Is jealousy a bad quality

Jealous delusion: signs, causes and tips to combat

Jealousy is a basic human feeling and is also common in animals that form social bonds. Our dog, who barks for attention when we stroke the cat, also shows this feeling. In moderation and more, in justified cases, jealousy cannot be avoided, nor is it unhealthy. The underlying causes are the need for recognition, trust and loyalty. However, if it is unfounded and / or takes on an excessive level, a real jealousy can quickly develop, which in the end destroys any form of relationship.

Justified jealousy

If our partner breaks our trust, for example through recurring lies, a secret sex affair with another person or because he is obviously hiding parts of his life from us, jealousy is not harmful, but an important warning signal. The opposite would be naivete here.

Anyone who feels neglected when their partner excels as an entertainer at parties but ignores their wife is not yet overly jealous. Often these are misunderstandings that can best be cleared up by having those affected talk about them. A partner often does not understand that a situation in which he feels at home is alien to his counterpart. His partner now appears to him, who gets up wordlessly at the party and disappears as a spoiler who “always nags”, to her the partner appears as someone who only shows himself from his best side to others.

While talking helps in such situations and can clarify a lot of understanding for the other person's perception, a relationship is poisoned when I secretly check my partner's cell phone or portray him as a cheat because he is talking to a former fellow student about old times or is talking to him Suppose sexual interest if he smiles at the barmaid while paying in the cafe. If such jealousy increases, the relationship will be destroyed sooner or later. For the wrongly suspected, there is ultimately no alternative to separating in order to escape hell.

Emotional and sexual jealousy

A recent study from Pennsylvania showed that there is no such thing as “jealousy”, but that the specific form depends on the type of relationship a person prefers. People with a strong need for closeness in the partnership are therefore particularly sensitive if they suspect emotional infidelity and can thus rise into a form of jealousy in which they do not believe that the partner “really loves” them. If this form becomes excessive, you put your partner under increasing pressure, which creates distance to protect yourself, and the relationship gets into a destructive spiral.

However, those who value independence in the relationship have little fear of emotional infidelity, they do not even see them in the same light as the partner who longs for closeness. He has no problem with his girlfriend or boyfriend going to the cinema with others, having a different group of friends, or hanging out alone at night in clubs. On the contrary, he claims that for himself and sees it as a sign of a healthy relationship in which the two “don't constantly sit on top of each other”. However, sexual fidelity is often very important to such people.

From bad quality to madness

Increased jealousy can turn into madness. The boundaries are fluid, but the difference is that heightened form still has an anchor in reality, while a delusional disease confirms itself and only integrates any external stimulus into the closed system of the delusion.

A delusion pathologically distorts reality, and those affected hold on to their twisted view with absolute conviction, even if their perception is in opposition to objective reality, to their own life experience and to the judgment of friends and acquaintances.

Insane people often refuse to examine their judgments at all. They do not need and they do not want justification and they often look down contemptuously on those who have not understood “the truth”. “It is so”, and whoever doubts it with the best of reasons, the delusional is either stupid or a liar.

Those affected relate external processes to themselves, even natural phenomena such as rain or sunshine, but also conversations whose subject is completely different, looks or scraps of words, texts on billboards, quotes in TV shows, etc.

This has in common the delusions of jealousy with delusions of grandeur, delusions of parentage or delusions of conspiracy - in fact, some of those affected generally suffer from delusions. These sick then not only believe that their partner is having sex with others behind their back; They also think, for example, that evil forces want to poison them with cell phone beams, that they are a misunderstood genius, that dark forces out of envy would rob them of their place in the sun, etc.

Jealousy and sex addiction

"A jealous guy is worse than a great dog." Karel Capek

Morbidly jealous people often do not meet the demands they make on their partner themselves - and this contradiction becomes pathological when it is no longer a matter of calculation or consciously selfish behavior.

Some of those affected are notorious themselves as notorious philanderers or correspond to what was called "man stupid" in earlier times. You have to constantly affirm yourself through sexual accomplishments, which can even go as far as sexual assault. As a rule, they brag about their sexual conquests.

