Virtually every human being alive has experienced jealousy at one time or another. It's a natural, normal part of the wide range of human emotions. When that jealousy becomes what psychologists refer to as morbid or pathological jealousy, however, it moves from the range of normal to abnormal. Here is what you need to know about taming the green-eyed monster and how to seek help if you feel like you are losing the battle.
What Is Jealousy?
Jealousy involves a combination of a feeling of resentment and fear. It differs from envy in that the jealous person doesn't necessarily want what someone else has; rather, they are fearful that something they have will be taken away from them. Most often, jealousy is expressed in sexual relationships.
Jealousy should be considered a valuable self-preservation tool. It is your psyche alerting you to a potential threat in your relationship, family, and standard of living. However, some people have an exaggerated sense of what a potential threat is, which can cause a multitude of problems.
What Differentiates Normal Jealousy From Pathological Jealousy?
Normal jealousy is essentially a manifestation of caring for someone. You love your spouse or significant other, the life that you built together, the children that may have been born from the union, and you don't want to lose any of that. It is entirely natural to feel jealousy if a risk is detected.
Pathological jealousy, however, is far more complicated. Threats may be imagined, or every person the loved one has contact with, whether it be their co-worker, boss, or the store cashier, may be viewed as a rival for their partner's affections.
There may be a pervasive pattern of obsessive through patterns that become irrational. Oftentimes, even being presented with evidence to the contrary of what the jealous person is accusing the other of will not calm their fears. Their delusions are what feels real to them.
The morbid jealousy sufferer also frequently demonstrates the inability to self-soothe. This is the ability to calm oneself down in a perceived crisis and try to reason logically. Most times, those who suffer this extreme jealousy have a history of low self-esteem, profound insecurities, and go to desperate attempts to feel in control. Unfortunately, this behavior often but unsurprisingly results in self-fulfilling behavior from their partner.
How Can Morbid Jealousy Be Treated?
A psychological assessment should be sought from a licensed therapist who specializes in therapy for jealousy. A through assessment will help discover any underlying psychiatric issues that may be exacerbating an unhealthy jealousy problem. Long-term cognitive psychotherapy along with psychotropic medications are usually part of the treatment course.Share