Frequently called “the green-eyed monster,” jealousy is an emotion we don’t often want to admit experiencing. We judge ourselves for feeling it, as we wonder what is wrong with us, and wind up in all kinds of painful mind drama.
After experiencing infidelity, jealousy can feel like a constant companion. Those pesky intrusive thoughts that creep in? The images you see? The incessant thoughts about “the other woman”? These are all normal to experience after a betrayal, but are rooted in fear and doubt.
In this episode, you’ll learn how envy and jealousy are different emotions, with different fear meanings attached to them. When you understand the root cause of these two emotions, you’ll know how to help release yourself from their grip.
I’m Andrea Giles. And you’re listening to the Heal from Infidelity podcast,
episode number 33, Jealousy.
Hello, and welcome to the Heal from Infidelity podcast where courageous
women learn not only to heal from their spouse’s betrayal, but to become
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Stick around to learn how to create a life that will knock your own socks
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Andrea Giles. Are you ready? Let’s dive in.
Hey, everybody. So before we dive in, I want to tell you that I apologize
for the audio that you’re going to hear today. I went to record my podcast
and my microphone is not working. It’s glitchy and not sounding good. I let
my 11 year old daughter record something on it. And when I went to record,
it wasn’t working. So today my audio’s not going to be quite up to par, but
I still wanted to get my podcast out. So, anyway, today I’m going to talk
about jealousy, which is something that I hear from my clients. I have
people come and ask me, what about the other woman? How do I get rid of
intrusive thoughts? How do I get rid of obsessive thinking? Things like
that. Imagery, places that their brains go that they don’t want them to go.
And so today I’m going to dive into all of that.
I’m going to talk about jealousy and envy and what they are, what they are
in particular. They are not the same thing. I’m going to dive into why
they’re not the same thing. And I’m going to talk about what we can do to
help ourselves with these emotions. So first let’s talk jealousy. So
jealousy, a nickname for jealousy is the green-eyed monster. You probably
heard that before. Jealousy means the resentment of arrival caused by the
belief that someone you love is liked by someone else. It’s the threat of
losing something that you have. It’s the belief that someone can take what
is yours, someone is creeping in on your territory. Jealousy is fear based.
In the workplace, jealousy, you could experience jealousy about someone who
might seem like they’re going to be a threat and take the job that you
have. In marriage, it might be a threat that someone’s going to take your
man or in some kind of relationship. With friendships, a new person might
move into the area and talk to your best friend, and you might fear that
your best friend is going to prefer the other person, that the other
person’s going to take away your best friend.
With children, something I see around children with my clients who have
various custody situations, there might be a fear that the ex-husband’s new
wife might be preferred over them, that they might get replaced. The reason
why it feels like a threat is because there’s a belief that they can’t keep
the thing that they want, whether it be a job, a spouse, kids, your best
friend, et cetera, and it’s because of this other person. Somehow that
other person seems better, that they have something that you don’t have.
What this does is it breeds a hyper vigilance and anxiety, because it’s
like you always have to be looking out for the threat.
This can breed those obsessive thoughts. This can make us feel a little bit
crazy, right? Now at the root of jealousy is some fear. But let’s say that
jealousy is off the table, we might still feel some anxiety about losing a
spouse, for example. Like we might have a fear that they’re going to get
into a car accident, or some other kind of accident, or get sick, or things
like that. And that might be anxiety producing, but it is different than
feeling the threat of another person, that somebody else might come in and
take the thing that you have. And in addition to that, if something were to
happen to our spouse in a situation like that, we wouldn’t make it about
us. If they got in a car accident, it wouldn’t be something that we would
blame ourselves for, or that we would thank God, I just couldn’t keep them.
I must not have been good enough.
It’s jealousy that causes those kinds of painful thoughts. So I have a book
that I want to read a couple things from. It’s called The State of Affairs.
