All Articles Tagged "jealousy"
I grew up with a sister, who is less than two years younger than me, it could have been very easy to view her as my competition. But my parents went out of their way to let us know that we were to support each other; because, at the end of the day, we were all each other had. With my mother, grandmother, aunts, and playing team sports with other girls, I quickly understood that a similar sistership was meant to be extended to all women.
But not every girl turned woman received this same message.
We all have a friend or two who seems to be in secret (not so secret), unspoken competition with us. They’re the type of girl or woman who tries (and often fails) to hide her disdain any time you tell them something good happened in your life but hangs on every syllable as you’re detailing your misfortune. She’ll go out of her way to tell you how many men find her attractive and always seems to find a way to one-up you.
Unfortunately and unnecessarily, competition among women is bred in us from childhood. We’re taught to be attractive and appealing to get the attention of men. And while that type of messaging is problematic on its own, it becomes particularly troublesome when you realize you’re not the only woman vying for the attention of the few men in your social circle.
I noticed this behavior started early on in my friendships, my sister’s and mother’s friendships etc. Every woman I know has a similar story. In the past few days alone, the theme of competition and jealousy has come up quite a few times. In an attempt to address the problem, I’m going to highlight a few of these instances from the experiences of myself, friends and associates and ask you if you’ve experienced something similar; and which of these real life scenarios would cause you to end the friendship.
Our elementary school was a bit experimental for the time. It was a year-round school that focused on innovative teaching methods and didn’t issue letter grades. Instead, there were categories. The academic skills for that particular grade were listed on the left-hand side and five categories were listed on the right. There was Emergent, Developing, Exceptional, Proficient and Fluent. Now, it should be noted that no one I ever knew received fluent marks. To receive fluent, as the name suggests, means that you have mastered the skill, nearly to the point of complete understanding. Fluent, in every category would have likely meant that you were ready to be promoted to the next grade, that very day. So, in fifth grade, when we got our report cards, I called my best friend Patrice to tell her the news and ask if she’d received hers as well. I told her that I had mostly proficients and a few exceptionals. I will never forget her response.
“Girl, when I saw my report card, I cried.”
Assuming the worst, I asked, “Why was it bad?”
“No girl, it was so good! I got all Fluents.”
I knew immediately that she was lying and after giving her a second or two to tell me that she was joking, I simply said,
Funny thing though, when it was my turn to be celebrated for my academic achievements, she didn’t offer the same support. In seventh grade, we had an academic awards ceremony to recognize the students who had excelled throughout the school year. In front of the entire school, my name was called at least five times with awards for attendance, citizenship, honor roll and high honor roll. Truth be told, I was proud of myself but also a bit embarrassed to be standing up in front of the entire school. Even though it was awkward, I knew that the people who knew me would appreciate and celebrate my accomplishments.
But that wasn’t the case.
At the end of the day, a friend came up to me and told me that every time my name was called, Patrice never clapped for me, not once.
I was disappointed to hear that Patrice wasn’t riding for me like I felt she should have been. Still, we had been friends for so long, I just figured that she was too distracted to clap…all five times.
That was still my girl. We were always seen together. In between classes, we’d walk together, chatting about which teacher had gotten on our nerves. We ate lunch together, catching up on the latest gossip and talking about who liked who. We were inseparable. People often said our names like they were one. “PatriceandVeronica.” And while I thought we both liked it that way, Patrice eventually let me know that she didn’t care for the association. One day, at lunch, she was unusually quiet and aloof.
I asked her what was wrong and she suddenly blurted,
“You know I just don’t understand the reason why when we’re walking down the hallways together, people always speak to you first.”
Honestly, it wasn’t something I’d noticed.
“Well, what does it matter if they both speak to us?”
“I just don’t like feeling like your sidekick.”
I shrugged, not exactly sure how I was supposed to change the behavior of other people.
For reasons I still don’t understand today, she and I didn’t hang out with each other for the rest of the week.
