Jealousy is a common emotion that many people feel in relationships. However, toxic jealousy can be extreme and destructive if it is left uncontrolled. We asked a psychologist to share some tips for dealing with jealousy in relationships.
A small amount of jealousy is normal and something that many people experience. However, when jealousy is taken to an extreme, it can transform into toxic jealousy. You might have experienced jealousy yourself or felt that a partner, family member, or co-worker was jealous of you.
Toxic jealousy is particularly common in romantic relationships. Many people feel insecure or worry about being cheated on. In fact, learning to deal with jealousy is one of the most useful emotional skills you can learn.
What Is Toxic Jealousy?
Toxic jealousy can be classified as jealousy that is unhealthy, obsessive, or causes problems in your relationship. So, how do you know if you’re experiencing a normal level of jealousy? What’s the difference between toxic jealousy and positive jealousy?
One of the key differences between these in romantic relationships is that positive jealousy reinforces your love for your partner and for yourself. Say you are at a party and you see your partner laughing and having fun with someone else. You may feel a twinge of jealousy. However, this does not make you angry with your partner or make you dislike the person they are talking to. It also does not make you feel inferior or insecure.
Instead, positive jealousy reminds you of how lucky you are. You temporarily see your partner through someone else’s eyes and are proud of them, and of yourself for being with them. With toxic jealousy couples, the opposite is true.
Seeing your partner with someone else feels like an attack. You immediately feel inferior and resentful and blame your partner for this. This is one of the classic signs of toxic jealousy in a relationship.
5 Ways to Overcome Toxic Jealousy
- Acknowledge Your Triggers
If you’re wondering how to stop toxic jealousy, you must first be aware of what causes it. Do you notice that you feel jealous when your partner compliments someone else or when they enjoy someone else’s company? Examine the reasons that this causes a negative response in you.
Do you feel that your partner’s feelings for someone else mean that they care about you less? If someone else seems interesting or attractive, do you feel that you can’t measure up in comparison? When feelings of jealousy come up, try to consider what it is in yourself that has caused them.
- Discuss All and Don’t Blame Your Partner
In a relationship with great communication, it is normal to feel jealous. Couples who communicate well can openly share their feelings of jealousy without blaming their partner or making their partner responsible. Toxic jealousy comes from your own negative emotions, not from your partner’s behavior. Non-judgmentally sharing your fears can help you feel more secure in yourself and in your relationship.
- Address Your Inner Critic
One of the signs of toxic jealousy in family relationships is a critical authority figure. This most commonly manifests as a parent who is critical of one child, but who praises another. This can lead to sibling jealousy, which can be highly destructive.
Often, our inner critic – like a parent or judgemental spouse – feeds into our own critical inner voice. This leads us to engage in negative self-talk and reinforces toxic jealousy. See if you can change or question this narrative by replacing a negative thought about yourself with a positive one.
- Build Self-Confidence
Engaging in positive self-talk and challenging your inner critic are early important steps in building confidence. When we struggle with jealousy in a relationship, we may feel overly dependent on our partners. We may feel like our own lives outside of the relationship have little value. This may lead us to try and control our partners, or to grow increasingly insecure.
Developing hobbies or interests outside of the relationship is a good start. We may learn that we feel jealous because our own life is underdeveloped. Learning to enjoy time for yourself can help with this.
- Learn to Sit With Jealousy
Negative emotions are always unpleasant to experience. However, we can improve our ability to tolerate them by learning to soothe ourselves, rather than relying on our partners to reassure us. One technique we can use is to try and observe our emotions objectively, rather than becoming caught up in them. Meditation can be a useful tool to practice this.
Overcoming toxic jealousy is a tough step in many relationships. Reminding yourself that jealousy is something that originates with you – it is not something your partner causes you to feel – is a great place to start. Once you have come to terms with this, you can begin to work on your confidence to build a healthier relationship with yourself and others.
Do you struggle with jealousy in your relationships? Are you jealous or have you had jealous partners? What have you done to work through jealousy in a relationship? Share your stories in the comments!
Rebecca Shinn is a freelance writer and dating and relationship expert with a Psychology degree. Her field of expertise is relationship, dating, and marriage. The important part of Rebecca’s practice is to help couples with communication skills, problem-solving skills, stress management, or finance skills.
Rebecca started writing 2 years ago to inspire and help people to have a better dating life, strong relationships, or find a way to keep a marriage strong for long years.
With all said above, Rebecca is proud to be a mother and a wife so she doesn’t only use her knowledge for helping others but keeping her family strong and happy. She writes for Dating Review Site Dating Mentor.