It’s by Esther Perel. And she has a couple things to say about jealousy
that I think are really helpful. For example, she says, “Jealousy is
riddled with contradictions. As captured by the incisive pen of Roland
Barthes, the jealous one suffers four times over. Because I am jealous,
because I blame myself for being so, because I fear that my jealousy will
wound the other, because I allow myself to be subject to a finality, I
suffer from being excluded, from being aggressive, from being crazy, and
from being common.” Interesting, right? Jealousy can be quite an intense
emotion. And sometimes part of what we judge ourselves for around jealousy
is because we think we should be above such an emotion.
We think that if we’re jealous, it is making us seem weak or clingy or
dependent, and none of those feel great. I’m going to get into a little bit
later about why jealousy is actually a pretty normal emotion. But first
let’s talk about envy. Envy is all about looking at other people and
thinking that you cannot have what they have. So with jealousy, it’s about
somebody taking what you have. Envy is about thinking you can’t have what
they have. They feel different in your body. Jealousy sometimes can have
some anger in it. And envy kind of has undertones of sadness. So for
example, in the workplace, it would be looking at someone who has a job
that you want and believing that you can’t have that job. In marriage,
looking at other marriages or other women and thinking, oh, I wish that I
could be loved like that. I wish I had that kind of marriage.
In friendships, that seeing other peoples’ friendships and wishing you had
friendships like that and believing that you can’t. Children, seeing
relationships with parents and children and believing that you cannot have
that. So why do we want what we don’t have? I’ll tell you why. And you’ve
heard me say this before, because of how you think it will make you feel.
There’s this belief that if I just have that thing, I’ll feel a certain
way. And as long as I don’t have it, I can’t feel that way. And that is
just a lie. So, as I’ve talked about before, our brains are very efficient.
They want certainty. They want to know how things go. They want it to be
easy. And so our brains will tell us these stories that, oh, they predict
things like, oh, if you have that, then you’ll be happy. If you have that
thing, you’ll be happy. They make predictions.
But the actual truth is that it’s never the thing that makes us happy ever.
It’s always the thoughts that we have about it. It is never outside of us.
It’s always about the thoughts we have, which we create. Our brains try to
tell us that we will be more acceptable, more loving, more socially
approvable if we stay married, keep the job, have the right circle of
friends, look a certain way. So why do you think we have these issues,
especially in America with our culture? In our culture, most of us have
been programmed our entire life to attach our value to our looks and to our
performance. So when infidelity occurs in its various forms, it can often
heighten insecurities that already were there. It’s magnifying them. And
when we’re focused on what we don’t have, or think what we have is limited,
or that we can’t get more of it, we become more possessive and act more
We give so much power away with envy and jealousy because we are acting as
if the power to fix these things is not in our control. And that is not
true. So what’s missing in these two stories? I’ll tell you what’s missing.
There are major holes in the story. We are missing information,
circumstances, circumstantial information about the other people in the
story. We don’t know the whole story. We are also missing things about
ourselves. We numb out or tune out our own goodness, our own lovability,
our own worth. We just tune it out. We can’t hear it. We can’t see it. We
are undermining ourselves. We are undermining our own worthiness. We are
feeling insufficient, not good enough. And we are believing that
sufficiency lies outside of us. So what is the remedy to these things?
First of all, I want to say that jealousy and envy are normal common
traits, human traits, and sometimes they can be useful.
So for example, if you’re in a fairly healthy relationship and you see your
husband flirting with somebody else, so with jealousy, it can actually be
something that is useful and that it can notify you. It can be a little tap
on the shoulder of what you are forgetting about yourself. So for example,
if you start to feel jealousy creep in, you might ask yourself, what am I
forgetting to believe? What am I forgetting is true? And so what I suggest
in these moments when that jealousy can creep in and can feel very, very
overwhelming in the moment, sometimes it can feel very intense. Sometimes
it can feel so intense that it would drive you to go down that rabbit hole
of looking for proof, going through the phone in the middle of the night,
going through Facebook, all those things that can lead to those things
where you end up feeling a little bit like a crazy person, and often don’t
find the answers you’re looking for anyway.
So what do you do when you feel it? First of all, like that quote that I
shared from Esther Perel, there’s so much judgment, like what is wrong with
me? First of all, I suggest dropping it, dropping the judgment. You’re a
human, and as a human you’re allowed to feel the full range of emotions.