At the same time, however, they are extremely controlling when it comes to their respective partners; they can't stand it when they even look at another man or woman. This also has to do with pathological forms of projection. They often really fail to understand that they are subordinating their own behavior to their partner.

While the relationship partner may sit alone in front of the television in the evening, while the possessive counterpart is drunk and having sex with a total stranger in the pub toilet, an hour later he rang the bell and showered her with accusations.

While he has just found a liking for a twenty-year-old and is meeting his still-girlfriend at a garden party, he freaks completely when she tells him that she doesn't want to ride his bike home with him because he's drunk. She just wants, he yells, to jump into bed with (...).

Sometimes the delusional now projects his own behavior all the more onto the partner, the less her behavior corresponds to his assumptions. This is no coincidence: it dawns on him that the more stable she is, the farther away she is and that she will eventually separate - the less her balanced behavior corresponds to his madness.

Promiscuity and pathological jealousy are not mutually exclusive: the delusional needs sexual conquests in order to prove his sexual worth, which he doubts. For the same reason, he fears that his (steady) partner will have sex with others - namely, he considers himself insufficient. The paradox between claiming sexual fidelity on the part of one's partner and one's own promiscuity comes together in this madness.

Sooner or later every mentally healthy person will break away from such a relationship. This only sets in the patient a new spiral of possessive conquests, sexual self-affirmation and broken relationships. He is jealous precisely because he feels deeply lonely and makes the closeness, which could end this loneliness, impossible through his attacks.

Basic diseases

In fact, delusional jealousy is often based on an underlying disease. For example, it is typical of alcoholism, paranoid schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, the borderline symptom and narcissistic disorders and sometimes occurs together with anxiety disorders and psychosomatic illnesses. Hypochondria, Munchausen syndrome, or dissociative personality disorder are also often associated with pathological jealousy.

What are the characteristics of jealousy?

The victim is convinced that his partner is cheating or betraying him, even if all the evidence speaks against it. On the contrary: If the partner has no real reason to be suspicious, the delusional sees this as evidence that the partner is camouflaging his behavior.

Even if friends, acquaintances and relatives persuade the jealous person that they have not seen the slightest sign to justify his assumptions, he will stick to his conviction. Mania for jealousy even turns into conspiracy madness: Anyone who tries to talk the person concerned out of his madness “is in cahoots with the partner”.

It's not harmless spinning. People who are delusionally convinced of the unfaithfulness of their life partner become aggressive towards them, incidentally rarely towards their supposed rival. That goes as far as murder - we then speak of intimicide.

How does pathological jealousy arise?

Jealousy arises from one's own needs and only apparently from the behavior of others. The causes are varied, but in the most severe cases three problems run into each other: Firstly, those affected measure their value by how much others love them, care for them, admire them - but they themselves have problems giving love.

This is often associated with a narcissistic disorder, a false self that is sustained by the admiration of others. Such people feel worthless if they don't get someone else's attention and affection. Secondly, there are self-doubts, the feeling of not being lovable, and thirdly, a sense of possession in which the partner becomes personal property and the ego that is as expanded as it is unstable.

The drama about it is that people with such an aligned psyche destroy what they yearn for, namely attention and love in a positive sense from someone else, through their own behavior. Trust is part of love, and this is what jealous people attack with their controlling behavior.

How should someone open up to a partner, give him love if he is spying on him, how should someone give his partner security through attachment, when he at best creates distance through constant accusations.

Poison for the relationship

In fact, the morbid conviction of the partner's infidelity kills any healthy relationship in the long run, unless the person affected gets into a masochistic partner who jumps on such psychological terror. Mentally stable people react to the mental prison in which the jealous person locks them up with separation in the long run: at some point they look for a partner who gives them vital freedom. Or, logically, they really do have an affair to compensate for the constant stress. This in turn makes the person concerned feel confirmed.

People who suffer from pathological jealousy have often had this same experience over and over again in relationships, but without learning. This is not because they are generally incapable of learning, but because their delusional system is so self-contained that they cannot get out of this psychological prison themselves.

