Advertising
Advertising

How to Deal with Insecurity and Jealousy in Relationships

How to Deal with Insecurity and Jealousy in Relationships

We’ve all been there. You know what I’m talking about – when the little green monster of jealousy rears its ugly head.

No one likes feeling like this, so how can we overcome these awful feelings and have a successful, happy and healthy relationship?

It’s not always easy, but the good news is that jealousy in relationships can definitely be overcome.

What Causes Insecurity and Jealousy in a Relationship?

There can be many causes of insecurity and jealousy in relationships, but they are all rooted in one basic problem – not feeling good about yourself.

Sure, there are the exceptions where you might have great self-esteem and you just happened to pick a loser who cheats on you. Well, it could happen. But typically, people with a high sense of self-worth don’t choose romantic partners who will treat them badly.

One of the leading causes of low self-esteem (and the resulting insecurity and jealousy) is having a problematic or traumatic childhood.

When a baby is born, its brain is like a blank computer. Nothing has been programmed into it yet. However, as the years go by, everything that is said – and done – to the person gets ingrained into their psyche and creates who they are.

I always say that a parent’s “voice” becomes their child’s “voice” later in life. In other words, if your parents told you that you are a loser, lazy, and no-good, then you will end up believing that too. But if they told you how much they love you, are proud of you, and that you can do anything in life, then you’ll believe that.

As you can see, if you grow up in a household with parents who weren’t loving and didn’t give you positive messages about yourself, well, then you will subconsciously choose romantic partners to match that self-fulfilling image of yourself.

How to Deal with Insecurity and Jealousy in Relationships

Just because you have a track record of being jealous in relationships doesn’t mean that you are doomed to feel that way your entire life.

There are things you can do to try to overcome these insecure feelings so you can have a healthy relationship. Let’s take a look at them.

1. Observe Your Jealous Thoughts and Behaviors

First of all, you can’t change what you don’t recognize. You might think that being jealous and insecure are obvious feelings. While they typically are, just knowing you have them won’t automatically change them.

What you need to do is try to look at your thoughts as objectively as you can. And from there, temporarily accept them.

Advertising

Pretend like you are a friend of yours giving you advice. It’s much easier to give other people advice than it is to ourselves, right? If you can re-frame your thoughts from a logical point of view, that is the first step to changing them.

2. Examine Your Past and Try to Figure out Where These Insecurities Come From

These feelings come from somewhere. They don’t just magically appear in your mind for no reason.

For example, they could be rooted in your childhood. Perhaps your dad had a string of affairs on your mom, and so that’s what you saw growing up. If this is the case, then it’s natural that you would think that “all men cheat.”

Or maybe the insecure feelings come from your own experiences. You might have been burned by your first love, and because of that, you find it difficult to trust people.

It doesn’t matter where these thoughts come from, but it will help you if you can pinpoint the underlying cause.

3. Just Because You Have These Thoughts Doesn’t Make Them True

One main problem people have in life is believing every thought that goes through their mind.

Just because you think something, that doesn’t make it true! For example, you might believe that the government is spying on you, but that doesn’t mean it really is. (Perhaps, but maybe not.)

So, you need to acknowledge that these thoughts of insecurity and jealousy might, in fact, be false.

Try to examine them and see if you can eliminate any of them based on that theory

4. Don’t Act on Your Feelings All the Time

Many people don’t have a “filter.” In other words, if they have a thought, it immediately comes out of their mouth. Or if they have a negative emotion, they will act upon it without giving it any rational thought.

I’m sure you’ve heard the term, “think before you speak.” Well, that’s brilliant advice!

Think before you speak – and act. Try to have enough self-control to not say or do anything you will regret because you might make the situation worse if you do.

5. Remember That Uncertainty in Relationships Is Normal

Hey, we are all human. We all have insecurities, and because of that, they will inevitably creep their way into our relationships from time to time. That’s normal.

Advertising

Uncertainty is just a way of life because we can’t control everything. The only thing we can control is ourselves.

However, there is a continuum of uncertainty. Some is normal and healthy, but other kinds can be toxic to a relationship.

So, make sure that your level of uncertainty is at a lower level if at all possible.

6. Examine Your Assumptions About the Relationship and About Human Nature in General

If you grew up in a dysfunctional family, you might have learned some very negative patterns for being in relationships. For better or for worse, we learn how to behave in relationships from observing how our parents did it. They are our role models.

Therefore, if you had parents who did not have a happy marriage and they were constantly suspicious and jealous of the other person, then you will probably grow up with the assumption that most people are untrustworthy. Of course, this is far from the truth. However, it may have accidentally become your truth.

7. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

There is no shame in admitting that you are feeling insecure or jealous to your partner. As I said before, we’re all human and will feel this way from time to time.

But maybe your partner doesn’t know you’re feeling that way… they are not mind readers! So, it’s important to share your feelings.

