By Ana Theresa Williams,BSN,RN
Psychiatrist Kieren Paulino Obed Jr.,MD of Anda Riverview Medical Center (formerly CHDC Hospital) said jealousy is a very common manifestation experienced by both males and females. However, the psychiatrist said, it can also be pathological or abnormal in some sense.
What is jealousy? It is a complex emotion that encompasses feelings ranging from fear of abandonment to rage and humiliation.
Dr. Obed said it is usually brought when a certain person acknowledges or sees a threat to a valued relationship from a third party. The perceived threat in this case may be real or perceived, he added.
However, the medical expert added that we should not limit jealousy to just about romantic relationships. It can also happen in other types of relationship like siblings competing for parental attention. It may also arise in certain friendships, he said.
The main difference between jealousy and envy is: Jealousy always involves a third party. Again, it typically arises when a person perceives a threat to a valued relationship while on the other hand, envy only occurs between two people and is best defined as the person wants what you have like for example professional jealousy, the psychiatrist said.
In the positive aspect of jealousy, Dr. Obed said some psychological references regard it not as an emotion to be suppressed but as one to heed — it is rather a signal, a wake-up call, that a valued relationship is in danger and steps need to be taken to regain the affection of one’s mate or friend.
In this regard, he explained that jealousy is a necessary emotion because it preserves social bonds. It motivates people to engage in behaviors that maintain an important relationship.
Meanwhile, there are some types of jealousy that are considered pathological or abnormal, Obed said. An example for this is a psychotic disorder called Delusional Disorder, jealousy type, he said. In this type of psychiatric disorder, the person with this kind of psychotic disorder thinks that his or her sexual partner is unfaithful. A delusion, by the way, is defined as a fixed, false belief. A false belief based on incorrect inference about external reality that is firmly sustained despite what almost everyone else believes and despite what constitutes incontrovertible and obvious proof of evidence to the contrary.
“The belief is not one ordinarily accepted by other members of the person’s culture or subculture such as it is not an article of religious faith. In this case, it is best managed with antipsychotic medications,” he said.
Furthermore, the psychiatrist said jealousy is acquired. It usually starts during childhood experiences, most especially during the attachment period that would greatly affect one’s behavior.
He said jealousy can actually be prevented or controlled. “You just have to know why you are jealous in the first place. Again, do not confuse it with being envy. Both are different terms.”
To communicate with your partner (which is FREE) is still the best remedy for jealousy. However, if there is no reason to be jealous but still there is that feeling of jealousy, probably, this is already a pathological type of jealousy. Thus, he said it is best treated with medications while some would benefit from therapy also.