Whether or not you agree with Nietzscheís views on deities, heís definitely correct about jealousy when he states that a person who allows himself to be cornered by its flames will always turn the poisonous needle on himself in the same fashion as scorpions. Jealousy is perhaps the most harmful sentiment a person is liable to experience with respect to others.
The rationale behind this affirmation is that jealousy represents the source of a wide range of negative feelings and behaviors, eventually causing the people closest to you to erect emotional barriers and push you away. Itís not uncommon for recovering alcoholics to feel jealous and resentful, particularly in the earliest stages of newfound sobriety. Learning coping mechanisms that will permit you to overcome these unhealthy emotions is vital to avoiding depression, frustration and a potential relapse.
How Can We Define the Sentiment of Jealousy?
A jealous person will often see others as competitors who believe that material or emotional successes are rightfully theirs. At the same time, they could also develop an unsubstantiated fear that their loved one is unfaithful to them or that their friends are secretly planning to stab them in the back. Jealousy implies perceiving others as competitors and experiencing reactions similar to the frustration felt by a toddler when someone else plays with his/her toys.
Jealousy Versus Envy
One should be careful not to confuse the concepts of jealousy and envy. The latter emotion refers to a desire for the traits or the material possessions of peers, but without the false impression that we are actually entitled to them in any way. For example, you could be envious of a colleague who has a faster car, a bigger house or a more beautiful spouse. On the other hand, jealousy would imply that you fear your spouse will somehow fall madly in love with the colleague in question simply because he has all those things.
What Causes Feelings of Jealousy in Recovering Alcoholics and Drug Addicts?
One of the main generators for this detrimental emotion consists of the low self- esteem that many recovering alcoholics and drug addicts may have. To put it simply, knowing that your past actions have damaged your relationship with the significant other could lead you to believe that, in their eyes, you are a weak person.
In other cases, the anxiety and confusion regarding your future in addition to the overwhelming fear of abandonment due to your past actions are also powerful sources of jealousy. A recovering addict is liable to develop an excessively vigilant attitude that, in his mind, is the only way to ensure that his spouse remains faithful. Add a few emotional traumas and past episodes of infidelity in the mix and you have the recipe for jealousy right here.
Why is Jealousy So Harmful for Post-Rehab?
A number of reasons actually, starting with your proneness to arguments that are harmful to your relationship with your spouse. Excessive jealousy can even result in episodes of domestic violence if your feelings are not kept under control.
Secondly, jealousy prevents you from seeing the bright side of sobriety and the good things that have happened to you since you quit drinking or doing drugs. With all of your focus oriented towards hypothetical scenarios in which your friends or your spouse betray your trust, you are unlikely to notice the progress youíve made.
Last, but not least, the frustration generated by jealousy has often been used by recovering individuals as a reason to slip right back into addiction. ††††