Is jealousy a big part of your life? Does the green eyed monster attack just when you least expect it?
I’ve blogged a lot about jealousy through the years, mainly because it’s the issue that brought me into therapy twenty years ago.
My jealousy story
As a young twenty something man I would become insanely jealous of what my partner was doing, where she was going, who she was with, even what she was wearing.
It became unhealthy for me. It kept me up and night and spoilt the relationship I had with her. We had unnecessary arguments about random things.
The final straw for me was when we had a big argument in the pub about her wanting to buy some boots. I was incensed!
This is how my brain dealt with the boots:
“She wants to buy boots – > to look good for someone else -> she’s going to leave me -> I’m not good enough -> I’m going to live a sad lonely life”
Seems a bit crazy now, but working with dozens of people with jealousy issues whilst counselling in Wilmslow, it’s the same thinking pattern I hear over and over again.
The human brain has the capacity to connect any object or thought with any other object or thought.
Test this out. Look around the room you are sitting in and pick two objects.
Now say how the first one is linked to the second one.
Next, decide which one is more important.
See how you can do that?
Human beings are the only animals on the planet that can do this. It’s called relational framing.
The ability to connect any two objects or thoughts isn’t always good though.
I was able to attach my girlfriend’s intention to buy a pair of boots with being abandoned. Not very useful and a great way for me to suffer.
Getting out of the trap of jealousy
One of the first things I will teach clients who come for therapy for jealousy is that you are not your thoughts.
There’s you and there’s your thoughts.
When you fuse with your thoughts and see the world from the perspective of what your brain tells you things can get sticky.
Defusion is the art and skill of noticing you are having a thought and then separating from it. There’s lots of ways of doing this.
You can sing your thoughts to “happy birthday” or say them out loud in a funny voice. There are other ways too (come book an appointment with me and I will talk you through them).
What defusion gives you is a bit of wiggle room to start moving towards what’s important.
If I had spent more time connecting with my partner rather than giving her grief about her shopping choices then we would have both been happier.
By behaving in that way it would have moved me towards the close loving relationship I really wanted with her.
Other common issues linked to jealousy
I often find that clients who struggle with jealousy issues have low self esteem and that certainly was the case for me.
If you don’t believe that someone would want to be with you then why should they believe it?
There are lots of ways to deal with thoughts like this. Defusion works wonders as you practise doing it.
Understanding where the thoughts came from by talking through your childhood can also really help.
The good news about jealousy
The good news about jealousy is that you don’t have to live your life this way. I have helped dozens of people work through their jealousy and live far more contented lives where they connect with their partner rather than give them grief.
I’m grateful for jealousy because without it I would never have gone to therapy as a young man myself.
Without that experience – life changing for me – I would never have become a therapist and have the amazing honour of working with people and their challenges every day.
Read the book
If you come to my counselling practice in Wilmslow to deal with jealousy the chances are pretty high we will work together on emotional literacy.
This is the skill of being in touch with your emotions and expressing them appropriately and safely.
A great book, in fact the book to read on this is Emotional Literacy: Intelligence with a Heart* by Claude Steiner.
It’s had a real impact on several of my clients who I’ve recommended it to and changed the way they do things. And it’s what you do that counts.
Therapy for jealousy in Wilmslow
Don’t suffer with jealousy. Come work with me and we can sort it out. Ring me on 07966 390857 to make an appointment or use my contact form.