Understanding Jealousy

Jealousy is a complex emotion that encompasses many different kinds of feelings that range from fear of abandonment to rage to humiliation. Jealousy can strike both men and women when they perceive a third-party threat to a valued relationship, it can be a problem among siblings competing for parental attention, or envy for a wealthier 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 to relationships, and can create relationship conflict and violence.

Recent Posts on Jealousy

The Diseased States of America

By Stanton Peele on June 23, 2015 in Addiction in Society
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

By Deborah King on June 18, 2015 in Mining the Headlines
Jealousy is such a destructive emotion. What can you do when you are the recipient of someone else's envy?

The Envy of the Collective

Our fear of standing out from the norm is often our fear of the envy of the collective. "What will the neighbors think?" is often another way of saying "I don't want to stand out because I'm afraid I'll be struck down by someone else's envy."

A Crash Course on Gender Differences - Session 4

By Eyal Winter on May 30, 2015 in Feeling Smart
Jealousy, cheating and evolution

How Facebook Affects Our Relationships

Facebook has influenced the way couples interact with and feel about each other and their relationships. But, you may wonder if that change is for better or worse. So let’s examine the ups and downs of having a relationship in the age of Facebook.

Play, Primates, Jealousy, Work, and Losing Deliberately

By Peter Toohey on May 27, 2015 in Annals of the Emotions
Gorillas like to play games and when they do, they sometimes lose deliberately. Why? “Self-handicapping” encourages their playmate to keep on with the game. Jealousy can be very like play—there are triangles, winners and losers, and feelings run high. This is very true of workplace jealousy. Does self-handicapping have a role to play in mitigating workplace jealousy?

#rednoseday: Mental Health Is Social Equity!

By Ravi Chandra M.D. on May 20, 2015 in The Pacific Heart
Thursday, May 21 is the first Red Nose Day in the U.S. Here are some thoughts on what emotional problems are worsened with socio-economic inequity and why.

Can Snapchat Cause Jealousy?

By Martin Graff Ph.D. on May 18, 2015 in Love, Digitally
Snapchat used for sexting. Participants used Snapchat more for flirting.

How to Cope With the Envy of Others

By Sheila Kohler on May 15, 2015 in Dreaming for Freud
My mother was one of four children, three girls and a boy. They came from a modest home. She was the only one of the three girls to marry a wealthy man, twenty years older than she. He lived in a splendid house with fourteen acres of garden, a pool, tennis court, and even a nine hole golf course all kept up by an army of servants.

Do You Know What Makes Your Partner Jealous?

You know you've done it - peeped at your significant other's open Facebook messenger - who hasn't ? What happens when what you see makes you jealous? Do you confront them? Do you cyberstalk the person who sent the message? Would an emoticon included in the message make you respond differently? Do women and men react differently? Recent answers to these questions and more!

Discipline, Nurturance, or Living Example: What Works Best?

Discipline is pointing the way. Living example displays the message in vibrant color impacting a child even more than words.

What We Now Know About Jealousy in Relationships

An extreme form of jealousy, possessiveness is the desire to put a wall around your partner to ensure you have exclusive access. Take a quiz to find how possessive you are, and what this might say about you and your relationship.

Our Fear of the Envy of Others

Our fear of being envied by others can stifle us in our development and creative expression. Sometimes this envy comes from those we think should love us the most.

The Real Reason Some Women Put Themselves Down

By Denise Cummins Ph.D. on April 29, 2015 in Good Thinking
Women usually respond to compliments by putting themselves down. Research shows that the reason for this is not low self-esteem or self-hatred. Instead, it is something far more subtle, strategic...and powerful.

I'm Having An Impossible Time With A Break-Up

Breaking Up in The Age of Social Media

How Attachment Styles Impact Attitudes Toward Infidelity

Why do people respond differently to sexual versus emotional infidelity? People's attachment style may be a crucial factor.

3 Ways to Transform Jealousy into Personal Growth

Simply put, jealousy is motivated by fear. When fear is driving your behaviors, it is essential to tune into the cognitive components that accompany the fear to help you break it down and make it containable.

Harming the Innocent to Punish the Guilty

By Peter Toohey on April 16, 2015 in Annals of the Emotions
There are three harrowing stories here, one modern concerning Katherine Knight, and two from Greek mythology concerning Procne and Atreus. Mental derangement, jealousy and resentment, and profoundly dysfunctional families are at the heart of the cannibalistic stories. They dramatize the harm that is inflicted on the innocent in order to punish the apparently guilty.

Jennie Garth: Can You "Win" the Breakup?

By Jane Greer Ph.D. on April 16, 2015 in Shrink Wrap
Endings or beginnings?

When Women Use Jealousy

By Duana C. Welch Ph.D. on April 16, 2015 in Love Proof
Common knowledge says jealousy always backfires. Common knowledge is wrong.

4 Ways to Disarm Jealousy

Obsessive thinking is inevitably inaccurate.

Evolutionary Psychology Is Not About "Bettering the Species"

People often think that since "evolution" has a lot to do with speciation, then "evolutionary psychology" must be about "bettering the human species" in some way. It's not. At all. Read this if you want to know what evolutionary psychology is really about.

The Best Time to Plant a Tree Was 20 Years Ago, No Matter

By Richard Smith Ph.D. on April 14, 2015 in Joy and Pain
Feeling like life has passed you by? No matter how much time you think you've wasted, starting today there still plenty of time to start afresh. Before you know it, you will reflect on your life with satisfaction.

Jealousy, Simple and Complex

Simple jealousy functions in many adult relationships as a kind of distance-regulator. When the partners drift apart, the pang of jealousy motivates more attention and connecting behavior.

The Epidemic of Insecurity

The stressors in your life adversely impact your self-esteem and trigger insecurities. Because you cannot avoid them, learn how to negate them. These steps will help you combat your insecurities and strengthen your confidence in you own worth and abilities.

How Jealousy Can Poison a Friendship

The people, places, and things that cause you to be jealous of another tell you more about yourself than you might realize.

Envy's Higher Purpose

How can envy -- an emotion most of us are ashamed to admit -- help us better understand how we need to grow? It can if we learn to be compassionate to ourselves when we feel it and let ourselves examine our envy from a place of curiosity and not judgment. Envy isn't a sign that there's something wrong with us: it's a signal something is right that we aren't claiming.

How Do You Feel if You Can't Read?

By Peter Toohey on April 03, 2015 in Annals of the Emotions
Real literacy rates in advanced economies are lower than you might expect. This reduces the accessibility of digital technology for many people whose literacy is not strong. The common claims that the Digital Revolution is changing the way people experience emotions – such as loneliness, love, jealousy, boredom - may need to be treated with considerable caution.

Jealousy Hurts Love, or Does It?

By Noam Shpancer Ph.D. on April 01, 2015 in Insight Therapy
Jealousy in relationships is common and universal, with deep evolutionary origins. Research shows it can affect relationships in complicated and surprising ways.