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Battling the green-eyed monster:overcoming jealousy in relationships

Updated on February 12, 2013
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Michelle is a professional freelance writer who loves music, poetry, pets, and the arts. She is a techno-geek as well.

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Jealousy, the horrendous green beast no one wants to keep company with. Whether one is the giver or receiver of the emotion, it can cause a great deal of discomfort and distress. Jealous feelings can also have irreparable consequences for relationships at work or among siblings if they are not assuaged and dealt with.

A story of jealousy

I had a friend, one whom I had known for a good twenty years. A brilliant lawyer, she had her career very much going for her, working as a litigator of various prestigious law firms. Where relationships were concerned, however, she did not have much success.

The ugly green beast in her soon reared its head. Not feeling a sense of balance in her life, she became jealous of any of her female friends who were able to achieve some measure of success in their careers and start families as well. This even applied to myself.

Her envy became an obsession. Indeed, the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that she had under control surfaced.She started imagining that someone in church wanted to marry her just because he talked to her, and started alienating herself from her friends. She soon had to check herself into a hospital because of a nervous breakdown.

Envy arises among colleagues at work
Envy arises among colleagues at work | Source

Consequences of jealousy

As evidenced by the lady above, Individual and personal feelings of jealousy can have very negative consequences for relationships. It is vital for anyone, whether the owners or receivers of feelings of envy, to find positive ways of addressing them. So what are these consequences?

Jealousy nurtures feelings of self-doubt

A sure sign of insecurity, jealousy nurtures feelings of self-doubt. Fear and insecurity arise when a person starts comparing himself to another. Not feeling as good as another person can lead to much negativity and hatred.

Jealousy can turn into an unhealthy obsession.

If people get too consumed by jealousy, they can develop unhealthy, obsessive feelings that affect others and ultimately, themselves. It is easy to keep oneself in the right frame of mind when jealous.

As the lady in my story showed, jealousy can trigger nasty compulsions that can literallyturn life upside down!

Jealousy can ruin relationships.

This is by far the most obvious consequence of jealousy. It is a tough call to communicate with someone who is jealous of us. No one wants to be near anyone who looks green,at least figuratively!

My friend has lost almost all her friends, who initially tried to help her overcome her jealous feelings. Green was obviously not a suitable color for her.

It is a leading cause of abuse

Obsessive feelings of jealousy can lead to verbal and even physical abuse. Vindictive feelings can have grave physical and emotional consequences.

My friend in the story example actually called me several times calling me names and sent cryptic, insulting SMS messages when I tried to bridge the communication gap. She even extended the verbal abuse to members of her own family, especially to her sister whom she compared herself to, being a prominent lawyer as well.

Envying others' possessions
Envying others' possessions | Source

Managing jealousy

Mastering personal feelings of jealousy

to a greater or lesser degree, we have all had some feelings of jealousy, either of the good looking schoolmate who managed to get dates or the one who always seemed to get such good grades. Perhaps it was the co-worker who got that well-deserved promotion promotion instead.

The feeling intrudes upon our lives. How can we address these feelings?

Take time to think about what causes the jealous feelings.By this, I mean that it is good to admit that one is jealous of a more talented co-worker, their friends or siblings. Self-awareness is the first step to putting unhealthy feelings into perspective. Not admitting to these feelings only serves to hinder one's progress in every area!

Stop comparing yourself to others.

Much jealousy arises because of unnecessary comparison and wanting to have what others do. It not only stalls one from moving forward, it breeds feelings of hatred that only swallow others and oneself up if they manifest.

Be You - in the words of good friend and fellow writer Ishwaryaa Dhandapani. Accept yourself as you are, a person with unique strengths and weaknesses..and there will not be a need for comparison to others or that nasty inferiority complex!

Ask why the other person is causing you feelings of being threatened and if that is accurate.

If another person arouses feelings of being threatened, ask if there is really a threat in the first place. Put the other party and situation into perspective. There may not be a need for such feelings at all!IIi used to be a little jealous of other colleagues whom I saw as popular teachers until I realized it was a matter of perspective. As long as I taught with integrity,a clear conscience and self-respect, the students held me in respect as well!

