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The examples of jealousy are everywhere around us. Children may become jealous when their siblings get something that they haven’t. An adult may become jealous if their lover is flirting with someone else. Although a small amount of jealousy is not considered to be pathological, this emotion, when seriously expressed, can invade every relationship, whether it be with husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, brothers, sisters, mothers or fathers. A form of jealousy called Delusional jealousy or Othello syndrome is a psychiatric disorder in which a person thinks that their spouse or sexual partner is being unfaithful. In some cases this type of behaviour is acquired through past experiences - people who have already been cheated on tend to be more possessive and controlling for fear of repetition. In most cases however, jealousy is a byproduct of one's own issues with self-confidence and self-esteem.
Fear and lack of trust
Fear is the number one cause of unfounded jealousy. The person who is jealous may not be willing to admit it at first, but at the core of almost all jealousy is a fear that they may lose their partner and their needs for love, friendship and affection will no longer be met. The second ingredient that is almost always present when someone is jealous is a lack of trust in a relationship. This can either be a lack of trust in their partner because of past actions or a lack of trust in their partner's ability to make conscious choices and decisions about their conduct when they are with other people.
Jealousy and envy
Some experts strictly distinguish between jealousy and envy on the ground that jealousy involves the wish to keep what one has while envy involves the wish to get what one does not have.
To oversimplify, jealousy causes anger, envy causes wistfulness. Jealousy is destructive, but envy rarely is. Envy is the desire for something in general, whereas jealousy is the desire to have something in particular.
Some even claim a distinction between jealousy and envy insofar as while envy is the carnal desire to possess something that is not yours, jealousy is the righteous feeling that one has towards that which is rightly his.. For this reason, some have suggested that jealousy mostly concerns one's perception of oneself.
Jealousy and self-esteem
Scientific research has not clearly established a link between jealousy and self-esteem although some experts claim that there is a strong link between thess two.
Is jealousy insecurity?
Several psychiatric studies have come to the conclusion that feelings of jealousy always appear to stem from one's sense that something about their life is not secure. In some cases, the insecurity is not founded on realistic dangers to the relationship and if that is the case, the jealous partner may wish to consider where the insecurities are coming from. Of course, solving these sorts of insecurities isn't easy, but until a person does it there is no chance for a healthy relationship without the excessive jealousy.
By the late 1960s and the 1970s, jealousy, particularly sexual jealousy, had come to be seen as irrational and shameful among the proponents of free love. People who practiced those non-exclusive sexual relationships believed that they ought not to be jealous and sought to banish or deny jealous reactions to their partners' sexual involvement with others. Many found this unexpectedly difficult. For some, conscious blocking of the jealous reaction is relatively easy from the start, and over time the reaction can be effectively extinguished.
Multiple intimate relationships
Several studies suggest that jealousy may be reduced in multilateral relationships. Contemporary practitioners of what is now called multiple intimate relationships for the most part treat jealousy as an inevitable problem, best handled by accommodation and communication.
Delusional jealousy is a psychiatric disorder in which a person holds a delusional belief that their spouse or sexual partner is being unfaithful. Delusional jealousy is also known as the Othello syndrome, erotic jealousy syndrome, morbid jealousy, Othello psychosis, or sexual jealousy. This syndrome may appear alone or in the course of paranoid schizophrenia, alcoholism, or cocaine addiction.
The most common symptoms of Othello syndrome:
- recurrent accusations of infidelity,
- searches for evidence,
- repeated interrogation of the partner,
- tests of partner's fidelity,
The affected person typically makes these accusations based on insignificant or minimal evidence. They may also frequently monitor their partner’s behavior and movements. This may be taken to extremes. This type of behaviour is more often found in males than females and it has a strong association with violence.
Some studies have also found that the constant accusations and suspicion from the delusional partner have driven some partners to actually have an affair.