Wow, Tina looks good in that bikini! you think, strolling through your Facebook feed. She just had the baby last month. How did she do it?
And there’s Nessa and her man in Dubai. The last time you and the hubby had a vaca Bush was President. Wonder who watches the kids?
Ah, look at Lisa’s spa day with the girls. You couldn’t get a sitter…
Switches to Instagram.
Damnit! Why didn’t anyone tell you that Stevie Wonder was playing a concert in Central Park?! Don’t they know how you feel about Stevie? There was that one time you and your mom risked getting cancer staying at the dankest, darkest, mildewy-est hotel room in New Orleans (you booked late) for Essence Fest, just to see him? But, man, it was worth it. You’d fly to the moon to see Stevie. To think that all you had to do was jump on the freakin’ subway train is maddening! And just look at everyone smiling like this could be his last concert on earth. Damn your life and everyone on social media!
It’s like you never get to do anything fun. Most days feel like a constant grind between work and the kids. And it’s not like you don’t enjoy spending time with them, it’s just that you want to be able to do some of the things you used to, like pick up and go!
Yet moms on social media are everywhere doing everything and sometimes you feel like that old newspaper sitting in the corner turning yellow.
It makes your relationship with social media dysfunctional at best. You love it, you hate it but you keep coming back. It’s because of work, you tell yourself, but a part of you knows better. Social media is your lifeline and without it you’d lose sight of everything.
So how do you deal with these feelings of straight-up envy whenever you get on social media?
You’d call your mom for advice, but she’s only on Facebook for Candy Crush. Last checked, she had no friends. Calling your friends is out because they’re the reason your life sucks. Who else could you call…? said while scrolling through your Facebook feed.
Wait, there’s Harriette Cole. The other day you saw a promo for her column, Ask Harriette, and were happy to see her still doing it. Why not ask her? She’s a mom on social media and since she was your boss back in the day, maybe she’ll take your call…
“First of all, stop taking in so much social media!” Hariette scolds. “And also be aware of the triggers that bring you down. Usually, it’s the images.”
She got that right. But it’s impossible to avoid the images.
“Well, if it happens that you see people from your circle at a party that you weren’t invited to, instead of getting down and grudgeful, congratulate them. Tell them that the event looked like a lot of fun and you’d love to be invited the next time. It happens so much with moms because we’re always taking care of our children. People forget. So remind them.”
She’s right. Between the kids, work and the hubby, your time is limited. Invites from even your closest friends get turned down, especially if they aren’t kid friendly.
“But you also have the power to decide what you want,” she adds. When you’re balanced enough to look outside of your nuclear family and work, use social media to start engaging. If it’s motivation to work out that you want, ask some friends on Facebook to join you on a run. If it’s inspiration and inclusion you need, create your own sisterhood.”
It makes so much sense. But when did you become so envious in the first place?
Maybe when you developed mom bod or perhaps when you started wearing the same three pieces from your wardrobe everyday, or maybe just maybe when you stopped remembering the last time you hung out with friends. Your lifestyle and priorities are so different. You ain’t the girl you used to be. And maybe that’s fine because the old you didn’t have kids and all she thought about was herself … and imagine if you couldn’t make the switch? You’re not supposed to be her. Running the streets all day and night. The vision of perfection. Who’s with your kids?
Harriette shared one last tidbit that was helpful. She said that her mom would tell her to count her blessings whenever she was feeling less than. “What are the little things you can be grateful for?” she’d say. “And she’d literally have me count them.”
You’re grateful for this conversation.
Erickka Sy Savané is a freelance writer and creator of THE BREW blog. Before that she was a model/actress/MTV VJ. She lives in Jersey City with her husband and two kids. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
On a scale of one to 10, how would you rate your attitude? Are you someone who’s pleasant, or a person people love to avoid?