You’re allowed to have thoughts and feelings, any of them. I’m more
interested in what result those thoughts and feelings are leading you too.
If it’s creating a result that is keeping you further away from yourself,
from what is true about you. If it’s keeping you away from actually moving
forward towards truth, towards things that will mend relationships that
will help you move forward, then I would challenge it a little bit. But how
I suggest challenging it in the moment is just being with the feeling. I
will go back and have you listen to the episode, Feeling Your Feelings,
that stands for any feeling, jealousy, envy, any feeling.
And again, they will feel a little bit different in your body. Jealousy
will feel a little bit different. They are similar, but they are different.
So how can you help yourself with jealousy? A jealousy buster is continuing
building your sense of belief. Self-confidence, self-confidence is a
jealousy buster, because if you feel sufficient, if you feel whole, if you
feel good enough, then the dialogue shifts to instead of, oh no, I must not
be good enough. I don’t know if he wants me to I don’t know if I want him.
I don’t know if I want to stay here, and I don’t know if this is actually
what I want. It shifts quite a bit and puts you back in the driver’s seat.
Some of the ways to do this are by going back to what you know. What do you
know about you? What do you know about your spouse? What do you know about
the other people in the story? What is true? Practice this framework, what
And then I suggest practicing new thoughts, exploring ideas. Like sometimes
I like thinking about somebody that I see as really, really confident. I
remember when I went to coach training and Brooke Castillo, she’s the
founder of the Life Coach School. Brooke Castillo came out on the stage at
the life coach training. I was there for a live event. She came out there
and she is just a confident woman. She carries herself confidently, doesn’t
put up with much. And when I left there I thought, I want to be more like
that. I want to be the type of woman that when I walk into a room, people
know that I have self-respect, that I care about myself. I respect other
people too, but I care about and respect myself. And I remember going home
and if I had a dilemma in my mind, I would try to pretend like I was her
and get in her head. And like, what would she think about this? How much
drama would she allow in this situation? And explore thoughts that other
people might think.
So for you, I want you to think of those people in your life that you’re
like, hmm, they probably don’t feel jealous very often. They probably feel
pretty good about who they are. I wonder what they think. And I want you to
practice those thoughts, explore ideas. What if? Act as if. Continue to
build your sense of self. Because what we tend to do is we grip ourselves
against these emotions and fight against them and don’t want to feel them,
and resist them, and push away from them. And instead, when you’re in it, I
want you to feel it. But as a preventative measure, I want you to continue
building your own sense of self. And when you become more solid, the
threats fall off. They become less and less powerful. I want you to
practice what you’re feeling, getting to know it in your body.
What does jealousy feel like? What does envy feel like? What are the little
nuances between the two that are different? And then tell yourself the
truth. Is it actually getting you closer to what you want or pulling you
away? Even if there is information that might be good to know, jealousy is
not the emotion that’s going to serve you in finding the truth and telling
yourself the truth about it. Jealousy will push you further away from you
and your goodness and your wholeness. You’re giving energy to another
person, not to you, when you’re in jealousy and envy.
I want you to remember that it takes courage to set boundaries with
yourself of where you will go in your mind. It takes mental strength. It
takes a willingness to be uncomfortable in a new way. It’s uncomfortable to
be jealous, but sometimes it can feel even harder to set a boundary around
it and say, I’m not doing that today. I’m not going down that rabbit hole.
I’m not doing it. Instead, I’m going to think about myself. I’m going to
think about my qualities. I’m going to think about what I love about me.
And over time you will feel a shift and you’ll find that you are not
jealous anymore, that you feel a sense of self, that you feel a solid sense
of self, that you have your foundation under you, but know that it takes
courage to lean into that.
So this one’s a little bit shorter today. That’s what I’ve got for you
today. I just encourage you to continue building your own sense of self, to
continue practicing thinking kind, loving thoughts about you, noticing the
things you do well, celebrating your wins, celebrating the times where you
could go into jealousy and you choose not to. All right, my friends, thank
you so much for being here, and I will see you next time. Bye.
Thank you for listening to the Heal from Infidelity podcast. If you would
like to be kept in the know about upcoming free classes, new podcast
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