Toxic jealousy is something that can happen to any of us. It can creep up without us even noticing and soon we’re transformed by that jealousy into someone completely different. But, it doesn’t have to be that way! You can overcome toxic jealousy and have amazing healthy relationships and improved mental health as a result. Find out what toxic jealousy is and how you can work past that toxic jealousy to live the life you’ve always wanted. You are worth it!
What is Toxic Jealousy?
Having moments of jealousy is perfectly normal. But, jealousy can become quite toxic in the right circumstances. Toxic jealousy is when you allow normal jealousy to grow into obsession and paranoia. It might manifest in the form of sneaking a peek at your spouse’s phone while he’s sleeping or it might look like obsessively watching what a travel influencer is posting on Instagram and feeling jealousy and anger that they have things so much better than you. Toxic jealousy is not only harmful to your relationships it creates a darkness in your heart and can sometimes drive you to do things you would normally never do.
How to Overcome Toxic Jealousy
I will be straight forward with you right now. Overcoming toxic jealousy is not easy. It can take years of working at it to really work past it. You might also find that the only way for you to overcome it is walking away. But, that should be a last resort. So, before you feel like throwing in the towel try following these steps to overcome your toxic jealousy and start interacting with the targets of your jealousy in a healthier way. If you stumble along the way handle it with grace. Brush yourself off and keep going. Don’t be afraid to go back to the beginning if you need to.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
Chances are if you’re reading this right now then you’ve already completed this first step, congratulations! Acknowledging that you are experiencing toxic jealousy towards someone is incredibly difficult, but you’ve already taken that first step. You know that your jealousy is unhealthy and now you want to work to fix it. I hope you don’t mind me saying, but I’m really proud of you!
Identify the Cause of the Feelings
Now that you’ve acknowledged your feelings it’s time to look at what is causing them. What are the targets of your jealousy doing that is causing you to have these feelings? It might be that your spouse is seemingly more distant recently and has been putting in extra hours at work. Or it might be that they are living their best life and posting about it on social media. Make a list of everything that triggers your jealousy.
While you’re identifying the cause of your jealousy it’s also important to look inward and examine yourself. Why are you jealous? Have you been hurt in the past in a similar way? Is it general dissatisfaction with your life? These are important parts of the equation and without identifying them you’ll find you won’t ever be able to work past your toxic jealousy. So don’t be afraid to really take your time examining your feelings and be honest with yourself about what is causing them. It is only through this honesty that you can move forward. Is there something you’re doing that is bringing you into contact with the source of your jealousy? This isn’t a step where you have to take any actions, just make a list so you know what it is you’re up against.
Communicate Your Toxic Jealousy
At this point it is time to communicate with the people who are causing the jealousy. Unless it is the previously mentioned Instagram influencer who doesn’t know you. It’s important that you let the people close to you know that you’re feeling this toxic jealousy (chances are they already know) and that you are working on it. It might also be helpful for you to apologize to them for acting out of character and explain that your feelings took over.
Now it is time to start taking care of yourself. If you’re jealous of someone on social media, stop following them. If you still can’t resist then uninstall the app or block the website from your network. It is absolutely ok to walk away from toxic social media. If it is someone you interact with in your life then it is time to take care of your mental health. This might mean therapy, going to the spa, or saying no to activities that might spark that jealousy. Keep a journal of your journey and write down every time you feel that jealousy rise. Keep track of when it happened, what caused it, and where you were.
Finally, just like those on social media, it is ok to acknowledge that right now you aren’t in the right place to have certain people in your life. If you have a cousin who has effortlessly got everything you’ve ever dreamed of while you’re stuck living in the same situation you’ve been in since college then it is ok to stop seeing your cousin for a while or see them in a way that is unlikely to set off your jealousy. Meeting up for coffee at your favorite café is a whole lot less triggering than pulling up to their white picket fenced house.