The origins of Jealousy

Is Jealousy good or bad?

Jealousy in many ways is perceived to be bad, but it can also be good depending on the person’s perspective. From an attachment perspective, the threat of separation from an attachment figure (one’s romantic partner) motivates people to seek physical or psychological proximity to the attachment figure. Recent studies have shown that couples in romantic relationship tend to become angry, sad, and fearful.

Definition of Jealousy

Jealousy is a protective reaction to a perceived threat to a valued relationship. (Clanton, 1981)

What are the stages of jealousy

There are four dimensions

Hailparn, D. F., & Hailparn, M. (1997). Four dimensions of envy: Strategies for managing its manifestations in psychotherapy. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, 27(1), 49-60. doi: 10.1023/A:1025620730629

Stage 1: Identification

Jealousy is a three- part emotion in which the patient and two other parities are involved. There is a threat, that a person may feel losing someone like a friend, spouse, lover, to someone more intelligent, attractive, or wealthier. Envy on the other side, shows up when a patient looks around and thinks: "I want what you have, and I hate that you have what I want." Envy is a angry feeling that someone else possesses and enjoys something desirable.

Stage 2: Confrontative

This is where the negative thoughts starts to begin as "envy" For instance "I'm so jealous when he looks at her" seems to indicate love for the person. What is conveyed is that the individual is afraid of losing that love object.

Stage 3: Redirecting

Patients at this stage derive fun and pleasure out of attacking others. For example: "Do you know what my new car cost?" the words provide clues to their unconscious feelings of envy. The envy can come in a so-called as a form of competitive implication. According to therapist, patients like this must ask for help to change their negative vision into positive side. Be redirecting, a successful person can say "What do I want, what do I do well, and how do I go about achieving it?

Stage 4: Medea

At this stage, the grip of the spell of envy appears almost irreversible. This Medea dimension is the strongest in individuals who are in dead end relationships or feelings devalued, feel low self-esteem. Their hatred toward the world and others dominates their thinking. They cannot see themselves ever becoming successful and leading content, happy lives.

The history of Jealousy

Shackelford, T. K., & Maner, J. K. (2008). The basic cognition of jealousy: An evolutionary perspective. European Journal of Personality, 22(1), 31-36. doi: 10.1002/per.661

Emotions of jealousy are connected to mating. Jealousy might have been a fitness advantage to men and women in our ancestral environment. Jealousy can be rooted back to evolution. It is an emotion we feel for romantic or sexual relationship purposes. Jealousy is “aimed at solving a range of adaptive problems, including finding a mate, forming romantic and sexual relationships and guarding the relationship partner from potential intrasexual rivals” (Shackelford & Maner, 2008). The reason we feel jealous is because we want to create offspring so a part of us continues to live on and we feel threatened when we are unable to achieve that or if someone is blocking us from doing so. There are also evolutionary sex differences when it comes to Jealousy. Men and women get jealous in different ways but usually for the same reasons. Men often showcase jealousy when there is sexual infidelity, they get upset when their partner has sexual intercourse with another man while women showcase jealousy when it comes to emotional infidelity and their partner being in love with another woman.

Dijkstra, P., & Buunk, B. P. (1998). Jealousy as a function of rival characteristics: An evolutionary perspective. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 24(11), 1158-1166. doi: 10.1177/01461672982411003

“Jealousy is generated by a threat to or the actual loss of a valued relationship with another person due to an actual or imagined rival of one’s partner’s attention (Dijkstra & Buunk, 1998). Since jealousy involves three or more people, there is competition and rivalry for a specific person’s attention. Males and Females have different rival characteristics which are linked to what and how they provide for their child. Females provide physical (carrying fetus and nursing) and emotional resources while males provide the money, food, shelter, protection, etc. Looking at evolution, early humans selected a mate based on these resources. Men sought out healthy women that were able to give birth and nurture the child to promote the child’s survival and women looked for dominant and dependable men that could protect and provide for her and the child (Dijkstra & Buunk, 1998). Studies show that men value attractiveness in females and women value social status more and that is why males tend to get jealous when they see another male who is more “dominant” and has a better status than them, talking to their partner. Females on the other hand get jealous when they see a more attractive women talking or flirting with their man.

