Working Through Jealousy in Love Addiction Recovery

Posted by on 09 02 14 in Co-Occurring Issues | Comments Off on Working Through Jealousy in Love Addiction Recovery

Jealousy is a beast of an emotion. It is often a source of drama in a relationship, one that can ultimately destroy it altogether. Most of us can relate to a bit of healthy jealousy in a relationship, but for the love addict, jealousy can cause an emotional and relationship breakdown in no time at all.

What Is Jealousy?

Jealousy is a bunch of emotions all rolled up into one. If you’re feeling jealous, you may also be feeling angry, fearful, anxious and defensive at the same time. It can cause you to think and do things that you never thought possible and then look back and say, “Did all that really just play out? Good Lord, am I that crazy?”

Granted, not all jealousy will rip a relationship apart. Sometimes it will surface and a discussion will commence and the issue will be dealt with. No harm done. For example, if a couple is out to dinner and the man happens to notice the waitress wearing a less-than-modest shirt, his gal may become jealous.  She brings it up to him in calmly and maturely and says she is not comfortable with such behavior. It makes her feel jealous. The man, wanting to honor his gal’s feelings, refrains from this sort of behavior in the future. Problem solved.

Jealousy for the Love Addict

I didn’t realize I had a jealousy issue until I met the object of my love addiction. All of a sudden I found myself thinking irrational thoughts:

  • I wonder where she is. Who’s she talking to? She hasn’t texted me in over an hour.
  • She didn’t tell me she loved me before she left. Surely she is seeing someone else!
  • She put on my favorite perfume before going to work. Oh my God, she is into someone else!
  • Who in the world does she keep texting?
  • She’s been gone so long! Has she found another? Is she talking to her ex?

On top of these irrational thoughts, I found myself doing things I’m ashamed to admit – things like sneaking a peak at her cell phone to see who she’s been texting, stalking her Facebook page, reading her Facebook messages, following her, looking through her drawers, and more. I’ve definitely allowed jealousy to create unnecessary drama in my relationship. It’s not just me, either. Love addicts tend to thrive on creating drama in a relationship and much of the time, jealousy is the culprit.

The Root of Jealousy

Where does jealousy come from? Why do some people struggle with it while others don’t? Mental health experts say that jealousy stems from insecurity and that insecurity usually stems from childhood wounds that have not been healed. It can also stem from a past adult relationship in which someone was subject to infidelity or rejected, but more than not it stems from childhood issues like the fear of abandonment, rejection and shame.

For me, there were certain triggers that would unleash my jealous fury. As love addicts, we tend to want almost constant attention and approval from our mates and when we aren’t getting it, we start obsessing. He didn’t call me on his lunch break. He must have lost interest in me. He is being ornery and tired today. He must have been out late with someone last night.

These assumptions are typically unfounded. It is important to be able to recognize this and not continue to entertain them. Entertaining such thoughts will cause you to say or do things that you might regret.  What you can do in those moments is to take a look at the whole picture and commit to trust your partner even when these insecurities pop up. 

Overcoming Jealousy

  1. Acceptance. The first step in overcoming jealousy is recognizing that you let it control you. If you’re not sure if jealousy is active in your life, nicely ask your partner. He or she should be able to tell you if they feel your jealousy at times. If you’re struggling with love addiction, chances are you are struggling with jealousy.
  2. Take control of your thoughts. After you’ve admitted to allowing jealousy into your life, you must make a concerted effort to take control of your thought processes. If you don’t learn to manage irrational thoughts and continue to entertain all sorts of scenarios in your mind, the jealousy cycle will continue. Nothing changes if nothing changes. Break the destructive reactions that you’ve been accustomed to.
  3. Openly communicate. Openly and honestly communicate with your partner about your insecurities and work through any feelings of fear or rejection. Let him or her know that you’re struggling with jealousy and assure him or her that you’re working through the root issues and also share what your triggers are.
  4. Rationally evaluate the situation.  Sometimes when I would be up in my head with jealous thoughts, I had to remind myself that even if my partner was interested in or seeing someone else behind my back, I wouldn’t die. It was not the worst thing in the world and if that were the case, I deserved better anyway. Don’t automatically react based on first perceptions. Rationally evaluate the situation.

There is hope for overcoming jealousy. If you’re struggling in this area, seek professional help. Getting to the roots of such the issue will serve you well. Contend with feelings of rejection, the fear of abandonment, and grief that keep you feeling imprisoned. As you do, you will become more secure and more able to thrive in your relationship based on trust and respect.