Jealousy & Envy

At the Emotional Health Centre, Therapy House, 6 Tuckey Street, Cork city we help with jealousy and envy

Jealousy & Envy
Jealousy and envy are twin problems and they often (but not…always) are intertwined in a person. Jealousy focuses on personal relationships, especially loving and sexual ones. Envy focuses on possessions and achievements. Both are destructive and self-negating and are often emotional combinations of anger, dependency, hurt, greed and self-devaluation.

People get jealous when they fear that a rival is taking away from them someone they count on for love, affection, sexual affirmation, or even just friendship. Jealousy is an acute sense of loss, defeat, or rejection in which a person focuses on the real or imagined superior enemy who is the cause of their pain. Jealousy has its roots in childhood experiences, in that time when a person learned to define themselves and measure their worth based on the amount of love they received from their parents and other significant people. They got the idea that the only proof of being lovable is in getting direct loving attention. As a result, they think their own worth and lovability are something that they can get only from others, and are in constant danger of losing. When a person feels jealousy they focus on what they’re not and compare themselves fearfully to what their rival is. They’re convinced that they can’t be happy if someone they depend on for love also loves someone else.

Envy is an attitude and emotion easily stirred up in a competitive, materialistic society like ours. On TV and all around us we see a vast array of things that represent “the good life.” And we see people who have acquired the wealth and power to own and….enjoy these possessions. The possessions take on importance above and beyond their actual usefulness and beauty. They become symbols of achieved happiness, not just the means to attain happiness. A Mercedes, when it is not in the repair shop, can be a truly delightful and secure car to drive. It provides great safety, comfort and driving pleasure. Is that why people buy a Mercedes so that others will envy them? Only partially. The Mercedes has become a symbol of success and alleged happiness. Thus, many of the 11 people who pay extravagant amounts of money to buy these cars and keep them running do so because of their value as status symbols, rather than for the tangible advantages they provide. Per dollar of cost and per hour of hassle about servicing, a Mercedes will probably not get a person from one place to another any faster, safer or more happily than many other cars. But if they believe in it as a symbol of having “made it”, owning one will give them a satisfied feeling of being part of an elite group. And if they believe all this and don’t own one, they will envy people who do.

Envy negates who a person is and what they have accomplished. It focuses instead on what they lack and how they have failed. Their energy is wasted making comparisons between themselves and others, comparisons that result in their feeling inferior. Envy leads to begrudging others their achievement, and builds barriers between people. coveting what others possess blocks a person from caring about other people as persons, and also blocks them from caring about themselves. Some religions see wanting and desiring as the source of all pain and unhappiness. Such teachings seem to go against our materialistic spirit of ambition, hard work, and the pursuit of happiness. that is not necessarily true. The challenge here is to rid oneselfof envy while keeping the drive to improve oneself and ones standard of living.

For an appointment please ring Therapy House, 6 Tuckey Street, Cork city on 021-4273757 or email us on