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

#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.

How Can You Tell if Your Loved One Is 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 Rooted in Nurturance and Living Example

Discipline is pointing the way. Living example demonstrates 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.

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.

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.

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?