How To Deal With Jealousy – Cleveland Clinic

Nobody likes to admit it, but we all get jealous at times.

Jealousy, which is a little different from envy, is a feeling where you are protective of something you have and fear that something or someone will take it away from you. Especially when it comes to relationships, this can happen when someone feels something is threatening someone important to them.

“Jealousy is a complex and uncomfortable emotion,” says psychologist Susan Albers, PsyD. “But it’s also a normal feeling.”

dr Albers explains exactly what jealousy is and how you can prevent it from negatively impacting your well-being or your relationships.

what is jealousy

Unlike envy, which is about coveting something someone else has and you don’t, jealousy is manifested through fear of what we have have is threatened with confiscation.

dr Albers points out that this can happen to a person in our life, or even someone in our life perceive or want to have. In any case, jealousy comes out when you are very anxious to keep someone or something close to you.

“It comes in small flares and it can be uncomfortable, but in extreme forms it can be toxic and damaging to relationships,” says Dr. Albers.

While jealousy is a normal emotion, it can turn into something harmful if you push it too hard. It can also cause you to lose what you’re trying to hold on to by causing stress and tension in a relationship.

Here are some ways jealous feelings can manifest in relationships:

  • feelings of anxiety or depression.
  • Feelings of paranoia or obsessive worry.
  • Obsessing over your partner and what they do.
  • Growing distrust in your relationship or others around you.
  • Feelings of low self-esteem or low self-esteem.

Alongside this, jealousy can also hurt us as individuals. “Small bouts of jealousy often come and go, but persistent jealousy can really eat away at our self-esteem or self-image,” Dr. Albers.

“Jealousy is an emotion often associated with shame,” she notes. This is because jealousy often comes with negative thoughts as well, such as I’m stupid enough to be jealous. It can really negatively impact your self-image or make you feel intensely ashamed,” continues Dr. Albers gone. Or you feel judged by someone else with words like: You are so controlling.

Where does jealousy come from?

Jealousy can be a complicated emotion to unravel because it can be a combination of past experiences, psychological issues, and even personality traits.

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Here are some common factors that can cause persistent feelings of jealousy:


While it may seem that jealousy is mostly about how you feel about someone else, it’s really our relationship with ourselves this is often the root cause of venomous jealousy.

“For many people, the true root of jealousy is insecurity,” says Dr. Albers. “And being able to pinpoint exactly what’s driving that insecurity is insightful and enlightening, not just about yourself but about the relationships.” At the end of the day, when you’re aware of the relationship you’re in feeling unworthy, your brain will begin to over-analyze any threats that are damaging or destroying that relationship. In some cases, it can even become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

problems with self-image

Feelings of low self-esteem about your image can also increase jealousy in a relationship. If you’ve struggled with self-image issues in the past, it can lead you to constantly compare yourself to others and judge yourself by how worthy or unworthy you are of your relationships.

“Failing to see that someone else values ​​you or your relationship will only reinforce your belief that your relationship is at risk,” explains Dr. Albers. “So your self-image can really be a mirror or shed light on how your jealousy can come to light.”

mood problems

If you live with anxiety, you know that certain triggers can trigger feelings of fight or flight. So if your triggers are tied specifically to your relationships, it can cause jealousy to manifest in unhealthy ways.

“They may also have an underlying problem related to anxiety, like an anxiety disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder, that’s triggered in the context of the relationship,” says Dr. Albers.

past trauma

Often one of the hardest things to do after experiencing significant trauma from past relationships is to move forward with new ones. If you have experienced emotional abuse or betrayal in previous relationships, it can affect your outlook on future relationships if the trauma is not controlled. At this point, jealousy can rear its head and feed into these feelings by making you feel anxious or afraid of losing the person you are with now.

Certain personality traits

Sometimes feelings of jealousy can stem from one of your personality traits. like dr Albers explains that people who tend to get fixated on details or have very intense emotions about things may experience more jealousy than others.

