What is jealousy: advice from a psychologist

Jeal­ousy can live in any con­text. For exam­ple, in a fam­i­ly, from chil­dren to par­ents, and par­ents to chil­dren, between broth­ers and sis­ters or between spous­es; in friend­ship, when a friend plays with anoth­er girl; at work, when a col­league receives praise from supe­ri­ors for the sec­ond month in a row; in stud­ies, when the teacher gives a high mark to the neigh­bor on the desk. Some­times exes are jeal­ous of their cur­rent part­ners, a cat, a hob­by, etc.

jealousy, photo

pho­to: Foto­lia

What is jealousy

Jeal­ousy man­i­fests itself in many ways — from aggres­sion with fists to beg­ging on your knees. Some are jeal­ous qui­et­ly, not want­i­ng to con­fess and being ashamed of their feel­ings, they demon­strate com­plete indif­fer­ence.

Jeal­ousy is a nat­ur­al ade­quate feel­ing along with oth­er emo­tions. It con­tains fear, love, grief and resent­ment.

Everyone has their own story

From infan­cy, each of us expe­ri­ences the loss of love to vary­ing degrees. And this is inevitable, because the world is arranged in such a way that always and every­thing will not be enough for us. Just yes­ter­day there was atten­tion and inter­est from the oth­er side, but now there is none — and this is the bit­ter­ness of loss.

To under­stand what the pain of jeal­ousy is con­nect­ed with, let’s look at the begin­ning of the his­to­ry of each of us.

The first expe­ri­ence of the tri­an­gle of rela­tion­ships is formed in ear­ly child­hood at the age of 3–5 years. This is “mom — dad — me”, in the absence of a par­ent there is always a sub­sti­tute fig­ure — a nan­ny, grand­moth­er, etc.

This is the so-called peri­od of the Oedi­pal con­flict, when spe­cial feel­ings are born for the par­ent of the oppo­site sex, you want to spend more time with him, cre­ate and keep your secrets, and most impor­tant­ly, undi­vid­ed­ly pos­sess the object of desire. At this age, you can hear from your daugh­ter: “When I grow up, I will mar­ry my dad,” or the son says: “It would be bet­ter if there were no dad at all, I hate him, but I only love my moth­er.”

childish jealousy

pho­to: Foto­lia

The girl com­petes with her moth­er for the love and atten­tion of her father, and the boy fights with her father for her moth­er’s favor. But no mat­ter how close the child’s rela­tion­ship with his favorite is, he still leaves at some point with his adult part­ner, clos­ing the door to the bed­room, where their secret is.

It was dur­ing this peri­od that the child for the first time expe­ri­ences an acute feel­ing of betray­al and rejec­tion, he is per­plexed: “we are so close, we had fun togeth­er, we were sad, we had a very good day, so why do you leave me at night to mom (dad) ?!”. On an emo­tion­al lev­el, a con­vic­tion is formed that “there will always be a com­peti­tor who has some­thing that I don’t have – some qual­i­ties, abil­i­ties or oppor­tu­ni­ties. Which means I’m not good enough for my object of affec­tion. I need to try hard­er to keep his love for me.”

This is how the image of a vir­tu­al rival is formed in the mind, which push­es you to improve your­self all the time, strives for achieve­ments and results instead of just enjoy­ing your rela­tion­ship with your lover. There is an inter­nal end­less strug­gle with all the women around, you must con­stant­ly “be the best.” In this case, it is dif­fi­cult to live peace­ful­ly next to the cho­sen one, because there is a chron­i­cal­ly painful feel­ing that he can still go to some­one bet­ter.

sevench, photo

pho­to: Foto­lia

Suf­fo­cat­ing jeal­ousy today is a con­se­quence of the unre­solved con­flict of rela­tion­ships from child­hood “mom — dad — me.” The psy­che seeks to close the trau­mat­ic expe­ri­ence, with the help of the cur­rent part­ner and sim­i­lar cir­cum­stances. The com­pe­ti­tion for pow­er and parental love car­ries over into adult rela­tion­ships.

What to do?

In order to psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly break out of the Oedi­pal feel­ings of jeal­ousy and not car­ry the tri­an­gle sce­nario from child­hood to adult­hood, it is nec­es­sary to mourn the ear­ly betray­al of the par­ent and emo­tion­al­ly give it to mom (dad) with the con­clu­sion “this is your part­ner, I will find my own”. Hav­ing dot­ted and sep­a­rat­ed from your par­ents, you are inter­nal­ly freed from the need to com­pete with an imag­i­nary or real char­ac­ter.

This does not mean that you will nev­er become jeal­ous again, just that you will get rid of the absorb­ing pow­er of obses­sive thoughts about betray­al, and the pain of loss will be bear­able.

Wher­ev­er and when jeal­ousy appears, it is impor­tant to real­ize it, give the right to exist and live. There is a lot of ener­gy in this feel­ing and it is bet­ter to use it as a cre­ative resource — write poet­ry, dance pas­sion­ate dances, draw pic­tures that appear in your imag­i­na­tion, etc.

Sibling rivalry

Notic­ing jeal­ousy in a baby, one should not scold him, shame him or con­vince him that jeal­ousy is sense­less­ly wrong and stu­pid. This method will not help. Of course, it’s easy for you to pre­tend that you don’t expe­ri­ence any­thing like this, but secret­ly will win back your dis­con­tent on oth­er chil­dren.

Do not per­suade him to share his things.

And do not pro­voke addi­tion­al jeal­ousy by empha­siz­ing that the oth­er baby is some­thing spe­cial and there­fore he needs all the atten­tion. But do not deceive that you love all your chil­dren equal­ly. Talk about love not in terms of “more — less”, but that it is excep­tion­al and indi­vid­ual for each fam­i­ly mem­ber. Try to char­ac­ter­ize it metaphor­i­cal­ly, for exam­ple, I feel “fiery, hot, knock­ing” love for you. And to the oth­er “calm, peace­ful, qui­et” ten­der­ness.


In the parental tri­an­gle, do not allow the child to take the place of an equal part­ner, do not allow him to emo­tion­al­ly crowd out mom or dad. Speak and show: This is my hus­band (wife), and you will grow up and find your love. It is dif­fi­cult for a child to live, but the inter­nal con­flict is resolved, and the top­ic of painful com­pe­ti­tion is closed.

Under­stand­ing the ori­gins of tor­ment­ing jeal­ousy, it makes no sense to blame part­ners, first you should under­stand your per­son­al life his­to­ry.

happy couple

pho­to: Foto­lia

Learn to trust and open up. This does not mean blind­ly expect­ing that you will nev­er be offend­ed. No one can guar­an­tee that their actions will not hurt you. But if you con­stant­ly avoid injury by hid­ing in a shell, do not show your vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty, do not open your feel­ings to your part­ner, then you will nev­er know the taste of a deep rela­tion­ship. Trust that you will have the strength to deal with any con­se­quences of your trust.

Feel that in your­self there is a source of bliss and plea­sure, and not in anoth­er per­son, and jeal­ousy will lose its strength.

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The opin­ion of the edi­tors may not coin­cide with the opin­ion of the author of the arti­cle.

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