Is jealousy a primal instinct

Jealousy: 7 Simple Tips To Overcome Jealousy

Jealousy is poison for relationships. This applies both privately and at work. Jealous people suspect infidelities, lies and intrigues, feel disadvantaged, badly treated, unloved or fear for their recognition, good reputation or the whole job at work ...

It is important to recognize at an early stage whether your own jealousy is still normal or has long since been unfounded and has reached a pathological level. Pathological jealousy has a destructive effect - towards others as well as towards yourself. You should definitely act here.

In this article you will learn what jealousy is, what forms it takes and what the most common causes are. You will also find numerous tips here to better deal with dangerous emotions and to overcome jealousy ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

What is jealousy?

Jealousy describes a strong, uncomfortable feeling that someone feels who does not feel loved, respected or valued enough. He or she experiences a mixture of rejection, self-doubt, shame, powerlessness and sadness.

The term itself comes from the Old High German “eiver” for “bitter”, “bitter” and “suht” for “disease” or “epidemic”. Colloquially it also means: "Jealousy is a passion that seeks with zeal what creates suffering."

In general, jealousy is not initially directed against the person from whom one wishes more love or attention, but against another person of whom the person concerned is jealous. In the mild form, the jealous person demonstrates his appreciation or affection and is even more anxious to strengthen the bond in the future. But jealousy can also take on pathological features.

Jealousy is always about ourselves

To start with, many believe that jealousy has something to do with the behavior of their partner or another person. But that's wrong. In fact, jealousy always arises in ourselves. It practically never originates in others, but it is all the deeper in us - in our own self-worth, in our own feelings and experiences that are (inappropriately) transferred to others. Or in short, based on Honoré de Balzac: The jealous one does not doubt his partner, but himself!

Different forms of jealousy

About 80 percent of all people are jealous. However, not everyone feels jealousy to the same extent. In fact, it occurs in different forms and manifestations, which can range from mild-normal to pathological-pathological:

Unfounded jealousy

Fear of losing a loved one is completely normal. Especially when you are deeply in love. The foundation of every relationship, however, is general trust. Anyone who does not trust the other person from the start - for example in matters of love or loyalty - starts the partnership with fundamental mistrust. That can't work. Jealousy is therefore always unfounded as long as there is no reason to do so. Or until proven otherwise. Until then, it remains a mere assumption. An affront even because she says - indirectly - to the other: “I don't believe you; you lie; you cheat you are abusing my trust! "

Mild jealousy

With this form of jealousy, there is a specific reason (e.g. a flirt at a party, the boss praises another colleague, etc.). It is more spontaneous and goes by quickly. The jealous person remains capable of acting and can intervene (humorously) by getting involved in the conversation. Or he recognizes the jealousy and dismisses it as unfounded.

Moderate jealousy

Here there is a fundamental uncertainty about one's own status (with the partner). The jealous person has low self-confidence and is heavily dependent on external signals and signs of affection or love. If these fail to appear or if another person receives comparable compliments and testimonies, jealousy boils up.

Pathological jealousy

With this form, a reflected reaction is no longer possible. Conversations and appointments between the partner and others are viewed with suspicion. Every step is controlled. There is a lack of fundamental trust, which often leads to the actual separation. Possessive to pathological jealousy is often associated with a strong need for revenge: betrayed men and women are capable of the nastiest return coaches out of disappointed love - media reports, literature and numerous Hollywood films bear witness to this.

Differences between men and women

Basically, there are no differences in the perceived intensity between men and women when it comes to jealousy. The only exception: women rate emotional fidelity more than sexual, while men rate sexual fidelity more than emotional.

Causes: where does jealousy come from?

The feeling of jealousy is not limited to love relationships. Even if many speak of the classic of the "horned husband" or the "betrayed wife". Jealousy always arises where interpersonal relationships are entered into. Among friends. Among siblings. Among colleagues.

Even six-month-old infants feel jealous, for example when their mother is looking after a sibling. It also occurs in the animal kingdom. Scientists therefore assume that jealousy is a primal instinct.

