If you have every played a game of charades then you will understand the analogy I am about to make. A charade is a term meaning to act out or pantomime. A game of charades is played by dividing members into teams. Each team is then given the opportunity to act out key words, titles, or characters. The team that guesses the most pantomimes correctly is declared the winner. How does jealousy apply to a game of charades? That’s easy. Jealousy acts as a charade mimicking or impersonating an unbroken heart.
Imagine a little girl playing dress-up. Envision her in her mother’s closet, wrapped in a chiffon scarf, draped in layers of cosmetic jewelry, and wearing a pair of red stilettos. She looks into the mirror and imagines she is her mother.
But in reality, she is a five-year-old dressed in baggy clothes, gaudy jewelry, and oversized shoes. Jealousy does the same thing. It likes to play dress-up and pretend the issues of insecurity, anger, rage, suspicious thinking, or verbal accusations somehow mask a wounded heart. Whether it’s a boy pretending to have the bravado of a man or a wounded fifty-year-old who misbehaves like a child, the truth is others see through the well-crafted disguise.
As a matter of fact, jealousy does more than reveal insecurity; it highlights insecurity. The mask intended for protection becomes a bull’s-eye, a big red-and-black target painted on one’s backside that says, “I’m a vulnerable, broken person with trust issues. Go ahead; shoot me while I’m not looking.” Be assured, most of the time jealousy is simply playing dress-up for insecurity.
Let’s take an imaginary journey. Picture yourself walking through the mall, arm in arm with the man of your dreams. The day has been perfect, lunch at a five-star restaurant, shopping at your favorite store . . . until you turn the corner and run into his gorgeous ex-girlfriend. You try to smile, make small-talk, and look unaffected by her presence but inside you are fuming.
The rest of the day is ruined as you inwardly rehash questions of insecurity: Is he still thinking about her? Will she try to contact him? Do they still have feelings for each other? Did they spend time together at this mall? Did she look better than me today? Similar scenarios happen daily.
The most important thing you can ask yourself is, How will I respond when faced with a situation that blows my insecurities out of the water? Will I create a scene in public and place blame on an innocent third party, or more forward with confidence? Remember, nothing screams insecurity more than a full-out jealous fit.
To discover what drives someone to react in a jealous rage, we need to get out our shovels and dig down deep. Beneath what appears to be a crusty layer of bad manners and ill-temperament is a hidden truth. Jealousy is a response to fear, which is the root of all insecurity. Keep in mind, the top issues people wrestle with in life can be traced back to fear.
The fear of losing something or someone they love will often prompt feelings of insecurity, manifesting as jealousy. For example, when you see the person you’re romantically involved with talking to someone of the opposite sex, you may feel vulnerable or threatened. The overwhelming fear they may develop feelings for another person may trigger unpredictable, even irrational thoughts.
Thoughts are powerful. Repetitive thoughts, even fictional ones, if unchecked, can seem real, especially in the mind of the wounded. The mind can create a make-believe masterpiece in a matter of moments.
Believe it or not, there are people who enjoy it when their love interest acts jealous. I once had a close friend explain it this way: “I like it when another man looks at me with special interest or says something flirtatious in front of my husband. Although it makes him angry, it makes me feel good. His jealous reactions prove he feels I am worth fighting for.”
Sadly, the only time my friend feels significant to her husband is when another man makes him feel threatened or insecure. Yes, we know men are less verbal than women and often have a difficult time expressing feelings of love and commitment. But trust me when I tell you there are more creative ways to gain affirmation than provoking your significant other to respond with jealousy. If your romantic interest hasn’t learned to express their feelings verbally or in the way you would most enjoy, then offer suggestions, key phrases or words you would enjoy hearing. But stop provoking the person you love to jealousy; it will produce anger, not affection.
Are you catching on to the fact that jealousy reveals insecurity? By purposefully provoking someone to become jealous, you promote their weaknesses and reveal their insecurities. This type of behavior is inexcusable. Remember, healthy relationships flourish when nurtured by mutual trust and security, not fear.
Find Dr. Tracey Mitchell’s encouragement on healthy relationships in Know When to Cut the Cord.