When Jealousy takes hold...
The number of people who have contacted me with relationship worries has increased significantly in the last few years. Relationships are extremely complex and can bring a myriad of challenges. In this article, I want to focus on something that I see a lot, something that most people experience at some time in their lives, Jealousy.
For some people, jealousy’s hold can feel so strong. If we allow it to take control, it has the potential to destroy any relationship, whether new or longstanding.
When we feel Jealous, we fear that our connection with someone special might be lost. To protect ourselves, we will look for evidence to support our belief that something is going on. We might engage in coping behaviours like reassurance seeking, checking up on a partner, questioning their every move, checking their phone emails and social media for evidence to ‘prove’ we are ‘right’.
What people have reported in this kind of situation is that although they don't want their fears to be realised, they want to be prepared for it, to find out first. This hypervigilance gives people a false sense of being in control of the situation. However, these behaviours are unhelpful. Rather that obtaining the reassurance we seek, they serve to create a rift between two lovers. The recipient is likely to feel scrutinized, accused, monitored, ultimately that their partner does not trust them.
The reassurance seeking might satisfy us for a short time, but we will start to look for more and more evidence, there will never be enough.
Do not distress yourself with imaginings, Ehrmann
Most of our jealous thinking stems from our imagination. When we feel insecure, we start to see things through a filter. We inspect everything our partner does and notice evidence of behavior or actions that support our beliefs. We will create scenarios and situations based on our beliefs that are not necessarily true or real.
There are a number of reasons why we might be more susceptible to Jealousy. It can help to identify what lies beneath the jealousy for us. It might be due to insecurity, low self-confidence, fear of abandonment, a need to be in control. Negative core beliefs have a lot to answer for, e.g. believing that we are not good enough, not attractive enough, unlovable etc.
From experience working with a lot of clients who suffer from jealousy, I know that it is one of the most damaging challenges a relationship can face. The good news is that it is also something we can do a lot about. It takes some work and commitment but it is definitely something that can be overcome.
Some of my top tips for overcoming jealousy are:
Remember you are in control
When we are in the grip of jealousy, it can feel overwhelming, but It is important to realize that we can do something about it. It is within our power to control it. We can choose to think about the situation differently.
Set some Ground Rules
It can be helpful to agree on what behaviour is acceptable in the relationship. Agree and set ground rules with your partner so that you are both on the same page.
Jealousy can lead to aggressive or manipulative behaviour. Be objective, see the situation for what it is and act in a loving way towards your partner. Rather than being suspicious, show them love. You are more likely to receive loving behavior in return.
Focus on Yourself
Spend some time focusing on you and developing your own confidence. Take the heat out of the situation. Stop monitoring everything your partner does. Instead, focus on you, on your development, on making you feel better about you.
‘The best way to know if you can trust somebody is to trust them’ Hemingway