The origin of jealousy is seen in evolutionary biology: a man could never rule out the possibility that his partner would be caring for a cuckoo child if he was sexually unfaithful. The woman, on the other hand, had to fear for the provider in the event of emotional infidelity.

Today, however, the causes of jealousy are seen more strongly in the psychology and personality of a person. The main causes are three factors:

Feelings of inferiority

Those who have received little recognition and confirmation from their parents in childhood tend to adopt this pejorative view of themselves. Affected people do not consider themselves lovable and find it difficult to imagine that others love them. Constant comparison with others always turns out to be to your disadvantage: the other person might look better than you, maybe they are sportier, more interesting and more educated, or your colleague earns more money, drives the bigger car and lives in the better part of the city. So the self-doubt is immanent and the jealousy grows with the feelings of inferiority.

Loss experiences

Anyone who has had severe loss experiences in childhood finds it difficult to develop a feeling of security and self-confidence. This can include early deaths of the parents as well as divorces or frequent moves (combined with the loss of friends). Such cases are perceived as existentially threatening for the child. As an adult, the feeling of not being able to rely on others often plagues.

Abuse of trust

Bad experiences or cheating on the part of the partner in the past lead to the creation of mistrust. Anyone who has been betrayed by an ex-partner is deeply hurt and wants to avoid repeating this experience. Conversely, almost hysterical attention is paid to possible signs of a new abuse of trust in the new partner - up to and including control addiction. Often the partners don't even get the chance to prove the opposite and prove their trustworthiness. The fantasies, fear of loss and separation are simply too big - and yet they do exactly what they want to avoid.

Main cause: lack of self-confidence

Behind all the mentioned causes of jealousy, there is ultimately a low or cracked self-confidence. People with healthy self-esteem rarely get beyond the mild form of jealousy. She is also completely normal and healthy. However, those who perceive themselves as inadequate, inferior or unlovable will develop ever stronger feelings of jealousy over time. Such feelings are almost always a strong indication that those affected doubt themselves and their attractiveness. An essential step in overcoming your own jealousy is therefore always to strengthen your own self-confidence.

When is jealousy justified?

Jealousy is justified if there is a specific reason for it. So a real abuse of trust. Or when someone else was given disproportionate preference. The emphasis, however, is on “proportionality”: It is naive that men or women suddenly overlook the attractiveness of other people just because they are in a relationship with a partner. You should also give your partner, your friends or colleagues the freedom to chat or even meet other people. That limits are exceeded is initially just that: an unjustified allegation.

Test: How jealous are you?

Would you say of yourself that you are (very) jealous? A little self-reflection has never hurt. So take our short test and find out how big your jealousy is. How many times can you agree with the following statements? You will find the solution at the end of the test:

  • I am dissatisfied with myself.
  • I always want to know exactly where my partner is.
  • I'm afraid the relationship might end.
  • When others talk to my partner, it makes me angry.
  • Sometimes I call my partner to see where he is.
  • I don't want him / her to do something alone.
  • Compared to others, I have the feeling that I can't keep up.
  • I think my partner looks after other women / men.
  • This often leads to arguments.
  • When arguing, I assume that he / she doesn't really love me.
  • I pay attention to who my partner is meeting with.
  • If I think he / she is hiding something from me, I panic.
  • He / she has said many times that he / she loves me, but I am not convinced.
  • I've secretly read messages on my partner's smartphone.

Resolution to the test

  • Consented 0 to 4 times: Don't worry, a little jealousy is normal.
  • Agreed 5 to 7 times: The jealousy is not yet pathological, but it is already clearly pronounced. Keep that in mind and work against it.
  • Agreed 7 to 10 times: Your jealousy is dangerously pronounced. Chances are, your relationships are already suffering from it. You should definitely work on it.
  • Agreed more than 10 times: The alarm bells should ring here. You seem pathologically jealous and should urgently do something about it.

Show jealousy or not?

The dose makes the poison. Jealousy - in moderation - can be a compliment. Motto: “You are important to me. I don't want to lose you. ”You can and should tell and show your partner that from time to time. Aurelius Augustinus wrote: “He who is not jealous does not love.” However, there are numerous forms of this - besides jealousy -: love letters, small, homemade gifts and attentions, time together, romantic candlelight dinners, that sort of thing.

