Let us examine another possible trigger for our anger: the feeling of jealousy. Any of us who have experienced jealousy know it can be controlling, draining, and frustrating. Jealousy has been described, 'It feels like a worm devouring and gnawing the very core of my being.' This powerful feeling acts like a poison that pollutes our thoughts, our actions, our relationships, and our mental and physical health.
Accompanied by feelings of powerlessness, panic, and terror, jealousy can cause us to feel as though our world is falling apart. We find ourselves nervous, on edge, angry, and restless. It is a horrible feeling that we wish would go away.
Jealousy can distort, exaggerate, and corrupt our reasoning process. It can cause us to project our insecurities and suspicions onto our partner's actions and words. We may find ourselves turning into people who act and think in ways that surprise and repulse us. Not only do we not like the person we have turned into but others do not either. We may find ourselves negatively impacting others who probably want to avoid us.
After observing people who experience jealousy, I have noticed that the emotion seems to fall into two main categories. I am labeling them relational jealousy and disadvantaged jealousy.
In my opinion, relational jealousy occurs when we may feel insecure and panicky, because we think we are about to lose the love of our partner. We think we cannot trust our partner or we think our relationship is being threatened. Jealousy can turn us into paranoid people who become suspicious detectives roaring over our partner's boundaries, snooping through private stuff, accusing and interrogating, looking for proof that our suspicions are true. We cannot focus on anything else or rest until we find the truth.
When we begin feeling jealous, it feels so horrible that we want to get rid of it immediately. Instead of drawing from our own inner strength and resources or believing that our partner might love us for who we are, we try to rid ourselves of this powerful feeling by doing or saying things that will force her stay with us. In order to keep her we may try to control or manipulate her by calling many times a day, accusing, or questioning everything she does.
The more we try to force her to stay with us, the more likely she will withdraw. When she withdraws, we may become even more anxious. Then we try harder to force her to stay with us. As a result our partner feels smothered and controlled so she finally jumps out of the relationship. Isn't it ironic how we make our fears happen?
Dr. William E. Austin is a licensed psychotherapist and holds a Doctor of Divinity degree. He is a therapist with Tidewater Pastoral Counseling Services . He is well known for his warmth and sense of humor. His book, Creating Our Safe Place - Articles on Healthy Relationships, can be purchased through www.amazon.com.
Tidewater Pastoral Counseling: 623-2700