Insecurity & Jealousy in Men

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Jealousy and insecurity are a part of the human condition that everyone is likely to experience at some point. While individuals may experience them a bit differently, men have a lot in common regarding the way they think about and feel insecurity and jealousy. Recognizing these feelings and understanding where they originate can make them more manageable and less upsetting.

How They're Related

Insecurity and jealousy are concepts that are often used interchangeably. Although they are closely related to one another, there are differences between them. Insecurity is a form of anxiety, an uneasiness caused by self-doubt, according to psychotherapist William Berry, in his "Psychology Today" article, "Insecure? It Has Its Benefits." Jealousy, however, is the result of a perceived threat, caused by the fear of losing someone or something. Jealousy can therefore be a result of insecurity.

Underlying Causes

Theories vary regarding the reasons for men feeling insecure and jealous, one of which is attributed to evolution. This idea claims that men tend to feel insecure regarding the sexual fidelity of their partners, motivated by their desire to reproduce, according to psychiatrist Gail Saltz in her "Today Health" article, "Jealousy: Is it the Same for Men and Women?" Saltz also states that social and cultural factors, such as relationships to parents, siblings and peers, are also possible causes of insecurity and jealousy.

Functions and Benefits

Although insecurity and jealousy don't feel good, they are indicators that men do care about relationships and generally want to maintain them. Insecurity and jealousy can therefore be catalysts for change and improvement, states Berry. When these issues are identified and explored, men can learn more about themselves and how their behaviors shape their relationships with others. Men can then learn when such ways of feeling and thinking become problematic, and engage in healthy means of managing them, such as open, honest and respectful communication with others.

Extreme Cases

Many signs indicate excessive insecurity and jealousy in men. Some may listen to phone conversations, for instance, or make frequent accusations of cheating. Others may try to control their partners by isolating them from their friends and family members, or by monitoring cell phones and social networking accounts. Behaviors such as these offer red flags indicating the potential to escalate and become physically dangerous, according to psychologist Shauna Springer in her article titled, "Jealousy is a Dangerous Sword -- Are You Ready for Some Tips?"