Sometimes the partner is just trying to provoke you by making us jealous. Ultimately, this is based on uncertainty as to whether the partner still loves as much as he did at the beginning, whether he or she is ready to fight for us and the relationship. In that case, you can show some (!) Jealousy in order to send the appropriate message and give back security.

However, this also applies if the partner gives us too many reasons for jealousy. For example, flirting too intensely with others or spending too much time with them. In that case we can and should clearly state that we feel neglected, disrespected or even treated carelessly. Ideally in the form of first-person messages and initially without reproach. Our partner hasn't done anything bad (yet), we just want a change in behavior and new priorities.

Dealing with jealousy

Dealing with jealousy is a problem for everyone involved: On the one hand, for the object of desire, which in bad cases even has to do with stalking.

On the other hand, for the jealous person himself: How do I get my (pathological) jealousy under control? There are good reasons to do something about your jealousy, if only so that the whole thing doesn't end in a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Overcoming jealousy: 7 simple tips

Some tips on how to combat acute jealousy:

1. Embrace jealousy

You are jealous - so what? Everyone knows the feeling. Time to accept it because it is part of you. Wiping away the feeling would also mean negating yourself (with all weaknesses and mistakes) - a mistake. Because what isn't there doesn't have to be dealt with, so you first have to accept that you have a problem.

2. Stay calm

If there is a specific reason for your feeling, the motto is: Just calm down! A short circuit reaction has never achieved anything good. On the contrary, in the heat of the moment things are said that cannot be taken back and that you later regret.

3. Distract yourself

Otherwise we recommend paying attention, in this case it is exactly the other way around: In an acute jealousy situation you should distract yourself, otherwise you will fall into the brooding trap. This makes you even more furious. Do sports, meditate, meet friends - the main thing is that you get other thoughts.

4. Reconsider the situation

When you are emotionally down, you see more clearly again. What are the reasons for your jealousy? Has anything really changed (for example, lately overtime, new styling)? Or is your jealousy based on pure ideas? Depending on the answer to this question, the next two points are.

5. Realize your strengths

Quite banal: come to the realization that your own feeling of inadequacy is making you feel bad again, should you work on it urgently. Regardless of whether you are jealous on a partnership or friendship level: Make yourself aware of your own strengths. There are reasons people seek your company.

6. Find the conversation

However, if you have repeatedly caught your partner / friend / colleague lying, something has gotten out of whack and the relationship of trust has been permanently disturbed. All glossing over doesn't help anymore, rather a conversation is needed. Clarify what caught your eye and how you feel about it.

7. Get help

If jealousy is particularly pronounced, you will not be able to avoid therapeutic help. If the self-esteem has a strong crack, the reasons for this usually lie deep in childhood. No partner can then "save" you, with the help of a psychotherapist you can bring about long-term changes in your perception and thus sort out the emotional chaos. Even with justified jealousy, therapeutic help can be useful - for example in the form of couples therapy.

How to deal with partner's jealousy?

Unfortunately, once it has established itself, it is difficult to reverse someone else's feeling of jealousy. This is simply due to the fact that jealousy is rarely ad hoc, but rather based on the other person's sense of self.

As soon as you are confronted with jealousy, it is important to remain objective and sober. First of all, ask yourself self-critically whether you might not have given an occasion to do so through your behavior. In that case, you can apologize, correct the matter, and correct your behavior.

However, if it is unjustified jealousy, you should not be restricted by it. You didn't do anything wrong at all. Explain your actions, your motivation and emphasize that it is neither secret nor wrong. Ideally, you should make it clear to your partner again that you love him and that you fully support the relationship. But you don't appreciate his behavior at all.

In general, you should explain (not justify!) If you suffer from your partner's constant jealousy. When the partnership is more reminiscent of a prison, the relationship is strained and the hostilities overshadow the loving moments.

Jealousy at work: what to do?

