Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

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Another emotion that comes close to, and is many a time a consequence of jealousy, is possessiveness. It is an attempt to gain and hold ownership, usually of another human being. It is often mixed up with love, and is born out of insecurity. There is a feeling of “I deserve to own, I have won it.” While possessiveness may be of inanimate things also, it acquires destructive dimensions when it is about a person or persons.

In some cases it is a passing phase – a person feeling possessive when threatened or momentarily insecure. Since initially possessiveness gives the person a feeling of being loved, it gets spurred on. When possessiveness becomes long-term or deeply ingrained in the psyche, it definitely needs to be tackled.

Some people may be possessive about only one human, and fear of losing "that" relationship e.g. child/spouse/lover, can increase this feeling. A person may not be happy in just being loved, he wants to be the “only person” to be loved by the other. It manifests itself in many ways. In a very simple example, it could be the feelings of a wife who is happy to learn that her husband has bought a sari for her, but tends to lose that happiness when she learns that he has bought one for his sister too.

Manifestation of possessiveness can be in the form of: control over movements and behavior of the other person. There may be suspicion, doubts and perpetual attention towards the person, destroying his quality of life.

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