The toxicity of jealousy

Brigitte Kaba

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As human beings, it can be hard to suppress emotions, especially when they stem from a place of anger, sadness and extreme envy. Although jealousy is a common emotion, too much can be unhealthy and even turn abusive. To prevent this, it is important not to overlook where jealousy comes from.

“Many of us are often unaware of the basic shame that exists inside of us because it comes so naturally to think self-critical thoughts about ourselves. Shame from our past can heavily influence the degree to which we feel jealous and insecure in the present,” author of Conquer Your Critical Inner Voice Dr. Lisa Firestone said.

In relationships, jealousy can be glamorized as a way of love. But once it becomes toxic, that means there is desire for a partner as well as insecurity. Emotional insecurity is not favorable in a relationship because boundaries can be crossed as a by-product of fear. However, it is very hard to conceal jealousy.

“If you are not jealous of your partner, you don’t care [about them]. Jealousy is okay if it doesn’t get further than complimenting someone else. It’s a human feeling. All people are jealous. Whoever says they’re not jealous is lying,” senior Lampros Lampropoulos said.

Relationships are formed based on common interest and requited trust, but even if only one person acquires green-eyed vision, the bond quickly goes into a downward spiral. Much like an illness, jealous feelings can start without even being noticed. Naturally, jealousy is usually hidden, especially in close friend groups.

“Friendship jealousy is toxic because it turns everything into a competition. If I had a friend that were jealous of me I would maybe talk them out of always comparing themselves to others,” junior Sasha Gafurova said.

Tensions can also be high in the household amongst siblings. Family members share unconditional bonds, so a large part of sibling rivalry can include who the favorite child is or who manages to get away with things the most.

Typically, because the eldest child has more freedom, the youngest gets the most attention, the middle sibling might be the most jealous as they are more overlooked. But the problem of envy may be most prominent in blended families, where it is hard to accept new members into the family.

“My step-sister is jealous of the attention I get from her father. But because she doesn’t confront me about it, I just block her when her texts become too much and continue to do my own thing,” senior Joanne Tsai said.

There is more to life than wasting energy being envious of others. After all, jealousy is a sign of a damaged ego and egos need protection. The best way to deal with jealous people is to hear the truth in order to cut them out if needed.