Another caliber is jealousy at work. Does the colleague have a better connection to the executive floor and always get the more attractive projects? Envy and rivalry are normal to a certain extent and shape the working atmosphere. On the one hand, it can be about social contacts:

For example, if you have laboriously built up a professional network, perhaps even made friends, established a connection with the boss and then another colleague comes and talks with the boss during the entire lunch break or your good friend at work prefers to join you during the coffee break someone else.

On the other hand, jealousy at work can be shaped by concrete fear of loss or existential fear: The feeling of falling short is palpable if you are ignored during the next promotion despite all efforts.

Such a person feels equally underestimated as an employee and as a person. The growing anger, frustration and stress can have dire consequences in the long run, such as insomnia and other physical reactions.

Features of jealousy in the job

It's a little different at work than in private relationships, but there are some signs that can be strong indicators of jealousy, both in yourself and in other colleagues:

  • Scared the job
    If the feeling of being pushed out of your own position - for example by a new colleague - there are some signs that you are jealous of this person.
  • Do not allow colleagues to succeed
    A colleague leads an important project to success and receives great praise from the executive floor. If you catch yourself not granting your colleague his success and would rather be in his place yourself, this will show your jealousy.
  • Push the focus
    Jealous people tend to look for the attention they want in other ways. Do you find yourself jostling yourself a bit into the center of attention or struggling particularly hard to get the boss's attention? That can speak for jealousy in the workplace.
  • Look for confirmation
    Feedback is an important factor, but if you are just looking to get positive feedback on every little thing from your boss or other coworkers in order to manage your doubts, you should be careful. Such an attitude quickly leads to jealousy of colleagues.

Tips: The right way to deal with doubts in the job

Many people are very good at assessing whether they are prone to jealousy. Realizing this is not enough, because just knowing that you are jealous does not help you overcome it.

In order to get the behavior under control, the causes have to be identified and eliminated - this usually has nothing to do with colleagues, the boss, friends or even your own family. Instead, anyone who wants to overcome jealousy must start with themselves.

Only those who are at peace with themselves can put aside jealousy and accept that it is completely okay if someone is better than you in some areas.

These tips can help you overcome your jealousy:

improve self-confidence

Having a strong sense of self is perhaps the best protection against jealousy. The causality is quite simple: Anyone who believes they do not have enough skills or are simply not good enough will always be plagued by the fear of being outdone by others.

Many find it difficult, but learn to trust and appreciate your own abilities. Accept yourself for who you are and make yourself independent of other people's approval. Make yourself aware that you have achieved a lot and are good enough - regardless of whether there is confirmation from outside.

Focus on strengths

Putting your colleagues on an imaginary pedestal at work, only seeing their achievements and putting your own light under a bushel, on the other hand, leads purposefully into jealousy. Of course, you should treat others to good performance and success, but always think of your own strengths. Unfortunately, it is very easy to see the good sides of others - and at the same time to ignore your own.

Keep reminding yourself which areas you are particularly good at. Where do colleagues ask you for advice? When is the boss particularly interested in your opinion and knowledge? Recall your own competencies instead of just thinking about where others can excel.

Worry less about mistakes

At work, in particular, we often think a lot about how we will fare in comparison with our colleagues. With every mistake you make yourself, the fear of being left behind by others increases.

However, it is often forgotten that it is not important not to make mistakes. Often these are even absolutely necessary in order to achieve the best possible result in the end.

Stop being jealous of colleagues who make fewer mistakes. Instead, focus on learning from your own. Remember: you don't always have to be the best and absolutely flawless. You can't be ahead in every comparison, but that's no reason to be jealous of anyone else.

More confidence

It is not uncommon for jealousy to arise because one believes that the boss would treat a colleague better or prefer them based on his or her abilities. Combined with the fear of losing one's own job, this becomes a big problem that ruins the working atmosphere and makes productive collaboration impossible.

Jealousy in the workplace always means that you don't trust your boss - just as it is an expression of a lack of trust in your partner in a relationship.

Try not to lose this trust, but to work consciously on it. A conversation to clarify can also help to notice that you are seeing or interpreting behavior in your jealousy that the boss did not mean at all.

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