You need to do it in a calm, rational, and peaceful way. You can’t yell, scream, and name-call because it will have the opposite effect.

When you talk about things in a positive manner, you both can take steps in the relationship to try to alleviate your insecurities.

8. Watch His/Her Behaviors and Body Language

Sometimes all of our insecurities and jealous feelings are in our heads. But sometimes it’s not. Sometimes you really do have a valid reason for feeling the way you do.

It’s important to keep your eye out for any suspicious behaviors your partner might have. For example, do they keep their phone away from you and or hide it when you walk in the room? Are they acting weird?

If so, then you might have a rational reason to feel insecure. But if not, maybe you’re just making it all up in your head.

9. Don’t Keep a Tight Rope on Him/Her

It’s almost instinctual to try to limit your partner’s actions when you feel jealous or insecure. You want to know where they are, when they are coming home, and who they are talking to.

Advertising

But this will only drive them away from you. No one wants to feel like they are controlled and not trusted.

Even though you are jealous, let them live their life freely. Don’t be a micromanager of their life.

10. Take Action If Something Is Really Fishy

Even though you shouldn’t treat your partner like a caged animal and should give them their freedom, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be on the lookout for any suspicious behavior. You can be observant without being obvious.

If you see strange behaviors, or experience anything that makes you uncomfortable, bring it up for conversation. People who have nothing to hide…hide nothing.

If you talk to your partner about their “suspicious” behavior, they should be able to come clean very easily if they’re not doing anything wrong. And if they don’t, then you probably have your answer.

11. Talk to a Therapist

Many people think that going to a therapist makes them weak. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Acknowledging that you need to work on yourself, your self-esteem, and insecurities is a brave and noble thing to do.

If you can afford it, seek help. A good therapist can help you identify the reasons you are jealous, how to overcome them, and can put you on the path to healing – and a healthy relationship.

12. Write down Your Positive and Negative Qualities (And His/Hers)

Our insecurities come from thinking we are not “good enough” for the other person. But everyone has good qualities, you just need to take the time to recognize them.

Write down everything about yourself that you consider to be good. That will help you realize all the reasons that you don’t have to be insecure or jealous.

Do the same with your partner. When we are jealous, we tend to focus on negative thoughts – not only about ourselves, but about them too. So, write down all the good qualities they possess. That way, your mind won’t wander into unwanted territory.

13. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Another huge way that we arrive at our insecurities is comparing ourselves to other people. We look at other people and think how much more attractive they are, or that their personality is better, or they make more money than us.

You have to stop comparing yourself to others because you are uniquely YOU. Embrace yourself!

Advertising

If you absolutely have to compare yourself to others, then compare yourself to people who you perceive to be worse off than you. Not to judge them, but to put your thoughts into perspective. If you do this, you will be able to appreciate yourself and your life a lot more.

Learn more about how to stop comparing yourself to others:

The More We Compare, the More We Lose Ourselves

14. Love Yourself Enough to Be Brave Enough to Lose Them

One last thing at the core of our jealousy and insecurities is not loving ourselves, and that leads to the fear of being alone.

In fact, many people would rather stay in toxic relationships than be alone. Why? Why would you want to be treated like crap from someone else just so you can be in a relationship?

You shouldn’t do that.

Here’s Why Trying Hard to Stay in an Unhappy Relationship Is Not Love, but Fear.

Love yourself enough to have higher standards. Once you are comfortable in your own skin and won’t settle for anything less than you deserve, that’s when you will become more confident. And then your fears and insecurities will slowly disappear altogether.

Bottom Line

As you might suspect by now, getting rid of insecurities and jealousy in a relationship has very little to do with the other person, and everything to do with you.

You need to love and value yourself. If you do, then you will most likely attract higher quality people who are naturally trustworthy.

And even if you don’t, you won’t hesitate to walk away from anyone who isn’t treating you with the respect you deserve.

Featured photo credit: Justin Follis via unsplash.com

More by this author

Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of HerSideHisSide.com, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

How to Improve Intimacy in Your Marriage and Rekindle the Passion 10 Tips on How to Do Something You Don’t Want to Do How to Stop Being Absent Minded and Start to Be More Attentive How to Beat Your Fear of Rejection and Embrace Failures 7 Hidden Causes of Fatigue And Steps to Prevent Serious Health Damage 13 Things to Remember When Life Gets Rough

Trending in Social Animal

1 How to Use the Law of Reciprocity for Effective Persuasion 2 What Will Happen When You Surround Yourself With Positive People? 3 How to Surround Yourself With Positive People 4 How to Create Social Goals to Make an Impact in the World 5 The Lifehack Show: Improving Social Skills with Dr. Daniel Wendler

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

Advertising

2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

Advertising

  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

Advertising

This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

Advertising

6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

Read Next