Ask if that is what you really want for yourself.

A feeling of jealousy may help a person feel vindicated for a while. Certainly, for a time, the feelings feel right and justified in situations where there may be some personal bias involved.

in reality, the feeling may not be one that is actually wanted. The jealous monster can be actually cloying and leave a sense of being "eaten up."Not something that sits well with everybody!

jealousy can lead to isolation and squabbling
jealousy can lead to isolation and squabbling | Source

Battling jealousy at work or among siblings

On the other side of the coin, we may become victims of jealousy ourselves. This is especially so at the workplace, when our achievements may overshadow those of our colleagues. At home, we may incur the jealousy of our siblings.

While their own feelings of jealousy may be something that only they can address, these feelings do affect the environment and ultimately yourself. So how do we address them at work?

Evaluate one's own behavior.

When another person is jealous of us or starts giving off unhealthy vibes, it may not be right to blame them entirely. It is also good to ask if we had a part to play in nurturing these jealous feelings.

Perhaps the we had flaunted our achievements in front of them in a fit of happiness without realizing it. The other party may have worked hard and contributed just as much, but was not acknowledged by superiors or at home, our parents. So it is good to be just that bit mindful and considerate. This can apply at work or among our siblings too.

Get the support of your boss or parents.

This does not in anyway mean going up to them, tattling and complaining about the jealousy of the other party. It means making them aware that the other party has jealous feelings which perhaps could have been unknowingly nurtured by them.

In this case, give your boss or parents a heads up that you are going to talk to your coworker or sibling about what may have made them uncomfortable. this is important if it affects work as a team or if we have long standing relationships with parties involved.

Have a tete a tete with your jealous coworker or sibling.

Wait for an appropriate moment to have a good talk with the jealous coworker or sibling. Find the root cause of these jealous feelings. Again, while it may be something they need to address, we sometimes have a part to play in nurturing these feelings as well.

Build relationships with our coworkers or siblings.

Get their understanding and support. They will tend to be less jealous if they accept you.

As parents or managers, it is important to observe objectivity and neutrality in dealing with children or coworkers, vital if the family or workplace is to function as a unit. Everyone's contribution should be valued and is essential.

a jealous husband
a jealous husband | Source

Jealousy in relationships

There is yet another level of jealousy. Of course, it involves man-woman relationships! Many would have wonderful advice to offer on these, but here are a few tips.

Trust.

Relationships are about trust, so giving a better half the benefit if the doubt is the best thing one can do! It helps him or her to develop a greater sense of security in the relationship as well. Lengthen the leash and do not be too controlling.

Honesty.

Trust is two-way traffic, so if a better half extends that trust, it is our responsibility not to abuse it. Be honest about who you meet, and the simple things that fill your day. One sided trust without the support of fulfillment from the other party does not breed healthy relationships.

Don't play mind games.

One may have an overly jealous partner. The worst thing to do when your other possessive half confronts you is to go up in arms with a non-answer or to evade the issue. It prolongs the confrontation and intensifies hurt feelings.

Address what is bothering him or her, and let him or her know if he or she is being stifling or possessive.Be considerate of the jealous feelings, letting him or her know tactfully that they are encroaching into your individual or personal space.

Conclusion

Jealousy is indeed a green eyed monster to be chased away before he disrupts relationships and even self-esteem. He can creep in for any number of reasons, but there is one thing to do-chase him away!


Copyright (C) Michelle Liew All Rights Reserved

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    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Managing jealousy in relationships can be important.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Outstanding article Michelle! I'm sure the green monsters are in denial and would never, ever see themselves within your words, but hopefully they will. Jealousy is such a wasted emotion. If instead people took their insecurities and instead attempted to enhance themselves, maybe, just maybe they'd be less green.

      I never looked good in green so I opted out of having the jealousy gene. Woot and yeehaw to you!

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Agree, Linda. There's no need to be jealous of each other, really, because we make up for each other's imperfections. So as long as we work together, all is well! Thanks formdropping in!

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 4 years ago from Chennai, India

      Another excellent hub from you! Though jealousy is human nature, but it has to be controlled to a great extent otherwise it lead to drastic consequences like you mentioned - deep insecurity and poor relationships. One should learn to be positive and if others are doing well, then they should take others as good examples and continue to do their own work honestly till their good times come and not envy them.

