Jealousy Comes from What You Imagine, Not What You See

· April 3, 2017

Few people would define themselves as jealous – much less than those who actually are, that’s for sure. People fail to recognize their own jealousy because it’s such a socially undesirable trait. The collective unconscious seems to agree upon a clear idea: jealousy does no good for anybody – neither the person who feels it, nor the person it’s directed towards.

Jealousy is inevitably linked to the concept of ownership. Unsurprisingly, the fear of losing something only arises when you possess it, or have the hope of possessing it. However, if we were to leave it at that, as logical as it sounds, we would have a very limited view of jealousy and the motivating power it has.

The collective unconscious seems to agree upon a clear idea: jealousy does no good for anybody – neither the person who feels it, nor the person it’s directed towards.

stone cherubs

Jealous people

Although jealousy isn’t felt only by mediocre people, most people who feel jealous think they are mediocre. This perception of themselves leads them to ask themselves piercing questions over and over again: “Why is he with me if I don’t deserve anyone as good as him?” “How long will this illusion called love last?”

These questions indicate a feeling of bitter insignificance, a resistance to surrender, to true love. This resistance leads to doubts. “Why should I enter into a relationship if we’re just going to break up?”

We’re not trying to justify jealousy, but we are proposing that it’s not an isolated character trait. Rather, it’s connected to the rest of the puzzle pieces that make up one’s personality. Therefore, analyzing jealousy or jealous people in an isolated way is the same thing as analyzing the wound but omitting the factors that caused it or that are keeping it open.

We also want to point out something that’s important to know if you want to help them. Jealous people have it hard. They’re truly afraid, and this isn’t a pretend fear, even if everyone else thinks it’s unfounded. The jealous person might even have rational moments of clarity and understand that their feelings and behaviors are absurd, but this won’t make them feel better. In fact, it will probably increase their feelings of insignificance.


This is how the cycle feeds back into itself and starts to escalate.

Although jealousy isn’t felt only by mediocre people, most people who feel jealous think they are mediocre.

Jealousy comes from what you imagine

Sometimes, the feeling that someone likes you can take a wrong turn. Let’s say you trust your partner, but if you see their phone lying around and they’re out of the house, you might feel the temptation to grab their phone and look at it. You’re not suspicious, you just want confirmation, like you do when you turn around when you leave the house to make sure you turned all the lights off.

So then you see a message that says “hugs!” or “have a good time!” from someone you don’t know. And another one that says “xoxo” (A kiss? How? When? Where?) And then some affectionate words of gratitude. So then the questions and uneasiness begin. You’ve put yourself at a difficult crossroads. On one hand, you know you can’t confess to your partner that you were looking at their phone.

“Honey, I was going through your phone to make sure I have no reason to be jealous.”

Who would say that?

woman on phone

Well sure, people who believe they have every right to do that, and who feel that their partner recognizes that right, they would probably say that. It’s quite common, for example, for the unfaithful person to allow this kind of behavior from their partner after an infidelity. They understand that it’s a way to provide them with the security that it won’t happen again, and they accept this espionage as the price they have to pay to stay in the relationship. In other words, they put a bomb between the two of them that will end up exploding.

Going back to your spy behavior, you think that you’d rather die than confess what you did, and so therefore you’re going to have to start swallowing your doubts. Doubts that have nothing to do with kissing or hugging, or with anything you’ve seen, but with what you imagine could have happened. From now on, you won’t be looking at their phone to check up on them, but to confirm your worst fears. Nobody said that suffering was enjoyable…

The motives of jealous people

By motives, we mean that jealous people will always find reasons to be jealous, because we all have threads in our lives that a fastidious mind can weave into a story full of clandestine lovers. Most of the time, the person who creates these stories will not share them, and will swallow them like poison. In this tragic way, which has been portrayed in some theatrical comedies, it’s easy to end up becoming the prisoner of your own suspicions.

On the other hand, it’s a thin line that separates founded and unfounded jealousy. Nobody wants to be the last to find out that their partner has another lover, because your whole life could be at stake. Also, on paper it’s easy to say that if the relationship must end, it will end all the same, whether there is a third person or not. But, like we said at the beginning, this is over-intellectualizing a feeling that is extremely complex and powerful.

So, if anyone expected a simple conclusion to this article, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed. Jealousy and its related behaviors are a personal matter. However, it’s important to be aware of when it enters your thoughts and emotions when you’re engaging in certain behaviors. In any case, remember that jealousy has more to do with what you imagine than information you actually have.

Manipulation Is Not Love