Saturday, October 18, 2008

Get over it!

Lately I have been suffering from an excessive bout of irrational jealously. Being a self-proclaimed social scientist and therapist, I should know how to deal with irrational thoughts. I do know how to deal with irrational thoughts. I am utilizing cognitive-behavioral interventions with clients all the time. But, I'm still an average human- not the super human counselor with a magic wand (that some parents expect me to be). Whether by my own doing or the fact that I used to attract jerks- likely a combination of the two- I think my relationship history poisoned my ability to have complete faith in my current healthy relationship. Don't confuse the word faith- I have nothing but faith and trust in my partner, our relationship and our future. I have never been more sure of anything in my life. Really, it's my own insecurities that get in my way. But, I can't help but freak out sometimes, completely without reason, regarding our pasts and how they may impact us now. It's been made very clear to me that they don't impact us. Sure, everyone's past impacts them and has some influence on who they are in the present. But the past is just that. Any one or any thing that may have effected me or others negatively in the past is done, and will never be a part of what's here and what's to come. What I have now is an amazing present and exciting future. I am the happiest I have ever been in my life and know it will only excel, which is what I must remind myself when these irrational thoughts attempt to creep in.

I read up a little on this, knowing there is some scientific evidence to this. It helps to know you are not the only one, right? Perhaps part of the catalyst for this rant. The Oxford English Dictionary relates the meaning of jealously to a belief in the presence of having a "rival." It is interesting that many people struggle with their partner's pasts. I think particularly those past relationships that were significant in emotional involvement or in the dramas that may have ensued, we tend to pinpoint those as rivals we need to compete with in order to vie for our lover's continued attention. This is, of course, ridiculous. If you know your partner and have an honest loving relationship, you should feel confident that any past persons will play no role in your current relationship or your future together. There is actually a psychological reference to extreme jealously of this sort, often dubbed "Othello Syndrome" for obvious reasons. Really though, those who reach such a significant level of jealously that it damages their relationships and interferes with their daily lives are likely suffering from other significant psychological difficulties, particularly tendencies toward anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder. Luckily, I don't suffer from these issues at a level that I would allow any natural human sense of jealously to create a schism in my relationship. I would hope that anyone that did, would seek social or therapeutic support, as it is a form of anxiety that could be very toxic.

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