Affected persons can even be attractive at the beginning of relationships with sexual partners because the new relationship partner does not yet understand the boundary between attention and surveillance. First of all, the jealous one appears as the opposite of indifference.

Especially people who have had relationships themselves in which the partner did not care whether they sleep with someone else or go out with someone else, often have the feeling that the partner does not care whether they are in a relationship at all or not. The jealous one now makes the partner feel needed. He craves attention, and some people are only too happy to give that attention at the beginning of a relationship.

What to do about jealousy

If jealousy has not yet taken on delusional traits, it can be brought under control. However, this assumes that the person concerned develops an awareness of the problem.

First of all, he has to realize that firstly his jealousy has nothing to do with the partner and secondly it is not love. It's not about the other person, but about the person affected, and he must now face his fear of being abandoned or of being worthless.

Then those affected must begin to accept themselves and accept them as lovable people. It's a long process because the roots of self-esteem tend to be in childhood.

Furthermore, it is about doing something yourself. Jealous people become highly dependent on their partner, and when they have become dependent they blame their partner. In reality, they consider their partner, and also other people, to be more attractive, more interesting, and generally better than themselves.

A person can best change this lack of feeling for their own self-worth through their own experiences. Those who maintain their own social contacts, pursue their own interests and meet their own friends become more independent. But those who feel more independent have less to lose. His fear disappears that his partner will leave him because he could live well without a partner. As a result, the relationship itself is slowly changing for the better. Your own undertakings bring the relationship back to life.

Risk factors

Jealousy itself is a basic feeling, whether we like it or not, as is anger, sadness, or joy. Certain risk factors can make them maddened. In addition to the feeling of inferiority, this includes a basic depressive mood, pathological consumer behavior, in addition to alcohol abuse also the abuse of other substances, whereby psychoactive drugs in particular can distort perception.

Abuse of trust

An important psychological factor is real abuse of trust in past relationships. Those who have been lied to and betrayed by their partner find it difficult to get involved with someone again. He almost expects the new partner to cheat on him again and looks for secret signs of it. Meanwhile, it is one of the basic psychological wisdoms that people with such relationship patterns actually get back to fraudulent partners, while their jealousy makes them turn away from honest partners again after a short time.

There is a tragic psycho-logic behind this: the deceiver finds it easy to deal with jealousy, even when it becomes pathological. In contrast to the innocent partner, he always comes up with a lie to appease the person affected - and hardly any other person is as easy to manipulate as someone who is delusional.

The honest partner, however, gets on the nerves of the false assumptions at first, if he develops deep feelings in the relationship, he increasingly suffers from tyrannical behavior, but sooner or later he will no longer play his role as an unjustly accused, precisely because he has nothing wrong did.

If the old experience of the abuse of trust has turned into a delusion, however, the person concerned will no longer be able to develop an understanding that this time there are other reasons when the new and honest partner leaves him. Rather, he now feels confirmed that “they are all the same”.

Latent homosexuality

A trigger for pathological jealousy can also be latent or repressed homosexuality. Whether man or woman, those affected now feel extreme fear of loss when friends, for whom the friendship has no sexual component, enter into sexual relationships.

Unaware of their sexual attraction, sufferers try to rationalize their jealousy. The new partner “is not doing her any good”, “I want to protect him from being exploited”, are common suggestions. This madness is particularly dangerous. Those affected are splitting off the fact that it is (sexual-intimate) jealousy. There would be no reason to be jealous because the friend from the sandpit has finally found his great love.

But the attachment to this friend, to this friend, had already had libidinal traits. Not only sexual partners of the opposite sex, but friendships of the object of desire with people of the same sex can now trigger dangerous actions.

For example, jealousy dramas are known in which the perpetrator seriously injured a friend after the perpetrator had been abroad for a long time and, when he returned, another man had apparently taken the place of the best friend and said after the crime: “I love him, you don't understand. "

Superordinate phenomena

Almost always there is an overarching phenomenon behind the delusion, and the delusional behavior can only be changed if the cause is addressed. Often, however, a framework of behavioral disorders builds up over the original illnesses, which has to be removed piece by piece.