Life is way too short to be so rude and so nasty. You never truly get a second chance to redo today. Here are some warning signs your attitude needs improvement.
This is something that’s honestly easier said than done. No matter how much we might try to do the right thing, we’re only human and can let our emotions get the best of us.
I’ll be the first to admit that I have struggled with envy. It’s not something I’m proud of but must accept so I can try my best to make the necessary changes.
Years ago I met a colleague in my industry who seemed perfect. Not only did she come from a privileged background but was able to turn her site into a digital media opportunity. Here I was working around the clock to put out content and make a name for myself and she seemed to do it so effortlessly. Granted I was doing okay considering we met each other at different industry events, but I always felt as if things came easier for her. This made my feelings shift from nice to curious. Why things were working out for her, especially when I felt I had stronger content?
Our paths continued to cross throughout the years and we kept in touch through social media as much as any acquaintance would. I shamefully admit I thought her life was a bit of a fairy tale as it seemed she had the perfect job, perfect relationship and perfect life. Hell, even her Instagram pictures looked perfect.
On the rare occasions we’d meet at events, our conversations would be lighthearted and casual. In addition to all of her perfection she was one of those really (really) nice people that made me like and dislike her even more. I always felt like she was bragging when it came to her life as her stories left her grinning from ear to ear.
Then I realized, it wasn’t that she was trying to be cocky. She was happy and my own unhappiness kept me from acknowledging it. Why was my first reaction to good news such a negative one?
I have seen insecurities eat away at both a person and their potential. How many times have we said to ourselves “I shouldn’t have wasted so much time focusing on someone else?”
This still sits with me today as I thankfully have worked on not projecting my own issues onto others. We still keep in touch from time to time, but now I have a genuine happiness for both her life and mine. It took a minute for me to realize the journey I thought was intended for me actually wasn’t. Both of us are happily married, have begun starting families but are on different paths. Rather than rob myself of milestones and achievements by focusing on someone else, I’ve learned to count my own blessings.
We need to realize that some people are happy in life that it can’t be contained. Instead of writing them off as being arrogant or a know-it-all, we should focus on their intentions. Yes some do try to stand taller than others, but that’s not always the case. Instead of nitpicking every little thing someone says or does, make sure you aren’t approaching a situation with an envious heart. There’s too much good and potential in you to waste it on others. Success is also not exclusive to a specific amount of people.
I’m sure there are some people out there who think of me the way I did my colleague years ago. It’s something you really can’t help. The best solution is to focus on yourself and all the good happening in your life. When you spend so much time replaying another person’s life in your head, you miss out on the opportunity to make your own lasting memories.
She’s your girl. The one you call when you have that devastating breakup. She’s also the one you call when you just want to laugh about said breakup that you thought would completely destroy you. She’s always had your back, prayed for you, and been your biggest cheerleader. The two of you do everything together.
But then, out of the blue, you have to deal with your best friend’s new friend, and for some reason, you see green.
If you watch The Real Housewives of Atlanta, you know that Kandi and Phaedra appear to share a genuine and nurturing friendship, on and off the screen. Their relationship was recently tested when Phaedra’s husband Apollo went to jail. Instead of leaning on Kandi for support as many would have assumed, Phaedra found herself leaning on NeNe. While NeNe and Phaedra’s friendship blossomed, Kandi was left in the cold, wondering what happened to their sisterhood.
To make matters worse, Phaedra was telling anyone who would listen that Kandi hadn’t been there for her while she was going through her ordeal. Kandi defended herself and even claimed that Phaedra didn’t call her as she was going through her personal trials, but instead of just confronting Phaedra, she attacked NeNe more than once. She argued that she didn’t understand how Phaedra could trust NeNe when the RHOA veteran had betrayed the trust of nearly everyone on the show at one time or another. (Who could forget when NeNe called Phaedra the “head doctor”?)
