Jealousy & Low Self Esteem

When we are jealous, we worry that our partner might find someone else more appealing, and we fear that he or she will reject us. Since we feel threatened that our partner might find someone more attractive, we may activate jealousy as a way to cope with this danger…

We may believe that our jealousy will keep us from being surprised, help us defend our rights, and force our partner to give up interests elsewhere. Similar to worry, jealousy may be a “strategy” that we use so that we can figure out what is going wrong or learn what our partner “really feels.” We may also think that jealousy can motivate us to give up on the relationship — so that we don’t get hurt any more. If you are feeling jealous, it’s important to ask yourself what you hope to gain from your jealousy. We view jealousy as a coping strategy.

“I grew up not really having a father figure, and it didn’t bother me, because he wasn’t there in the first place. But then he started other families, and I was jealous. It was like he was happy without our family.”

– Labrinth, Singer, song writer

Low self-esteem

  • You frequently compare yourself to how beautiful, sexy, fit and/or muscular others are.
  • You often listen to yourself talk and are sure you are stupid or have no sense of humour. You think about what others have done with their lives so far and feel like a failure.
  • Low self-esteem isn’t all the same. It might centre on your perceptions of your body, your education or background, your socio-economic status or what happened to you in the past.
  • The ways that low self-esteem play out in your life will also be different from what someone else experiences. For example, you may be very shy and quiet when around other people while another person may joke around a lot– especially at his or her own expense.

“Neither gender is routinely more jealous - although women are more willing to work to win back a lover, while men tend to flaunt their money and status and are more likely to walk out to protect their self-esteem or save face.”

– Helen Fisher, Biological Anthropologist 

Our work together

Early feelings and fears can be carried into adult relationships.  For example, were your parents ever jealous?  Was there jealousy among your siblings?  

The highly jealous person is often deeply afraid of being abandoned. Frequently this fear originated when they were a child and they felt neglected, abandoned or emotionally distant from one or both parents. These early feelings and fears can be carried into adult relationship.

In exploring these issues, therapy can help the individual, or couple, become more aware of some of the deeper themes underlying the surface feeling. Becoming aware of these deeper feelings, and feeling them rather than repressing them, can help reduce the jealousy and suspicion.

We will work collaboratively to facilitate strategies within you to manage your jealousy; recognising your own self-worth and establishing aspects of life that are not dependent on the opinion and/or attention of someone else. These are import ways of reducing jealous feelings. We will work mindfully to understand your feelings, sensations and thoughts prior to you becoming jealous in order to minimise the impact of your jealousy.

Additional areas of counselling I work with:

  • Abortion
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