How do I break jealous thought patterns?
December 16, 2011 6:22 PM Subscribe
Ex-girlfriend jealousy, my-own-brain-originating-type. How do I break jealous thought patterns?
posted by ArgyleMarionette to Human Relations (17 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I get jealous of my boyfriend's past relationships and experiences, and I don't know why this happens, or how to stop. One small thought triggered by something completely random can give me a sinking feeling in my stomach, a strong all-over feeling of dread, and other "brain spiral" sort of feelings (cf. my depressive/ideation tendencies). Examples include: a) he mentioned that he fell crazy in love with a girl he was very into and made it sound like he never got over her. So I occasionally have this urge to dig and find out more about this, her, what went wrong, etc. b) he is close friends with an ex he broke up with over 5 years ago (they had a ~7 year relationship in college/their twenties). I never met her, but based on little things he's mentioned and my own poking around, I know things about her. I see one phrase related to, say, her profession or travels, then compare myself to her and think of reasons why she's better and I suck. c) He's dated several girls from countries outside where we are (US.) The country comes up in a news broadcast and I go from watching the news to thinking that I'm not special/not worthy because I don't speak foreign languages, haven't traveled extensively, etc.
Like I said -- really random triggers. This isn't even limited to girlfriends - certain times, mentions of his (fancy, elite, smart-person) college alma mater make me feel jealous. Or something comes up tangentially related to the fact that he lived in NYC for many years, and I feel like small potatoes, inexperienced, or "uncool" in comparison because I haven't had that experience.
Any thoughts regarding what's going on here are appreciated. I have brought this up in therapy, and with friends, and the responses are along the lines of: a) "But you're awesome for [XYZ]", b) "Why are you comparing?" c) "He's with YOU, isn't he?" d) pointing the nice things he does for me. All of these are valid, but they are not sticking or preventing my thoughts from popping up. And, honestly, it's embarrassing and strange, and I feel like it has the potential to hurt this relationship which, I think, overall, is a good thing I have going. (We have been dating a little less than a year, by the way.)
I'm 99% percent sure this comes from something deeper, because I do have a bad habit of comparing myself to other people as well, for instance, feeling jealous of other people's careers, which turns into thinking that I'm not as good a person, then into the depression and self-hatred, etc. I just don't know how to break out of it.
Any thoughts or resources are appreciated. Thank you in advance.