Jealousy among girlfriends

January 13, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Jealousy -- it can ruin friendships and harm relationships. So why do we do it? The pettiness can turn into damaging behavior. Danine Manette, author of "Ultimate Betrayal," explains how to tackle jealousy before it becomes a problem.

Buy the book on Amazon: Ultimate Betrayal

Difference between male and female relationships:

Females tend to be much more intense. Men who are adversaries in the courtroom during the week, play golf together on Saturday. But, women who do the same, may never speak again. Men can hang out in a group of 20 with no problems, but get three women together and you might already have a problem. Although men tend to compete more outwardly, women are more inclined to do so subtly, hence the jealousy thing.

Difference between jealousy and simple admiration or desire to emulate:

Jealousy typically comes when admiration or desire to emulate take a turn for the worse or travel to "the dark side". It's when one moves from simply wishing they had a man as handsome and caring as their girlfriends beau, to actually wishing they'd break up, or attempting to cause them to do so. It's when one becomes so absorbed with what their friend has or does that they can no longer focus on what they need to be doing with their own life. Whereas, admiration can push the admirer to elevate themselves and work harder at something, jealousy, if left unchecked, can become a dangerous obsession with ugly results. (remember the cheerleader murder? The NASA Astronaut? Amy Fisher for God sakes!)

Jealousy can be both mentally and psychologically damaging:

Why? Because thoughts of jealousy and envy place an enormous amount of emphasis on things that one cannot control, and can become obsessive. Spending days worrying about what another person has in their life takes time and energy away from what you can be bringing into YOURS. Focusing on what is going on in someone else's home/job/life cheats you out of building your own world in to a productive, positive place. Imagine how much farther along someone could be who stopped looking over into someone else's yard and began tending to their own.

What to do when you find yourself feeling pangs of jealousy or envy:

1. Make a plan for your own life. You can never have the body of another person, but you can certainly make the best out of the one you have. You might never be able to afford a Porsche, but you can reorganize your finances so that you feel more in control of your money and financial stability. You may never get the job someone else has, but you can decide to take evening classes in order to develop a skill which can land you the career you've always wanted.

2. Recognize that "All that glitters isn't gold." Just because something seems grand on the surface, you never know what's lurking underneath. Halle Berry is beautiful, but has been unable to find true love or keep her men from cheating. Jennifer Aniston is successful and beautiful but desperately wants children, and so forth. I once heard a man say that if he told everyone to write down their biggest problem on a piece of paper, put it into a bucket, and then pass the bucket around so everyone could then pull out someone else's problem, people would be fighting to get their original problems back. Instead of sitting in resentment, engage your friend and you may discover underlying issues where you can be of service.

3. Take inventory of your own blessings and good fortunes. The best way to appreciate what you have is to spend time with those who have less. Take into account all that you have achieved, attained and accomplished and take pride in those things. Strive to be a "glass half full" type of person. You get back what you put out, and if you are a person who is constantly putting out negative energy, than you will never be satisfied with yourself, and will spend your life chasing leprechauns.

4. Be careful that jealousy does not lead to revenge. Revenge makes things worse. At times, it becomes obsessive. The best way to get back at the person is to be the healthiest, happiest, most beautiful person you can possibly be.

What to do when you have a jealous girlfriend in your life:

As my father always says "Keep them in front of you". Recognize that they may not have your best interest in mind and conduct yourself accordingly. Be aware that they may attempt to undermine you at every turn: at work, in your relationship, with your children, etc., and keep them at a safe distance from those things.

1. Recognize that this is their burden to bare, not yours. It's not your "fault" that your beautiful, intelligent, talented or successful. Never make excuses for, or hide your gifts because of another person's insecurities. Encourage them whenever possible but it is their job to make peace with themselves and feelings of inadequacy, not yours. Do not own their problem, LIVE YOUR LIFE!

2. You may find that a relationship with this person is more trouble than it's worth. If you cannot trust them, are concerned that they may sabotage you, or don't have your back, than why be bothered? No one needs this added stress in their life, so it may simply be time to close the chapter on that friendship.

About Danine Manette
Danine Manette is the author of the popular book Ultimate Betrayal: Recognizing, Uncovering and Dealing with Infidelity."

Danine Manette received a Bachelor's Degree in Social Welfare from the University of California at Berkeley and went on to earn her Doctorate from Hastings College of Law in San Francisco, California. She has worked as a Milieu Therapist, a Juvenile Probation Officer, and currently works in the field of Criminal Investigations.

Her ability to confront the topic of deception and betrayal is rooted not only in her educational and professional experience, but most notably she is a living testament to the effectiveness of the tactics and information presented to the reader.

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