How To Deal With Jealousy

by Mark Ivar Myhre on June 1, 2011

I was consumed with jealousy at one point in my life.  It was an obsession that was eating me away and taking all my power.  For a while there, I could think of nothing else.

I had to learn how to deal with jealousy.

If for no other reason than the fact that my life was coming to a standstill.  I couldn’t seem to do anything except stay stuck in the jealous thoughts that the woman I was with was cheating on me.  Looking back now, it was a sad, pathetic time and I did not handle it well.

In fact, when she got pregnant, I demanded she get an abortion.  And that was the most excruciatingly painful experience I’ve ever been through, and I came awful close to killing myself over it.  And it would be about twenty years before I could forgive myself.  Considering how horribly painful it was for me, I couldn’t even imagine the pain I must have caused her.

I felt like a murderer for decades.  All because I didn’t know how to deal with my jealousy.  Today, life is quite different.  I was finally able to forgive myself, and now I don’t feel jealous at all.  Or, if I were to feel it, then I would just embrace the essence of it, and then let it go.

What changed?

Back in those cold dark days I was functioning out of my ego.  And my ego was constantly telling me stories about what this other woman was up to.  In my case, they were complete and utter lies.  She wasn’t cheating on me.  It was all in my head.  I mean, I was so sick at the time that I would actually follow her around.  And that’s hard to admit even now…

Jealousy In Relationships

Now, she was a flirt.  And pretty good looking.  But I went way overboard because I had no confidence in myself.



It’s interesting to look at the dynamics of jealousy in relationships… because it really does ‘take two to tango’ – as the saying goes.

If you’re jealous, how much is the other person really doing to make you jealous?

Either they’re doing absolutely nothing, or very little (in my case), or maybe they’re outright trying to make you jealous.  But here’s the problem:

We get stuck in what they’re doing (or not doing) and we end up completely ignoring and disrespecting ourselves.  We focus all our attention on the other person.  And when we do that, we give our power away.

We think they’re disrespecting us.  Maybe they are; maybe they aren’t.  But that’s not even the point.  We’re disrespecting ourselves.  That’s the real issue.

Jealousy Quotes

At this point, I’d like to make a few statements about jealousy.  “Jealousy Quotes” – I call them.  And here’s the first one:

Jealousy is disrespecting yourself.

You don’t honor and respect yourself when you get caught up in jealousy.  You’re saying that what the other person is doing is more important than you.  You devalue yourself.  “Their actions are more important than who I am as a person.

Jealousy drains your power.



You give your power away to the other person when you get jealous.  Now, they can’t use your power.  So it’s not like they become more powerful.  Quite the contrary.  But you don’t get to use your power either, when you get jealous.  And along those same lines, here’s another jealousy quote:

Jealousy makes you powerless.

And when you become powerless, bad things happen.  See, the natural tendency when you feel powerless is to lash out at others.  Jealousy unattended, in the extreme, can end up in violence.  You don’t want that!

Jealousy leads to rage.

Once you become powerless, that’s when rage begins.  In fact, rage always comes out of a sense of powerlessness.  When you feel powerless, and you don’t resolve those feelings, it will turn to rage.  The key to understand is that – strange as it sounds – by feeling the feelings of powerlessness, you actually become more powerful.

That’s because when you feel anything (cleanly) then it raises your resonance as your heart processes out the feelings.  (In this case, the feelings of powerlessness.)

Jealousy has no good side.

A common misconception states that jealousy shows you love the other person, or that you’re in love.  But that’s not love.  Love is not about suffering and martyring yourself.  Love is about feeling love.  Unfortunately, we’ve been given so many erroneous beliefs about love, that we end up feeling pain and martyrhood rather than the pure, wonderful expansiveness of love itself.

Jealousy is mostly a mental construct – a fabricated story.

To feel jealous, you have to tell yourself stories.  Period.  You have to make up stories in your own mind.  And the stories are always painful.  Sometimes, very painful.  The more stories you tell yourself, the more off-center you get, and the more powerless you become, and the farther away you travel from your own true feelings.



And what’s the bottom, underlying story?

Jealousy says there’s not enough to go around, and therefore I won’t get any.

This is easy to see when we’re talking about jealousy in relationships.  I’m with someone – and there’s only one of them.  I could lose them.  I could lose the object of my affection.  But rather than deal with that fear, I think I’ll tell myself a story instead.

