Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Green Eyed Monster

Today I was reminded how destructive jealousy can be to an otherwise loving relationship. Not that I needed reminding; the green-eyed monster stole 11 years from my life, and I’m still picking up the pieces.

Before I was married, I had never been in a relationship with a jealous man. I made a comment about a man on television having pretty eyes, which caused the first berating lecture only a month into our relationship. I will never forget the way it made me feel. I was very scared and numb from shock.

As time went on, the jealousy got worse and worse. As it turns out, his jealousy stemmed from his own insecurity, and he was the one that cheated on numerous occasions. After years of walking on eggshells, it almost seemed normal, whatever that means. And, by the end of our marriage, I couldn’t comfortably talk to another man in front of him, not even a server in a restaurant.

The biggest problem was, he really could trust me. I should never have felt forced to push friends away. Coulda, shoulda, woulda… it happened, but it won’t ever happen again. I’ve learned my lesson.

I can agree some jealousy is healthy. Of course seeing a significant other flirting or finding some evidence of infidelity is going to bring on fear of loss. However, if you are in a relationship and there is pressure to change your behavior or remove people from your life, the problem may be deeper than a little healthy jealousy.

Some people feel the need to control their partner. It may not even be apparent in the beginning. Persons with a narcissistic personality commonly use subtle forms of manipulation. I have read stories of psychologists falling into the hands of a sociopath, so it doesn’t matter how educated one is. It can happen to anyone, and it’s not gender specific. This behavior is certainly more common in men, but never excludes women from the statistics.

Here is a list of red flags that everyone should be aware of. If you think you or someone you know are in a relationship with someone like this, get out if you can or seek help!

·         Extreme infatuation with oneself, self-centered, expects to be recognized as superior
·         Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited power, success, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
·         Sees himself as “special” and should only have to affiliate with others of a similar stature
·         Takes advantage of others to achieve his needs
·         Demonstrates a constant need for admiration or approval
·         Exaggerates personal achievements while minimizing those of others
·         Is convinced that he/she is unique
·         Feels entitled to special treatment and that rules frequently don’t apply to him
·         May propose love and marriage within only a few weeks of starting a relationship
·         Very charismatic or charming at first, but can quickly switch from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde without apparent cause
·         May insist that he know your whereabouts at all times
·         Demands compliance with his/her expectations
·         Is unable to demonstrate or understand empathy or compassion
·         Does not seem to feel real happiness or positive emotions
·         Often criticizes and/or puts others down
·         Assumes himself to be more knowledgeable than those around him
·         Panics, cries, begs, and becomes emotional if he anticipates an end to a relationship
·         May harass or stalk you if you do break up
·         Quick to anger or feel insulted or slighted
·         Rages with anger or inflicts the “silent treatment” when upset
·         Denies he/she has issues to work on – sees himself/herself as nearly perfect
·         May often take unnecessary risks
·         Frequently humiliates or abuses others, although he/she doesn’t see it as abuse
·         Sulks when he/she doesn’t get his/her way
·         Nothing is ever his/her fault
·         Drives recklessly and/or way too fast
·         Exaggerates the truth or blatantly lies
·         Rarely treats anyone with respect or kindness
·         Doesn’t acknowledge or respect other’s boundaries
·         Always wants to be in control
·         May drink and drive regularly
·         His/her need for attention, time, and space matter – yours do not
·         Has difficulty putting himself/herself in another’s shoes
·         Uses sex as a weapon – through withholding, controlling, or being overly demanding
·         Rarely recognizes the accomplishments or abilities of others
·         Doesn’t appear to have a conscience
·         Does not take criticism well and becomes defensive easily
·         Rarely expresses appreciation of others
·         Is easily hurt and insulted
·         Considers most others in the world “idiots”
·         Shows no feelings of remorse or guilt for his/her mistakes or the hurts he/she dishes out
·         Wins most arguments through the use of rationalizing his/her behavior
·         Blames others for all his/her problems
·         Frequently complains that whatever you do, it isn’t “good enough”
·         Is often paranoid – thinks people are talking about him/her behind his/her back
·         Has a hard time accepting the opinions or ideas of others
·         May attempt to limit loved ones from spending time with others
·         May want to have complete control of the family money
·         Always has to win any argument
·         Is often envious of others, or thinks others envy him/her
·         May feel entitled to go through your purse, closet, or other personal belongings without your permission
·         His/her attitude is generally haughty or arrogant
·         Rarely can understand another’s point of view
·         Expects you to read his/her mind when he/she wants something
·         Hates to stand in line – he/she shouldn’t have to, as his/her time is more valuable than others
·         Frequently “forgets” to give birthday and holiday cards and gifts to loved ones
·         May ignore you or be indifferent to you for no reason
·         Leaves others feeling as though they need to “walk on eggshells” around him
·         Hates to be thought of as ordinary or average
·         Is desperate to have the biggest house, car, bank account, or title
·         Often leaves you feeling guilty, drained, fearful, exhausted, just plain stupid, and most of all, wondering how you got there

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