“Jealousy is an anticipatory emotion. It seeks to prevent loss.”
-Ralph Hupka, Professor of Psychology, Emeritus at California State University at Long Beach
Jealousy is an ugly beast. It comes at you with a fury, full of force and determination. We are all familiar with it. We have all felt jealousy at some point but it becomes dangerous when it takes over. It takes a hold of people quickly. Where they fail, they refuse for you to succeed.
Success can be measured in many ways: finance, career, love, friendship, education, family. The only thing that jealousy proves is that people are capable of hating as hard as we love. For some reason, a view from the outside of our lives always looks better. In fact, it looks so good that jealousy wants it, no matter the cost.
The overbearing feeling that jealousy carries with it has a wicked grip on its owner and it fuels her with the momentum to pull us under, no matter the consequence. Jealousy is obvious when displayed. It carries warning signs just the same as anything else that’s negative and toxic – the ex lover who fails to let go, well beyond the point that he or she should have, the ex acquaintance that sees you carrying on with others the way the two of you once did, or the ex co-worker that sees you succeed where they are failing.
After letting people go, the burden of once having to exist with caution for the fear of an argument starting or being belittled is gone and it no longer weighs us down. Hindsight greets us as we move on. It embraces us as we fall into a more peaceful existence. But when jealousy creeps in from the outside, it tries to break through those boundaries that we’ve established. Like a criminal being chased and unable to scale a wall, their efforts often make us look at them with pity.
‘Your Jealousy is Showing’
It doesn’t matter how much we try to escape it or see past it, sometimes those unrelenting hands just refuse to let go. Jealous people are somehow convinced that they can destroy us. These green-eyed onlookers only rage with insurmountable angst if the game is refused to be played. As we try to excuse ourselves from participation, their effort becomes more dire.
Jealousy, unlike envy and desire, is based on a fear of losing something. The one suffering from this stands firm in the notion that what we have is better than what they are left with – and you know what, they’re usually right! Had there never been a polarity in existence, then parting ways would not have happened. But what is it about these obsessive and inconsiderate people that makes them tick?
1. They’re the victim (always and forever).
They blame you. No matter what is true of the past or present, you are to blame. They refuse to look at themselves for where fault lies. Accountability is not something everyone has. Sometimes it’s easier to point a finger than it is to look inward to see what they did wrong. We can put a puzzle together because we know where each piece fits. On the other hand, those focused on dragging us down only hold one puzzle piece and it’s such a tight grip that most of us would tire from the effort to hold it.
2. They’re your biggest fan (seriously).
They seek you out. Their life becomes about you. Everything you do, they are watching from a front row seat. Stalking. Waiting. If you fail to notice them, they’ll use any excuse to connect with you – message you, call you, like a post, comment on a post, text you. But the means becomes obsolete because the act itself is their focus. Regardless of any response you give them, it’s just your responding to them that matters. They refuse to let go of you and getting attention from you is all they want.
3. They are supportive (where they weren’t before).
While you are focused on yourself, they are focused on you, too. Where they were once critical, they are now full of praises. While they think we believe it, we can smell the insincerity it’s wrapped up in. False praises can be sensed, whether they are separated by distance or are still too close for comfort.
4. Their success is bigger and better (even if it’s not).
They can’t stand it if you are doing well. If they make a small step, it deserves to be announced. If they get a job, it will be better than yours: “I finally landed my dream job.” Anything they do is bigger and better. Why? They don’t want to lose to you, in any way. The fear of losing to you is their motivation to make their reality appear better than what it is.
5. They give you bad advice on purpose (to try to tear you down).
They want to sabotage you. They want you to fail. The second that they see you succeeding, they’ll tell you things like, “sorry to be the one to tell you, but” or “just a heads up, because I thought you should know.” And if they can’t sabotage you, they’ll move on to the people around you. They’ll contact them in order to try to get them to no longer hold you in high regard. They’ll lie about you. If this still doesn’t work, they’ll move on to sabotaging those closest to you.
6. They copy you (and not very well).
They are competing with you. If you do it, you can guarantee they’ll be doing it, too. It becomes a game of ‘who can do it better.’ Even if the quality of what they produce is poor, it won’t matter to them. They’ll brag about it in any way they can.
7. They talk behind your back (while kissing your ass).
They’re working behind the scenes to tear you down. If you make positive strides and accomplishments, they’ll play them down. If you are an honest person, they’ll make you appear dishonest. Their life is a battle ground and you’re the enemy. Want to confront them? Better think again! This jealous-ridden beast is wrapped up in so much denial it’s thicker than a 1985 Sears’ catalog.
8. They humiliate you (no matter the cost).
They are determined to destroy you. Their purpose is to make you appear unappealing and unbelievable. Maybe they’ll concoct a four page article about you. Maybe they’ll contact co-workers. Maybe they’ll make random posts to people in your life trying to scare them off. They’ll do whatever they can to tear you apart in the publics’ eye.
9. They can’t stand to see you doing better (at all).
They want you to lose the things they don’t have. They want you to lose your friends. And if they can’t win them, they don’t want you to have them either. Whatever you have they don’t believe you deserve it. They are hypocrites that believe they are more deserving of all things good, even if they haven’t put in the same amount of work. They want your success to be theirs. Let’s not forget, they aren’t able to focus on themselves because they are consumed with you.
Your success is their motivation. They will spew negativity about you to anyone that will listen, and they will spew it everywhere – on the floor, the walls, the ceiling, and all over every person standing near them. Behind the scenes they are busy establishing a fan club for hating you. They enjoy the gossip they throw themselves into because they believe they can out do you.
Jealousy is an Ugly Beast
Jealousy is bitter and those taken over by it watch you with spite. Even while they overlook what they’ve done wrong, they are suffering because they feel like they’ve lost to you. Hating you becomes a lifestyle. It might feel like you matter the most to them and that’s because you do! What others think about you is their obsession. You are their obsession. They are focused on you and everyone and everything around you. What they couldn’t achieve while standing alongside you, they can’t stand watching you do without them.
The bottom line is, misery loves company and jealousy proves to us time and again that those who are unhappy can’t stand to see other people happy. Those wearing jealousy live to demolish anything you accomplish. Putting you down to others makes them feel better about themselves because they think they should be better than you. Jealous people lack self-confidence and self-esteem. Their time and energy is put into comparing themselves to you.
Trying to steer clear of these people isn’t easy. They are following you closely. All you can do is remain focused on yourself the best that you can. If you give in and participate in any way, it brings them satisfaction just to gain your attention.
Maybe the best way to handle jealousy is to remember that it’s validation of your success.