      Once again, a wise hub! Way to go!

      P.S. Thank you for mentioning me. I am honored.

      Thanks for SHARING. Useful, Awesome & Interesting. Voted up & Socially Shared

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      You did an outstanding job on this Hub! I honestly don't think I'm jealous of anyone or anything, but I'd had friends who were extremely jealous of others. It is a bad trait for anyone to have.

      I voted this UP, etc. will share, Pin and Tweet.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

      Good points:

      1. You have appropriately highlighted the consequences of jealousy.

      2. You write from your experience, and do not sound didactic.

      3. Formatting of this hub is brilliant.

      Bad points:

      1. There is no bad point at all.

    • profile image

      ignugent17 4 years ago

      It is true Michelle that jealousy is a monster. I am sorry for your friend to undergo this kind of experience. It will really ruin a persons life. This is really a great hub to share !

      We have to be contented of what we have.

      Have a nice day! :-)

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 4 years ago from United States

      Sweet pictures midget, I loved your work and really appreciate all that you write about. Thanks for sharing this good advice.

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      That's true, Ish, my friend. That's all one gets for being jealous! Poor relationships and deep insecurity. Good happens to the good, it is only a matter of time. Jealosuy only breeds more hatred and jealousy. Thanks for the insight!

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks for the compliment, Mary! There are extremely competitive types around who are this way because they do not feel secure enough! It sure is a bad trait! Thanks for the share too!

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Great article Michelle, Jealousy is one of those negative traits we often recognize in ourselves and in others, where ever we find it, it is just as ugly and twice as destructive.

      keep up the good work.

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks for your compliments, Vinaya! Glad that this was a good read. thanks for coming by!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      This is a tough one for sure, and it's not just limited to relationships. I see jealousy in so many facets of life, from work to writing sites and yes, in romantic relationships. You have made some great points and have some wonderful suggestions.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Jealousy unfortunately is apart of human nature, but it is how you deal with these feelings that matter most. You gave some really great suggestions for times when this feeling may indeed rear its ugly head. Thanks and of course have voted and shared all over!!

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 4 years ago

      Jealousy is certainly one of those ugly feelings. One that we all should try to overcome if we want to be truly happy. After all how can you be happy with you're always wanting what someone else has!

      Your hub is excellent, full of great information, personal notes and plenty of wonderful suggestions ^_^ voting a bunch and sharing!!

    • Jordanwalker39 profile image

      Jordanwalker39 4 years ago from GA

      Wow. I think you have really done a great job of touching on all the points. that involve jealousy. Thank you for sharing with us. Great writing.

    • Dreamjar profile image

      Dreamjar 4 years ago from Florida

      I know it's not a direct comment on your article but I love the picture of the birds. You can tell the little green one is ready to spit nails.

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Jealousy is indeed a monster. I hope that she is better now too... but it is kind of difficult to talk to her if she will not listen. Thanks for your concern for her. We indeed have to be contented with what we have! Thanks, Meldz!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, whonunuwho!! Glad that you've enjoyed it! Thanks for dropping in!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Definitely in agreement, Jo. A very, very destructive emotion which is hard to resist but must. Thanks for the compliment and dropping in!

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Sigh. It is a part of being human, Bill. What we need to know is that there is no need to feel threatened. We ALL have so much to offer, and as long as we do, we will always have our place. I may sometimes find it hard to follow my own advice, but know that jealousy is not the way to go. To us for fighting against the nasty elements of being human!

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Hi Janine! Yes, we need to conquer it, for it will unfortunately test us from time to time. But as long as we remember that we all have everything to offer, we will succeed! Thanks for sharing, my dear!!

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      That is spot on, Kim, couldn't have put it better! How can we be happy when we always want what someone else does? That feeling of discontent will always disturb us! Thanks for saying that and the compliment! Thanks for sharing, my dear!

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      HI, Jordan! Glad that you think that it was comprehensive! Thanks for dropping in!

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      That's alright, Dreamjar...glad you noticed because that was why I chose the picture!! This alone says volumes. Much appreciated!!