For example, the pathologically jealous person gets into conflict with the police because he is constantly involved in fights, he lacks impulse control, and he has a problem of authority; he cuts his arms and stages pseudosuicide attempts to draw attention to himself. He is addicted to drugs and suffers from obsessions, he collects psychosomatic illnesses.

The fear of loss does not fall from the sky. Affected people have often had experiences of loss; they are often orphans who are constantly looking for the loving parents they never had and can never have again. Others were sexually abused as children by their father or mother, and this sexual abuse of trust, especially by those caregivers, without whom they could not live, is imprinted on their further relationship patterns.

But it doesn't have to be sexual abuse - neglect is just as effective as poison. Anyone who was neglected as a child expects this neglect again and again in later life and at the same time fears it. If the partner now goes out alone or spends a weekend with the parents without the “neglected child”, the old feeling is back - the helplessness. Controlling your partner, locking them in a cage, now offers the morbid certainty that he will not disappear like mother or father.

An extremely jealous person is above all someone who cannot deal with closeness because he did not have the positive experience of closeness as a child.

How do pathologically jealous people behave?

For people who suffer from pathological jealousy, this displaces hobbies, jobs, friendships and social contacts. As strange as it sounds, the conviction that the partner is unfaithful also suppresses the relationship itself: the person concerned no longer perceives the real relationship at all.

Instead of worrying about what he and his partner could cook together, where they want to go on vacation, what there is in the cinema or even just washing the dishes together, the madness disappears. For the sick, jealousy becomes the alcoholic's alcohol. This is exactly what characterizes an addiction.

Are you at risk?

You can check yourself if you are developing abnormal jealousy:

1) Read your partner's SMS when he's not around; do you search his personal belongings for alleged pieces of evidence?

2) Do you interpret your partner's behavior as indications of infidelity for no reason?

3) Do you secretly check what your partner does when he's alone?

4) Do you ask acquaintances, friends and relatives about what your partner does when you are not around? Do you notice that this is not a question of curiosity, but of distrust?

5) Do you accuse your partner of infidelity, do you become abusive?

6) Do you control your partner with calls, SMS, or emails? Do you berate him when he chats with other people on Facebook or Instagram?

7) Don't you believe your partner when they talk about what they did at work, on the way home, or before breakfast?

Does that mostly apply to you? Then a consultation with a psychotherapist or psychologist for a jealousy consultation is recommended. Here you can find causes, backgrounds and possible solutions for their behavior.
Unless your jealousy is pathological, after the first step, becoming aware of the problem, you can get out of the stressful patterns with relative ease.

If, however, it turns out that the cause is a psychiatric illness, then make sure that they are referred to special therapists.

Murderous jealousy

Jealousy can kill. The reason for this is simple: the main cause of violence is insults. Offended rulers slaughtered whole peoples, behind many wars were insults as the trigger.

Without psychologizing away the deeper economic causes, this played a role even in the First World War: his British relatives always viewed Kaiser Wilhelm II as from above. The construction of the German fleet in the years before 1914 was also due to this deep feeling of inferiority.

In relationships, however, nothing is so offensive as the withdrawal of love. If you didn't experience unconditional love as a child and feel rightly or wrongly unloved in later relationships, in the worst case you will develop feelings of revenge towards your partner.

The murderous thing about jealousy now lies in the basic feeling: If I can't have him or her, then no one else can either. As grotesque as it sounds. If the person concerned destroys what he thinks he loves, then he apparently regains a lost control - which in reality he never had.

Destroying Relationships

Only in very few cases does jealousy lead to murder, but those affected often harass former partners for many years when they have a new relationship. They are well aware that the old relationship is over, but still cannot change their behavior.

They lie in wait for their ex-partner, they collect information about the ex-girlfriend that is useless in every way, they meticulously collect every detail about life in the new relationship without it having any objective sense.

