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Interesting Jealousy Article

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This is pretty interesting:

Jealousy

While some couples seem to feed off of inciting a playful type of jealousy, many other relationships are laid to waste by uncontrollable and irrational fits of jealous rage. As clinical sexologist Brigitte Paquette explains, however, your relationship doesn't have to be the next to fall victim to the green fires of envy: jealousy is often a symptom of low self-esteem and it can be treated through therapy.

By Brigitte Paquette, clinical sexologist

Who among us has never been even slightly jealous at one time or another? Indeed, jealousy seems to find new "victims" everyday. However, the intensity of this jealousy and the circumstances in which it appears vary from one person to the next. While catching a boyfriend in an innocent conversation with a member of the opposite sex can be enough to send some of us into jealous fits of rage, others are unlikely to ever think jealous thoughts.

In spite of the prejudice that seems to have emerged around a typically "jealous" person, it's worth noting that it is usually normal to feel jealous when the survival of our relationship is seriously threatened and we risk losing a person that we are deeply attached to.

That said, however, jealousy can become a serious problem when it grows out of proportion, springing up when there clearly isn't anything to be jealous of. While it might be unreasonable to fly into a jealous rage at the mere sight of your boyfriend glancing at another woman, jealous behaviour would certainly be understandable if your relationship were to come under serious threat.

A CRISIS OF JEALOUSY

Sandra is a cosmetics salesgirl. She is pretty, she has a way with people and—at least on first impression—she seems to be brimming with self-confidence. As those who know her can attest, however, this sense of confidence doesn't seem to find its way into her private life. Her obsessive jealousy, she claims, is destroying her relationship and she's afraid of losing Martin, whom she has considered the love of her life for almost four years. She feels trapped by her jealousy, which has taken over her entire life and has become, through time, a true obsession.

Sandra's jealous episodes seem to occur more and more often and with greater intensity, springing up every time Martin looks at a pretty woman—eve n if it's just in a photograph! When this happens she tends to lose all control over her emotions, unable to check her thoughts and her behaviour. In order to avoid triggering Sandra's jealous rage, she and Martin have banned television and magazines from their home. Out of his love for her, he says, Martin has even agreed to go out less often.

Still, the jealousy continues. Her latest episode occured recently when Martin bumped into a woman that he had known for a long time. Naturally, Sandra had never even seen this mysterious woman—and she found her too attractive not to feel threatened. A series of thoughts then sprang up in her mind: "She's prettier than me, how come he never told me about her, she's looking at him in a familiar way, maybe she's his mistress..."

A CRISIS OF JEALOUSY (PART II)

At the drop of a hat, insecurity seemed to invade her entire being. Her heart started beating faster and faster and she felt herself having difficulty containing her swelling anger and aggression: she was about to erupt like a volcano.

When they arrived back home, Sandra bombarded Martin with questions and started to yell and cry—she even threatened to leave him. She was in a full on fit of jealousy and she was completely out of control. After pouting for the rest of the day, Sandra realized that she may have blown things out of proportion; she decided to bury the hatchet and apologize to Martin.

That evening, she attempted to initiate sex with Martin—not because she was in the mood, but because she wanted to make sure that she didn't lose his love, which was hanging by a thread. Still, she was completely unable to enjoy the lovemaking, as she couldn't stop herself from imagining that Martin was fantasizing about the other woman.

The doubt that was raised in Sandra's mind (as a result of this small incident) brought her to spy on Martin's every move. Therefore, things that once seemed unimportant to her soon became the ultimate proof of his infidelity. Each new "clue" she found only amplified her growing suspicion: "He's like every other man, he only thinks about sex and having affairs."

Any hesitations (when it comes to lovemaking) on his part and she would launch into a masochistic fantasy that only served to increase her level of doubt: she would imagine them making love passionately; she would even imagine that she heard him tell her that he loves her.

JEALOUSY AND SELF-ESTEEM

Men and women who suffer from jealousy share some of the same characteristics. The more severe the jealousy, the stronger are these personality traits. The main characteristic of a jealous person is his or her low self-esteem, which brings that person to perceive himself or herself as incompetent compared to others.

This strong feeling of inferiority makes him or her vulnerable to feeling unappreciated and brings with it a fear of being cheated on or rejected. For some people, this fear of being abandoned can be so strong that they are afraid of committing seriously in their romantic relationships. This avoidance is in fact a way for them to deny their need to be loved.

Others, on the contrary, will tend to cultivate relationships of dependency. What particularly distinguishes these relationships from others is that one or both partners can't even imagine their lives without the other, without whom they are convinced they are nothing. They also constantly try to merge themselves with the other. To preserve this symbiotic state, they might tend to take control over their partner's life, for example. This need to be ONE with the other can also affect one's personal identity, since it merges with that of the other.

