Does your spouse constantly monitors your movements and communications? Do you sometimes have to deliberately hide innocent things from your partner just because you don’t want to ruin the peace in your life? Does your partner want to restrict your meetings with other people? Do you feel nerve wrecked and low in self-esteem because your partner picks up fights at the slightest suspicion? Are you on the brink of marital failure?
If yes, then all these symptoms point toward a single disease: Jealousy.
Jealousy is a lethal solvent that can corrode the love and trust in any kind of bond, may it be a friendship or a marital relation. Feeling jealous is a very natural emotion and can actually be helpful at times, by promoting healthy competition and boosting productivity. But when it exceeds its permissible limits, it has the potential to play havoc in our lives.
Jealousy is a very complex emotion and may not always be triggered for obvious reasons. Its causes are more closely related to the way we are brought up and how successful we are in life than anything else. A person who has complete faith in his/her abilities and strengths is less likely to experience this emotion as is the one who has been raised believing that he/she is very special and gifted.
Jealousy denotes weakness, somewhere at the back of our minds. It is the by-product of constant comparisons and unhealthy competitions. Like if your parents always compared your grades with your friends at school and made you feel bad for performing other than the best, you are more likely to feel jealous when you hop out of your small school world and enter college or university where you face greater competition. On the contrary, if you believe in doing your best and leaving the rest to fate, and refrain from repetitively comparing yourself with others around you, you can save yourself from the negative side effects of this illness.
Jealousy in Marriage
Many of us feel jealous of our friends, co-workers, family members and sometimes strangers, at one or the other point in our lives, but we never contemplate upon the reasons underlying this emotion. We let it gain control over us and govern our attitudes and actions. Unless we realize why we are experiencing this intense emotion that can actually drive us crazy, we can’t possibly look for a cure.
The causes of jealousy are diverse and mostly have their roots in our past. People get jealous when they feel insecure of others. This happens when they don’t have complete faith in themselves, when they feel they are not good enough and lack in something such as looks, abilities or resources.
It is completely normal to look around and compare ourselves with other people in our fraternity. It is positive if it lights the spark inside us and encourages us to strive for improvement. But if the intent is to rise above others and to embark upon the impossible mission of acquiring all what others have, by hook or by crook, then it sounds more like a burden on your brain and nerves.
Some people have had some really painful experiences in their lives. For example a break up with an –ex because he/she was in for someone else. Such occurrences can leave deep scars on our minds. They make us lose our trust in people. They inculcate the hesitation of building another long-lasting relationship for the fear of betrayal. They haunt us for life and keep us busy looking out for signs that someone might be cheating on us. With such a state of mind, these people can never truly keep suspicion out of their relationships. They tend to get easily jealous of anyone who comes in contact with their partner, especially if the awfulness of the past experience is coupled with feelings of insecurity. Such people believe they own or completely possess their partners, controlling every move they make and expect them to behave like a puppet with strings attached. They even go to the extent of making their partner feel choked and breathing for some personal space in life.
Let’s say people with such mind sets grow up and get married. Then what? Is it really possible for them to let go of their tendencies that were nourished through their childhood and early adult life. Practically speaking NO. Let’s have a glimpse into the life of such a couple to see how their marital life is plagued and ruined by jealousy.
A person who is jealous at heart will usually manifest it in many ways. Whether a husband or a wife, he/she will keep a vigilant eye on you, including your tone, words and body language. They may install monitoring software on your mobile to keep tabs on your phone calls, emails and texts just to see that everything is under control. For the fear of losing you and to keep you from gaining independence, they will restrict your interactions with friends and family. The chances are that they will follow you everywhere you go or firmly interrogate you about your whereabouts.
