The jealous are troublesome to others, but a torment to themselves.
– William Penn
Listening to the 4th (?) podcast from Life on the Swingset and the topic of today’s ruminations is Jealousy. That topic is in conjunction with Cunning Minx’s book “8 Things I Wish I’d Known About Polyamory” I think it was point number 3 – Own Your Shit.
I really don’t care if you’re into vanilla, BDSM, poly, swinging, monogamy or are entirely asexual, if you have a pulse and walk about in this world then I think the admonition to Own Your Shit is 100% spot on, and definitely belongs as one of the core tenants of Path of the Individual. (PotI, hehehehehe). In fact, that is the entire point of the Hall of Mirrors exercise.
First see your shit, then recognize “oh man, that’s MY shit”, then begin to own it. “Yeah, my bad, I’m (insert shit here).” I’ve said before, it’s not easy, and the mind is a tricky bitch sometimes. If I’m just simply not ready to own my shit, then it isn’t my shit and nothing you can say will make it mine. Until one day *bam* oooooh. That IS my shit. I’m sorry.
Case in point, sparked by today’s podcast de jour. I never thought I was a jealous person. Then something Dillon said, about exactly WHAT he was jealous of, suddenly had me recognizing that there are different KINDS of jealousy. My world view only had 1 kind of jealousy, and since what I was feeling did not fit those parameters then I was not feeling jealous. End of story and stop accusing me of it because it’s a lie.
Suddenly hearing someone else give an example of their jealousy and recognizing THAT is what I was feeling … and he labeled it … jealousy? *screeching brakes* Wait a minute. Then I was feeling jealous and just didn’t realize it. And because I failed to realize exactly what it was, what the source was, it went unaddressed. And festered.
No strong emotion is felt without some reaction. I think that’s what it’s E-MOTION. Outflowing motion. So I felt this thing and had to act on it. But because it was unrecognized, that shit wasn’t owned, and now having had the day to reflect on this I now realize just how very much damage I did to myself and those around me. I failed to own my shit, regardless of intention.
I went to a support group many moons ago and someone was talking about facing their jealousy issues and I really wanted to help them because the situation they were describing was exactly what I went through. Now I’m glad I kept my trap shut because I would not have been speaking honestly to him. Yes, I reconciled my jealousy. Not by solving it like a responsible adult, but by ripping the source out by the roots and killing it. That is the damage I caused to myself. Not seeing what it was and therefore being unable to address it because I couldn’t tell what it was, I killed it. I resigned myself to a half life and entered a sort of sleep walking mode in which I pretty much checked out of my own life. Solved that feeling problem! … Well, ALL of the feeling problems. But meh.
Not recommended. Seriously. Not recommended.
So how am I supposed to own this shit now, 2+ years later. Well, first up, explore exactly what was causing the jealousy. Precisely what was it. I was jealous that someone else was being given something he so desperately needed and wanted, and I was being denied. While I was THRILLED his needs were being met, I was jealous that mine were not.
Well now. Guess what I say to myself over that one? Own my shit. If my needs were not being met, guess who’s responsibility it was to ensure they are? Me. No one but me. Alas, I lacked the ability to even recognize what I was feeling, therefore couldn’t even articulate it. Without those two things, of COURSE it went unaddressed. Without being addressed, it was never resolved.
Like a child, I just expected that somehow my needs would be magically recognized and God would deliver unto me. Yeesh. The moment I gave away the power to satisfy my own needs (give me a fish) is the moment that I entered a slave state in which I get what I get, with no real say in the matter. Until I can hold in my hands the power to recognize and negotiate for the satisfaction of those needs (learn to fish), I’m left hoping someone else will somehow magically divine what I need and give it to me. Silly PotI!
Unfortunately, recognizing now that I was a jealous twat 2 years ago and that jealousy drove rage and resentment which corrupted a great relationship … Well that won’t fix anything. Doing the AA thing of apologizing is what comes to mind. That won’t undo anything, but at least it will let the hurt parties know that I’m now owning my shit. *sad sigh*
Wouldn’t it be a grand thing if we all were born wise, so that I wouldn’t have to hurt other people to learn such valuable things about myself? How much more sane would the world be.
So yeah. How to deal with “negative” emotions like jealousy. (1) Realize that it’s OK to feel jealousy. Truly, it is. First, get ok with that. It’s just emotion, neither good nor bad. What you DO with that emotion, that’s where constructive and destructive come into play. I think it’s actually a great big waving flag that some emotional need we have is not being met. It’s also a great big flag that right here is a point of insecurity. Those are the 2 biggest contributors that I can think of to jealousy.
(2) Articulate precisely what is going into the jealousy mix. “He’s giving you something I can’t.” (insecurity) “You’re getting something I want for myself.” (unaddressed need) Etc. Bear in mind, it can be more than one thing. Keep going on the exploration until you find yourself repeating the same points over and over. The ones hit most often are the biggest component. Go behind the words to see the pain underneath. Try to sum it up with one or two words.
(3) Now that you can see the causes of the emotion, decide what to do about them. Doing nothing leaves the subconscious to deal with it, and believe me you don’t want that to happen. This is where owning it comes in, and a huge part of owning it is being frank about it and trying to figure out ways to resolve the problem. Talk it out either with yourself, out loud, or with your partner or friends. Be open to suggestions. It’s easy to be open when you decide that you want to resolve a situation.
Well. I think I’ve blathered enough for one day. All in all, a great day for self-realizations, even if they were unpleasant. 😉