By Susie and Otto Collins
Have you ever been jealous and you can’t understand why you feel the way you do?
Your partner proves him or herself to you as honest, faithful and trustworthy time and time again. But you still find yourself getting jealous frequently and, often, at surprising moments.
You might find your jealous tendencies frustrating, confusing and even embarrassing. As much as you try to talk yourself out of being jealous by pointing out how great your mate is, a part of you still doubts, fears and is mistrustful.
In fact, you’ve probably noticed that the connection between you and your partner has become strained and stressed, in part, because of your jealousy– and also because of the confused upset you might also be feeling.
A situation like this can make you feel helpless and at the whim of your own emotions– that don’t always make sense even to you. There are steps you can take to better understand where the jealousy is coming from and then to find relief and eventual release from it.
[box] Sam sometimes has a difficult time knowing what to believe. He’s been with Julie for over 5 years now and he loves her deeply. But he is aware of the distance in their relationship to which his jealous tendencies have contributed.
He’s gone over Julie’s behaviors and words over and over again in his mind to discover what it is that she does that triggers his jealousy. There’s nothing that Sam can find. This frustrates him even more and makes him feel angry with himself.
Sam (and Julie) can’t even predict when he’ll get jealous– it often seems random. But when jealousy comes up within Sam, he has to take a few hours away by himself. Otherwise he yells at her and says things that he always later regrets.
Get curious about your jealousy
If you are jealous and you truly don’t know why, it’s time to dig deep within yourself– and usually your past– and figure out why.
Take out a piece of paper and try this exercise:
Start out by remembering the last time you felt jealous. What were the specific thoughts that ran through your mind at that time? What emotions were strongest for you.
If there was a specific situation that seemed to trigger your jealousy, what was it?
Write these all down on your paper as they come to you– don’t spend too much time analyzing it.
Now think back to your past.
Include past love relationships you’ve had, former job or educational experiences and also your childhood and family memories. As you scan back through your past, do any specific memories leap out at you?
If so, write down a brief account of what you remember. Pay particular attention to any similarities between this memory of the past and your more recent memory of being jealous.
These clues could point to a connection. There might be unresolved pain that you are holding on to about this past that is creeping into your present.
The memory from long ago may not seem to be about jealousy at all. Perhaps, instead, it instilled in you messages about being betrayed, having to stay “on guard” against the “bad” things or not having enough of something.
It there are no obvious connections between the past memory and your recollection of being jealous, you could keep going and pull up another past memory or you might take a break for now. Be gentle with yourself. Clarity will come to you in time.
Heal and release the past
Sam is surprised at what he finds when he looks into his past in relation to his jealousy. A memory from childhood comes to him when he does this exercise.
He vividly remembers having to awaken his alcoholic father each morning so that he could stumble into work. As the oldest in the family, this was always Sam’s “job” as his mother tried to get her younger siblings ready for school.
There were also the loud arguments and broken furniture that Sam remembers when his father had more than usual to drink that day.
These were difficult times for Sam growing up, but there were also many times when his father’s alcoholism wasn’t as evident and his household was a happier place.
Sam is able to see that, even despite the better times, he is still carrying around hurt feelings and pain from these past experiences.
He can recognize how being on guard for one of his father’s drunken tirades and not being able to count on the primary person in his life were messages cemented by these experiences.
For Sam, there is a connection between these messages and his overriding feelings of mistrust and wariness which usually manifest as jealousy.
When you can make a connection and gain a clearer understanding of what might be fueling your jealousy, follow up by asking yourself what you need in order to heal this part of yourself.
It may take time to fully release the hold this event– or series or events– might have on you. You can, however, begin to feel a sense of relief as you gradually heal. You best know what you need to do in order to begin the healing.
Stay tuned in to yourself and keep listening and following through
As you start releasing the pain of the past, you will most likely find that your jealousy eases up and can even dissolve.
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• How to stop your fears, doubts and destructive behavior BEFORE your spouse or partner finally says “enough” and walks out the door and leaves you forever
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• How to stop being insecure and suspicious, especially when you know nothing’s going on