-Dr. Prashant Gokhale
What is jealousy?
Jealousy - "the green eyed monster" - is not one basic emotion, but a compound of many-grief, love, anger, greed, hatred and envy. Many of these emotional reactions are kept out of our full consciousness because they violate our conventional attitudes. For instance, we do not readily allow ourselves to realize that we sometimes hate those we love-husband or wife, mother or father or even child.

What makes people jealous ?

People feel jealous when they lose, or fear they are going to lose, someone they love to another person. Jealousy always involves a triangle. The fear of losing a loved person's love may be based on real factors or it may be based on imagination or exaggeration. This distinction is very important: It accounts for the difference between normal as against pathological jealousy. Thus, a man tormented by jealousy because of the behavior of his wife with another man is in quite another position from a man who has persuaded himself that his wife is having an affair - when there is no real ground for this fantasy. The first man may need comfort and advice; the second man can only be helped by psychiatric treatment.
Some people create situations, unconsciously, which will make them jealous. Thus, a jealous wife or husband may insist on taking the spouse to a party where firtations contacts are likely.

What is the difference between jealousy and envy?

In jealousy, we feel rejected, rebuffed, shamed: in envy, we do not. Jealousy usually contains a sexual component; envy does not. In jealousy, we feel threatened: in envy, we do not. In envy, we simply want something which belogs to someone else. In envy, the person who has what you want is unimportant- except for his or her role as a frustrating agent. But in jealousy, your reaction to the two other people involved is much more complicated: You want more than possession-you want reactions, emotions, love. When you are jealous, your rival is very important-not only hated, but feared and even admired.

Are men or women more jealous?

Clinical experience suggests that women are more likely to be jealous than men. Clinical evidence indicates that, in the early years, little girls feel that boys have certain anatomical advantages over them. Little girls at pay frequently imitate little boys but rarely do boys imitate little girls.

When and how does jealousy begin?

Very early, each baby has to go through the experience of losing many things it loves. When the baby is weaned from the breast, for instance, it feels that amalgam of frustration, longing, rage and sorrow which forms perhaps the earliest model of the emotions that later produce jealousy. Babies are not born with and instinct to share or the capacity to wait. He wants total, unshared, "selfish" satisfactions. As soon as a child is old enough to recongize that the mother must deprive him in order to care for other members of the family, we see signs of jealousy.

Is it inevitable for brothers and sisters to be jealous of each other?

Yes. Each child is in a position where competition for the love of the mother and father is inevitable. Each brother or sister is therefore a rival for parental love or care, devotion or time; and a rival creates resentment, competitiveness and anger.

How can parents prevent jealousy in their children?

Parents should not try to prevent jealousy. Psychological health depends upon how jealousy is handled, not upon its absence. Even in the happiest families, it is inevitable that one or another child will be given more affection and attention at one time or another. However painful, jealousy is an important emotion and it should be respected as such. If children will learn how to bear the pain of jealousy, they will eventually learn how to avoid or conquer its harmful aspectrs.

In a good marriage, does a husband or a wife ever get jealous?
Of course, Even in the best of marriages, mild, temporary jealousy is bond to arise. A marriage unites two people who were subjucted to the inevitable frustrations and conflicts and fears of childhood. Whenever they are humiliated or defeated, the old sources of their fears particularly te fear of being unloved, the dread of being unlovable-come to the fore. At such times, the husband or wife may seek to "exorcise" feelings of inadequacy by blaming the partner. A spouse is very likely to be blamed when the husband or sife suffers a blow to self esteem- because at such a time the feeling of being unloved is actute. And with the feeling of being unloved comes that "green-eyed suspicion" which underlies jealousy.
A certain amount of flirratiousness is encouraged in our society, and this can, or occasion, stir up intense jealousy. Some husbands or wives use jealousy in order to test the love reactions of their partners; others may use it for teasing and even hurting the partner: still others find that jealousy situations, when resolved, make a particularly sweet reunion. Even in a good marriage, a husband will feel jealous when the first baby enters the family. For the husband is presented with a little "rival" who will undoubtedly take much time and attention away from him.. The first baby inaugurates a trying period in any marriage-especially for those fathers who suffered severe jealousy reactions in their own childhood. In every case, it is the individual's past history, his or her sense of proportion, his or her feelings of security, which determines the intensity and the duration of natural jealousy reactions. In a good marriage-which is to say a marriage in which there is love, understanding and communication between husband and wife-jealousy reactions are managed without lasting harm.




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