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“This can lead to you constantly evaluating what someone is saying and how it fits or doesn’t match, looking at every detail,” she says.

Other existing problems in a relationship

If jealousy is sabotaging your relationships, it could also be due to things outside of your own state of mind. If you’re the one who’s jealous or suddenly protective of your partner, Dr. Albers that it’s good to take stock of what else is going on in the relationship.

“My only small caveat is that sometimes jealousy isn’t like that all in my head,” recognizes Dr. Albers. “There can be some real threats to a relationship, and sometimes what you pick up on can be tied to a gut feeling that your relationship may be at risk. The tricky part is figuring out when it’s really at risk, or if it’s due to your own fears and insecurities.”

Watching for signs of love-bombing, gaslighting, or emotional abuse can help shed light on legitimate concerns about your feelings of jealousy. Because of this, it might be good to speak to either a relationship counselor or an individual therapist to help unravel these issues or bring conflict to the surface in a healthy way.

How to stop jealous feelings

So what is the key to finding peace with the green monster within without letting it take over our relationships or mental state?

dr Albers lays out some steps you can take to combat your jealousy.

Reflect on your triggers

The first step to taming jealous feelings is to recognize your inner triggers. As we mentioned above, these triggers can be related to anxiety, your personality traits, past trauma, or even a combination of things. If you catch yourself feeding jealous feelings, it’s important to recognize this If And Why ignite these emotions.

For example, you may feel anxious when your partner goes out late with their friends and forgets to text back. Or maybe you start to worry a lot when you notice a close friend of yours making new friends.

“Many people have a pattern of getting jealous or situations that can trigger jealousy,” says Dr. Albers. “As such, it can be helpful to understand the patterns that can occur.

“It’s also important to understand how much jealousy is perceived and how much is based on actual facts that may actually threaten the relationship.”

Reframe the situation

In some cases, extreme bouts of jealousy can stem from inner insecurities or mental issues we are dealing with. So if you become fixated on a certain aspect of your relationship that justifies your jealousy, it can help to step back and reformulate.

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“It’s also good to acknowledge that jealousy is a normal human emotion,” advises Dr. Albers. “It just means you’re human.”

This is important for the next step – communication – because if you don’t acknowledge your feelings and are honest with them, you won’t be able to address them with the other person.

Express your concerns

If you’re thinking about where your jealousy is coming from and still have that tingling feeling in your stomach that something just isn’t right, it’s important to express those concerns with the person in your life. If this makes you nervous at first, find a trusted friend or loved one to help you put your feelings into words.

“Communication, not detective work, can create trust,” notes Dr. Albers firmly. “It’s important to communicate what you’re feeling to your significant other. I also think gauging her reaction to your jealousy is very insightful about the relationship. If they are willing to talk to you and understand the jealousy instead of reacting to it or being ashamed or blaming it can say a lot about the dynamics of your relationship.”

Jealousy in non-romantic relationships

While jealousy is often talked about in romantic couples, it can be a very present emotion in other relationship dynamics as well. For example, you may begin to experience intense feelings of jealousy when a new friend joins your friend group. Or maybe there is a new colleague at your place of work who you feel could jeopardize your position in some way.

“Jealousy isn’t unique to romantic relationships,” says Dr. Albers. “It really cuts across all types of relationships.” Similar to romantic relationships, it’s important to communicate openly and pay attention to why your jealousy is triggered in these situations and relationships.

The final result

At its best, jealousy is a rush of emotion that indicates you have something or someone valuable in your life that you want to hold on to.

“From an evolutionary perspective, jealousy is actually an adaptive behavior. It means we have a relationship that we care about and don’t want to lose,” explains Dr. Albers.

But at worst, jealousy can harm you and your relationships. That’s because, in extreme cases, jealousy can make you feel anxious, depressed, or even unworthy of the thing or person you have. If you’re still feeling persistent jealousy affecting your well-being, try talking to a relationship counselor or therapist to help you feel more comfortable with the people you love.

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