If the “success” sets in, then they may not win the partner back, but at least they have managed to destroy the new relationship.

Incidentally, the jealousy of people who have not had any experience of love and closeness does not have to relate only to the present or past partner. This is exactly how they try to disrupt the relationships of people in their social environment.

Be it the buddy they are jealous of because he is considered a heartthrob that they cast in a bad light with potential sexual partners; be it your best friend who you advise to wear the most unattractive pieces of clothing in order to shine next to her.

Conflicts in the relationship

Increased jealousy in a relationship can also lead to harmful patterns from both partners. While the person concerned observes the partner at every turn, the person being monitored avoids anything that could arouse suspicion and is thus exposed to ever greater pressure. Even more: in order not to worry his partner, he hides things about which there is nothing to hide.

For example, he meets with his former boss without any ulterior motives. Since the partner could understand this as a sexual approach, he meets secretly. If the partner finds out now, she sees herself confirmed, because obviously he has reason to hide the meeting.

Both partners are in demand. The jealous one usually assumes that the other only has to behave “right” and everything would be fine. But it is he himself who can break open his thought prison.

A diary can help here, for example, in which he / she writes honestly about his / her feelings and discusses them with the partner. It is important for the partner to show that he / she takes these feelings seriously, even if they have nothing to do with the specific behavior of the object of jealousy.

For the person concerned, mindfulness is now in the foreground: What do I feel? When have I felt this before? When I was six on New Year's Eve, when I was alone in bed and was sad that no one hugged me? Write down when you feel particularly jealous and when you don't feel jealous at all. What are the triggers?

You can also undertake behavior therapy. Jealous behavior is behavior, and behavior can only be changed if you want to change it, and especially if you know what behavior needs to be changed. The severely jealous reject responsibility, and it is an important step to take it upon yourself.

So instead of saying to the partner you just publicly insulted because he was with a buddy at the zoo: “You provoked that”, it is necessary to admit to yourself that there is no justification for your own behavior - only after You will find explanations for this admission.

Absolute openness is necessary, especially for relationships that are poisoned as a result of the fear of losing the partner's love. This includes that the partners agree to talk about what actually happened at a “neutral” time after a jealousy.

The attacked partner should neither defend themselves against the attacks nor give in. Better to go for a walk and say, “we'll talk about it when you've calmed down,” and then do it.

During the conversation, you should not hide anything from the person concerned, as difficult as it is. Meanwhile, the jealous one should force himself to listen. Incidentally, concentration exercises such as yoga help. He should focus on what the other is saying and not on what is going on in his own head.

The attacked person would do well to forgive the jealous one. That doesn't mean portraying the behavior as correct, but showing that he understands the partner's fears. Accusations about how much jealousy puts a strain on the relationship do not help.

Alcoholism and jealousy

Chronic alcoholics sometimes develop a delusion of being cheated on by their partner (and those around them). This goes hand in hand with general feelings of inferiority that the knowledge of one's own addiction brings with it. Jealousy and paranoia are closely intertwined in alcoholics. This can lead to homicides, especially when drunk. Such a delusion affects men almost exclusively.

There is nothing to clarify here for a partner. He can only say goodbye to the relationship or distance himself from the partner until he has achieved absolute alcohol abstinence. Intimate conversations, which can otherwise change a relationship into a joyful experience with increased jealousy, are not only out of place here, but also potentially dangerous window dressing.

It doesn't really matter what the person concerned promises when they are sober. He's a ticking time bomb with no control. The next drunkenness can be the last for the partner. Alcohol withdrawal can be supported by psychotherapy or highly potent antipsychotics. Even with absolute alcohol withdrawal, the delusion of jealousy with this disease only regresses very slowly or not at all. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)

Author and source information

This text complies with the requirements of specialist medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical professionals.

Dr. phil. Utz Anhalt, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch
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Important NOTE:
This article is for general guidance only and is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.

ICD codes for this disease: F22ICD codes are internationally recognized codes for medical diagnoses. They can be found, for example, in doctor's letters or on certificates of incapacity for work.