Wednesday, July 2, 2014

How do I handle my jealousy?

Hi Edahn,

I read your posts on psychcentral and felt you really knew what you were talking about and maybe could help me. The issue I am have is trying to eliminate or control my extreme insecurities. My fiance told me last night after thinking about this in his head for 4 months that he doesn't know what to do other than postponing the wedding because he feels trapped, helpless, and walking on eggshells. I know I do have a problem since it have dealt with a lot of things in my life such as anorexia, supporting myself, having a father who would verbally abuse me. I am constantly facing anxiety, depression, negative thoughts, and while I do trust my fiance wholeheartedly it comes off to him otherwise. 

Some of the things I do include: asking him why is he looking at a girl and did he think she is attractive and if he wants to be with her. I know that is crazy. I have gotten better since we started dating, however it isn't enough for my fiance to not feel this way. I need advice on what I can do to cop with my insecurities and what you feel we should do about the wedding?

I'M GOING TO save you years of therapy by giving you some big clues as to what's going on. Your dad put you down when you were young. He made you feel like you were useless and lacked value. When people are in relationships, they're deepest fears bubble up to the surface and start making a mess. For you, it's the thought that you lack value, and that people will leave you for someone better. There's more to it, including the fact that everyone's born with this fear (in my opinion, at least). But that core fear has been agitated and worsened for you because of your difficult upbringing.

You've been dealing with that fear by sending it out for verification (asking/accusing your fiance) and then, once you've been assured that he isn't leaving you or thinking about it (and that you're valued), your fears are muted...until the next time. What you need to do is learn a totally new way of addressing your fears and thoughts. It starts with recognizing what's happening, which you can now start doing...right? Right. Maybe you hold his hand or hold your own hand, figuratively. You're learning how to live in peace, with joy, without succumbing to persistent fears.

Going deeper, you'll benefit more from making an even broader shift in your life. Pay attention to the stories in your imagination and find themes...jealousy, conflict, admiration, attention. We all have them. Find a way to be compassionate to yourself. Be curious. Improve yourself but love yourself as you do it. Open your heart to others. Keep your mind sharp. These are things that everyone has to do, not just you, but it'll pay off. 

As for your marriage, it's not my place to tell you what to do. It's your life. You decide how to decide, you take the risks, you live with the results. Find peace in your heart, even for 5 minutes, and think about your situation again. See what feels right and trust it.