Sunday, 15 December 2013

The snare of jealousy

Jealousy and envy are healthy, says Caprice*, since they're both connected to that strong feeling of loving somebody. Well, I can't agree with her.

To my mind, jealousy always means begrudging what the other person has and wishing you had it yourself. It means wanting to stop them from having it, by violent means if necessary. It means hating them and hoping they come to a sticky end. It means thinking they don't deserve what they have, that they've somehow got it unfairly. How can all that be healthy?

I'm glad I'm not prone to jealousy. I'm glad I'm able to appreciate other people's talents or possessions or friends or good looks without wanting to destroy them or wish some misfortune on them. On the contrary, I'm pleased for them. I'm pleased that in a brutal and unpredictable world they're lucky enough to have something of value, something positive, something that's a source of joy and well-being.

I remember a workmate of mine many years ago who was always eaten up with jealousy over what she saw as the privileged lifestyle of her bosses. Every day she was seething with resentment and rage, and the other employees would steer clear of her dispiriting rants.

Celebrities seem especially susceptible to jealousy, to people so pissed-off at their success and popularity that they flood the internet with abusive bile aimed at bringing them down from their lofty pedestals. Straying sexual partners can attract similar venom from the person spurned, finding their clothes trashed, their cars vandalised, their laptops sabotaged.

Jealousy is an ugly and corrosive emotion. I can see nothing healthy about it. It sinks a corkscrew into your soul.

* Caprice Bourret - British model and businesswoman.

20 comments:

Jenny Woolf said...

One of the ugliest and meanest emotions, although not as bad as cruelty. It is indeed bad for everyone who is involved with it, and often seems to go with a sense of false entitlement. But I think it's also very hard to deal with - it seems to take the jealous person over and spoil their life too.

susie said...

I've never heard that jealousy is a positive thing. I have heard that gossip is healthy in small doses.

Secret Agent Woman said...

Since envy is one of the seven deadly sins, it's hard to imagine re-framing it as a virtue. Jealousy./nvy are soul-destroyers.

Secret Agent Woman said...

Typing issues. That was jealousy/envy.

Helen Devries said...

Jealousy can destroy the lives of the jealous and the person of whom they are jealous.
I have every sympathy for the latter and none at all for the former.

Bijoux said...

I agree with you, although I wouldn't put a spurned lover into the same category.

Nick said...

Jenny: That's true about a sense of false entitlement. People think they've been cheated out of something that's rightfully theirs.

Susie: Oh yes, a bit of gossip's okay, unless it's malicious gossip designed to be spread around so it'll undermine someone's job or reputation.

Nick said...

Agent: So yes, maybe it shows the strength of your love for someone, but with such destructive and negative overtones. And what's that saying about loving someone enough to let them go?

Helen: Absolutely, it's a really toxic emotion. And as you say, damaging also for the person who's the object of the jealousy.

Nick said...

Bijoux: But I think the strength of feeling can be much the same. And just as unjustified if the other person has genuinely fallen out of love and is actively seeking to move on.

Wisewebwoman said...

I don't think it can be classified as healthy. Ever.

It does corrode. And it's usually all about possession/ownership. I can't own anybody or they me.

I don't think I've ever been jealous of others' possessions though I've been jealous/resentful of betrayal. Hurt would have been healthier.
XO
WWW

Lady Lilith said...

Ouch. Jealousy can only lead to such a downfall in your life. If you appreciate what you have then you can be happy as you are. It is nice to dream and to try to make them happen, but it seems like your co-worker got a little out of hand.

Nick said...

www: I think you're right, it's all about possession and ownership, an inability to let the other person go their own way.

Lady Lilith: Well, it's okay to want a bit more than you have, but jealousy is not the best way to obtain it. Yes, my co-worker got out of hand big-time!

Cheerful Monk said...

I agree! Not healthy. Better to figure out what's missing in your life and doing something about it.

Nick said...

Jean: Or maybe it's a sign of something you THINK is missing from your life, which the other person somehow represents. Which is why you're so fixated on them.

Rummuser said...

Jealousy is a powerful emotion, and it drives people to say mean, hateful, and ignorant things. What these people are saying, in effect, is, “Although I am a responsible human being, I don’t believe anyone else would be.” It’s a pathetic blend of holier than thou warfare and hypocrisy to assert that you and only you would be a kind and responsible human being. ( I use the word responsible here in the sense of being capable of sane responses in relationships.)

Envy on the other hand can be a very powerful motivating factor if instead of envy you called it or treated it as rivalry.

John Gray said...

To me your definition covers envy rather than jealously
.......oh .......I have just confused myself thinking about it all
I need a lie down

Grannymar said...

Jealousy can turn a person into a bitter twisted soul!

Nick said...

Ramana: Not sure the person is saying, I'm a responsible human being. More like, I'm a possessive/controlling human being who won't let you follow your own desires. But I agree envy is a kind of rivalry.

John: Oh no, I think envy is a much milder emotion. It doesn't include all the hatred and resentment, it's just a sort of benign longing.

Grannymar: Too true.

Suburbia said...

Yes Nick, jealousy is corrosive and eats you up. Caprice is obviously talking out of her rear end!

Nick said...

Suburbia: Has Caprice ever been the victim of someone's insane jealousy, I wonder?