Anger and jealousy

Why Does Envy Lead to Anger?

Key Points

  • It's easy to feel envious when others flaunt their luxury cars and wear flashy jewelry.
  • There are two sides to envy, wishing the people you envy ill will, or striving to do better yourself.
  • Envy can get in the way of a person's important values, but we are more in control of this emotion than we think.

Envy. Long considered one of the Seven Deadly Sins, in both Christianity and Judaism, and even among the early Greeks who labeled it “Ly-pay” meaning sadness, envy has been with us as long as humankind has been keeping track of the ills of the heart and mind. And these days, envy is not just alive and kicking, it’s flourishing.

In fact, envy has festered into one of our greatest sources of anger, especially in our current material-focused culture where symbols of wealth like fancy cars and jewelry (even the fake stuff) are flaunted with reckless abandon. For many people, who feel they too deserve the spoils of wealth, these constant reminders of what they don’t have often lead to resentment and anger. In my 20-plus years of experience as a psychiatrist, I have seen the desire to “get” the things they envy drive people to lose sight of the most important values in their lives. We feel envious of friends, total strangers, TV characters, classmates, or colleagues. We often feel the deepest envy toward those closest to us.

Feeling envy is a part of who we are as complicated and multifaceted beings, just like joy, sadness, and anger itself. The way to defeat the negative feeling of envy is by learning how to recognize and handle it when it sneaks up on you, and to cut it off at the pass; it’s clearly no easy feat.

Learning to envision envy is critical to leading a happier, less conflict-driven, less angry life. When even the smallest infraction like “he got a bigger piece of cake than me” leads to an emotional meltdown and lasting resentment, it’s time to develop an awareness of envy’s relationship to anger and learn how to change your perspective from “take” to “give. ” In doing so, you can help shift your internal compass from the “Me” to the broader and more productive “We,” reducing tension and pent-up feelings of anger between people whether they’re strangers, close friends, or even siblings. It is time to move from the “Me” generation to the “We” generation to help us live calmer, safer, and happier lives.

Once you recognize rage you have to figure out why you are angry, to begin with. Perhaps you are envious of someone else. Perhaps you have to envision envy.

Understanding Where Envy Comes From
Envy is that unpleasant, often painful feeling brought on by the good fortune of others. That good fortune could be just about anything; a beautiful possession, a great job, a happy relationship, or the purchase of a new home. We see something we want and we feel envy that someone else has it and we do not. Inside, we might secretly wish the other guy didn’t have it, or would lose it. Envy stems directly from our limbic reaction to the Domains of Resources, Relationships, and Residence; you don’t have enough while someone else has more. Envy is sneaky and manipulative, but whether it’s a twinge or an ache, we all feel it. There is always someone richer than us, faster than us, more beautiful or youthful, and we want what they have. Someone always has a better house or a safer community. Someone always seems to have a hotter boyfriend or girlfriend, a better boss, or a better any type of relationship. When we experience envy, we resent that another person has something that we feel we lack. The true pain is caused when the mind focuses on what one desires but cannot have.

There Are Two Faces of Envy
Before we delve one-sidedly into the typically dark world of envy, “malicious envy” or wanting something bad to happen to the person you envy, it’s important to note that, unlike the other cardinal sins, envy does have a potentially positive side. Anger’s good side once protected us from predators, can be channeled to good use (like pushing for safe driving laws because someone cut you off while they were texting, for example). Envy can sometimes be the force that motivates us to strive harder. If I envy my neighbor’s new, shiny, red Lamborghini, it might get me to thinking that if I saved some money and worked extra hard for a bonus this year that vehicle could be sitting in my driveway too. Sometimes envy serves as an incentive. In this case, it’s called “benign envy,” something that few people have ever heard of but we all have experienced.

You Have More Control Over This Emotion Than You Think
By the age of 4 months, a baby begins to compare bits of information. The infant cries when she sees a stranger’s face because it’s different than the mother’s. When it comes to envy, the same mechanism is at play. We compare bits of information about others to ourselves, and when we feel that we do not compare well, it makes us unhappy and often angry. It is only in this comparison that we can experience envy. This is an important observation. We feel at a disadvantage, which leads us to feel threatened, and then to have to either run away for safety or attack in anger.

But what is remarkable is that we are actually more in control of this emotion than we give ourselves credit for. Sometimes we spend so much time being envious of what other people have that we overlook what we actually do have. This tendency to compare has always been with us but it can be exacerbated by the use of social media. Young people, in particular, spend hours putting up photos of themselves having fun with friends, honing their pages so that they appear cooler, often hiding real feelings and events going on in their lives. Less secure kids then compare themselves to the mostly fiction and wind up feeling bad about themselves and spiteful towards others.

