Envy. The green-eyed monster. Jealousy.
Jealousy is one of the biggest contributors to co-parenting arguments, but worse than that, jealousy actually has a negative psychological affect on you! It can be the start of depression, anxiety, or other significant psychological issues. Did you know that there are 3 main causes of jealousy according to Psychology Today? Those are projection, protection, and competition.
Let's talk about divorce, co-parenting, and jealousy. All I had to do was mention divorce and co-parenting and the 3 causes of jealousy are described, aren't they?
It's easy to project your ideas of what your ex is doing with his/her money, his/her relationships, or his/her job onto them because contact is limited, right?
It's even more easy to feel protective of your children especially when they're not with you and are with your ex. (Add in projecting relationships with other people who are with your kids for an extra surge of jealousy.)
Competition. There is such a competitive atmosphere in divorce and co-parenting, and I don't blame the parents at all. Court creates feelings of competition purely in the way it works. Those feelings don't stop when the parties settle, either! He moved on first, her house is bigger, he is Disneyland Dad, she never makes the kids do any chores, etc.
The summary so far is that jealousy is not good for your nervous or psychological systems and that jealousy is likely, but because you know where it may be coming from, you can manage it.
How do you do that? Here are my tips:
- Know that feeling jealousy is normal so don't beat yourself up for feeling it.
- Name it. Don't push the feeling off as anger, as resentment, or as anything else. Call it what it is - jealousy.
- Feel it. Now that you've acknowledged the feeling, you can let it happen. Where do you feel jealousy? I feel it in my heart racing, my fists clenching, and in my breath getting shallow.
- Redirect your thinking. Once you've spent some time saying, "OK, jealousy, you're here, you happened", it's time to let it go. Meditate, go for a walk, listen to positive music, or have lunch with a friend. Don't dwell in it!
Move on. Refuse to let jealousy run you! Say to yourself, "I choose to see the positives in my life instead of worrying about others. I provide health, happiness, and love for myself and my children." Say it 3 times, 10 times, 50 times. Say it as many times as you need to until you believe it.
The moral of the story is that we all get jealous, but how we handle that jealousy either moves us forward or keeps us held back. How will you handle jealousy?
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Psychology Today article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/resolution-not-conflict/201110/jealousy-the-3-main-causes-and-their-cures
Jealousy is just one of the emotions I know we'd all like some freedom from. You can gain emotional freedom by using the tools in the workbook found by clicking on the button below.