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Why it happens and how to handle it



"Jealousy in romance is like salt in food. A little can increase the taste, but too much can ruin pleasure and, under certain circumstances, be life threatening.

These words written by Maya Angelou capture the delicate nature of jealousy. It's a concept most often associated with romantic relationships – but what happens when jealousy is part of other key relationships? How does it affect our ability to make it work in the long run?

With a jealous partner, you have the opportunity to reduce your losses and go. As painful and tedious as this solution may be, the option is there. But in other relationships, a solution may not be so obvious.

I recently noticed ̵

1; through a series of late-night chats and WhatsApp lyrics with my girlfriends – that in the most unlikely places, jealousy can emerge even in a partnership that feels impossible to break. So between mothers and daughters.

The mother-daughter bond is powerful, and the women I spoke to talked about their mothers as the nicest people in the world. One spoke of her mother's ability to know instinctively that if something was wrong, even though she lived hundreds of miles apart, she would not be caught in the mall with a parent.

But for many of these women, adulthood brought a new dynamic to the relationship.

I talked to a 35-year-old freelance copywriter named Kay, who says she has seen a hint of jealousy from her own mother in response to her success. "I was posted on a well-known women's website and I was overjoyed, but when I told my mother she totally shot me down and my performance did not feel right, she said being posted on a website was not the same as one At first, Kay believed that her mother did not understand her industry, but over time it turned out to be a bit of friction in celebrating success.

especially in the context of her career.

"It's as if she's jealous of what I have, and she does not want me to enjoy it. I do not really understand that and it makes me very sad, "says Kay.

The psychologist Hayden Finch, PhD, says the bond between mother and daughter is one of the most important – if she vacillates, she may have real causes of emotional distress.

"Daughters often regard their mothers as role models and understandably want the support and consent of their mothers. If their mothers are unable to give this support and consent, the daughters may feel emptiness or fear.

The optimist in me likes to think that this tension can only be the result of a generational change in social norms The proportion of working women with university degrees increased from 11 percent in 1970 to almost 40 percent in 2010.

In addition, the type of occupations available to female workers has expanded and professional and managerial positions are becoming more frequent. Especially in 2011, more than one out of three lawyers was a woman compared to less than one in ten in 1974.

It is certainly plausible that a mother who was given fewer opportunities feels something similar to jealousy, if she watched her daughter succeed in a way that was unthinkable 40 years ago.

Psychotherapist Paula Coles says that it is not surprising when we place parent relationships in these social constraints, that women are sometimes asked to feel good and have complicated feelings about their life after the birth of children.

But she argues that jealousy is not always an accurate idea of ​​what's going on inside. "What others often interpret as envy can also be a misinterpretation of the feelings of a mother," says Coles. "Instead of annoying a daughter's success, she may be overwhelmed by a deep sense of concern, motivated by intensely loving feelings."

But for a small percentage of mothers, this feeling is profound and does not come from a loving place. When a mother is jealous of one or more of her offspring, she falls roughly into the meaning of a "narcissistic mother."

Senior therapist Sally Baker demonstrates this. "This is the case when a mother puts her own emotional needs above those of her children. It generally starts when the child is young, and growing up in a household run by a narcissistic mother can greatly affect a child's development. "

I talked to Claire, who told me that jealousy was a frequent topic in her relationship with her mother as a teenager, to the point where she felt emotionally blackmailed to no longer apply to certain universities, because her mother claimed that they were "too prestigious."

At the last minute, she forced Claire to leave the house with wet hair and old clothes, while she showed up dressed to impress the onlookers.

Claire recalls a special occasion when her mother stormed her into a restaurant without warning. "Then she told the waiter that she had no idea how I could eat so much and that her thighs were much thinner than mine," she says.

It took Claire years to realize that not only was this kind of behavior abnormal, but she was not obliged to tolerate it. Since then, she has broken off contact and is being treated for complex post-traumatic stress disorder.

She also had mental health issues such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders, depression and anxiety – but resigned herself to her mother's part of everything. However, she also acknowledges that her mother was a victim herself.

"She had a miserable childhood and had to take care of her four brothers, while her mother pursued different lovers. Her father was abusive and absent, and her mother told her she was a rape child. She was forced to work in a factory and hand over much of her income to my grandmother, and I think over the years her frustrated hopes have been exaggerated and distorted into a terrible kind of fairy tale.

Cases like this are devastating, but fortunately they are significantly rarer than the millions of supportive mothers who maintain proud and caring relationships with their successful daughters.

For those like Kay or Claire who feel burdened or damaged by maternal jealousy, coping can be difficult and difficult. Healing can take years.

It is important to first understand that it is not your fault. It can also be helpful to talk to a qualified therapist, especially if there are problems that go back to childhood. "Daughters can get stuck in a relationship between the feeling of shame that they do not meet the expectations of their mothers and the feeling of shame that they are not fulfilling their dreams," says Finch.

Ultimately, parent-child relationships can be complicated. And this can be jealousy, whether it comes from a parent or a partner. Do not let the jealousy of a loved one stop you from finding and celebrating your own success. You deserve everything!

Fiona Thomas is an author and freelance author talking about mental health. Her book " Depression in the Digital Age " is about her life with depression and fears and the subsequent depression and how a digital life helped her find a community that supports her recovery. Visit her blog.


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