While humans have cooperated to the extent that the species has more than survived, we still, on a deep, limbic brain level are at risk of rarely feeling satisfied or full up. This is a brutal reality about how we have evolved as human beings. Perhaps one of the obvious reasons that envy developed stems from our ancestors’ early days when the acquisition of resources, mainly food, may have meant the difference between life or death. One would have noticed when another had more of something. If you had something I wanted or needed that put you at a survival advantage over me, I might try to take it from you. But if you are already at an advantage, I probably wouldn’t be able to just step in and take it. You might be stronger, smarter, perhaps more overtly resourceful. I would have to be covertly resourceful and plan my actions for the future.

This planning is a PFC function. Envy filtered through the PFC meant being able to assess a situation and plan a response, which in turn enhanced our survival potential. It is a lot more effective than being impulsive. As kids, we are taught to look both ways before crossing a street: an exercise in assessing the relative danger of our surroundings, making a plan based on that assessment, and the anticipation of the outcome. Only then do we actually take the action of crossing the street? Kids need to be taught these basic survival tools because the child and the adolescent brain is an impulsive brain, with a relatively immature PFC compared to the limbic system, which is the brain base location of impulsivity. Even as this limbic system may harbor the emotion of envy, it depends on the PFC to elaborate and execute the plan to level the playing field, or better, to switch the level completely so you are now the one being envied.

The two types of envy, benign and malicious, both push a person to either strive for personal success in a healthy competition or strive to bring the other person down in unhealthy aggression that can lead to war. From an evolutionary perspective, envy is yet another means for survival, to get more resources, relationships, or residence, and therefore not only have more but at the same time deprive the other of those same attributes.

Recognize Rage, then Envision Envy: the first two strategies in outsmarting anger. There is nothing wrong with anger: it’s what you do with it that matters.

The I-M Approach

Source: Joseph Shrand, MD

Anger, Control & Jealousy In Relationships

Do you feel jealous and angry? Do you want to tell your partner what to do to 'fix' this?

As we’ve talked about before, acting on jealousy doesn’t usually play out well. Unless you’re careful, $hitty thoughts can lead to $hitty actions….

What are these $hitty thoughts you speak of?

Problematic thoughts in a relationship might include:

  • Feeling jealous that your partner is spending time with certain people or going out without you
  • Wanting your partner to give you constant updates when they're not with you 
  • Getting angry if your partner doesn't do what you want, or wants to do something different to you 
  • Excusing your bad behaviours by blaming it on your partner

So what to do…

1. Take a time out

Mindfulness helps jealousy, anger or controlling thoughts slow down and gives you the brain-space to clear your mind and chill out.

Before you get cracking, you can watch this video that explains mindfulness and how to ‘do it’...

The 5,4,3,2,1 game 

Take deep breaths and think of: 

  • 5 things that you can see 
  • 4 things you can feel 
  • 3 things you can hear 
  • 2 things you can smell 
  • 1 thing you can taste

Mindful breathing

Get comfy! Sit or lie down, whatever works, and breathe in for 2 seconds then out for 2 seconds. Repeat. Repeat again. Another time. And again… 

Keep going til you feel things slow down. Your mind will wander, which is normal. When you notice this, just go oh crap and focus back on breathing. 

Also, try Headspace’s app that talks you through these mindfulness tricks (plus heaps more). 

2. Talk to your partner

Easier said than done, we know. Talking can be hard to get started. BUT sometimes hard stuff is necessary – and yep, this is one of those times. So give it a go.

The goal of the convo should be that you end up better able to recognise and manage your own ($hitty) thoughts – it’s NOT about convincing your partner to do what you want, to justify the shitty thoughts or actions, or even just for you to apologise but not move towards any change. 

So, how to get things started? When you’ve behaved badly towards someone, the start of a good conversation has 4 key parts.

You’ve got to: 

  • Apologise 
  • Take responsibility for your actions 
  • Label the issue 
  • Have their consent to have a ~deep~ convo 

This could look like… 

  • “Hey, I’ve felt jealous a few times lately and I want to not feel that way, or to make you feel bad either. I’m sorry I do that. Can we talk about it?” 
  • “I don’t want to speak or react to you the way I did. I think talking about it might help. Are you ok to talk?” 
  • “I get all controlling when I feel stressed about our relationship. It hurts you and I’m sorry. Can we talk about it?” 

3. Reach out 

Tried sorting things out yourself, and tried talking to the other person involved but still struggling with crappy thoughts? Are you feeling like you want to hurt or diminish your partner? It’s probably time to get some external help – have a look at our Help and support page to find the right support for you.

