Steps You Can Take to Stop Making Assumptions that Fuel Jealousy
How to Stop Your Jealous Assumptions
By Susie and Otto Collins
Have you ever wished you were a mind reader? Perhaps someone you love, in your eyes, is acting in a way that is troubling to you and you long to know what he or she is really thinking. Though few of us have developed our psychic powers to the point that we can literally read another person's mind, many of us often pretend that we possess this ability.
Too often we make assumptions about what another person's intentions are, what he or she wants, or how the person is feeling and the end result can be confusion, misunderstanding and pain.
When you make an assumption about your partner with little or no evidence to back up what you think is happening, you could very likely experience the uncomfortable and damaging effects of jealousy. Your jealous habit can easily be fueled by stories that you create in your mind because of the assumptions you make.
Carlos is pretty sure he has his partner Kate figured out. They've been married long enough that he feels confident that he knows when she's opening herself up to another man who is preying on her. Carlos trusts Kate but has little or no trust for other men who, he's sure, are just waiting for the opportunity to entice and take away his beautiful wife. To Carlos, Kate is gullible and in need of his oversight and protection. Ultimately, Carlos cannot stand for Kate to give another man any attention-- no matter how innocent it is in her eyes. His jealousy has caused more than one argument and embarrassing public scene.
Recognize when you are making assumptions.
If you can stay tuned in to how you are feeling-- especially when your jealousy is triggered-- you are on your way to the ease and deeper connection possible with your mate. Practice checking in with yourself regularly when you are in situations that feel neutral. Just take a few moments to ask yourself how you are feeling and make note of any stories you are telling yourself. When a story comes into your mind, ask yourself if you know this to be true?
Next, carry this exercise over into scenarios where you are prone to become jealous. Pay attention to the clues your body may be giving you when negative assumptions come into your mind.
Carlos began to check in with himself a few times a day every day. At first he made sure he was in neutral situations and then, later, he made it a point to tune into his feelings and thoughts in more charged settings. For example, at his office party he could tell right away how tense he became when Kate met a male co-worker of his. Carlos was aware of his shoulders tightening and the way he quickly moved toward Kate and this man as the two conversed.
Though Carlos did not like the way he thought the man looked at Kate, he just took a deep breath for the moment. During this pause (where usually he'd interrupt and take Kate away) Carlos listened to the assumptions he was making in his mind about his co-worker preying on Kate and about Kate being vulnerable and naïve.
Get curious about your assumptions.
It could be that the assumptions you are making about your partner are partially or completely accurate. It is possible that Carlos' co-worker is physically attracted to Kate and that she is unaware of it. It could also be that what you think you are seeing is not true for anyone but you and if you act on those inaccurate assumptions you will possibly cause and experience pain and disconnect.
Instead, we suggest that you get curious about what you believe to be true that is fueling jealousy within you. This is not an invitation to interrogate your partner or others involved in the situation you are perceiving. Start out by getting curious within yourself. Ask yourself if you know this assumption to be true based on evidence? Or, could it be your perceptions are coming from your own fears and insecurities?
You may choose to ask your partner questions as you get curious about the assumptions you are making. If so, calm yourself down first and phrase the questions in a way that is not accusing. For example, later at the office party, Carlos may privately ask Kate how she felt about her conversation with the co-worker who, to Carlos, seemed offensive.
Hearing her response and perceptions can help Carlos realize that there was no danger after all. He may even be able to appreciate Kate's power and ability to take care of herself when around other men.
We all make assumptions from time to time. It is when those stories we tell ourselves fuel damaging habits like jealousy that a serious disconnection between ourselves and the ones we love can happen.
Become more aware of how you are feeling and the thoughts that accompany those feelings. As you practice interrogating your assumptions and NOT your partner, you can let go of jealousy and open up to a deeper love.
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- Jealous No More Mini-Course
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- How to Overcome Jealousy in a Relationship
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- How to Keep Jealousy from Destroying Your Relationship
Check out Nancy J. Wasson, Ph.D's advice on jealousy.
- Jealousy: Advice for Taking the Mask Off Jealousy
- What Causes Jealousy and What You Can Do to Overcome Jealousy
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