, refusing, callous or cruel “, it is important to consider how much this is our real point of view and how much is a product of training Our critical inner voice. Are these criticisms based on actual facts or actions? Are our adverse reactions disproportionate to the situation?