What Causes Jealousy in Romantic Relationships

What Causes Jealousy? (2012, December 16). Retrieved April 15, 2015, from http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/jealousy-causes-envy-relationships-1216127

Jealousy varies depending on the person’s situation but it is often caused because jealousy refers to the fear of losing someone or something you value. Trust is the foundation of any relationship. And most often it is one of the major causes because if there is no trust then jealousy can possibly destroy the relationship that a couple has developed.
A common thread among most definitions of jealousy is that it is an emotional response to the real or imagined threat of losing something of value from a romantic relationship. The threat of loosing someone in a romantic relationship, is typically triggered by a third party. The third party doesn’t have to actually pose a threat, the mere perception of a threat is enough to get the other person feeling jealous. Jealousy is commonly experienced at some point in most romances. It is a complex emotion that is considered to mainly have negative qualities. According to the “Emotion-in-Relationships” conceptual model, feeling jealous is a natural and entirely expected result of a situation in which a close relationship is threatened by a partner’s potential or actual involvement with someone outside of the relationship.

Mathes, E. W., Adams, H. E., & Davies, R. M. (1985). Jealousy: Loss of relationship reward loss of self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and anger. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 48(6), 1552-1561. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.48.6.1552

By testing the theory of romantic jealousy proposed by G. L. White, the loss of a romantic partner to a rival causes two kinds of reactions, loss of relationship rewards and loss of self-esteem. White's theory was elaborated with the proposition that loss of relationship rewards causes depression, while loss of self-esteem causes anxiety and anger.
Jealousy is also heavily affected by individual factors. Past experience can increase a person’s likelihood of being jealous. Traits such as anxiety can also affect jealousy. People who tend to worry a lot are more likely to worry about losing a loved one.

Stieger, S., Preyss, A. V., & Voracek, M. (2012). Romantic jealousy and implicit and explicit self-esteem. Personality and Individual Differences, 52(1), 51-55. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2011.08.028

The social interaction with significant others, such as the romantic partner. This threatens one’s self-esteem and in turn jealousy arises (Stieger, Preyss, & Voracek, 2012). Jealousy and self-esteem are directly related, the more jealous a person is, the lower self-esteem they have. In clinical samples, damaged self-esteem has frequently been found among individuals suffering from psychological distress (i.e., frequently showing low explicit self-esteem), such as in depression with suicidal ideation (Stieger, Preyss, & Voracek, 2012). Men and women get jealous in different ways but they also experience low self-esteem differently. A study showed that, “jealousy is not only related to explicit self-esteem, but also to implicit self-esteem and that these associations are sex-specific. Jealous men had lower explicit self-esteem (but not implicit self-esteem), whereas jealous women had higher implicit self-esteem (but not explicit self-esteem). For both sexes, individuals with damaged self-esteem were highest in jealousy” (Stieger, Preyss, & Voracek, 2012). In the study, jealousy in romantic relationships were linked to low self-esteem for both men and women but women show high implicit self-esteem even though they had low explicit self-esteem. Even individuals with mental distress such as depression show a low explicit self-esteem and high implicit self-esteem. Reasons for this are unknown, however; it is under debate that the high self-esteem may be compensating the actual low explicit self-esteem (Stieger, Preyss, & Voracek, 2012).

Recommendations to couples with regards to jealousy

Overcoming jealousy. (n.d.). Retrieved April 15, 2015, from http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/emotionalhealth/pages/overcomingjealousy.aspx

Recommendations or some helpful tips that could help couples when it comes to jealousy can be to 1.Talk to your partner about your feelings without blaming them. Let them know what makes you feel worried and jealous. 2. Prepare what you want to say, and talk to your partner in a non-threatening, neutral atmosphere. 3. Just because you feel there is a threat, it doesn't mean that it's genuine. Try to view the situation objectively. Uncertainty is a part of relationships, you can't ultimately control someone's feelings. So try to view both sides perspective and try to come to an understanding that both parties could come to an agreement upon.