Anger, envy and jealousy: what do these feelings tell us :: RBC Pro

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The video is available to RBC Pro subscribers. Get access nine0003

This material is part of a joint project between RBC Pro and the Synchronization lecture hall. In it, we talk about important things about health, brain function and emotions. In the video, psychologist Vitalia Vdovenko explains what lies behind our anger, envy and jealousy

Anger is a basic emotion that signals that there is now a serious obstacle to the realization of your desire. If I am late for the bus, I run to the bus stop, and he leaves, then I can swear, kick something with my foot. But it’s not at all necessary: ​​sometimes I’ll just think: I left and that’s okay. Why are the reactions so different? It all depends on the situation: it's one thing when I'm late for an interview, and quite another if I just go for a walk in the park. nine0003

Here is another example. Imagine a person who is used to walking over heads and getting what he wants by any means: flattery, manipulation of emotions, violence. For him, people are keyholes, and you can find a key to each. In the cinema, for example, this is Jack Sparrow or Ostap Bender. And so this character meets a person with personal boundaries, and none of his tricks work. In this case, he will experience rage, because his significance is not realized.

nine0000 Terrible in anger. Who does jealousy lead to murder and how to deal with it | SOCIETY

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes


Tyumen psychologist told why jealous people go to kill AiF

Feeling of ownership is not the best manifestation of love for your partner. And often leads to serious problems. So, in the first month of this year alone, more than a dozen crimes motivated by jealousy and conflicts between cohabitants occurred in our region. The AiF-Tyumen correspondent spoke with a psychologist and found out everything about a dangerous feeling. nine0003

Miraculously survived

Perhaps the most resonant was the case when a jealous man threw his opponent off the balcony of the 10th floor. A 43-year-old man miraculously survived, falling on the visor of the clinic, but he did not live long - the injuries were too severe and despite all the efforts of the doctors, it was not possible to save the man. And the jealous man became a defendant in a criminal case, according to the investigative department of the investigative committee for the Tyumen region.

Two weeks earlier, an enraged Tyumen resident was jealous of his wife for his brother, he knocked the lady of the heart to the floor, grabbed a knife and promised to kill. However, this time everything ended without injury: the woman managed to escape and call the police. And similar cases in the Tyumen region in January 2019a year was enough: now the husband threatened his wife, who was in the last month of pregnancy, with an ax, then she stuck a knife in the back of her negligent wife, then she hit her on the head with a poker, then she beat her for coming home from work late. And in the description of each of these crimes was the phrase "after drinking alcohol. "

We decided to find out from the Tyumen psychologist-consultant, gestalt practitioner Evgenia Kozyreva why people are ready to commit murder in a fit of jealousy and whether there is a seasonality in crimes against the background of jealousy, because in the first month of winter there were especially many of them. nine0003

“Jealousy means that a person is very afraid of losing relationships that are dear to him. At the same time, he is overcome by intense anger or rage. He seeks to return the attention of his partner, to destroy the obstacles on the way to his goal - maintaining relationships - and rushes at an opponent or partner, ”says Evgenia. - Of course, he expresses his feelings of jealousy in a destructive way. And the inability to control one's emotions and the use of alcohol reduce the level of a person's control in their manifestations, which leads to such terrible destructive consequences as the death of another person. nine0003

The psychologist also explained that in order to objectively answer the question about the seasonality of the commission of certain crimes from the point of view of the science of psychology, it is necessary to conduct in-depth research. But one thing is known for sure - if a person regularly consumes alcoholic beverages, even weak ones (beer, cocktails), then his aggressiveness increases. Perhaps the number of days off and holidays in January, which were accompanied by feasts, increased the statistics of crimes.

Don't make a woman angry

Representatives of the weaker sex, in a fit of anger and jealousy, exchange their weakness for cunning and cruelty. For example, a woman from Tyumen was jealous of her man for her friend, grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed her friend several times in the back. Having escaped from the hands of the fury, the victim ran out onto the balcony, from where she called an ambulance and the police. In January, there were three more similar cases when a woman, without hesitation, stuck a knife in the back or stomach of her partner. And these are also crimes with the "smell of alcohol."

“Today, women are embittered by the need to survive in difficult social and economic conditions. There is not enough strength to be beautiful, caring, attentive and earning money at the same time, to run a household. In addition, the image of bitchy, infantile and selfish women is cultivated in social networks and the media, which is borrowed and used by girls without any criticism, ”explains Evgenia Kozyreva.

Psychologist's advice : how to deal with manifestations of anger and irritability. nine0003

1. Learn to understand your states. The ancient phrase “know thyself” is still relevant today. Knowing how to understand yourself - you can find ways to satisfy your need.
2. Try to express yourself not in a destructive way, but in a creative way. Speak directly about your condition: "I am very angry", "I am annoyed by this." In this case, the intensity of emotions will decrease. People who speak sincerely about themselves evoke a sense of respect. At the same time, children in the family learn this.
3. If you know you are impulsive, prepare for outbursts of anger in advance. Think about what you will do when you get angry. Learn to stop in anger, wait out the heat of emotions, switch your attention to something else: walk down the street, wash yourself with cold water, shout, sit down 5 times. nine0114 4. Learn to regulate your states. Over the historical period of time, mankind has described many ways of self-regulation: yoga, meditation, breathing techniques, auto-training, sports.
5. Talk about your condition with relatives, friends or go to a psychologist, psychotherapist. Professionals will help you choose an individual way of coping with your condition.


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