“Who is he with right now?”
“What is she doing?”
“I bet she’s talking, laughing and who knows what else with that guy!”
“He always flirts when he’s had too much to drink. He’s going to end up cheating, I just know it…”
Your jealous thoughts– that might be similar to these– can seem torturous. What begins as a gnawing worry that your partner is somehow going to leave or betray you, can end up full-blown fear.
And jealous fears can overwhelm and seem to take you over.
In the midst of an attack of jealous worries, you might not be able to see or hear anything other than what you are thinking and stewing about. The worst part is, it’s hard to get out from under the jealousy and the anxious thoughts you are having.
It’s difficult to know what’s really going on and it’s tough to determine what to believe about your partner, yourself and your relationship in this state. It is also nearly impossible to make a sound judgment about what your next move should be.
The first step in overcoming jealousy, is to learn how to get yourself out of these painful and consuming jealousy fear “attacks.”
Quite often, when jealous fears get triggered and a fear attack takes hold, people flip into a survival mode.
They might fight what’s going on by taking action and saying or doing things that they might not otherwise do. This can certainly lead to later regret and a deepening of existing relationship problems.
In this survival mode, people might also experience a flight reaction. This might involve literally leaving a situation and actually running away. Or it could entail a symbolic flight in which the person dissociates or “leaves” his or her body by spacing out. Addictions to alcohol, drugs, food or other things can develop.
You really cannot rationally deal with your jealousy until you can calm yourself down and find some sense of ease. It is vital that you recognize when you are flipping into a survival mode and then use specific strategies to get yourself back into a more mindful place.
Try these strategies to calm yourself when a jealous fear “attack” happens…
1.) Re-connect with your body.
Many of us have become quite practiced at disconnecting from our bodies. We spend a lot of time focusing on what’s going on in our minds. This is one reason why our thoughts seem to have so much power over us when jealousy crops up.
When you are feeling relatively relaxed, practice dropping your attention down into your body. Allow whatever it is you are thinking about to fade away for the time being and just feel into yourself.
Where do you feel tight? Where do you feel looser? Are there hot or cold sensations in specific places in your body?
Just make note of this information.
Try to practice this body re-connecting several times a week. This can serve you in so many ways.
One very significant way that this new habit can help is that when you start to feel overwhelmed, you will recognize your body signals. You can become clued in to an impending jealousy fear attack when it is developing rather than feeling hit by it full force.
And even if you’ve not established this practice, when you feel overwhelmed, desperate or anxious, you can still consciously move your attention down into your body. Breathe deeply and visualize your breath moving through your entire body.
2. Allow your emotions to move.
As you drop down into your body, you might find that your attention is still drawn to the painful and worrisome questions or thoughts you might be having. If so, continue to use your breath as an aid to keep re-connecting with your body.
This will probably require your patience and persistence.
With this clearer connection with your body, intense emotions might arise. You may feel sad, angry, grief, or a mixture of feelings.
Believe it or not, when you allow your emotions to move through you, it can be easier and even quicker to step out of that jealousy fear attack. Again, if thoughts linked to those feelings start to dominate, gently breathe your way back to the feelings.
You might find yourself needing to cry, yell or express those feelings in some way. Give yourself permission to do so– as long as you aren’t hurting yourself or another.
3. Use loving touches.
A specific technique for keeping your attention on your body is to gently place your hands on yourself. Put your hands, palms down, on your heart, for example.
Simply be with what you are feeling and let the warmth and energy of your own hands move into your heart area. You don’t have to have any special training for this, just try it. You might even wrap your arms around your own self and feel your own embrace.
Although these techniques may seem different or even strange compared to what you are used to, they are worth experimenting with. You can calm yourself when jealous fears overwhelm you– especially when you are patient and loving with yourself.
The good news is, as you learn how to ease the intensity of your jealous fears, you will undoubtedly find yourself clearer and better able to let go of jealousy completely.