Invariably, the aftermath of a jealous rage is ugly to say the least. The anguish and torment we put ourselves through are immeasurable.
We ask ourselves irrational questions that are hypothetic in nature and expect logical answers to surface as a result of this inner dialogue.
We attempt to rationalize our thoughts, and we banter back and forth hoping for a solution. We often compromise our character mentally, rationale sets in, but more often than not we make the best decision. However, there are times when craziness sets in. I’m talking this inescapable fit of rage like the Looney Tunes have arrived. What then?
In 1979, my senior year of high school, I did something really stupid. I’m not saying that I haven’t done "stupid on steroids” since, but maybe you can go with me there for just a moment. This insanity was an act of craziness that nearly got me arrested. There was a young man that was a classmate of Robin’s, my fiancée at the time; I’ll call him Brian to protect his identity. Brian had his eye on Robin, after all, who wouldn’t? Robin was beautiful then and remains so today 36 years later.
So, I did what I should have done sooner; I broke his nose.
Seriously, it was a right hook straight to his nose that any guy would have been proud to witness. One lick, square of the old snooze olla, broke! Mission accomplished, Brian was no longer a threat, nor was any other guy in her senior class. The second half of Robin’s senior year was without incident. You could not have paid another guy to ask her out; I loved it. This suited me just fine I will have to admit.
What an insanity! What was going on with this unbelievable sense of insecurity? Jealousy no doubt had taken center stage. I had never before experienced jealousy to this level. I was afraid that something I had might be taken away. I wanted to defend what I felt belonged to me. Those scary voices started in my head. “What if Brian was a better guy"? “What if Robin considered him over me”? “What if this good looking guy (all but his detached septum) might win her over”? “After all, he had a great job, a sports car and was very athletic.
Have you been there? Maybe not this exact scenario, but you can reminisce for a few minutes and then share your story. I’m confident that you could recount every single detail. As you read this, I suspect that every emotion you experienced is resurfacing like hostility, vengeance, anger, sadness, and helplessness. It’s a sick, lonely feeling that none of us ever want.
Are you now, or have you in the past dealt with jealousy?
Envy is often confused with jealousy. Just so we are clear, envy is when you want something that others have. For jealousy to be experienced it must involve other people, you simply don’t want them to take something you have.
Is your jealousy all-encompassing? Are you in a constant state of anxiety while in public with your mate? Are you causing, or maybe even forcing your mate to look in the opposite direction to keep from speaking to someone in fear of your interpretation of that exchange? Are you in a relationship where your partner is constantly defending their actions and having to cover up innocent looks and conversations? If so, there is a good possibility that a much larger problem lurks in the shadows. I would even suggest that you take a personal assessment to uncover a co-dependency, low self-esteem or possibly narcissism.
When jealousy has rooted, it’s difficult to develop intimacy because there is a lack of trust.
At the end of the day, the fear of loss looms ever so present. Open, honest conversations will reveal insecurity that you may possess that can be dealt with and resolved over time. I have found that the lack of communication simply exasperates the smaller problem areas when swept aside. You will deal with the problem eventually; it’s better sooner than later. You know full well the tension that we all have experienced when sensitive issues arise, it’s very uncomfortable and when overlooked a wall forms between you and your partner that is difficult to dismantle if left unattended.
What are you afraid of losing? Be honest with yourself. Take a deep inward look at what is creating this havoc in your life. What has caused you to be so insanely jealous? Is it possibly the loss or fear of losing a possession or maybe even a person? Could it be the lack of respect? In his book “Love & Respect”, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs talks about men’s desire to feel respected. When men feel disrespected, jealousy can quickly set in, especially if other men we associate with are getting a lot of respect. For men, the fear of disrespect is so great we will go as far as necessary to protect it even if it’s not really in jeopardy. We can become so jealous, often creating scenarios that do not exist, trying to control something we are so fearful of losing. Men, be very careful monitoring everything our mates do. You are her husband, not her daddy. God created you to be partners, not the warden.
Respect is something we earn, not something we are entitled to have.
For ladies, their security dissipates, and a feeling of comparison encroaches when we make them feel less than others. As men, we need to realize that our wife desires ultimate security and to know that she is #1 above all.
Do you see what causes extreme jealousy? Selfishness. You feel as though the world revolves around your every whim. It is looking out for our own needs and feelings. We often disregard the things that are being done right and hyper focus on all our unmet needs.
You might be thinking; how do I escape this horrific prison? It steals our relationship’s peace and robs our joy.
Here are a few tips that may point you in a good direction:
1. Authenticity is a good start. Share with your mate your concerns, not at a time of despair or argument, just at a time of intimate discussion. Don’t present the situation in a manner that is accusatory, simply state your true feelings. Leave room for explanation and keep an open mind for further clarification.
2. Our insecurity and low self-esteem often perpetuate jealously. There is something within us that is unsatisfied and unfulfilled that reveals our lack of confidence. Do a personal assessment prior to making false accusations.
3. Our imagination is a gift from God. It can also serve as a curse from Satan. The good news is we can choose which to believe. When you are just starting down this path to select the way you think, it’s difficult. This process is not any different than training for a marathon, you don’t start out running 26.1 miles, you start with 100 yards. Be patient, don’t beat yourself up, start slow.
4. Enlist support. I have accountability partners that I meet each week to help me through the difficulties of life. We were created to be in community; you can’t do this alone. Whether you are a Christ follower or not, you can’t deny proven council that stood the test of time. For me personally, I trust the inerrant word of God to offer council , The Holy Bible.
- Mark 7:21-23 (NIV) “For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”
5. Good communication. I want to remind you that your partner is not a mind-reader. We make these assumptions that he/she should see it our way and often they are oblivious to your feelings. Talk to your partner, but more importantly, listen. I seriously mean stop waiting your turn to talk and listen. Fully engage.
6. This tip will pay huge dividends: Serve, yes, serve your mate well. Trust them unconditionally. Honor them and edify them. Encourage and empower them. Help them reach heights they could never accomplish on their own. Turn your focus on their wellbeing and stop reaching for recognition, gratification, and satisfaction for yourself.
If you practice these six tips, you will be amazed how fast jealousy disappears. I want to encourage you to take all the time you need to attempt to eradicate jealousy from your life. This is a horrible emotion that can temper the best of relationships. Jealousy will eventually deteriorate if not destroy a fabulous relationship. If you are so entrenched with this destroying emotion you may want to seek professional council. Be a big enough person to admit the problem, subject yourself to support from others and then live a life that you were created to live.
Live on purpose,