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. I suffer from egotism. (I was trying to work on it.) One advantage of being an egotist is we rarely if ever get jealous. I and your valuable hub are a examples of the need for balance.

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Hatter!! I think we all need to check ourselves once in a while. Thanks for the insights, my friend!

    • girishpuri profile image

      Girish puri 4 years ago from NCR , INDIA

      Jealousy is indeed a monster, but 100% people wear this beautiful ornament, this is an integral part of human personality, up to some extent it is must to grow....lol, but excess of this factor leads to mental disorders, important share, voted up.

    • midget38 profile image
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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Indeed, Girishpuri! Excess leads to mental breakdowns. Like what it did to my friend! Thanks for coming by!

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 4 years ago

      You've got jealousy down for the count of three! It is probably the most useless of emotions as it causes nothing but negativity - always! (Your gf is a perfect - if extreme - example..)

      In hot yoga class just yesterday - the instructor was discussing this - telling us that if we know who we are - are confident in ourselves - we are never jealous. What does that say about all the jealous types i've had the displeasure of dating? Hmmmm...

      Excellent advice, midget...sharing on..

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Yes, jealous emotions are indeed useless,ImKarn23. My g/f was indeed an extreme example of jealousy. I think that, coupled with the OCD she had made her really react irrationally.

      What great timing that your instructor was talking about this too! True, what he discussed. If we are sure of ourselves, know that we each have something unique to offer, then there is no need to be jealous of anyone. Those jealous types can be a dating turn off! LOL!

      Thanks for sharing, and appreciate the insight!

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Very good information, midg! I've run into this beast in several aspects of my life. Slay the beast! :) Voted up and shared.

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      I echo that refrain, TT! We all have everything to offer, so there's no need to envy anyone. Thanks for coming by!

    • Lord De Cross profile image

      Joseph De Cross 4 years ago

      Yeah I'm jealous of this hub. Lol!

      Jokes aside this is a terrible problem aong us. We usually bump into people with this malady, but don't mind that extra fuss, as long as we are fine. Great and insightful approach!

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Yes, it's dealing with it when they get too fussy, I guess! Thanks for coming by, Joseph!!

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 4 years ago from West Virginia

      Midget, awesome article! You make a variety of great points. This is a major reason that relationships don't work out. This is where the key of "trust" comes in. Very well written Midget, a class "A" hub. Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting. Shared also.

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, thelyricwriter! Jealousy is at the heart of many a broken relationship indeed! Trust is very important as well. Thanks for the compliment too, and sharing!

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      wow Michelle there are so many people that need to read this.. I have en counted this on Facebook .. big time.. one person does not want you to be friends with another one they want you all to themselves.. it is a nightmare. I wrote a poem about jealously.. it causes pain and heartache and distrust..

      thank you for a great hub

      sharing

      Debbie

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Yes, it does, Deb. Very bad. It causes a lot of heartache especially if they've been the closest ones to you. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 4 years ago

      Outstanding hub!

      The attorney you mention in this hub sounds exactly like one that I used to work for. She worked in family law and her husband worked in real estate. Her husband was my supervisor and she was threatened by me because everyone in the office said that I had such an out going personality that I would be an asset in the firm. Anyway, eventually I found out that she doesn't hire any women to work in her office.

    • profile image

      vonda g nelson 4 years ago

      although the last 2 paragraphs were funny, jealousy amongst so called friends, aquaintences and family members can be dangerous. I remember when an associate of mine told me that someone I considered to be a friend was jealous...... I refused to listen much less believed her and the day I finally decided to open my eye, I was able to accept this REALITY. Many times people will put these revelations to the side and hold on to poisonous baggage which is bent on distributing as much poison as possible.

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Uh oh, love doctor, sounds like a gender bias to me. And definitely a little feminine jealousy as well. Some folks just don't know how to control it. Glad that you're not working for her now! Thanks for coming by!

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, vonda, this is true indeed. Even the closest people can be jealous of you, and that is really bad. When it's not managed, even the best of relationships can shatter! Thanks for coming by!!

