jealousyThere is often confusion between the definitions of jealousy and envy – they are both negative emotions and they often cross over in situations. Wiki separates the two as following:

The common experience of jealousy for many people may involve:

  • Fear of loss
  • Suspicion of or anger about a perceived betrayal
  • Low self-esteem and sadness over perceived loss
  • Uncertainty and loneliness
  • Fear of losing an important person to another
  • Distrust

Jealousy can be an emotion passed down by generation. As you grow and learn how people interact, then if you have at least one jealous parent, then you are much more likely to experience jealousy yourself.

The experience of envy involves:

  • Feelings of inferiority
  • Longing
  • Resentment of circumstances
  • Ill will towards envied person often accompanied by guilt about these feelings
  • Motivation to improve
  • Desire to possess the attractive rival’s qualities

From a therapist’s point of view, client’s are often puzzled as to why they have these feelings and realise they are childish and stupid, but feel totally compelled to keep up their unhelpful behaviours.

You often find unhealthy jealousy when a threat is posed by a third person in a relationship with someone important to you. It’s a very primal instinct and when you consider it in terms of our survival, it often highlights what we perceive as threats. The threat of a rival in love can highlight that your love object is either not trustworthy or you have low levels of self confidence. The threat of a new step mother or father can mean a reduction in contact with your blood relative. A new sibling means that mother or father are spending time with the new born and the first born is suddenly thrown into a situation it would rather do without – think of the song “Oh what a lonely boy”.

You can be envious of someone else without a third party being involved, a promotion at work, earning more money when doing the same job or getting a new car for example.

At the heart of jealousy is a mix of self-esteem, lack of trust, anxiety, anger, self doubt and fixed ideas which can lead to setting traps, placing restrictions on your partner, constantly checking where they are, snooping, spying and mental bullying. At it’s extreme it can lead to not only domestic violence but murder. I have known 2 women who were victims of extreme jealousy, one would be locked in a cupboard for hours and the other was murdered after she had split with her partner because of his jealousy and he asked her to meet up to talk. They met in a barn close to where she lived, and he took out a gun, shot her and then himself. At no point was anyone aware that his controlling behaviour would lead to such tragic circumstances. Luckily for my friend who had been locked in the cupboard, she managed to placate her partner, then when he was out packed a bag, and escaped through a window and hitchhiked all the way from Cornwall up to Bristol. She then had a court order placed on him.

In one case I saw, it started off as my client wishing to stop feeling jealous about what her husband was doing when socialising with friends, to having severe anxiety about having a baby (the anxiety manifested as jealousy because if he was off the scene she couldn’t get pregnant) followed by feelings of low self worth. Her anxiety caused her to focus only on herself and she considered herself extremely selfish.

So jealousy is also about self confidence, self esteem, self worth and not being able to deal with loss. Solution focused hypnotherapy can help not only unravel what may be causing these feelings, but build up the confidence to cope better in the future. To allow their partners the freedom to lead normal lives and become self actualizing to lead more for-filled lives where you’re not relying on someone else to provide happiness. Happiness comes from within, security comes from within.

If you feel your jealousy is effecting your relationship then Solution focused hypnotherapy may help. Call for more details. Please don’t wait until it gets so bad that your partner has already left. Tackling these feeling early will mean less heart ache down the line.

If you would like to read a case study about jealousy, please email me and I’ll send you a copy of the free eBook “10 years on the couch”.


Penny Ling is a widely experienced hypnotherapist who has worked with everyone from top executives to stroke victims since 2007. She has been editor of Hypnotherapy Today Magazine and is a supervisor and mentor for members of the AfSFH and NCH.

Read Penny’s inspiring story How I beat all my phobias, or find out more how hypnotherapy could help your problem by downloading How Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can help with life. Feel free to send Penny a message here.