Psychology Explains 5 Causes of Jealousy (and How to Beat It)

Psychology Explains 5 Causes of Jealousy (and How to Beat It)

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Jealousy is often referred to as being bitten by the “green-eyed monster” or being “green with envy.” It all goes back to Shakespearian times when the famous writer uses these phrases to describe a character in The Merchant of Venice.

Green is often used to describe this condition because it’s a color that is notated when someone is sick. For instance, the saying “Green around the gills,” means a person is under the weather. It’s no wonder that Shakespeare used such a term when dealing with such a turbulent emotion.

Jealousy is a feeling that stems from a psychological problem. Consequently, this emotional reaction affects both men and women equally. Some say that a little bit of this envious feeling is beneficial as it pushes a person to be better and strives for greater things.

Unfortunately, when this condition takes on a compulsive form, then there can be severe consequences. Many relationships have met their demise because one partner was jealous over the other one. While it’s normal to feel a twinge of jealousy when you’re in love, having too much can drive a person away.



What Causes Jealousy?

Possessiveness can be a great motivator. If you feel that your appearance isn’t as good as another coworker, then you may buy new clothes and feel encouraged to do more. The emotional reaction that is involved in a jealous nature can make you step up your involvement at work or in a relationship as well as defeat your competitor.

Some studies show that a marriage where one or both parties have some jealous nature about them form a happier union. Of course, these are ones that have healthy limits and don’t take it to the point of obsession. There is a fine line between being jealous and becoming obsessed.

Signs Someone Is Jealous of Your Relationship

Love versus infatuation plays a role in jealousy

It’s effortless to confuse being in love with someone with becoming infatuated and wanting to control their every move. When a person engages in such behaviors, it makes the other party feel like an object rather than a human being.



A behavior that is meant to bring a person closer to you can end up suffocating them and driving them into someone else’s arms. No wonder science describes jealously as a complex emotion that has feelings that range from fear of abandonment and blinding rage.

When there is distrust in a relationship, many say that insecurities in both parties cause it. You may have a lack of self-confidence because you were cheated on in the past. Or, your significant other may have displayed behaviors that have left you less than trusting.

You must learn to get beyond the mentality that you have a claim on your significant other. They don’t belong to you, and you cannot do things that will ensure they will stay in your life.

Sometimes, one person in the relationship will become jealous because they think their partner is more attractive than they deserve. They may engage in behaviors to try to keep this person or use words that come from the insecurities inside. In this situation, the person who feels less than might become obsessive and suspicious.



The main source of jealousy in any relationship is formed from both insecurity and mistrust you have within yourself. Thus, these are the primary reasons for this emotional reaction.

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Five Primary Causes of Jealousy

  1. Problems with self-image
  2. Negative experiences with past relationships
  3. Fear of being abandoned
  4. Anxiety issues
  5. Prone to develop these feelings due to personality traits

Understanding The Types of Jealousy?

Did you know that being jealous is such an issue that scientists have divided it into three distinct categories? Here are the classifications:

•Reactive

A person that is jealous of the reactive category has valid reasons for their issues. For instance, if your spouse has cheated on you once or many times in the past, then the diminishing level of trust that you have for them can fuel your jealous nature.

•Suspicious

Some partners tend to be a bit flirtatious. While you may not know of anything concrete between your spouse and another person, you may find this flirting to be suspicious to you. In many instances, nothing is going on between the other two people, and it’s your insecurities driving the issue.



•Pathological

A jealous problem that is pathological is unhealthy. This person is someone that allows negative thoughts and hallucinations to dominate their mind. A person suffering from this form of envy may become violent due to their irrational behaviors.

The distrustful issues they have will affect all aspects of their life, and it can also affect their health. They may suffer from high blood pressure, anxiety, and they can go to the brink of insanity with their delusions.

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Why Obsessive Jealousy is Dangerous?

At the crux of any jealous issue is mistrust from within. A person can develop obsessive ideas for the smallest of reasons. Take, for instance, a spouse working over a couple of hours due to a meeting.

The partner may be at the office working away. However, when your partner leaves you home alone for hours, your mind may begin to distrust and ruminate over past various scenarios that make you miserable.

If you have a problem with distrust, then you may begin to think that your partner is cheating because they are working late. As these thoughts take over your mind, you may start to believe them to be accurate, even when you have no proof of such a deed.

Hours of contemplation and doubt about their whereabouts can cause you to have a different attitude and behavior towards them. All these imaginary scenarios your mind created are not founded, yet you will believe them. The first step in getting help for your jealous nature is to admit that you have a problem.

Steps Towards Healing

Did you know that your jealous nature may be hereditary? It’s true; if your mom or dad suffered from an extremely jealous personality, then they can pass those traits along to you. However, the most common reason that you have developed this suspicious demeanor is that things in your life have affected you negatively.

The mental health community believes that a jealous person has a lack of confidence in themselves that drives this envious nature. It doesn’t matter what caused the problem, as it’s reassuring to know that it can be cured. You must be aware that you suffer from jealousy, and you must be open to getting help.

You must learn how to control your jealous nature to keep it from destroying what may be a good relationship. Here are the keys to tackling this issue:

1. Identify the Source

As previously mentioned, you must identify why you are so distrustful in your partner. Do you have low self-esteem, feeling that you’re less than, or have a general mistrust in other human beings? When you have these underlying issues, then you are vulnerable, and it will drive your fear of being abandoned.

You may find it helpful to make a list of the things that bother you in your relationship. Remember, you must separate reality from imagination. The key is to be able to determine what is driven by fear and what is driven by action.

2. Boost Your Self-Confidence

You must remember your self-worth even when faced with someone who makes you feel that you’re less than them. You have good qualities, and you should never compare yourself to someone else.

If you find yourself constantly comparing yourself to others, then sit down and make a list of all your attributes. Chances are, you will find out some pretty amazing things about yourself you didn’t even realize. Why not list all the reasons that your partner chose you in the first place?

3. Look at Past Relationships

You should start by evaluating your previous relationships. Were you jealous of other lovers? Did you find yourself having the same issues in previous relationships that you have now?

If you find that this is an ongoing issue, then you need to get professional help for this problem. Having a jealousy issue doesn’t usually go away on its own, and it can magnify and become an obsession. With a good therapist and a great deal of work, you can overcome this problem.

You mustn’t play the blame game. If you didn’t have issues with jealousy previously, then you must determine what it is about your current relationship that is sparking these feelings? It’s time to have an open and honest conversation with your partner about the things in your relationship that make you feel uneasy.

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Final Thoughts: Stopping the Vicious Cycle of Jealousy



Lastly, when it comes to a jealous nature, you must remember that any suspicions or obsessions you have will only be amplified if you continually repeat them. Stop ruminating on things that you have no proof of and avoid repetitive thought processes of something that doesn’t even exist. You can and will get through this if you are determined not to let jealousy ruin your life.

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