Sunday, March 28, 2010


In my therapist’s office I read a back issue of Psychology Today from August 2009.

Here was the fascinating tidbit I learned about jealousy:

French Psychiatrist, Marcianne Blevis,—(It really helps that she is French I think) wrote a book called, “Jealousy—True Stories of Love’s Favorite Decoy”. She insists that jealousy is a signal—not to blame a partner—but to look within. Inside ourselves, she says, we will find the source of insecurity that makes a rival seem superior to us. What’s at stake in jealousy—she suggests—is not the partner or the relationship—but the survival of our sense of self.

What is exciting about this idea is that it follows another of Blevis’ assertions: All human emotions exist to help us figure out who we are in the world. So jealousy too is a productive emotion for us. This very thing we cringe to feel or are shameful to admit is trying to help us claim a self. Jealousy is a resource that we call on when we feel at risk, when our sense of self is in jeopardy. “When we are jealous we are in the grip of an identity crisis.”

But invariably, according to Blevis, we misdirect our attention. We imagine our so-called rival with an aura of magical attributes—yet we are the one who assigned those attributes to the rival!—and they represent (hello projection!) something unrealized in ourselves.

I love thinking like this and ideas like this that turn it all upside down.

Think about the kind of people who trigger jealousy for you. Pretty? Young? Sexy? Smart? Successful? Children? Travel?

They are shouting thru a megaphone—This is what I want! They are invitations to take a step toward something that YOU want.

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