The invisible fire that rages within. The burning tears and the broken heart. The unexplainable emotion with traces of anger, insecurity, betrayal and a gnawing feeling in the pit of the stomach. The overwhelming sense of command that it has over all senses. The creator of unjustifiable acts, words and body language. The guillotine that threatens with blood. What really is jealousy?
When a child is born, his basic needs are food and sleep. And as they grow up they develop bonding and affection with their parents and favorite teddies. When a stranger approaches their most close relations they react to it … their feeling of belongingness is threatened. Their possession is at risk. Is that reaction, springing from insecurity, a pre-empt to jealousy?
As we grow up, relations and possessions become more complex and that same horrid feeling is sitting like a dragon inside, ready to pounce when there is a new sibling in the house, competition at school, when your just-a-friend is turning into anothers’ best friend, or when we see our teacher appreciating others and not us. Does this lack of self assurance and confidence translate into jealousy?
Further into life, the pressure of academics and the constant fluttering of the heart and the vicious animal called hormones sets the pace of our actions and reactions. Fighting over a girl, or securing an ace in mathematics brings in an abundance of competition and possession. Does the race to win or the desire to beat and securing an envious object gives direction to jealousy?
And so life moves from complexity to mega complexity. University, marriage, work, parenthood, children and their associated pitfalls and dilemmas. Love, wealth, possessions or rather the lack of them lego in the same structure. The blocks of insecurity, possessiveness, lack of self assurance, envy, distrust, anger and resentment all easily fit together and create the wall of jealousy.
As the environment and situations raise against us (or so we perceive), this emotional wall of jealousy begins to rise even more and prevents us from rationalizing, reasoning and resonating our thoughts.
To date, this emotional state has been studied the most, and to date there is no cohesive explanation to it. I barged a counselor friend in Singapore to give me some direction towards this untoward being. Lissy, a counseling psychologist says “ Jealousy is a social emotion that offers an adaptive purpose in a person’s function. Most common adaptive function is to protect relationships.”
The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word as “feeling or showing resentment towards a person one thinks of as a rival.”
The mere presence of such rivalry is insignificant compared to the detrimental faith in its existence. The existence that rapidly exhumes strong bonds built over years of love and affection.
Lissy continues, “ Studies on jealousy is usually difficult to conduct because it cannot be induced entirely on its own. It is usually studied in relation to self esteem, attachment and infidelity”
This ugliest of emotions surely cannot be genetic, imagine a chromosome J, deeply imbedded in our cells. Travelling down a natural sequence of hereditary protocol – dormant or exponentially damaging, yet present in all of us. I recently read that kindness in children breeds from kind parents, would that be true of jealousy as well? Does it really pass down generations? Can we blame our parents for gifting us the treasure? Would it be correct to assume that our basic need of belongingness and its associated insecurities eventually mammoth into jealousy?
Is there any end to this resident evil which continues to abandon and ruin strong relations between friends, spouses, work colleagues and eventually the entire society? Can we let this despicable resident win over love?