Do Unto Others
Please could you advise me how to deal with my own jealousy? I have been in one of the most nightmarish abuse relationships, and now have problems controlling jealousy as I have huge trust issues. I read your reply to another stating the man must be harsh with regards to jealousy, even though his girlfriend had been hurt.
What about turning it around and giving some advice for the other side in how to control these emotions. Some of us know we are doing it, but don’t like the behavior.
Sue, people who have been abused have three paths open to them. They can become a perpetrator, or a victim, or they can heal. Two of the paths lead to bad ends. We don’t want you to be a victim or a victimizer. We want you to heal.
Our stance on jealousy is that it must be stopped. As Shakespeare wrote, "Trifles light as air are to the jealous confirmations." Other people cannot be punished for nothing. When jealousy rears its head, the person on the receiving end must put their foot down. If they don’t, the jealous one will feel justified because the victim acceded to their wishes.
Going along with jealousy doesn’t halt jealousy, it moves it forward. The proper stance of the victim of jealousy needs to be, "I’m not going to wear this ankle bracelet. I haven’t committed a crime. I am not allowing you to call me every 15 minutes because you think you are going to catch me doing something."
We understand your previous relationship was nightmarish, but there is nothing in your letter showing that your new person is doing anything to justify your jealousy. Someone was a monster to you, and now you are going to unleash a monster on someone else—the green-eyed monster jealousy.
Take a lesson from the United States during the Cold War. The US needed to quickly determine if a blob on radar was a flock of geese or a Soviet missile. Call missiles geese, and the country would be defenseless. Call geese missiles, and the country would start World War III.
The US developed techniques to distinguish real threats from imaginary ones. That’s what you need to do. When irrational fear arises, stop, question what’s going on, label it correctly, then act. Relaxation techniques and a good cognitive-behavioral therapist can show you how this is done.
Wayne & Tamara