    • Louisa Rogers profile image

      Louisa Rogers 4 years ago from Eureka, California and Guanajuato, Mexico

      Hi Michelle, thanks for an insightful read. I definitely see jealousy in me, and my solution is to reflect within and ask what the real threat is, as you suggested. Getting older also helps. Now that I'm in my 60s, and I've experienced it many times over the years, I've come to realize jealousy is more about ME than about the other person (something that wasn't obvious in my 20s!) Fortunately it never lasts very long. Voted useful.

      I'm a newbie here, one month old, found you via billybuc.

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Hi Louisa, great to connect and welcome to HP! True, when we see what the real threat is, it is actually ourselves and our insecurities. It's the same for anyone who might be jealous of us!I guess such concepts were harder to accept when we were younger because being young means having to go ahead, achieve, planning for careers, relationships and a lifetime ahead...all of which mean a little competition involved at many points. We rest when we grow older! Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      people popcorn 3 years ago

      hi i believe my best friend like since first grade , going on vacation together, close, close might be jealous first she has long hair all the way down her back LIKE LONG HAIR but long hair runs in MY FAMILY BUT I DON'T GET LONG HAIR IT RUNS FROM BOTH SIDES BUT I DON'T GET LONG HAIR but it doesn't run in her family while mine is just past my shoulder she not that attractive and people do not tell her that but they tell me in front of her oh your daughter is so pretty or beautiful i am a rarely even say you have to pretty daughters even though just my friends she catched boys looking at me and it brings her down i try to be supportive and tell her she pretty but she doesn't believe me also she tried to make me mad by letting her hair down to make me mad so she can feel better she says she has low self esteem can you give me advice on how to help her because deep inside i thinks she jealous and please give me some tricks on how to get her to tell me without her knowing im asking her thank you

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Well, there will always be the jealous types to make us mad, people popcorn, and that's why we must deal with them!

    • profile image

      people popcorn 3 years ago

      soo any tricks to get it out of her

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, People Popcorn

    • profile image

      wowsers 3 years ago

      Same problem Any tricks please

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Will think of some more!

    • girishpuri profile image

      Girish puri 3 years ago from NCR , INDIA

      Revisit the hub. Good advice Midget. God bless.

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thank you!

    • profile image

      up 3 years ago

      My friend is so pretty she has perfect skin and puts nothing on it she looks indian boys just stare at her like a walking acake anyway people we don't know tell her that she beautiful but when I with her we barley her look at those two pretty girls anyway I just feel so bad I mean my hair is long and hers is passed her shoulders but not like mine i try to let it down but it doesn't do a thing for me I... help :(

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Up, I think the best way is the accept yourself just the way you are!

    • profile image

      Bunny frizz 3 years ago

      Hi i know i shod except who i am but my friend is like a model she tall and gets all the boys we were in the store and a boy nudged his friend and ponited right at her i thought they were pointing behind her so i went and pretened to get something and he waz trying to describe what she looked like and it waz her and his friend said woah she is hot man and every time we ran into them or someone they would say she so pretty or beautiful or she has pretty eyes what do they say to me NOTHING i have acne longer hair than hers an light skin and big lips she china anne mclain(from disney channel) skin color has lil past shoulder length hair but she just so beautiful perfect skin and everything she white black and some type of special native american but she looks black even white mexican black u name it even lil boys and grown men look at her and she so sweet and crazy like FUNNY do u have any tips yeah i know i should love myslef and be happy with who i am I KNOW THAT if u tell me that it wont work

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      The problem is, you're not willing to accept yourself as you are. In a way, you're refusing to move out of her shadow. Think about all the things you are good at doing. Focus on those, remember that these are the things u can do better than her or anyone. A space of your own can make u happy, but you'll have to let it be that way.

    • profile image

      Bunny frizz 3 years ago

      I know thanks now im going go cry lol nope imma be happy

    • midget38 profile image
      Author

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      That's cool, Bunny. You're bound to be great at a lot of things she isn't . Don't live inherent shadow. Once had a friend like that.

    • profile image

      Bunny frizz 3 years ago

      She is a lot of things sweet nice caring she loves babys and little children she wants to help people she is HILAROUS and it makes her want to cry to see disabled kids because we can't help them but i wont be fine i will still be jealous but i will be happy

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