If you have a jealous person in your own life, you are probably asking yourself how to deal with jealous people. Being in this situation can be challenging. It might be your friend, a sibling, a coworker, or even your partner. Whoever it is, jealousy can ruin relationships. It is not always fair, but sometimes it takes a more emotionally mature person to confront the situation and encourage an honest and open conversation about the jealousy in the relationship.
In this article, you will receive some helpful advice on how to deal with jealous people in your life. Each person and relationship in your life is unique, so you know what is best for you and others. However, if you feel a little lost or confused about what to do, this article might help you.
We all feel a little jealous from time to time, but what is important is that we recognize it and do not allow it to ruin our relationships. Jealousy is a natural feeling, but we can control it and maintain an emotional balance and healthy relationships when we learn to recognize what we feel, accept them, and let them go. For some people, letting go of the feeling of jealousy is hard. Your success or achievements might trigger negative emotions or feelings with other people and make them feel bad about how much success you are experiencing with your life.
Dealing with a jealous friend, coworker, or partner is never easy. You want them to understand that they do not need to be jealous; however, it is a sensitive topic to confront. Calling someone out for being jealous and behaving as such may lead to unwanted conflict. The first step you want to take when dealing with a jealous person is recognizing the situation and the feelings involved. Here is an outline of the most common signs of jealousy you can read to understand better what you will be dealing with when it comes to jealousy.
Signs of Jealousy
1. Making mean comments about you to others
A jealous friend might publicly embarrass you by bringing up an embarrassing mistake you have made in the past for no apparent reason. They make you the center of the joke, and you and everyone else smile or laugh along. However, when you do a quick reality check, you cannot find any reason or connection in the current situation for someone to bring up the mistake you have made in the past. It is excellent if you can join the fun anytime and anywhere. However, when the joke is out of context and comes with a mean tone, you and everyone around you can sense the discomfort—everyone except the jealous friend.
One-upmanship is the art of beating someone else’s story by sharing a similar story about oneself, but one has achieved more. It does not always have to be about success. Sometimes, an injured coworker might get a lot of attention at work, and the jealous coworker might remind everyone of the time they had a more severe injury.
3. Withdrawal when you succeed
Whether you were recently promoted at work, achieved your fitness goals, or taken your relationship to the next level, the jealous person’s ability to share in your joy and success will be limited. You might expect them to be happy for you, congratulate you, say they are proud of what you accomplished, or acknowledge how well you have done.
However, jealousy is an undesirable emotion, and the person going through it will find it difficult to celebrate your success. Also, they might downplay your achievements by saying that they were not that hard to achieve, or they might simply disappear for a few hours to a few days. Your happiness and sense of accomplishment remind them of their shortcomings, and being around you might have made them feel insecure.
Earlier, we spoke about how a jealous person might point out your flaws and past mistakes to others in front of you, intending to embarrass you or bring you down a level. A similar reaction to jealousy is making comments and sharing your personal stories with others behind your back. They might be friendly and even congratulate you for your achievements or say nice things about your looks or your personality when you are around. But as soon as you turn your back, their jealous feelings suddenly come out, and now you are the focus of their judgment and disdain.
For example, a coworker or classmate might notice how confident and self-assured you are. Confidence and self-assuredness are fantastic personality traits. Remember, they are not the same as over-confidence or arrogance. Your confidence in your clothes, your looks, your intelligence, and yourself, in general, might elicit negative feelings in people who do not feel that way about themselves.
To make themselves feel better, they might cope by making fun of the way you dress, pointing out flaws in your appearance, or even saying that you are too confident, all to avoid their insecurities and prevent others from liking you. Typically, people judge you to make themselves feel better; however, we are easily influenced by what others say. When we assume the best in people, we might not understand that what they say comes from a negative and jealous place.
Understand Where Jealousy Comes From
Before you become too reactive to the other person’s jealousy, take a moment or two to understand their behavior or why they feel that way. Is it really about you and your success and achievements, or is it about them and their perceived lack of self-confidence? Is it specifically about your relationship with a parent or about the lack of attention and love they receive from their parent? Is it really about your promotion, or is it a reflection that they feel their lack of promotion is unjust?