In addition, there are 3 steps that can help yourself as a person overcome jealousy because jealousy is a first person emotion and it most often comes from a place of insecurity, which comes from you, not the other person. The first step to overcoming jealousy is to Acknowledge. To admit that you feel jealous and to acknowledge your insecurity’s and to let out your feelings, therefore your addressing your jealousy head on and it prevents you from creating unrealistic situations. Try to tell yourself what makes you jealous, and why. The second step is to Communicate. Don’t try to imagine the worst possible situation, make sure you confront and talk to the person about what is making you feel jealous and get the real answer from them. Tell them how you feel and be honest. The third step is to Resolve. Listen to the other persons reasoning to try to resolve the problem together and try to acknowledge the other person’s perspective as well.

Effects/Results of jealousy

Sharpsteen, Don. (1995, February) The effects of relationship and self-esteem threats on the likehood of romanticjealosy. (pp. 89-101). Retrieved April 15, 2015, from http://journals2.scholarsportal.info.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/pdf/02654075/v12i0001/89_teorasotlorj.xml

Effects of jealousy can affect a person physically: it may affect their self-esteem. Second; it may affect females or males differently, when it comes to emotional breakdown. They might feel low or high self-esteem. If he or she went to low self-esteem, some of the signs could be: suffering from depression. In this case, he or she would have to consult with a doctor to provide them solutions. The doctor may give them depression pills, or asked them to see another doctor who would deal with steps how to deal with overcome with depress. However, according to the article, it depends on the type of relationship he or she was involved in. They may feel threaten by their partner for choosing another partner over them, it may affect them psychologic**ally. Studies have shown that, reactions can be shown through the person’s emotions with their facial expressions, body language or even change of their tone of voice.

How different genders face jealousy

Kuhle X, Barry. (2011). An In Vivo Test Of Sex Differences In Jealous Interrogations (8) 1044To-1047doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2011.07.034

Sagarin J.(2004) Sex Differences in the contexts of extreme Jealousy 11(3)319-328.Doi: 10.1111/j.1475-6811.2004.00085.x

According to evolutionary psychologists men and women have the same amount of occurrence of any jealousy they experience. The main difference between genders is the type infidelity that arises in response to what their romantic partner does. In many studies by psychologists; and universities: men are more likely to be jealous in sexual infidelity, where women are likely to be jealous in emotional infidelity. It is theorized that through evolution that a man would feel threatened if another men impregnated his partner. While, women would feel threatened if a man were involved using his valuable resources in another women’s children. An important awareness and pattern found throughout the studies of gender in jealousy is the way women and men react to jealousy. A university research study concluded that when a man feels hurt by jealousy he would show more anger as well as revenge. Their solution for most men is to turn to alcohol or drugs to reduce the stress. The men in the study who had no control over their partner’s sexual infidelity showed the most jealousy. The men believed being jealous showed more love. To add on, the relationship women experienced with men who thought this were victims of jealous emotionally abusive men. Oppositely, a woman feels the need to eat when she feels jealous which helped reduce her anxiety. In addition, women turn to get comfort and support from their friends when they are feeling jealous.

Adult Attachment

Guerrero, Laura, K.(2005). Attachment-Style Differences (5) 1475-6811.

There are four types of important adult attachment that partners may feel in romantic relationships. Secures, preoccupies, anxious ambivalent and avoidant attachment. Secures are confident individuals who poses positivity on not only themselves but also others. These individuals like building relationships and keeping them going. Out of all four attachments they are the least jealous, however they express more anger, in a controlled manner. Preoccupies prove to be more emotionally jealous. While anxious ambivalent attachment individuals experience intense jealousy, as they are more insecure about themselves and focus all their care about their relationships with someone. Avoidant attachment individuals experience a great relationship with themselves, and more of a negative perception on other people. Their focus is more on themselves; they do not like attachment with others. An example is someone who has been hurt in the past. Overall, jealous triggers adult attachment in romantic relationships. Adults experience the same attachment just as children do with their parents as they develop. There are both positive and negative models as to how somebody can react to jealousy.

Bibliography

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