Jealousy triggers a self-fulfilling prophecy. It actually makes those things happen that you fear the most. This is mostly true in case of irrational jealousy, where the jealous partner continuously suspects his/her spouse on baseless grounds and is psychologically predisposed to behave this way as a result of his/her own negative experiences in life. Such behavior can arouse mixed feelings in the other significant half including anger, resentment, anxiety and depression. The suspect whose life is clouded by constant suspicion feels low in self-esteem, loses self-confidence and gradually starts retreating into his/her own little shell to avoid contact with the person who makes him/her feel bad about him/herself. He/she stops sharing little happenings in their lives with their partner for the fear of an argument and the never ending cycle of blame. This introvert behavior, in turn is perceived as a warning sign by the jealous spouse that his/her partner is actually involved with someone else and is seeking physical and emotional satisfaction from an external source, which at times can actually be true.
A jealous spouse feels inadequate in providing for his partner’s needs. This feeling could be nagging him/her at the conscious or subconscious level. It is very normal for us to turn back from things in life that we think are beyond our reach. The same stands true for a person who feels lacking in providing for his/her partner’s needs. This results in silent withdrawal, the reasons for which are imperceptible for the suffering partner. He/she might blame his/her own self for their partner’s behavior or at times believe that their partner is actually seeking a fulfillment of his/her needs beyond their marriage. This in turn trigger feelings of anger and grief which results in a replication of the spousal behavior, widening the gap between the two. Meaningful conversations remain a far cry and a vicious cycle of race and hatred is activated. Lack of communication leads to piling up of self-assumptions, further worsening the crumbling situation.
In some situations, the suspicions might be well warranted. They may be an outcome of the past betrayals, which may or may not involve the current partner. If the painful experience was with another person, then it is unfair to assume that your spouse may actually repeat the hurtful experience. However, if the source of pain was your own partner, the victim of infidelity usually remains on high alert and doubts his partner all along the way. He/she is simply unwilling to forgive and forget. What these people don’t understand is that letting things go is the only way they can move on in their relationship. If you continuously bombard your partner with suspicions and revulsive behavior, and make them sorry for showing improvement, chances are that they may repeat the same episode just to be the bad-guy and satisfy your unjustified accusations.
Jealousy is an intense emotion that hardly pays any heed to logic and reason. Although it is believed that an occasional pang of jealousy can actually revive the lust and romance in a relationship, it does more bad than good, if left uninhibited. It often leads to disgusting arguments and domestic violence. People often accuse each other of things that they know, in the heart of hearts, not to be true. The resulting disappointment and disillusionment, backfires as extreme fury and gives way to verbal and physical abuse. At times, this green-eyed monster has actually instigated people to go to the point of killing their own partners, the ones they loved the most. This is further validated by a survey conducted by Psychology today that proclaims jealousy to be a leading cause of homicide, and sexual jealousy to be the top most cause of spousal murder in the world.
It is important for people showing irrational behaviors to understand that jealousy always seeds upon a personal shortcomings and eventually escalate situations in destructive directions. Jealousy breeds mistrust and results in disintegration of marital life. The suspected partner feels miserable and highly disappointed in his/her partner who shows complete lack of faith. All these negativities of emotion and behavior slowly poison the blossom of love and culminate in painful break-ups and unhappy endings.
As per novelist Lawrence Durrell “It is not love that is blind, but jealousy.” Jealousy is a totally negative emotion and if you are experiencing it, its high-time you take out some time from your busy life and take a reverse troll back into your childhood to identify the exact reasons why you feel it today. Feeling jealous is an involuntary act and seems to be beyond our control. But only a strong will power has the ability to crush it.
Remember that marriage is based on trust and both partners should make every effort to preserve it. Stop doubting and spying upon your partner. It will do nothing but hurt your spouse. Shake off the urge to be at the controlling end as it can be really damaging to the fragility of your marital relation.
Change your ideology. Humans can’t possibly be caged. They are born free and like to spend their lives that way.
Remember that relations can only be strengthened by love, support and care. Undue possession and the conflict of power can suffocate your partner by usurping his/her own free will and is likely to push them outside your relation to gain back their freedom.
Start believing in the notion that,“ The people who are meant to be in your life will always gravitate back towards you, no matter how far they wander.” The rest were never meant for you anyways. It will put your anxiety to rest forever.