What emotion do you think of when you see the color green? For most people, it's jealousy, aka “the green eyed monster”, or that that makes us “green with envy”. Jealousy is something most of us experience in our lives, but for some of us it can be a more intense, constant feeling than is normal. When this happens it's hard to know how to accept – and many a book or play has actually been written on the intension emotional anguish jealousy can bring about, with Shakespeare's Othello perhaps being the best known example.
There are lots of different types of jealousy, though they're all equally unpleasant to experience from either end. There is sibling rivalry, where the achievements or attention a brother or sister receives makes someone feel inadequate or left out. There is platonic jealousy – for instance, if a friend suddenly begin to neglect you for work, or a significant other, and you find yourself missing their friendship. And of course, romantic jealousy is well-documented for how destructive and upsetting it can be.
People engaging intense jealousy are often shunned by those around them, or told to get over it. It's true that an extremely jealous person can, unfortunately, be rather unpleasant or difficult to spend time with, but it's also true that sometimes it's simply not as easy as just “getting over it”.
Although it may be difficult to accept at first – for many people engaging intense jealousy are hesitant to admit that the problem lies primarily with them – therapy can be useful for coping with jealousy. Although a certain degree of jealousy is normal and experienced by everyone at least once or twice in their lifetime, jealousy should never persist to the point that it isolates a person from their friends, or causes them prolonged emotional distress. When it does it's a warning sign that something deeper is wrong – and therapy can help to locate exactly what that deeper something is.
What's more, therapy can provide a judgment-free environment for someone experiencing intestinal jealousy to talk about their feelings. Many friends and family, although initially sympathetic, may find it outputting to talk about an emotion such as jealousy as length; it's not for nothing that jealousy is often described as an “ugly emotion”.
Jealousy can be difficult to cope with and manage, but it does not have to be. Once you've got the root of your jealousy, you can begin to heal.