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

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.

Why 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.

A Betrayal Anxiety Quiz for Women in an Unequal Workplace

When limited opportunities for advancement in a workplace exist, women often find themselves competing for the few positions available. Oftentimes, women who have been betrayed by ladder climbing colleagues are then prone to sabotage others.

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.

The Upside of Jealousy

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.

5 Ways to Be More Authentic on Social Media

By Alice Boyes Ph.D. on April 08, 2015 in In Practice
In psychology, the term “impression management” is used to describe how we go about selecting how we present ourselves publicly. Most of us can relate to the idea of having two competing drives: (A) to display our best self (B) to be genuine, and keep it real. Here are five tips for how you can both create a positive impression AND be authentic on social media.

Are Men or Women More in Demand?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on April 08, 2015 in The Human Beast
Men generally want to have sex earlier in a relationship than women. This is consistent with the pattern for other species where males are more eager to mate whereas females invest more in young and are more discriminating. How does this pattern play out in modern environments?

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.

8 Signs You're in a Relationship with a Sexual Narcissist

Sexual narcissism can be defined as a grandiose sense of one’s sexual prowess which, in the mind of the sexual narcissist, entitles him or her to engage in acts of emotional and physical manipulation at the partner’s expense. How do you know when your partner may be a sexual narcissist? Here are eight telltale signs...

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.

7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude

Take a few minutes each day to acknowledge all that you have to be thankful for. Showing just a little bit of gratitude can transform your life in incredible ways.

Study Folly?

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on April 01, 2015 in In Excess
One of the more interesting types of Culture Bound Syndromes is Brain Fag Syndrome (BFS). The symptoms are such as to prevent students from carrying on with their work and include various unpleasant head symptoms, memory loss, visual difficulties, inability to concentrate, and inability to write. But is this real and what does the psychological literature say?

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.

Infantasy: The Dream of Unconditional Love Never Dies Young

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on March 31, 2015 in Ambigamy
Romantic love and confirmation of our social worth are complexly tangled.

7 Ways to Combat Facebook Jealousy

By Andrea Bonior Ph.D. on March 31, 2015 in Friendship 2.0
Many of us are trapped in a cycle of seeking out social media almost automatically when we're bored or stressed. Sometimes, though, it can do more harm than good—especially if it spurs on jealousy. Here are seven ways to break free.

What Pet Owners Can't Know About Their Pets

By Peg Streep on March 31, 2015 in Tech Support
Dog owners universally ascribe complex emotions to their furry companions. But what's really going on? Do dogs feel what we think they feel or are we all just projecting?

One Thing You Must Know About Jealousy

Evolutionary psychology explain a critical gender difference in jealousy responses. Men have more to gain from sex with multiple partners so they respond by looking for someone new. Women have more to gain from keeping their partner committed so they respond by enhancing themselves and the relationship.

10 Signs That You're In a Healthy Relationship

By Abigail Brenner M.D. on March 30, 2015 in In Flux
Relationship usually begin with romance and sex being upfront and center. But what really sustains a relationship? Here are some points to keep in mind while you're working on creating that special partnership.

Murder in a Locked Room:

By Kirby Farrell Ph.D. on March 29, 2015 in A Swim in Denial
In a paradox worthy of Greek tragedy, the fortified cockpit door to Germanwings Flight 9525 invited the mass murder it was meant to prevent. Can we make sense of a co-pilot’s rampage?

Misdiagnosis of Bipolar Disorder, Part II

A case study illustrating comorbidity and distinctions between bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder and attention deficit disorder.