This public criticism was unnecessary, and it made it seem as though Kandi was jealous of the pair’s new friendship. However, that bond wasn’t created to spite Kandi. According to Phaedra, they only grew close because NeNe could relate to everything she was going through with Apollo.
During the show’s recent reunion, Kandi and Phaedra got into a heated discussion about the breakdown of their friendship. There was a lot of back-and-forth and Kandi continued to question NeNe’s loyalty while forgetting that it was her loyalty to Phaedra that was being critiqued.
In this case, there were real issues that brought Phaedra and NeNe together, but what happens when your BFF gets close to someone new, and you’re left with feelings of jealousy?
The first thing you need to realize is that just because your BFF is hanging with someone else, it doesn’t mean that she won’t make time for you. You can always schedule lunch, a shopping date, or an evening out on the town to catch up with one another if you feel as though things aren’t in the best place.
The next thing you should remember is that you should keep your emotions in check. You do not own your BFF, and her decision to create new friendships shouldn’t be something that you take personally. Friends branch out from each other all of the time, but if you all are real comrades, staying close, or even reconnecting, won’t be an issue at all.
It’s also not a bad idea to reevaluate your social patterns. Is she the only one you can call when you want to go have a drink or shop for the latest shoes? It can’t hurt to be sure that you don’t solely rely on one person.
On the flip side, if you’re feeling threatened by your best friend’s new friend, don’t hesitate to ask your BFF if everything is ok between the two of you. Whatever issues you may have with your friend don’t have anything to do with her new companion, so there’s no reason to treat said companion in a discourteous manner. And honestly, your BFF may be scared to tell you she’s having issues with you. Everyone is not the best communicator, and just like Phaedra was going around telling everyone but Kandi her grievances, your best bud could be trying to avoid a confrontation with you. Communication is key to any relationship, and if you want to improve your friendship, speak up. Preferably to the person who owes you an explanation.
But if there’s a chance that you may just be suspicious for no reason, you should probably check yourself. Be secure in the friendship that you have with your BFF, and if you know you’ve been slacking, step it up. You can’t blame anyone outside of your friendship for problems within it.
No matter how hard you try, your relationship will never be perfect. Hopefully, you enjoy the good times and work to fix those that aren’t so great. One of the biggest mistakes a couple–or someone in a relationship–can make is comparing what they have to other people. Does it even sound like a good idea? Here’s why you shouldn’t do it.
There’s a fine line between wishing you had what someone else does and feeling resentful it’s not yours. Jealousy is a powerful emotion that, unfortunately, can make the prettiest person really ugly. Let’s face it, we’re human and don’t always make the best decisions. The first step in change is admittance, right? Here are some signs you have major jealous tendencies.
We don’t do it intentionally. At least, I hope we don’t. But sometimes as women, we find ourselves competing with our girlfriends. Not that we’re racing to some invisible rite of passage type of finish line (first one to the altar gets bragging rights for life!). This competition is more about an unspoken comparison. If we’re not careful, trying to figure out where our lives stack up by comparing it to the lives of our girlfriends can lead to jealousy. The unhealthy kind.
It can range from the petty – Damn, her nail polish game is on point today! Why didn’t I think of putting those colors together? – to the more consequential – Why can’t I be as forgiving as she is? What’s wrong with me? It’s a definite the-grass-is-greener complex and if we’re in tune with our deeper selves, we can recognize that this comparison game is really our inner monolog talking. It’s that little voice in our head that likes to critique our flaws and shortcomings to the nth degree.
It’s not that we’re not happy for our friends when they’re on the up and up. We don’t secretly hope for their demise ‘cause, well, then we wouldn’t exactly be friends, would we? We know the blood, sweat and tears they put into getting that promotion, maintaining their marriage, and scrimping and saving for that dream vacation. We were there during the process, after all, and if we’re halfway decent friends, we were supportive along the way.
