The Roots of Jealousy

November 2, 2015

“If they are jealous it’s because they love you,” “I am jealous because I love you,” “You should worry when they stop being jealous, because that means that they are not in love with you anymore”…these are all phrases that we have surely heard or said before.

However, jealousy does not demonstrate love as we have been lead to believe. In reality, it is an emotional response to the fear of losing something that we are convinced belongs to us and that we feel much affection for.

Jealousy is a warning sign that informs us of the existence of danger, losing the affection of our loved ones due to the presence of another person. It is usually accompanied by the feelings of abandon and exclusion, living through a very painful situation. But this sign, if we learn to process it and understand it, can be very enriching.

One can feel jealous about many things, but above all it is related to those areas in which the person feels most insecure. But, contrary to the way it seems, the rival of someone who is jealous is not another person, but rather the image of what one wants to become.

Jealousy is not only part of relationships (although that is the most typical case), but also between siblings, cousins, friends, family members, co-workers, etc. It is for that reason that this feeling, present in all cultures, is a part of songs, myths, legends, books, and, of course, scientific studies.

Jealousy: the mistaken idea that someone belongs to us

If we would set aside the view that the other person is our asset, jealousy would not exist. It is that simple. Human beings, by nature, have been raised in an environment where they appropriate everything they have around them. We stay with something because we like it, it does us some sort of good, we enjoy it, and we want it at our mercy when we feel like it.

In the specific case of a couple, the most common relationship where jealousy is experienced, the feelings and opinions of both should matter. This means that it is necessary to find a balance. We cannot pretend that the other is an object that does what we want, when, how, where, and as many times as we want.

According to the words of V. de Miguel: “Sometimes excessive worry by one partner implies the need to control and this is more related to possession than love.” Constantly asking where they are, if they have arrived at work, what they are doing, and “overprotecting” can be a subconscious way of holding them by our side.

If we don’t believe that our partner belongs to us, it does not mean that we love them less, but rather completely the opposite. Each member of the couple needs autonomy, they each play a satisfactory part in their own life and within the pair, and both grow within the bond.

Do you believe there is a greater display of love than the person we have at our side being happy and having the free will to do what they want?

Of course, it is at this point when we think: If I “let” them do what they want they will surely deceive me or behave in a way they shouldn’t. Not necessarily.

The main reason a person becomes jealous is low self-esteem, and that is something that the jealous person him/herself needs to work on. The excessive fear of losing the person we love indicates that we are not happy with ourselves and that we think that we need someone else to be happy. And, what can you do to cure jealousy?

It is important to directly address the root of what generates the jealousy: the destructive self-rejecting. We all have parts of ourselves that we don’t like or wish to improve on, but the problem is when we reject these parts in a destructive way.

If your partner is controlling every one of your movements, if they criticize how you dress, if they spy on you while your write a text message or e-mail, if they feel anxious when you go to work and find excuses for you to stay home, or if when you return from being out, you have to endure an interrogation, they are excessively jealous.

So what can be done? Talk about it, and try to help them understand that trust is very important in a relationship. If both partners try to work to make it better, there is no doubt they will succeed.