Understanding Jealousy

Jealousy is a complex emotion that encompasses many different kinds of feelings ranging from fear of abandonment to rage and humiliation. Jealousy can strike both men and women when a third-party threat to a valued relationship is perceived, it can be a problem among siblings competing for parental attention, or envy after a more successful friend. Conventional wisdom holds that jealousy is a necessary emotion because it preserves social bonds, but jealously usually does more harm than good, creating relationship conflict and strife.

Recent Posts on Jealousy

Income Inequality, Fairness, and Envy

By William Irwin Ph.D. on November 24, 2015 It’s Your Choice
Life does not guarantee approximate equality of outcomes, and the demand for such equality in the name of fairness is grounded in envy and resentment. You can change your frame of reference to turn envy into gratitude.

Shame and Envy in the World of Social Media

From a mental health standpoint, you should be more likely to browse through the Facebook posts of your friends and acquaintances to make yourself feel better. The reality is that social networks can just as often stimulate the unpleasant emotions of shame and envy. Here's how to shrug off those posts that peeve you.

The Elephant in Sigmund Freud's Consulting Room

By Rebecca Coffey on November 17, 2015 The Bejeezus Out of Me
Imagine growing up gay in a household where your world-renowned father calls lesbianism a gateway to mental illness. And it is always, he said, caused by the father and curable by analysis. Now imagine that he analyzes you.

Coping With Your Envy: Turning Envy on Its Head

By Robert L. Leahy Ph.D. on November 07, 2015 Anxiety Files
Envy can lead to depression and hostility and can undermine you at work and with your friends. Here are a few ideas of how to turn envy around.

Being a Sedulous Ape: Good or Bad?

Learning by example, when intentional and directed, underlies true learning that is enduring and meaningful. This short piece is a “how to” discussing motivation and skill development.

Should You Worry About Your Lover's Ex-lovers?

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on November 02, 2015 Fighting Fear
People inclined to be jealous are especially inclined to be jealous of a lover's ex-lovers. Is this reasonable?


By Robert L. Leahy Ph.D. on October 28, 2015 Anxiety Files
You can’t stand it when someone is doing better than you. You resent it, want to see them fail, and you feel guilty and ashamed of these envious feelings. You are not alone.

When Home Is Not Where The Heart Is

What To Do When You Feel Disliked At Home

Is Online Infidelity Really Infidelity?

By Martin Graff Ph.D. on September 16, 2015 Love, Digitally
Online liaisons are not necessarily considered to be unfaithful behaviour. Sexual infidelity online is no threat to a male’s certainty of paternity

Mental Illness Does Not Equal Dangerous, Mostly

By Carrie Barron M.D. on September 14, 2015 The Creativity Cure
There are many different kinds of mental illness and most people with these conditions are not dangerous. However a certain mix of psychological ailments combined with other known risk factors can be a set up for violent crime. If we can clear up the misunderstandings we will be in a better position to predict and protect.

Venus v. Serena Williams: Reflecting on Sibling Relationship

By Peg Streep on September 08, 2015 Tech Support
What a tennis competition between sisters can teach us all about this most extended of family relationships...

The Truth About Why We Try to Steal Each Other's Partners

By Ryan Anderson on August 30, 2015 The Mating Game
You can't always get what you want

When Relationship Abuse Is Hard to Recognize

Recognize abusive control in relationships

When the Pay to Win Button Backfires in Video Games

By Jamie Madigan Ph.D. on August 24, 2015 Mind Games
How do players react and what social comparisons do they make when others pay real money for in-game advantages?

Why Do We Try To Make Our Partners Jealous?

Feeling jealousy is complicated...perhaps more complex is our motivation to make others jealous. Why might one do this? A new study reveals some factors explaining this process.

Make Envy Your Friend—and Keep Your Friends

By Temma Ehrenfeld on August 17, 2015 Open Gently
Envy is normal but dangerous if it combines with anger.

3 Ways to Turn Jealousy Into Motivation and Self-Acceptance

By Susan Harrow on August 16, 2015 The Body Blog
For some people — including me — studying Aikido (The Japanese Martial Art, called The Way of Harmony that works as a way to polish the spirit, to turn lead into gold) is a slow, awkward, and arduous process.

The Archeology of Misbehavior

Archeology is the study of human activity in the past. The archeology of misbehavior is studying current behavior to uncover hidden sources. The “ruins” of misdeeds are built upon personality architecture and cultural landscapes.

A Crash Course on Gender Differences - Session 10

By Eyal Winter on July 25, 2015 Feeling Smart
On Sex, Procreation and Sperm Compitition: How do Human Beings Differ from Animals.

Managing Pregnancy Jealousy During Infertility

Feeling jealous of another woman’s pregnancy is common and normal when you are experiencing infertility. Instead of feeling guilty, try these 6 ways to give yourself a break.

Sexually Open Marraige

“I’m not feeling well. I can’t get going.” Sharon said softly. I remarked, “You seem sad.” Her voice picked up as she said “I am but I don’t understand it. My life is great. I’m married to this wonderful man, have an adorable six year old daughter, a lovely home, and a satisfying career.”

Sex and the Single Borderline Woman

The Buddha and the Borderline is a cross between "Girl, Interrupted" and "Bridget Jones’s Diary." She is much more than a ‘lonely and increasingly horny receptionist,’ as she says in the book. Her insights into the world of the borderline mind are as funny as they are revealing.

How Jealousy Can Change You (and Why That Might Be OK)

We all get jealous in our relationships from time to time. Ever considered how this influences how you see yourself and how you act?

My Daughter Paid Her Boyfriend To Be With Her

What To Do When Someone You Love Is In A Dreadful Relationship

7 Reasons Why We Envy Our Friends (and Vice Versa)

Envy is an ugly—but totally human—cluster of feelings. When it strikes a friendship, the friendship can seriously suffer. Beware these seven common triggers.

The Diseased States of America

If addictions are life-long diseases, we're all doomed.

“Two-ness:” the Mind’s Binary Code

The earliest roots of what is recognized as “envy” in later life emerge from the normal sense of “two-ness.” In Envy Theory, this "two-ness" is the mind's innate binary code: envy’s mode of operating. Modulating “two-ness” early in life decreases emotional dysregulation. From the healthy maturation of envy, admiration, emulation, gratitude, and empathy are born.

5 Tips for Dealing With the Sister-in-Law From Hell

Jealousy is such a destructive emotion. What can you do when you are the recipient of someone else's envy?