Save Your Relationships from Paranoia

“Jealousy is no more than feeling alone against smiling enemies.”

This simple statement once written by Elizabeth Bowen, Irish writer, sets a perfect scene in our minds of what jealousy feels like; others are happy, overtly joyful or secretly mocking, while we are left alone looking like a fool.

Jealousy is a complex emotion that encompasses many different kinds of feelings ranging from fear of abandonment to rage and humiliation. It can strike both men and women when a third-party poses as a threat to a valued relationship, it can be a problem among siblings competing for parental attention, or envy after a more successful friend.

Conventional wisdom holds that jealousy is a necessary emotion because it preserves social bonds, but jealously usually does more harm than good, creating relationship conflict and strife. Jealousy is a killer. Relationships end because of jealous conflicts and people kill other people because they are jealous.

Jealousy isn’t something an individual has much control over. In truth, it is a natural, instinctive emotion that everyone experiences at one point or another. The problem with jealousy is that it masks other feelings and attitudes that are even more hurtful to us and those close to us. Its intensity is often shielding deep-seated feelings of possessiveness, insecurity or shame. I believe that what lies at the heart of jealousy very often isn’t the threat itself, but a drive we have within us to torment ourselves and berate ourselves with self-critical thoughts.

Your jealousy may be fuelled by unrealistic ideas about relationships. These ideas may very well include beliefs that past relationships (that your partner has had) are a threat to your present relationship. You may also believe that your emotions (of jealousy and anxiety) are a “sign” that there is a problem. This is also known as “emotional reasoning”—which is often a very bad means to make decisions.

One may have problematic beliefs about how to feel more secure in a relationship. For example, you may believe that you can force your partner to love you—or force them to lose interest in someone else. You may believe that withdrawing and pouting will send a message to your partner—and lead them to try to get closer to you. But this withdrawing may lead your partner to lose interest altogether.

Sometimes an individual’s assumptions about relationships are affected by their childhood experiences or past intimate relationships. If his/her parents have had a difficult divorce because their father left their mother for someone else, the individual may be more prone to believe that something similar may happen to them as well. Or if an individual may have been betrayed in a recent relationship and they now think that their current relationship will be a replay of this.

You may also believe that you have little to offer—who would want to be with you? If your jealousy is based on this belief, then you might examine the evidence for and against this idea.

You don’t have to rely on jealousy and jealous behaviour to make your relationship more secure for jealousy seldom makes relationships secure. Practicing effective relationship behaviours is often a much better alternative.

(Leahy, 2008)

Priyanka Banik

Priyanka Banik

Business Development Executive

IRIANS- The Neuroscience Institute


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