What Is Jealousy?

What is jealousy’s meaning? In romantic relationships, jealousy is often triggered by insecurity about one’s worth or attractiveness, or a perceived threat from an external source. However, jealousy can also manifest in other situations, including friendships or professional contexts.

While jealousy is a normal emotion, excessive or irrational jealousy can have negative impacts on mental health and relationships. It can lead to obsessive thoughts, anxiety, depression, and sometimes even anger or aggression. Furthermore, jealousy that is excessive can damage trust and communication in relationships, and can sometimes lead to controlling or abusive behavior.

The consequences of jealousy can be serious, as evidenced by the fact that it is the third most common motive for murder. Although jealousy can be controlled, particularly through open communication, its intense nature can be overwhelming for some people. Individuals who experience extreme jealousy may attempt to harm romantic rivals, unfaithful partners, or even professional competitors, highlighting the overpowering nature of this emotion.

Jealousy Definition

Jealousy is a multi-faceted emotional experience that is typically associated with feelings of envy, insecurity, and possessiveness. It is a frequent emotion that emerges when we feel that our valued relationship, possession, or status is being threatened.

Jealousy’s definition is as having feelings of insecurity, fear, and suspicion in response to a perceived threat or loss of something that we value. Although jealousy is often associated with romantic relationships, it can also arise in other contexts, such as friendships, family, and career.

Although jealousy is commonly viewed as a negative emotion, it is a natural occurrence in close relationships. Two types of jealousy are often experienced: suspicious jealousy and reactive jealousy.

Suspicious jealousy is based on perceptions and is usually linked to low self-esteem and insecurity. Reactive jealousy, on the other hand, is based on situations that genuinely endanger the relationship, and is frequently associated with actions or circumstances that break trust.

Identifying and reconciling feelings of jealousy can be a challenging task, as individuals may believe their jealous responses are valid. Because jealousy is a sensitive emotion that can stimulate feelings of abandonment, communicating about it with one’s partner can be a delicate process.

Jealousy and envy are often confused, but they are distinct emotions with different effects. Envy can lead to self-improvement, while jealousy tends to evoke anger and a lack of understanding. Specific characteristics differentiate these two emotions:


  1. Fear-driven
  2. Generates resentment
  3. Triggers anger and a lack of compassion
  4. May stem from low self-esteem


  1. Driven by the desire to obtain something that is not owned
  2. Creates sadness
  3. Inspires personal growth
  4. May arise from a lack of possession

Types of Jealousy

Jealousy can come in many different forms, and understanding these variations can help people identify and manage their feelings more effectively. Some of the most common types of jealousy include:

  1. Jealousy in relationships: This is perhaps the most well-known type of jealousy and often arises in response to a partner’s real or perceived infidelity. It can also occur when a person feels insecure about their own attractiveness or worthiness.
  2. Sibling jealousy: Sibling rivalry is a common occurrence in many families, and jealousy can arise when one sibling perceives that the other is receiving more attention or resources.
  3. Professional jealousy: In the workplace, jealousy can arise when one colleague perceives that another is receiving more recognition or opportunities for advancement.
  4. Material jealousy: This type of jealousy is related to possessions and can arise when one person covets something that another person has, such as a luxury car, a designer bag, or a large house.
  5. Creative jealousy: Artists, writers, and other creative types may experience jealousy when they perceive that others are more successful or talented in their field.
  6. Friendship jealousy: In friendships, jealousy can arise when one friend perceives that the other is spending more time with other people or has formed closer relationships with others.
  7. Parental jealousy: Parents can also experience jealousy in relation to their children, such as when they perceive that one child is receiving more attention or affection than the others.

Overall, jealousy can take many different forms, and the key to managing this complex emotion is to identify the underlying cause and work on building self-esteem and trust in relationships. By recognizing and addressing these feelings, people can take steps to overcome jealousy and cultivate healthier relationships with others.

What Is The Main Cause Of Jealousy?

