By David Joel Miller.
Is jealousy a good thing or bad thing?
Jealousy is a complicated subject. When the word jealousy is used, most people think immediately about their romantic partner relationship. It appears that certain expressions of jealousy can strengthen some relationships while other expressions can destroy your relationships. Clients who come to counseling because of jealousy, usually have been harmed by a jealous partner or they’ve been required to get counseling because their jealousy has led to violent, aggressive actions.
Sometimes people go out of their way to make their partner jealous. It is an ego boost to know your partner will become jealous when that cute guy or gal pays you some attention. Other times excessive jealousy can destroy a relationship when it moves from expressions of affection to controlling behaviors or even violence.
How your partner handles jealousy is largely about them, not about the facts of the situation. Let’s look at the nature of jealousy, how jealousy operates and how it might have both good and bad expressions.
Jealousy is more than a feeling.
Researchers find that this thing we call jealousy includes thoughts, emotions, and actions. In its simplest form jealousy thought that you have lost or are at risk to lose something, usually another relationship to a rival.
This thought that someone might be taking away your relationship can trigger feelings fear, grief, and loss, or anger. People who experience a threat to their relationship may become anxious, depressed or may be driven to attack the perceived rival. These feelings become the basis for actions.
The difference between envy and jealousy.
Envy is when one person wants what another person has. If your neighbor has a luxury car, you want one as good or better. If your neighbor has an attractive partner envy would mean you wanted an attractive partner also. Someone who is envious of you wants something as good as or better than what you have. They do not necessarily want to take what is yours.
Jealousy involves three or more people.
Jealousy stems from threats that some will take away your relationship with another person. There’s a belief that jealousy fills an evolutionary function in humans, probably in other animals also. Expression of jealousy, the behaviors, function to prevent mate poaching. Jealousy, that possibility of losing a relationship, affects males and females differently.
Stay tuned in for more posts about jealousy; it’s causes and its treatment, which is coming up soon. More information about Jealousy and its treatment is or will be at Jealousy
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.