Jealous behavior often stems from a sense of insecurity and self-doubt. When we think the world has been unfair to us and offered abundant blessings to others, we tend to feel jealous. Still, the antidote to jealousy is self-worth and self-love. Without these, jealousy reigns and impacts all of a person’s relationships.
Is Jealousy Healthy in a Relationship?
Some jealousy can be healthy in a relationship, but this idea is not crystal clear. More specifically, mild jealousy is not necessarily unhealthy. It can reflect one’s deep interests and passion for the relationship and motivate the jealous person to step up their game and create a worthy relationship.
Still, jealousy as a powerful motivator can be a love-killer. When we enter a romantic relationship, we like to think that we love our partner unconditionally or eventually learn to do so. Yet we set conditions like we want them to be affectionate towards us, help us meet our most intimate needs, and see us as their person. As such, any threat to those things, such as a charming new coworker or a friend who takes up most of your partner’s time, can make it harder to love them unconditionally.
Because of this, we tend to create expectations that limit the freedom of our partners. Sometimes, these expectations and limitations start to hurt them, or worse, encourage them to betray you by spending more time and having fun around other people and leaving us out of their plans.
We start to feel jealous, which manifests in the body as deep discomfort, anger, insecurity, self-doubt, and even shame, and then consciously or subconsciously blame our partner for making us feel that way. When this happens, jealousy is not only unhealthy in the relationship—it has become toxic and will cause the relationship to wilt if left unresolved.
Signs of Relationship Jealousy
We are rarely as vulnerable as we are in a romantic relationship. They are a space of deep love and affection to grow and flourish, but equally, they are a space for our deepest fears and insecurities to rise to the surface. Jealousy in a relationship is expected from time to time. However, when it persists, it negatively affects the quality of the relationship you have with your partner and might eventually fail.
Common signs that your partner is feeling jealous include:
- They act concerned and extra attentive when you mention another guy/girl’s name.
- They focus on you when you are looking at your phone.
- They constantly check in with you when you are not together.
There is a way in which jealousy in a relationship can be healthy, and that is when the jealous partner is honest about how they feel and confronts the issue in an emotionally mature way. Rather than being passive-aggressive with backhanded compliments, silent treatment, or bottling up their emotions and leaving their partner in the dark about how they feel, the jealous partner can let the other person know what they are going through. It does not mean blaming the partner for their feelings, but instead letting them in on the experience and maybe asking for advice or to share insight from another perspective.
How To Deal With Jealous People: Family Member
As mentioned earlier, jealousy is a natural emotion, so experiencing it does not make you a bad person. Still, even if you are not a bad person, that does not necessarily mean you are an emotionally mature person, and this is where jealousy can become a problem. It is natural, but how individuals deal with it within themselves matters. Accepting jealousy will be a struggle if we do not practice honesty and authenticity. Most likely, you will try to bury the feeling or deny it, which might worsen. In doing so, we strengthen its roots, which manifest in unhealthy, unfair, and even spiteful ways.
Jealousy in a family member can be particularly hard to deal with because the family dynamic is often sensitive. Confrontation can explode into arguments quickly, especially if there are unresolved feelings and events. You might think that you cannot confront family members the way you might confront a friend or coworker because they are older or because confronting a family member may be rude. This is simply not the case.
You are entitled to set boundaries with absolutely anyone, even if they are a close family member. If your family has a history of blurring boundaries or boundaries were not a thing in your home, it can be hard to know how to take an emotionally mature approach and establish those boundaries.
You do not have to act blindly with the things around you. Reach out to your trusted friends or therapist and get some support and advice on setting boundaries. If you feel guilty for setting boundaries, reflect on it and discuss it with people who may support you. After all, guilt is such a powerful motivator, but it is unnecessary if it stems solely from a decision to protect your mental and emotional well-being.
How to Deal With Jealous People: Friends
Having a jealous friend can be heartbreaking, especially if you have been close friends for so long. You may experience having a friend who feels jealous of you. You may be succeeding in your career, have achieved financial independence, have cleared out drama from your life, and live a lot more peacefully these days. Then, all of a sudden, your friend begins to feel jealous.
Hence, it is important to remember that sometimes we need to set boundaries with our friends. In the next section of the article, we will discuss boundaries in more detail, but remember that a friend who tries to bring you down because of jealousy is not a friend.
