Far Too Jealous
April 23, 2011 11:28 PM Subscribe
Please help me understand and manage what I think is an unhealthy and debilitating jealousy.
posted by xbeautychicx to Human Relations (32 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
A little background: I'm currently a young adult (19) and the youngest of a large family. In my childhood I was teased and bullied a lot (perhaps much more than the average child), by both girls and boys (primarily girls) about my looks or personality quirks. Everything from the usual how ugly, fat, useless, dull, nerdy, or gross I was to even somewhat crueler things like hitting or shoving me around. This all continued more or less 6 years throughout my grade and upper school career. In the beginning I'd never really believed anything of the things that were said, but eventually (about age 12) my self esteem and confidence were absolutely shattered. When I'd realized most of the bullying really focused on my unattractiveness and I felt indescribably inadequate compared to the girl bullies and other girls around. I was terrified to leave my house because I didn't want anyone to see me. Over the years I did all I could to transform myself but I was certainly traumatized by those experiences and I think I may have never recovered.
Subsequently, I've since always felt threatened or suspicious of other women I consider to be attractive. I've had extensive therapy since and while I found it incredibly helpful with some of my other issues, it gave me little resolve for this.
Current issue: As an adult I sort of morphed into a reasonably attractive young lady compared to my awkward earlier phases. Others consider me to be attractive and (to my knowledge) have not since been ridiculed me for my looks. Since becoming aware of my appearance early on I've always since been very conscious about my looks. That awareness causes me to be very sensitive to regard not only my attractiveness, but also that of other women in a very negative way. For example, if a friend said something like, "Have you seen whomever?! She has the most amazing body!" I may smile and agree wholeheartedly but it's completely disingenuous. I sit there and brood over what my own body must look like and what my friend must think of mine. That alone could ruin my mood for hours. Sometimes it keeps me awake at night.
If my SO ever mentioned anything in passing about an ex or any particular women he'd seen, it drives me off the wall insanely jealous. It's a composed kind of jealousy, I never go visibly nuts but on the inside I have a million racing thoughts. What those women must look like, how perfect, flawless, and sexy they must have been, and also how I'm perhaps a mediocre substitute. I then suddenly feel detective like and I want to know absolutely everything about them to see if they're any threat to my relationship or my partner's opinion of my appearance. I put a lot of thought and research into becoming more attractive and alluring so I wonder, who could have possibly gotten it any more right than me.Though there are times that very critical and insensitive things are said about my image, I would like to be able to shrug it off, laugh, and disagree.
It's very difficult for me to sit through stories with friends or colleagues about how luminous, beautiful, intelligent or gorgeous some of their other friends are. I feel as if they just bashed me and it puts me in a dark place until something redeeming can be said about me. It is the most consuming and miserable feeling to describe, and it hurts.
Whenever I'm out and I just see an attractive woman I think of how much more attractive she must believe she is than me. To compensate for feeling inadequate I think of awful (terribly) awful things about how incredibly loose she must be or how moronic she is. I even think about how much I hate her, or would hate her if I ever came to know her. I think less of women whom I don't feel put in the same effort or consideration to be beautiful as I do.
I've become mean spirited towards complete strangers who could be just as vulnerable as I am, all because I'm insecure. I rarely give other women compliments. I hate being this way but I struggle feeling any other way about this. I once noticed a good looking girl staring at me and I decided to do things differently, so I started a friendly conversation. The entire time I felt that I could read every malicious thought across her face and haven't bothered since. I felt as if I was talking to someone who didn't like me (which even if she didn't I shouldn't have cared.)
But I long to have close girlfriends and even deeper bonds with my older sisters whom I was told were prettier than me as a child. I would love to have a conversation with my SO without fishing for a compliment, or putting beautiful (perhaps inside as well as out) strangers down to feel desirable myself. I understand that almost everyone is teased or bullied somehow and it's just a matter of overcoming the past, however I think affects some more than others. I also know that there is infinitely much more to life than being considered good looking by anyone. I'm a very loving and good natured person; no one that knew me personally would ever describe me as a jealous, narcissistic, egotistical misanthrope. In fact, no one really realizes how much I struggle with my self esteem. I feel that I am a well integrated person with many talents, character, and perceptions well beyond physical facades. I have many interests and obligations but these negative thoughts and feelings are never far from my attention. I feel that I have an obstacle with this jealousy that's unfortunately leaking into my personality. I think that my motives for being attractive were negatively sought therefore I can only discern a negative payoff, so I certainly need a new point of view. Any useful insight, advice, or anecdotes anyone could offer is highly appreciated.