In response to the comments about Envy and conscious awareness, the following considerations might shed some light.
The Envy in Envy Theory is unconscious Envy. It exists as the foundation of all nonconscious information processing. Nonconscious information processing is modern cognitive science's term for Freud's "unconscious". With some nuanced differences, they are virtually identical.
Unconscious Envy is known by inferring its existence based on its derivatives. These exist in conscious awareness in everyone from childhood on. The unconscious origins of hard core feelings are undeniable.
The crucial derivatives that bubble up to conscious awareness and are consciously experienced include greed, jealousy, and competitiveness.
Put differently, any hint of noticing comparisons---superior-inferior, good-bad, better-best, and so forth show the mind's default state of "two-ness." Everything perceived is first sensed as two. This correlates with the capacity for making distinctions and noticing differences.
A less recognized—and more subliminal—attitude is that of the need "to spoil". What is felt to be good, especially too good and not had by the one who envies. Spoiling makes the discrepancy distressing feelings go away. The "sour grapes" phenomenon approximates this. "Raining on one's parade" also implies unconscious envy at its root along with other more consciously "bitter" attitudes and motivations.
In regard to the matter of the envied other as being "imaginary," that is true. Imaginary here means that the envier contrues others or interprets others around in highly personalized ways. These ways are primarily projections of the envier's own self-experience, rather than actually being real characteristics of the other person.
Bottom line: Envy is irrational and self-destructive. The essence of envy is destructive spoiling---extinguishing the total experience. Thus, not merely the object but also the subject is eradicated, almost without a trace. Envy transforms its provocateurs into unconsciousness. Envy is cloaked in unconsciousness, obscurity, and indefiniteness. Yet, according to Envy Theory, it is real and can be health-promoting when identified and modulated by positive experiences.