A friend is someone who has your best interests at heart and would not intend to hurt you with nasty comments or wish you to fail. It is true that sometimes jealousy takes over a person’s mind and makes them act and behave uncharacteristically, so it is okay to forgive. But if their jealous behavior persists and brings you down, then it is most certainly time to reevaluate the friendship and assess whether or not it is worth having that person in your life anymore.
How to Deal With Jealous People?
1. Be mindful of perceived superiority
Knowing that jealousy stems from feelings of inadequacy, you might be tempted to think of yourself as ‘better’ than the jealous person.
Your insight into their feelings may make you feel superior, but be mindful of entertaining such a belief. In doing so, you enter into an equally unhealthy dynamic. The best approach to dealing with people whose feelings make them behave negatively is recognizing it first but moving beyond it.
Do what you need to do to create physical or emotional distance if that person could harm you or jeopardize your well-being, but do not hold on to the guilt associated with doing so. Accept that jealousy is a human emotion and that other people and yourself are bound to experience it at some point, but that does not mean you have to tolerate it.
One could benefit from letting go of the jealous experience after it has happened to a jealous person. Similarly, the person on the receiving end of jealousy can maintain emotional balance and move on easily by letting go of it too.
2. Do not take it personally
In the throes of jealousy, one may make negative comments about you. They might downplay your achievements, focus on your failures, or offer backhanded compliments in a passive-aggressive manner that makes you feel confused and even guilty. The best thing to do when someone feels jealous of their family members, friends, or partner, is to not define themselves by what they say. This will help them mentally and emotionally. Understanding where their jealousy comes from may help you detach from their jealousy and hateful comments.
3. Speak up
If someone is jealous and hateful comments are starting to impact your well-being negatively, it is crucial to speak up for yourself. Sometimes you simply need to tackle jealous people head-on. You might not want to cause conflict or make the person feel worse than they already do, but the longer you put up with their negativity, the worse you will feel. So, do not be afraid to let the person know how you feel. Maybe their actions are a product of their subconscious, and they are not fully aware of their actions. So, telling them about it might enlighten them, and they might realize their ways, apologize to you, and change their behavior.
4. Offer kindness and empathy
Sometimes, the jealous friend, coworker, or partner can seem like an outright negative person. Still, knowing that jealousy most often stems from insecurity and low self-esteem, you might choose to empathize with them. If they are a close friend experiencing a one-off bout of jealousy or a partner in the same boat, but with whom you want to maintain and continue the relationship, empathy and kindness can help.
It is still important to speak up, confront their jealousy, and let them know how it upsets you. Confront them to enlighten them about jealousy because you want to save the friendship or relationship. Do not attack the person; only the jealousy. Emphasize how their jealousy does not help anyone, especially not themselves, and that by overcoming and letting go of it, they will feel a lot better about themselves.
Sometimes it helps to let the jealous person vent. If you notice that they have been acting strangely distant or uncharacteristically judging almost everything, ask them if they would like to talk about something. If you have a close relationship, you may even suggest that jealousy is the issue. It is wise to keep such a confrontation to strong relationships because it may elicit an adverse defensive reaction in the other person.
5. Set boundaries
Understand that you have every right to set some boundaries, so taking things personally is sometimes okay. If someone in your life cannot handle seeing you succeed without making it about their failures and shortcomings, you can set a boundary around your interactions with that person. You can create some physical or emotional distance if necessary, no matter who they are.
Remember, not everyone who feels jealous exhibits such behavior subconsciously. Sometimes they know what they are doing, and they might even thrive to discredit the fact that their behavior upsets you. So, do not expect an apology or a commitment to change in such cases. It may be necessary to set some stronger boundaries. That might even mean cutting them out of your life completely. Whether it is romantic relationships or work culture, positive relationships have boundaries. It is hard to have a positive working relationship without them.
Jealousy can seem mean, malicious, and spiteful, but it often comes down to insecurity and a low sense of self-worth. Still, you do not have to put up with toxic people and energy in your life. Try your best to rise above others’ jealousy of you, and if it is a friend or loved one, do what you can to help them move on. The bottom line is that your mental and emotional health and well-being are far more critical than jealousy, so remember to set firm boundaries when they are needed.