WHERE DOES JEALOUSY COME FROM?

The Frensh song, "Maudite Jalousy," by Kevin Parent is the perfect illustration of the link between the origins of jealousy and its future expression: "Damn jealousy," the song begins, "when I'm jealous I'm ashamed and I hate myself. I lack confidence. I become a child again. I want to grow up. I always need security. Yes, I always need to feel loved. I must control my dependency. It takes up too much energy. It makes me go into a rage. My heart's been broken since I was born. Can somebody explain this to me?"

For those who would like to understand where this "damn jealousy" comes from, here are a few hints. The foundation necessary for involving ourselves in healthy, balanced and satisfying relationships is established in early childhood. It's indeed from birth and throughout childhood that the child will develop and consolidate a sense emotional security, the feeling of being a worthwhile person, as well as his independence and confidence in his potential.

A lack of balance in the attachment that a child feels towards his mother and/or father can jeopardize the course of the child's psycho-affective development and can therefore predispose the child to jealousy. For example, if a child has difficulty being separated from his mother and if that mother is overprotective, he has a greater chance of becoming dependent in his future romantic relationships in the same way. On the other hand, a child who is not offered enough love and attention will likely grow up to feel as though she can't be loved—because those closest to her were never good about giving her the love she needs.

Also, the insecurity that may result from this lack of love and affection may compromise a child's ability to develop links of trust in intimate relationships as an adult. Moreover, feelings of jealousy can develop at a very early age during childhood. For example, the birth of a baby brother or sister in the family is not always welcomed by a child. The fact that a parent wouldn't pay attention to this type of reaction in a child and wouldn't take steps to make sure that she knows she is just as valuable as the new-born carries serious consequences.

ON THE ROAD TO RECOVERY

When one is deeply afflicted by jealousy—or one has lost control of her life through fits of jealous rage—therapy can be very beneficial. However, when the problem is extremely serious, the doctor cannot guarantee a complete victory in the battle with jealous feelings.

First, it should be noted that therapy is only possible for people who have decided (of their own volition) to bring their jealousy under control; forcing a partner to seek therapy is unlikely to have the desired effects. As well, one should be aware that the treatment of jealousy requires an investigation into its root causes: namely, the lack of self-love experienced by the chronically jealous person.

The patient will therefore be encouraged to increase her self-esteem and self-confidence. She must, among other things, learn to know herself (as a person distinct from her partner) and discover qualities in herself and accept her limits (including jealousy). A way to attain these objectives is to teach the person to express her feelings to her partner in ways other than crises.

By developing communication and self-affirmation skills, the patient will become aware that she can experience success when she uses her own personal resources. As a consequence, she will only feel more valued. And because many of these problems are rooted in childhood experiences, self-reflection and introspection is also part of the recovery process.

If the patient succeeds in getting in touch with the roots of her jealousy—of coming to terms with the suffering of the past and getting beyond this initial problem—she will finally be able to experience love in a more peaceful and healthy manner.

Therapeutic work that specifically concentrates on jealousy is based on inciting self-observations. The goal of these exercises is to first bring the patient to a certain level of awareness concerning her jealous fits, and then to fix the problem. In other words, this tool will allow her to identify her emotions (rage, anger, sadness, anxiety, etc.) as they emerge, while at the same time noting her responses to the flare-up of these feelings (ex. blame, control, manipulation, etc.).

In addition, therapy will seek to counter certain erroneous beliefs that typically feed jealousy. The idea that men are incapable of being faithful or the notion that women who wear sexy clothes are actively trying to seduce, for example, are debunked.

It's by learning to spot the tell-tale signs of a jealous fit that the patient will be able to learn how to prevent jealousy more efficiently, and thus to foster a more healthy and constructive relationship with her partner.

Brigitte Paquette is a sexologist who works in a private practice in Sainte-Adèle, Quebec.

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Very interesting and informative :)

I would recommend everyone, whether in a relationship or not, to control their jealousy and understand that we're only human.

Jealousy is a natural phenomenon (from a Science journal i read back in the day), and can be healthy for a relationship, too.

For instance, smurfette had told me that she's fending off the Italian men while she's in Italy. But she followed this with a simple "haha", and later on said how much she missed me.

It is important to remember, espec. when in a relationship, that WE ARE going to notice the opposite sex. We need to ensure the other half constantly that "they are the one" , "you are with them", etc... NOT to let their mind go on a wild ride and fill in the blanks with faulty thoughts

:)

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