How Pathological Jealousy Can Mess Up Your Mental Health (And What to Do About It)
One day, I was going home on the bus.
I usually don’t care about what’s happening around me, but because of the latest events, I started to be more attentive.
There was a girl sitting next to me. She was talking on her phone with her partner, obviously.
As I can recall from her conversation, she visited her friend, a girl, and they had a fun time together. She was trying to explain to her boyfriend that she was just a few hours late and that he doesn’t need to worry about it.
The guy was pretty stubborn, I suppose. He kept on bullying her, and finally, he started calling her names because she was a bit late. They argued. She hung up.
“What a jealous douche”, I thought.
However, I could feel this guy pretty well because only a few months ago I was in his shoes.
It’s over. I want to break up.
That’s the phrase I heard from my ex-girlfriend after 4 months of total control and jealousy bursts. What started as a romantic journey turned out to be a mental disaster for me and the girl I was dating. She wasn’t perfect after all, but neither was I.
Before we met, I was in depression looking for salvation.
During the daytime, I was a cheerful guy, but in the evening I’d become a begging, miserable, anxious creature that was seeking love and appreciation. As the opportunity came in, I took hold of it with my both hands. I started dating this girl because I thought she can cure my depression and give me what I want. I finally found “my second half”, you know.
The thing was that I was very insecure about my own future, but for some reason, I believed that now I could handle two lives.
The problem was that she was an extrovert, while I was an introvert.
So, being surrounded by people, laughing, chilling and communicating with them was a part of her life. And I was pretty much okay with myself. I like to spend my time in a close circle of friends where the maximum number of people doesn’t exceed 3--and that’s including me.
As I considered her my second half, I needed her everywhere. She became the only person I wanted to talk to and to walk with. I texted her every day to call her out. At first, it seemed like an exciting and fun game. However, very soon she had lost her interest in me. I told her all the stories I could tell, and now I was just enjoying her presence. For her, it was probably the most painful part, where we would walk in silence. I was okay with it, however, she wasn’t. She needed fun and excitement.
She started going out with her friends more, and she would say to me that she is a bit tired and needs to relax. That’s the moment where my demons started to crawl out pretty shamelessly.
I wanted to know where she was, what she was doing, who she was speaking to and what she was speaking about.
I also felt that my second half was tearing me apart. I couldn’t trust her anymore. I started thinking that she was hiding something from me.
I was jealous.
The more people she talked with, the more jealous I would become. The more insecure I’d become. My ways of controlling her were getting more and more sophisticated. I would track the time when she was online, and I could literally spot the “offline” periods and I would instantly connect it to her “cheating on me.”
I thought that she was cheating on me with every person she talked to. It had become a competition for me. I wanted to be the only person she goes out with. I knew where she worked and where she lived, so I would make a “surprise” being present everywhere she went. I gave her presents and pretended to surprise her when, in fact, I just wanted her to be with no one else except for me.
I became obsessed, addicted and, finally, it burst out. One day she told me that she wanted to break up.
I felt it long before she said it. I was ready. My mind wasn’t.
For 2 more months after the break-up, I would go to bed with the thought: “If only I could get it back.” However, neither she nor I wanted to actually get it back. It was a nightmare.
Self-awareness is a key to your mental health and overall well-being
I learned a lot during this whole process.
I was always aware of what I was doing, but I just couldn’t control it. The jealousy, insecurity, and fear would sneak out at night, in the morning, and any other time there was a trigger.
I’ve now learned to spot and prevent these triggers.
There is a medical term called pathological jealousy. Pathological jealousy is a psychological disorder when obsessive thoughts in your head become so delusional that you suspect your partner is being unfaithful without any real proof.
The most common symptoms of pathological jealousy
The major symptoms of pathological jealousy include:
Controlling your partner’s social circle;
Questioning your partner’s behavior;
Isolating your partner’s communication with other people;
Accusing your partner when they look or give attention to other people;
Always asking where your partner is and whom they spend time with;
Obsessive texting, calling or connecting in any other way, etc.
From my story, you can see the whole bouquet of these symptoms. Such manifestations are the results--but not the causes.
Causes of pathological jealousy
When it comes to identifying the most common causes of jealousy, here are a few that I’d point out:
Insecurity. For example: “I don’t think I deserve to date with her/him” “There are so many better girls/guys than me why would he/she choose me”
Need for attention and acceptance. For example: “I want somebody to love me”, “Everybody is kissing, hugging, dating. I want that too.”
Low self-esteem. “I don’t think anybody will ever date me”, “Who would have ever loved somebody like me”, “I’m just a nice guy, but he is cool, of course.”
Delusional thinking. “All women love jerks”, “All men are **sholes”, “All women love money”, “All men need only sex.”
I was the one who would think this way.
I even had proofs to support these statements. And the proofs we choose to support our fears are often just ridiculous.
However, in our delusional state, we don’t think our proofs are ridiculous. We think they are the most credible things out there, and it’s really hard to prove us wrong.
The good news is that our delusional thinking works like a muscle. And just like a muscle, it can be trained. If you constantly challenge your thinking, you can learn to give yourself credit for your actions and become responsible.
For example, instead of saying: “Who would have ever loved somebody like me,” you can concentrate on “What should I do to win this girl’s/boy’s heart”, “What are my strongest traits that I love?”, etc.
How to deal with pathological jealousy
Now you know that jealousy is a delusional state.
Apart from it, we love to exaggerate things. The exaggeration happens when we think too much.
The reason why we think too much is because we act too little. Instead of overthinking, concentrate on taking action. Here is what my process of dealing with jealousy looked like:
I learned to love and to give without expecting much from a relationship. I realized that entering the relationship thinking that somebody owes you something is a bad strategy.
Instead of thinking and dreaming about life and love every day I learned to take action. I bought a guitar and started playing. I found a job and started gaining skills and earning money. Hobbies and duties helped me reduce my free time that I would have either wasted or turned into a mind toxin.
I started playing sports and concentrated on developing my character. I challenged myself every day. For example, I was afraid to make friends and talk to girls. I forced myself to go out and speak. My self-esteem and self-appreciation rose as I developed my guitar skills, financial stability, and my character.
After the break-up, I started reading a lot. I read “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus” by John Gray and “The Way of The Superior Man” by David Deida.
I entered a new relationship, and it’s been a year since I’ve experienced insecurity, jealousy and other mental health issues concerning that problem.
It all starts in your head.
Plant good seeds and take care of your mind garden.
Weed out all the bad stuff and your garden will flourish.
Occasionally, the weeds will grow, but it’s up to you to keep your garden nice and clean.
Philip is a professional content writer and a mental health practitioner who focuses on improving self-awareness and problem-solving skills.
You can find more of his writing on his website: https://lifetomake.com/ You can also connect with Philip on social media: