There were red flags, but I didn’t notice.
“If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.” – An extract from Desiderata, by Max Ehrmann.
Jealousy is a friendship killer, there’s no doubt about it, and it’s also spelled death for many a relationship.
An ugly and futile emotion – no good arguably comes from jealousy.
I recently lost some weight and was a tad hurt, then bemused, when a few friends didn’t share in my joy.
I’d worked extremely hard to achieve this particular post-babies goal of mine – including subjecting myself to endless brutality at the hands of my ex-army PT – so why couldn’t people just be happy for me?
Is jealousy just another name for insecurity or a lack of self-confidence? I think it says much more about the sufferer than the subject.
Having said that, to err is to be human and all of us have fallen prey to the green-eyed monster at times.
So, how do we do battle with this particular demon? Is it just a matter of running our own race and not comparing ourselves to others? Do most of us just get better at managing jealousy as we age?
This topic also reminds me of a bitter friendship break-up with a one-time BFF, whose wedding and childbirths I had happily celebrated with gusto, despite being single at the time. Then, when I found love with my now-husband, in the midst of her separation and divorce, she saw it as the ultimate betrayal.
This occurred many years back, and has long since lost its sting, but it taught me an important lesson: true friends celebrate each other’s successes. After all, how can you not want the best for someone you love and care about?
Of course, jealousy in an intimate relationship can wreak havoc and instability for all parties; too little is baffling, but too much is the ultimate kiss of death.
If your partner is suffocating you with obsessive, controlling jealousy, get out of there fast, sister. No one has the right to treat you like you’re his possession.
Relationship experts explain that in one sense jealousy can be defined as a feeling of resentment against someone who is perceived as being more successful or having a desirable advantage.
In another sense, jealousy can be seen as a feeling of uneasiness or suspicion in a relationship, when the partner feeling jealous will be resentful towards someone they perceive as being a rival for their loved one’s attention and affections. Jealousy can lead to nastiness, anger, abuse and even domestic violence in extreme cases.
In either sense, jealousy is an extremely destructive emotion, doing a great deal of harm to the person who is experiencing the jealousy. For example, it can cause self-loathing, loss of appetite, loss of sleep and depression.
Experts say if you are the recipient of jealousy from a friend or partner, try talking to the person. Encourage them to talk about how they are feeling.
Jealous people are usually insecure, so you could try assuring them of your continuing care and affection and point out their positive qualities.
And if that doesn’t help, you could try encouraging your partner to go to couples counselling so that their feelings and concerns can be explored in a safe environment.
Images, in order, via www.inspiredwomen.co.za, www.crownofbeautymagazine.com and izquotes.com.
What do you think? Has jealousy ever ruined one of your relationships?
Unlike physical violence, emotional abuse can be very subtle. You may not even know that it’s happening and yet, it can have enormous impact on your confidence, self-esteem and ability to enjoy your life. Here are some signs to watch out for if you suspect that you or someone you know might be in an emotionally abusive relationship.
An emotional abuser will try to isolate you from your family and friends for two reasons. One, he’s extremely jealous and wants you all for himself. Two, if you share with your family and friends what’s really going on in your relationship, they’ll be able to tell you that it’s not right. He might lose his hold on you and look bad in other people’s eyes.
Verbal abuse and blame
An emotional abuser will easily swear at you or call you names, use sarcasm to hurt and then tell you it was a joke, blame you for anything that might go wrong or just make up reasons to make you feel bad.
Control through emotions
One moment your partner could be the sweetest person on earth. Then just as you’re feeling happy and safe, he’d find a minor reason to punish you by withdrawing emotionally and not talking to you for days. You can never predict how he will react and you end up walking on eggshells around him, scared that at any time you might do something wrong and suffer for it.
One way or another, an emotional abuser will get his way, whether by telling you what you want to hear so that you do what he wants or by threatening you. He can keep you confused by constantly changing his stories, so that you no longer know where the truth is.
An emotional abuser likes having control over the money in the relationship. He’d check all spending, not give you enough (or any money) or stop you from working, so that you’re completely dependent on him.
I’ve used the pronoun ‘he’ for convenience throughout this article, but this is not to say that all emotional abusers are men. Far from it. Both men and women can become abusers or victims of emotional abuse.
As I mentioned earlier, emotional abuse is hard to spot from the outside. When you keep on hearing from your closest person that you’re to blame for everything, you’re never good enough and it’s all your fault, it’s easy to start believing it without realising that you’re being manipulated. Emotional abuse is also hard to spot from the outside. The emotional abuser will not show the same face to outsiders that he presents in his relationship. Nevertheless, if you suspect that this is happening to someone you know, speak out. They may not immediately believe you, but you will be putting the seed in their heads that what’s happening to them is wrong and they should seek more information.
Image by SaeKawaii via pixabay.com