But if we long for some of the same things in our own lives and come up empty-handed, we can’t help but compare. It’s easy to forget their long, work-filled road when all we want is to be where we want to be, and with a quickness. We respect and admire our friends, after all, but assume we should always be on equal footing. That’s not exactly how things work in the real world. We’re individuals on our own unique paths, making our own unique choices. The same can be said for our friends. Therefore, comparing situations is futile. It can lead to unnecessary stress, tension, and unhappiness.
Maybe the source of this competitive vibe can be blamed on living in a fast-paced, get-everything-now, me, me, me society. Perhaps we’re still reliving old pain we’ve never fully healed from – the abusive ex we let destroy our self-esteem, the parent we were never good enough for. These things have a way of interfering with our everyday lives and affecting our most treasured relationships years later. But no matter the circumstance, when we compare ourselves to our friends, we fall into a woe-is-me attitude and not only is that tiring, but it’s also played out.
It’s enough that as Black women, we are constantly pitted against one another in the media. We’re perceived as difficult, argumentative, demanding, cat-fighting, back-stabbing…I’ll stop there. None of us want to bring that kind of drama and chaos into our personal lives–we’d much rather watch it on TV. I’m not suggesting that comparing ourselves to our friends will send us down some desperate, real, or whatever kind of housewife path. I’m simply acknowledging that friendship, real friendship, isn’t a competition. If we can be better friends to ourselves, we can in turn be better to our friends.
Speaking for myself, I know my tendency to compete with my girlfriends comes from feelings of inadequacy. That feeling had been triggered at times when friends succeeded in one way or another. I would feel as if, welp, she got the last helping of goodness. Since there’s none left for me, I might as well quit while I’m ahead. Where’s Iyanla to fix my life when I need her?
I was happy for my friends, no doubt, but wanted a sort of success by association. Ludicrous, I know. Before long, I was mad at friends for simply being their brilliant selves. What kind of sense does that make? And if I was in a funky rut – forget about it. I expected my friends to be stuck down in the dumps with me, too. That’s hardly fair or sensible.
Instead of wasting time feeling sorry for myself, I now choose to see my beautiful, thriving, dust yourself off and try again friends as examples of the greatness I can and will achieve. They inspire me to be my best self, not compare my worth and value to their own fulfillment.
During last night’s premiere of season 2 of “Being Mary Jane” we saw MJ picked up right where she left off at the end of season 1: wilin’ out. I truly didn’t think Mary Jane could get any worse than lying on the floor attempting to artificially inseminate herself with a turkey baster (after showing up at the home of the non-complicit sperm donor drunk), yet low and behold she outdid herself last night in a very different way.
I can speak for myself (and likely a few of you too) when I say alcohol has been known to make one express their deepest, most inappropriate feelings at the worst of times. If you have friends who love you enough to see past the drunken stupor they’ll likely forgive you, depending on what comes out of your mouth once Jack and Henny go in. But there’s something to be said for the people who tolerate emotional drunkeness on a daily basis when a friend wants something they can’t have and takes that out on them, repeatedly.
We saw that last night with the introduction of Mary Jane’s friend Valerie who, to the naked eye, seemingly has it all — good looks, a great job, a happy marriage, and 2.1 kids. It’s understandable how an equally attractive, career savvy woman in the same age bracket would feel some type of way about not being a wife and mother as well, but is being in your feelings over not having a relationship worth losing a friendship? Or better yet, is Mary Jane the kind of friend that’s worth keeping around?
Jealousy is an awkward emotion to be the object of. While some might liken it to flattery, just as jealousy is a terrible quality to have in a mate, it can also wreak havoc on friendships — as we saw last night. Mary Jane could’ve gotten a pass for her drunkenly insecure tirade about Valerie being kept on a leash by her husband, but it’s the half-a$$ed apology that came a day later when she essentially acted as though Valerie should apologize for having the life she wants that sent me over the edge. Though Valerie stood her ground and told Mary Jane if she wanted something similar she needed to go out and get it for herself, that advice seemed to go in one of MJ’s ears and out the other as just a day later she showed up at Valerie’s home expecting her to be her emotional crutch after dogging her out twice in one week. Where they do that at?
