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How to Combat Jealousy

by Karen Kleinschmidt

Most people naturally experience feelings of jealousy at one time or another, whether in a romantic relationship, within friendships or among family members. You may have trouble admitting your feelings of jealousy, but, if left unexpressed, these feelings can cause insecurity, detachment and immature outbursts or behavior, according to the Healthy Place website. Jealousy lends itself to low self-esteem and obsessive thoughts that result from a lack of communication or an inability to express feelings in a healthy manner. On the other hand, dealing with a jealous person is often challenging if you're on the receiving end.

Communicate

In any relationship, open communication is key to managing jealous feelings as well as preventing or limiting acting them out through angry comments, accusations or snooping through personal possessions. Be direct and let your partner know you're feeling insecure. Give suggestions as to what might work to help you to feel more secure and connected. Say something like, "I'm feeling insecure and less connected lately. Can we plan a special dinner on Friday night to share the details of our week and re-connect with each other?" Feeling connected to your partner eases feelings of jealousy, according to clinical psychologist Craig Malkin, Ph.D.

Identify Reasons

Identifying what is causing your feelings of jealousy can help you eliminate or diminish it from your relationships. Perhaps you were cheated on in a past relationship or betrayed by your ex-best friend. In either scenario, behaving in a jealous manner in a new relationship can cause you to create the very thing you fear, explains Dr. Phil McGraw. You may push your partner away by acting in a distrustful manner, hurling accusations or making angry comments on a regular basis as you seek a constant reassurance of his love. Additionally, you may end friendships before they take root by becoming excessively needy or clingy in an attempt to control your friend as you struggle with feelings of jealousy.

End Jealous Reactions

Jealousy can make you feel powerless as you react to your perception or imagination rather than to reality, according to therapist Mark Tyrrell of Uncommon Help. Take a step back by closing your eyes and imagining what is the worst thing that could happen if the relationship with the person you have jealousy issues with ended. Now, imagine that you are OK despite this. Recognize within yourself the beliefs and thoughts that trigger your jealousy and realize they are untrue, recommends the Healthy Place website. In time, you may notice a decrease in jealous feelings as you are better able to identify situations that trigger your feelings and work to change your thinking regarding them.

Red Flags

If your partner, friend or family member consistently does or says things to try to make you feel insecure or jealous, that could be a signal that something isn't right in the relationship. While people in your life don't have to share every detail of their day with you, consider it an issue beyond jealousy if your partner is withholding information he hadn't previously or you have to ask questions regarding time spent with others when you are not together according to Malkin. If talking openly about your jealousy and reassurance aren't helping to ease your feelings, the relationship may not be a good match for you notes Malkin.

About the Author

Karen Kleinschmidt has been writing since 2007. Her short stories and articles have appeared in "Grandma's Choice," "Treasure Box" and "Simple Joy." She has worked with children with ADHD, sensory issues and behavioral problems, as well as adults with chronic mental illness. Kleinschmidt holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Montclair State University.

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