Excessive jealousy can be a serious and debilitating mental health issue that can have a significant impact on an individual’s life and relationships. While some degree of jealousy is a normal and natural emotion, excessive jealousy can lead to destructive behaviors, including controlling and abusive behavior, as well as feelings of depression and anxiety. So, what is the main cause of jealousy?

One of the major causes of excessive jealousy is anxiety, which can result from a range of factors such as insecurity, past traumas, or feelings of inadequacy. People who struggle with anxiety may experience intense and irrational jealousy that can interfere with their daily lives and relationships. In some cases, this anxiety may be related to a specific event or experience, such as infidelity or betrayal, and may be triggered by reminders of that event.

Another possible cause of excessive jealousy is low self-esteem, which can lead to feelings of unworthiness and a belief that others will inevitably leave or betray them. People with low self-esteem may struggle to trust others, leading to feelings of jealousy and insecurity in relationships.

What Mental Illness Causes Jealousy?

Jealousy is a normal emotion that most people experience at some point in their lives. However, excessive jealousy can be a sign of an underlying mental health disorder. Here are some mental health disorders that could result in excessive jealousy:

  1. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): OCD is a mental health disorder characterized by intrusive and persistent thoughts, images, or impulses, which cause anxiety and distress. People with OCD may develop obsessive and irrational jealousy, which they try to alleviate through compulsive behaviors such as checking, reassurance seeking, or avoidance.
  2. Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD): BPD is a mental health disorder characterized by unstable mood, self-image, and interpersonal relationships. People with BPD may experience intense and unstable emotions, including jealousy and fear of abandonment, which can lead to impulsive behaviors such as self-harm, substance abuse, or aggression.
  3. Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD): PPD is a mental health disorder characterized by pervasive and unwarranted suspicion and mistrust of others. People with PPD may develop extreme jealousy and suspicion in relationships, believing that their partner is unfaithful or plotting against them.
  4. Schizophrenia: Schizophrenia can be explained as a mental health disorder characterized by disordered thinking, perception, and behavior. People with schizophrenia may experience delusions, which are fixed and false beliefs that are not based in reality. Some people with schizophrenia may develop delusions of infidelity, leading to excessive jealousy and aggressive or violent behavior.
  5. Personality disorders like borderline personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder can also be linked to excessive jealousy. People with these conditions may experience intense feelings of jealousy and suspicion, as well as difficulty regulating their emotions and maintaining stable relationships.

It is important to note that excessive jealousy is not a typical symptom of these mental health disorders, and it is essential to seek professional help if you or someone you know is struggling with excessive jealousy.

Regardless of the cause, excessive jealousy can have a significant impact on an individual’s mental and emotional well-being. If left unchecked, it can lead to feelings of depression, anxiety, and isolation, as well as destructive behaviors that can harm both the individual and their relationships.

With the question ‘what mental illness causes jealousy’ answered, let’s find out how to overcome jealousy.

How To Overcome Jealousy?

Managing intense jealousy can be a challenging and intricate process, but it’s crucial to address the underlying reasons for the issue to enhance emotional and mental well-being and cultivate healthy relationships. Seeking professional help from a therapist or mental health provider is the initial step in treating intense jealousy. They can identify the underlying factors that trigger the jealousy, such as anxiety, low self-esteem, or past traumatic experiences, and establish a treatment plan that addresses these root causes.

Effective treatment for intense jealousy may involve cognitive-behavioral therapy, which helps individuals to recognize and confront negative thinking patterns and establish healthy coping mechanisms. In some instances, medication may also be recommended to alleviate symptoms of depression or anxiety.

It’s important to acknowledge that managing intense jealousy may require time, effort, and perseverance, and it may entail dealing with challenging emotions and memories. However, with the appropriate guidance and support, it’s possible to conquer intense jealousy and develop stronger, more satisfying relationships.


In conclusion, excessive jealousy is a serious mental health issue that can have a significant impact on an individual’s life and relationships. It is important to seek out professional help if you or someone you know is struggling with excessive jealousy, in order to address the underlying causes of the issue and develop effective strategies for managing and overcoming it. With the right support and treatment, it is possible to regain control of your emotions and build healthy, fulfilling relationships.