Jealousy: How to tackle it? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 09-12-2012, 09:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have not typically felt jealous of other people's good fortune--I am actually more of a cheery optimist, very grateful for what I have--but lately I have had very ugly feelings about DS's brother and his family.  All is going well for them, particularly in the area of finances and job security, which happen to be our biggest challenge at the moment.  The siblings are not close and neither the brother or his wife is particularly easy to be with; we've had our relational issues over the years, which might make it easier to feel a tad bitter toward them. Nowadays, we can get along at holidays and such, but that's about all there is to the relationship between their family and ours.

 

Do you ever feel jealous?  What do you do about it?  Until we've dealt with some of our debt, had better career luck, and feel more stable in general, I can't figure out a way to contend with this.  Nothing I am saying or doing would reveal my jealousy to them, but I know it's not healthy and it's not the way I want to feel toward them.  I don't want to be hateful.  

 

Any advice welcome!  Thanks.

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#2 of 8 Old 09-12-2012, 09:30 PM
 
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Keep in mind that they may have serious issues that you don't even know about, like marital problems or health problems.  Finances and job security are important, but they don't provide happiness and contentment.  Everyone has their own struggles.


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#3 of 8 Old 09-12-2012, 09:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi.  OP here.

Maybe I am actually more ENVIOUS than jealous.  Well, call it what you will--how do I control it?

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#4 of 8 Old 09-12-2012, 09:44 PM
 
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I agree that you don't have the whole picture of anyone else's life, and who is to say that they don't envy you for something you're not even aware of? Don't think that they have everything just because they have the thing that you are missing in your life right now. Everyone struggles in one way or another.

There are 2 things I do when I get to feeling this way--one, try to practice gratitude for all that I DO have. Writing down what you're grateful for is particularly powerful. And two, I try to be philosophical about what is causing those feelings, distance myself from the feelings themselves and use them as a tool to re-evaluate. I try to determine what I can do to make my own situation better, and what is currently out of my control, and use that information to carry on doing my best.

Comparing yourself to others is never a healthy thing, unless you are looking up to the other person as a source of inspiration. You'll always find people who have less or more than you if that's what you focus on. It can eat you up if you dwell on it. (It goes the other way too--you can feel guilt for having much more than others.) So I guess what I'm saying is I think you should try to shift your focus. Have you heard that saying, "whatever you put your attention on grows"? Well, it's true!
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#5 of 8 Old 09-13-2012, 06:49 AM
 
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I am right there with you.  I have a family member who has recently had some wild success with a personal project of theirs, and I'm jealous!  Green-eyed wish she didn't have what she has ugly nasty jealous.  Our relationship hasn't been good either.

I don't have an easy solution.  I've never really been the jealous type.  So when I find myself thinking horrible thoughts about how I wish failure on this individual and questioning why such a "crap person" had such good fortune, I just remind myself of several things.  Firstly, everyone is fighting a very hard battle.  Now, frankly, some people's "hard battles" would be downright laughable by my standards, but that doesn't mean that they aren't struggling and suffering.  Secondly, she does deserve happiness.  What she's done to me doesn't mean she doesn't deserve happiness in life.  Fer crap's sake.  (No really, I add that last bit mentally because I am appalled by my nastiness over my issues with her.)  And finally, I try to remind myself how it feels when I have some happiness and I sense other people wish I didn't.  It's not really changed my knee-jerk reaction, but it's a step in the right direction at least.  Pepe, I think when we don't normally experience envy or jealousy, it is hard for us to know what to do.  Maybe we feel justified that just this once, the envy is totally understandable.  And it probably is!  But it doesn't mean the envy is good for us.  Nevermind them - the envy isn't good for you.  Don't forget to look out for #1!  (You.)  smile.gif
 


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#6 of 8 Old 09-13-2012, 07:55 AM
 
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Hi OP, I'm struggling with this right now, too. I actually just posted a thread about it. My in-laws are giving a lot of help to all of DH's siblings (one is particular is basically getting his entire life paid for) right now, and we're not getting help, but are struggling financially to the point that we can't pay our bills. As I'm trying to figure out how to make our life not fall apart and my MIL is listing the luxuries she bought for BIL, jealousy takes me over! It's so, so, so ugly and sort of makes me feel entitled, which I'm NOT. I'm still working to overcome all of this and have had really limited success so far, but I'm trying hard so I hope something will come of it eventually.

 

What I'm doing right now is reminding myself over and over again that while this situation might not be nice or fair to my husband (who feels really left out in his family dynamic), it's none of my business. I say this to myself over and over and over again. When I feel those jealousies coming up, I imagine stamping them down and tell myself AGAIN, "The only family you're entitled to worry about is your own. The end." 

 

I also take several pauses during the day to feel calm and grateful for just that one moment. I give myself permission not to worry about how to make ends meet for one minute, and in that minute I'm allowed to focus only on good things. I force myself to pause, evaluate a given moment, and find the the good in it. For example, I was walking home from the train after work yesterday, and my husband and daughter jumped out from behind a bush and surprised me. DD was so happy to see me, and as I carried her all the way home, she had this little grin on her face and just kept looking and me and looking at me, like she was drinking me in and couldn't believe how happy she was that I was back from work. I took a mental step back and said, "Ok, in a few hours I will have to worry about money. But right now I AM going to be grateful for my baby." And I carried the thought of that moment for the rest of the night and into this morning. I'm trying to force myself, through repetition, to focus on the good and not the bad.

 

Ugh, sorry this was long! I hope it helps you a little bit. 

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#7 of 8 Old 09-13-2012, 02:00 PM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Pepe View Post

 

 Nothing I am saying or doing would reveal my jealousy to them, but I know it's not healthy and it's not the way I want to feel toward them.  I don't want to be hateful.  

 

 

I don't have the whole answer because I don't think there is an easy answer. Sometimes I think this is a life lesson that I've got down pat and then BAM, I find that resurfaces in a new way.

 

For me, realizing that releasing these feelings is all about me and not them is helpful. Realizing that holding those negative feelings hurts me, but not them, is the first step, because then I'm motivated by my own self interest. I want to feel peaceful. I want to feel happy.

 

Wanting to release the feelings so that I can be a "good" person just doesn't work for me. It turns out that I want peace and happiness more than I want to be good!

 

Second, one thing that I learned when my kids were swimming competitively (because I said it to them over and over) it is that's silly to get too hung up on how you compare to the other kids practicing with you or swimming against you in a meet. Where you are in the race is totally dependent on who showed up that day and what kind of day they are having. It doesn't have anything to do with YOU. It was all about personal best, trying new events, and pushing themselves.

 

From this, I've learned to focus on what I'm doing rather than how it compares to how someone else seems to be doing.

 

I still sometimes struggle with this, and I agree that looking for the things I have to be grateful for in my life helps tremendously.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#8 of 8 Old 09-17-2012, 08:01 AM
 
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I think you mean DH not DS. Am I right?

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pepe View Post

I have not typically felt jealous of other people's good fortune--I am actually more of a cheery optimist, very grateful for what I have--but lately I have had very ugly feelings about DS's brother and his family. 


When the thoughts we think are the same as the words we speak, others will feel our integrity ~ Unknown
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