Savvy Therapy

“Almost always, jealousy is rooted in some sort of fear: of abandonment, of being replaced, of losing the attention of someone you love, of being alone.  Jealousy is not really about the person you feel jealous of.  It’s about you: your feeling that you might lose something precious.” (Franklin Veaux)

Jealousy is another one of those emotions which can include a whole range of feelings, including: envy, resentment, bitterness, discontent, spite, grudge, suspicion, distrust, mistrust, doubt, insecurity, anxiety, defensiveness, or vigilance.   Jealousy stems from COMPARISON with others – the same root of anxiety or body image dysmorphia.

Jealousy, which is either resentment of someone enjoying success or advantage, or is the fear of losing something you feel is yours (rightly or wrongly) to someone else—your spouse, your best friend.  Jealousy is an anticipatory emotion. It seeks to prevent loss.

“Maybe he’ll fall in love with his bubbly receptionist and leave me,” “She’s going to lunch with her ex-boyfriend, obviously she’s still attracted to him,” “He’ll come home and tell me he wants a divorce,” “Obviously she’ll get the promotion! She is such a brown noser…” Whatever movie we have created in our heads, we will always find people or situations to support our story. What is the story you tell yourself? Do you believe that you are unlovable and soon your partner will find you out? What is at the core of your jealous feelings?

With regard to your relationship with food, your family or ‘friends’ may be jealous because you have set yourself health and fitness goals and achieved these which results in a new you – AND THEY DON’T LIKE IT!!!!!  This is because all humans are hard-wired to resist change – any change but also when you have achieved your goal you remind others around you of goals they may not have achieved.  This sort of reaction can be very hurtful – you would be delighted for your friends if they lost weight – or would you???  Would you be resentful towards them if the situation were reversed?  So try not to react to friends jealousy of your achievement negatively; realise that it is their problem about themselves – not yours.  

However, what if it is your partner that is suddenly commenting negatively on the new you having previously supported your weight loss?  Your partner may need some reassurance that you are not going to go off with someone more attractive than them. 

Remember ‘no one can make you feel inferior without your consent’ (Eleanor Roosevelt)  What is happening is that your ‘friends’ are comparing your outside to their insides.  They now see you as a happier, more successful person who has changed themselves and moved on from your stuck state.  They are still stuck.  They are assuming that your life is now or will be much better than theirs because you are happier than them.

Jealousy can also be tied up with your feelings of self-worth.  Research has linked several traits to greater jealousy:

  1. Low self-esteem.
  2. Neuroticism: a general tendency to be moody, anxious, and emotionally unstable.
  3. Feelings of insecurity and possessiveness.
  4. Dependence on your partner: 
  5. Feelings of inadequacy in your relationship: Generally fearing that you’re not good enough for your partner.
  6. An anxious attachment style: A chronic orientation toward romantic relationships that involves fear that your partner will leave you or won’t love you enough. 

All of these factors that relate to jealousy are about the insecurities of the jealous people.  It’s OK to feel jealous sometimes but it is not OK to let the jealousy take root in your life.  Chronic jealousy is linked with anxiety, shame and frustration.  All emotions that will affect your relationship with food.  Jealousy highlights areas of our life we are trying to control; when we can’t control the focus of our jealousy; then controlling your food intake or exercise level will also be difficult.


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