Mt Lawley Counselling Centre, Perth - Western AustraliaMt Lawley Counselling Centre, Perth - Western Australia

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Adele Wilde

Counsellor and Psychotherapist
Perth, Western Australia

Jealousy is often described as an intense and extremely painful feeling. It encompasses a range of emotions including anger, fear, loss, betrayal, abandonment, grief and humiliation, and those experiencing it can feel as if their minds have been thrown into turmoil. Jealousy can be triggered when the threat of separation or loss of a romantic partner is attributed to the possibility of the partner's interest in another person. Jealousy is the fear of losing something (affection, fidelity, future) or someone you 'believed' to be yours. Whether the cause is real or imagined, jealousy always hurts and often obliterates rational thought, leading to behaviour that can create a self fulfilling prophecy by pushing away the person most desired or needed.

People can experience different types of jealousy, which are evident in everyday activities and settings such as, platonic relationships, work situations, in families, in romantic relationships.

Romantic Jealousy - Occurs when one partner feels that their partner is paying attention to, or has a romantic interest in someone else. Someone else showing an interest in your partner can also give rise to jealousy.

Sexual Jealousy - When a significant other shows sexual interest in another person.

Platonic Jealousy - This form of jealousy is seen in friendships, and is similar to romantic jealousy, in that there is the fear of being replaced by a perceived or real third party.

Workplace Jealousy - is not uncommon, and especially between colleagues who share similar positions, and who may be aiming for the same promotions etc. Employees can also be sensitive to positive feedback given to the other when they think they are more deserving of the praise.

For many people the experience of jealousy includes:

  • Feeling angry and suspicious about a perceived betrayal
  • Insecurity and doubts about a partner's fidelity
  • Insecurity within self
  • Sadness, uncertainty, and loneliness
  • Fear of loss of a relationship, and in particular losing the loved one to another person
  • Feeling bad about oneself, low self esteem
  • Loss of trust
  • Making assumptions, imagining and being totally consumed by thoughts about partner's whereabouts, and perceived interest in another
  • 'Clinginess' (clinging to partner) possessiveness and controlling behaviours
  • Anxiety and low mood
  • Making accusations
  • Loss of interest in other areas of life usually enjoyed

Anthropologists have suggested that jealousy varies across cultures. What our culture teaches us can influence or determine those situations that trigger jealousy and the ways in which we express our jealousy.

Jealousy comes about due to the insecurity of the jealous person whether justified or not. The higher the level of insecurity or instability, the higher the level of jealousy. Jealousy goes right to the core of the self and its roots are deep, it can't just be pushed away. Someone who is insecure within themselves can often be the destabilizing partner within a relationship. They are not only jealous of a perceived romantic other, but of any kind of friendship including a child or family member, anything that takes their partner's attention away from them.

It is important to differentiate between 'normal' jealousy and 'delusional' jealousy. Normal jealousy has its basis in reality- a real threat to a relationship, whereas delusional jealousy has no basis in reality- there is an absence of any real threat or likely threat. A little bit of jealousy may be normal for a relationship especially in the early stages before trust has had time to develop. It can also be seen as a measure of caring and commitment, but not if extreme.

People who are experiencing jealousy feel a sense of inadequacy, which is uncomfortable and difficult to bear. Their discomfort is often converted into displays of behaviour that include anger, arguing, accusing, distrusting , searching through partners belongings, including mobile phones, and interrogating. They are looking for reassurance or confirmation of betrayal. These behaviours often result in pushing the partner further away.

We are capable of changing our behaviour by recognizing how we are behaving and realising what is normal and abnormal for us in regard to our feelings. By examining the roots of your jealous feelings, you can make change and learn how to cope more effectively. Jealousy can be a trigger for growth both personally and within the relationship, the outcome being increased self awareness, and greater understanding of both you and your partner, and your relationship. Jealousy can serve as a valuable sign for that we need to look inward and consider our self worth and self awareness. This in turn can only lead to improved relationships. It can sometimes be the case that jealousy appears to say more about the jealous person than the misbehaviour of the partner.

You can insure against excessive jealousy by nurturing your relationship and taking time to be together. Spend time talking to your mate even when apart. Instead of assuming the worst, share your feelings and thoughts and communicate in ways that are not hostile or blaming of the other. Effective communication of feelings and concerns can facilitate solutions, change and greater understanding in relationships.

If you would like more information or help, Adele can be contacted by telephone or email.

Phone: 0439 324 703


Adele Wilde
Counsellor and Psychotherapist

Mt Lawley Counselling Centre
13 Alvan Street
Mt Lawley Western Australia 6050

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