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Denial of Jealousy

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

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Unfortunately many people who succumb to jealousy are often in a state of denial. Since jealousy is mostly hidden, unlike anger or rage, even others may not realize the extent of jealousy a person is suffering from. At times there may be a curious mixture of feelings. When my colleague gets a promotion or recognition, I my feel extremely happy for him, but I may not be able to avoid feeling jealous. Because the happiness is also genuine, I tend to deny the jealousy part. Internalizing the jealousy may lead to restlessness, irritation. It may also go to the extent of raising blood pressure or growing ulcers.

When in a state of denial, there is a tendency to attribute motives to others. Suspicion and hostility increases exponentially. One can create fantasy situations like imagining that our loved one is trapped by the third person who is a villain in disguise. This is sometimes seen in situations where, for example, a mother feels so jealous of the love her son is getting from his wife, that she may start conjuring up horrifying images of the daughter-in-law as a villain-ess who is out to grab the son by witchcraft or other dubious means, and take him away from the mother. The fascinating part of this fantasizing is that the jealous person wants to believe that the object of his love is not only completely innocent, but is trapped by a shrewd and cunning other, and incapable of deciding for himself how he should lead his life.

Jealousy often masquerades as love, or as healthy competitiveness. We may hear statements like “I love him so much, I am doing it for his own good”. This is the defense mechanism, which is a consequence of denial of jealousy. Hence it is absolutely essential that we be aware of how strongly jealous we are at any time. If you are feeling, or have felt in the past, pangs of jealousy regarding anyone dear to you, answer the following test truthfully and evaluate how strong this feeling is in you.

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