What Causes Jealousy In A Relationship?
Published on October 18th, 2022
Jealousy is a feeling that people may experience for different reasons. It can be natural to feel sometimes and knowing how jealousy affects you can help you make sure that it does not lead to unwanted consequences. Jealousy can affect your self-esteem and self-worth. It causes strains in relationships with friends, family, and loved ones, so it is important to understand what jealousy is and how it affects you.
There is a difference between being jealous and being envious. People feel envy in reaction to wanting what someone else has. You may feel envious for:
- Material possessions
- The wins and successes of another person
- Seeing others with what you want for yourself
Jealousy tends to be more complicated. You feel it in response to feeling threatened in some way. You may feel jealousy if you believe or suspect someone may want to take what you have. It stems from a place of insecurity and fear.
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Causes of Jealousy
Each person has a history that can contribute to their jealous tendencies. Understanding what causes your feelings of jealousy can help you learn how to manage them in a healthy way that preserves your relationships and self-esteem. Reasons that a person may tend to feel jealous include:
- Being betrayed or lied to by loved ones or close friends
- Being cheated on in previous relationships
- Fear of rejection
- Feeling abandoned by someone important in your life
- Feeling insecure or unworthy of love and acceptance
- Low self-esteem
- A poor self-image
People who struggle with jealousy tend to feel very insecure and may believe that they are not worthy of the love or affection they are given. This belief can come from other people mistreating them or a low sense of self-esteem that causes them to convince themselves that what they have is too good to be true.
A deep need to feel secure and a fear of being rejected or left behind can cause you to develop feelings of jealousy as a means to protect the relationships you have. Jealous feelings develop in reaction to fearing someone close to you could slip away or stop caring about you. Some relationships that can cause feelings of jealousy include:
- Family members
- Social groups
Why You May Be Jealous
We all feel jealous sometimes, but if you find yourself being more jealous than others, or find that your jealousy is impacting your life, then it can help to get in touch with why you feel so jealous and what you can do to work on jealous feelings. Maybe there was an event in your life that caused you to develop jealous feelings, or maybe you were taught that jealousy and possessiveness are signs of love. To learn how to address your feelings of jealousy, start by getting in touch with why you feel jealous.
Jealousy can affect you when you are self-conscious, insecure, or feel unworthy of love and acceptance. When you believe that you do not deserve the love and acceptance you are shown by the important people in your life, it can be hard to trust the feeling and even harder to trust that it will not be taken away. Fear of losing the love or affection of another can be enough to cause you to feel jealous.
You may also suffer from jealousy when you have experienced betrayal or rejection from others. If you have felt rejected by a friend or family member, then you may struggle with jealousy that is rooted in a fear of being left behind, rejected, or abandoned. This is especially common in people who felt rejected or cast out from a friend group or have been cheated on in past romantic relationships.
Your self-esteem is a key factor in feelings of jealousy. When you are secure, you have a foundation of self-trust and self-love that helps you tolerate more uncomfortable situations that may cause you to feel jealous. Low self-esteem, low self-worth, and a poor self-image prevent you from feeling confident or valued. If you cannot value and love yourself, then it can be hard to believe others will love or value you. If you can boost your self-esteem, confidence, and sense of self-trust, you may be able to build a tolerance for jealousy and learn how to cope with your jealous feelings so they do not impact your relationships.
How To Control Your Jealousy
Jealousy can cause you to act out of character, or in ways that push people away. Jealous behaviors are harmful to relationships, which is why you must healthily control your jealousy. If you are ready to take control of your jealous feelings, you are making a great decision for yourself and your future!
There are things you can do to reduce jealous feelings. If you take the time and be patient with yourself, applying the tips below can help you feel less threatened and more confident and secure in your relationships.
Tip 1. Talk About How You Feel
Jealousy is rooted in other feelings that the people around you do not see. Before you act out on your jealous feelings, talk to your loved one about how you feel. Communication can strengthen your relationship with your loved one and help them understand your boundaries and needs to feel secure. Use “I” statements and feeling words to express yourself, and try not to point blame or accuse others of poor behavior.
Tip 2. Build Your Self-Esteem
The higher your self-esteem, the more secure you feel. If you can boost your self-esteem and lower your insecurities, you will not need to use jealousy as a means of protection. You will have less fear because your self-worth will be higher. Find the things you like about yourself or the qualities you have that you can strengthen. Get in touch with what you have to offer others, and allow those things to become a part of your self-image.
Tip 3. Take Control Of Your Thoughts
Thoughts based on fear or negativity fuel jealousy. Your thoughts can trigger your feelings of jealousy and fuel your insecurities. You feed your jealousy when you speak cruelly to yourself and when you assume others will hurt you and do not care about you. Challenge your thoughts that reinforce jealous feelings and distrust in others.
Each of these tips will help you take control of your jealousy, and you will need to work hard to achieve them. If you find yourself struggling with working on these tips or find them too intimidating to start on your own, consider speaking with a therapist. A therapist will be able to help you learn about yourself and why you feel jealous. They can also help you take control of your jealousy, boost your self-esteem, improve your communication skills and manage your thoughts more healthily.
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