Overcoming Jealousy

So much of overcoming jealousy involves realizing what you’re doing to yourself.  And you are doing it to yourself.  No matter what the other person may be doing – either intentionally or unintentionally – no matter how aggressive (or usually, passive aggressive) they may be -

You are doing this to yourself 100%.

And that’s good news!  They only have as much power over you as you let them.  They can’t manipulate you unless you allow it.  Let that sink in.  Overcoming jealousy can be as easy as making a new choice.

Because jealousy has very little realness to it, you can overcome jealousy simply by choosing to stop telling yourself stories about it.  But there’s more to it than that.  The question is, why would you give your power away like that?  Why would you endure such pain?  Why would you run on the hamster wheel?

In other words, why would you not simply choose to be done with it?  Laugh it off and move on…

Well maybe up till now you didn’t know it could be ended so easily.  And now – by golly – you will make a new choice.  That’s all it takes for some people who read these words.

But for others…the stories hold too much allure.  Because “what if they really do leave me for another person?”  Or, ‘they really are trying to make me jealous.”  Or, “why do they keep talking to their ex?”

Jealousy is all about the story. But it’s also about pain and suffering and running yourself ragged on a hamster wheel.  Each person must decide – inside themselves – if the pain is worth holding onto the story.  I would suggest at least curtailing the story.

“Okay, I’ll let myself feel jealous later, but for the next 15 minutes I’m going to focus on what’s real.”  (Hint: jealousy is not real!)  Instead, give yourself those few minutes to get in touch with the fear of loss.  Or the anger.  Or the powerlessness.  Whatever is there.  Feel what’s real.

And give yourself a short break from the story.  You deserve it.

all the best,

Mark

Mark Ivar Myhre
The Emotional Healing Coach
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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Dana Grzybicki June 3, 2011 at 3:01 am

Hi Mark,
Thanks for another thoughtful and enlightening message. Another thought that helps me (when I can give myself a break from thinking about the jealousy) is to depersonalize whatever the other person may be doing. In other words, I know I am a lovable person who is doing her best in the relationship. So even if the other person is engaged in dishonest behavior, it most likely has more to do with them than with me. I think it is another way of maintaining my self respect and power. Best wishes, dana

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Mark Ivar Myhre June 3, 2011 at 5:17 am

Hi Dana,

and thanks for the comments.

I agree 100% that it’s best to focus on yourself rather than what the other person may or may not be doing. The real question is, what am I doing? And even more important – what kind of person am I BEING? It took me a long time to learn that lesson, unfortunately.

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Amy June 15, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Thanks for the article!

I am working with my daughter and her predisposition to jealousy and her brother is leaving for college. Hope this will change for better.

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Teboho August 24, 2011 at 5:25 am

Insightful ideas on a subject that has caused a lot of harm in our world. Jails around the world are full of people who let jealousy have the better of them in one way or another.

Bravo to you and all your teammates!

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Kristy December 8, 2011 at 5:39 pm

I was skeptical reading your article–I have jealous ideation/fantasies involving my boyfriend and a platonic friend he’s known for over 15 years (no factual basis in my jealousy–insecurity and “story” feed my anxieties).
But, I took your advice on focused for 10 minutes on something “real”–making some phone calls that I’ve been putting off and focusing on my health care.

IT WORKED! I feel much better; yet the fact remains that later the jealousy will likely manifest itself again, but I have proven to myself that I can CHOOSE to redirect my thoughts. I have the power to choose the reality that I want to create, and reject the toxic fantasy that my insecurity pushes in front of me.
Thank you so much!

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Raj December 26, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Very good article. Thanks Mark for writing up what you learnt the hard way, and given that it was learnt the hard way, I believe there has to be truth in it. And I do think that most of the time, it is suspicion that feeds jealousy or the anxiety of it. But sometimes, probably very few times, that suspicion could be found to be true as well, in which case, all that can be done is probably to accept the situation. And most of the times, it is the ‘stories’ as you put it, that feed jealousy.

And I agree with Kristy that even after we choose to focus on something else for 10 or 15 mins., it is very likely that the stories come back later, starting all over.

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Kelsey February 18, 2012 at 6:20 pm

thank you so much, I personally think (and hope) that this may help me quite a bit, and it’s true, I do tell myself a lot of stories and lies, and end up believing them, and i’m tired of dealing with jealousy, it’s mainly towards my closest friends, and it’s very painful for me…..

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Janie September 14, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Is there any role your significant other can play to help ease the insecurities of feeling jealous?

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Mark Ivar Myhre September 14, 2012 at 6:06 pm

Absolutely!

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