The papers for discussion this month were on the subject of Jealousy, by popular request. Both articles are from Psychology Today: ‘Listening to Jealousy’ by Sara Eckel, and ‘The True Nature of Jealousy’ by Berit Brogaard. It was acknowledged that jealousy stems from insecurity, sometimes relating to suspicion (which could be unfounded), though it could represent a genuine fear based on past experience. It is symptomatic of attachment issues, with relationship difficulties becoming a metaphor for early life scripting.
Jealousy can be an escape or distraction from facing one’s own guilt and responsibility. We discussed the difference between jealousy and envy, one possible pair of definitions being: envy is wanting what someone else has; jealousy is not wanting someone else to have what you have, and what you consider is rightfully yours, and resenting them if they’ve got it! Jealousy is associated with possessiveness, a fear of loss, a sense of injustice, a threat (usually to a relationship), being made to feel inadequate or inferior. Preoccupation or obsessive thoughts that a partner is being unfaithful, with no real evidence, can result in ‘morbid jealousy’. Its origin could be a deep underlying fear of being abandoned and left alone.
In the words of Esther Perel, quoted in the Ekel article, ‘The feeling itself [jealousy] is taboo…..[and yet] it’s a universal human condition, one of many that is part of the multilayered experience of love.’