JEALOUSY & ENVY
Do you ever feel jealous? Well if you do, you are not alone. Because jealousy is a normal emotion, it’s just that in extreme cases it can destroy relationships and damage your health!
It’s more likely to occur in a romantic relationship but it can also happen between siblings and other family members, and in friendships and professional relationships.
“Jealousy is when you’re worried someone’s trying to take what you have, or that others are better than you, having more fun, or are benefitting from the support that you aren’t.
Basically, jealousy is a result of our insecurities.”
The thing is when we have those feelings, logical explanations don’t help very much. Feelings of jealousy can range from mild irritation to uncontrolled anger, taking the person’s life over completely. It can lead to totally unreasonable behaviour towards others. In extreme cases it can lead to totally irrational thoughts, piling one irrational thought on top of another. Questioning everything, every action, every word. Ruminating, and regurgitating everything. It can become ever consuming, making everything around you toxic.
When one or both of you in a romantic relationship are jealous to the point of it being irrational, it can destroy the relationship.
So what is ok and what isn’t?
If your partner spends the evening flirting with your best mate, putting their arms around each other, stroking and kissing each other – then you are certainly going to feel justifiably jealous – as well as mad at the both of them! But if you believe that your partner is flirting when they are just in normal conversation, and accuse them of it without any evidence, or you control who they talk to, then that is irrational and controlling behaviour. Equally, if you are jealous of your sibling, because they seemingly have a more comfortable life than you have a better job, have more money, and you engage in malicious gossip to make yourself feel better, constantly putting them down and trying to find fault, then that is irrational behaviour.
A small amount of jealousy can actually be healthy. It means you care, and it can also add passion to a romantic relationship. If you believe your sibling has a better life, it could encourage you to get a better job. But – moderation is the key here. Because if it affects your daily life and eats away at you, it can become very unhealthy.
Jealousy is a problem when it controls you and interferes in your normal life
If you become obsessed, worrying what your partner is doing all the time, checking up on her movements, what time they get home, what they are doing when they aren’t with you, then that‘s
unhealthy. Not only is it affecting you, but your partner too, because they will begin to feel uncomfortable, walking on egg-shells, fearful of upsetting you and that you will lose your temper. They will lose their confidence, fearful of their own shadow – that’s how it affected me anyway. I finally walked away from the relationship, for my own sanity, but it took me quite some time to rebuild my confidence again.
This is often brushed aside as just brothers and sisters in friendly competition as children. But I have worked with adults where that rivalry has transcended from being beaten in the egg and spoon race at school to a sense of failure, in the shadow of their sibling in their 30’s and 40’s. It can fester away, souring that relationship, causing rifts often beyond repair.
We need to own our jealousy and not put it on the other person. We need to examine the reasons why we feel jealous and whether those feelings are rational. Is it really your sibling, friends, or colleagues fault they are more successful or have a better life? Is it really fair to be mean to them, for something that is really your problem? Of course, if your sibling is rubbing your nose in it, then talk to them about it, and ask them to stop.
Jealousy in the workplace
How many times have you or others made irrational comments about another member of staff? Maybe someone has been promoted and you didn’t get that job that you both applied for. Or perhaps they seem to be making more career progress than you. Get a grip, they didn’t promote themselves. Those carrying out the interview felt they were the better candidate. Your time would be much better spent in asking for feedback and then working on the areas that need your attention. If you have a complaint or feel hard done by, then take your complaint to the right person.
I have heard many people make spiteful remarks when this happens, which have been totally unfounded, and malicious. This goes on to cause an unpleasant working relationship, and bad
feelings all around.
‘Envy is when you want what someone else has’.
Very like jealousy, and in extreme situations envy can cause the same outcomes. I can feel envious of my friend who has a really nice car, especially if it’s one I would love to own. That is quite reasonable and normal feeling. But if I was to run my key down the side of it because of my envy, that is irrational.
So think carefully about your reactions and behaviour before you act on it. Take responsibility for your feelings and actions. They could have devastating results unchecked.