It’s not surprising Valerie’s husband Chris had it up to here with Mary Jane’s antics at that point. While I agree with the Twitter commentary on MJ being obsessed, I’d also add she was being selfish, expecting everyone else to share the burden of her singleness without regard for their own problems or thinking about how she got into this mess with David to begin with –and not even acknowledging the fact that she spent months pining after a married man after they reconnected. Can you say missed opportunity?
And the thing is, anyone with a group of two or more friends would be sympathetic to these things, as I doubt there’s a single woman on the planet who hasn’t wasted more than her fair share of time on the wrong man or even questioned why her and not them when it comes to their romantic life. But when you alienate the very people who can have your back in such a time of desperation as what MJ showed last night, it won’t be long before you find yourself without a man or any friends. Thirty minutes into the show, I personally was exhausted at the thought of tolerating a person like that, let alone calling them a friend and I’m curious whether Valerie is going to eventually hit her breaking point and cut MJ off or nurse her back to sane mental health. What do you think? Could you be friends with Mary Jane if you were in Valerie’s shoes?
PS: If you missed last night’s show, the full episode is below.
Emotions and the actions they spur are often colored by the perception of both the people doing them and those on the receiving end of said behavior. What one person considers romantic, another may consider corny. What one may consider a sweet gesture, the other might consider inappropriate. In a romantic relationship, there’s no clear cut way for any action to be taken, but one thing I’ve always found odd is the notion that jealousy is a viable method of showing someone cares.
Depending on how you view it, jealousy is an emotion and/or action. Some might say when they’re involved with someone in a romantic relationship, jealousy is a natural emotion as it comes from a place of protection. Heavily investing emotions into a person can make the investing party very protective of their situation, so one might feel they’re entitled to this emotion because so much is at stake. Jealousy, then, takes on a weird form where, instead of it simply being an emotion, it becomes an explanation for how a person shows they care. Therefore, any action taken from a standpoint of jealousy goes from something they wouldn’t ordinarily do to “I only act this way because I care so much about you.”
Others, and this is where I fall on the spectrum, feel jealousy is a wasted emotion. If a person is truly secure in their relationship, jealousy is unnecessary as there really isn’t a reason to be jealous. I’m not interested in having discussions about every single woman my girlfriend sees me with. I’m of the mind that I chose to be with her. I made that choice without any form of coercion or false pretenses. If she can’t trust the choice I’ve made to be with her, then we need to have a discussion about how we’re going to move forward. I tend to think jealousy is the result of a lack of or decrease in trust, and if the woman I’m with can’t trust that I’m doing right by her, she needs to find somewhere else to be and somebody else to be with.
In some sense, jealousy probably wouldn’t bother me as much if people didn’t make so many stupid decisions based on that feeling. For example, a man making an overwhelming amount of inquiries about other men talking to their girlfriend or a woman who decides she’s going to search her boyfriend’s phone in order to make sure he’s being faithful. Being in a relationship with someone you can’t trust defeats the purpose and speaking as someone who’s been in a relationship like that, it’s difficult to grow as a couple if you’re constantly being second guessed about every action and every person you’re speaking to. I understand that it’s quite threatening to think your mate might be more interested in someone else than he is in the relationship and, to some degree, I can see how those thoughts might cause folks to do something extreme in order to protect what they believe is theirs. But I’m steadfast in the belief jealousy comes from a place of insecurity and a lack of trust — neither of which make for a healthy relationship. Insecurity is something that can only be remedied by the insecure party and if a couple has trust issues to address, open communication is a far better problem solver than acting out under the guise of jealousy. We all know what truly being cared for looks like. If the behavior your partner displays to you comes across as anything less than that, address the issue head on instead of making nonsensical excuses for it.