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Bedroom General Jealousy
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I'm reading Sylvia Plath, whose rage at being left (by Hughes for whom I really have no sympathy) for his latest conquest almost bleeds off the page:

My veins glow like trees.
The dogs are tearing a fox. This is what it is like --
A red burst and a cry
That splits from its ripped bag and does not stop
With the dead eye.
And the stuffed expression, but goes on
Dyeing the air.
Telling the particles of the clouds, the leaves, the water
What immortality is. That it is immortal.

Jealousy is an ugly emotion. It leaves your cheeks burning, your day in despair.
But few other things are so elemental, so strong. (Think of Medea.) Why?

I think it would be interesting to talk about it. To bring it into the light. Is it archaic in the sense of unenlightened -- or archaic in the sense of elemental  (or to use one of my favorite words, chthonic)?

Would the world be better without it?
For the first 30-35 years of my life I hadn't experienced jealousy.  I imagined that it must be terrible but I also imagined that in order to experience it at all a person would have to have a terrible character flaw.
Ugly, elemental and powerful, Mia, as you point out.

So, I was somewhere between 35 and 40 when it happened.  It's coming was so cataclysmic and unexpected that there was no time at all--not a microsecond--to prepare for it.

It's called the green eyed monster in some quarters.  Monster.  Yes.  But much uglier.  Seething, teeth-baring, indescribable hate.

It didn't last long.  I don't think its possible to sustain it without going mad or actually committing an assassination.

It's one of those things I take out occasionally to look at and wonder about.  It must be instructive in some way...but I still don't know.

Chthonic.  Holy mackerel, yes!  It rises up from the nether world grabs your mind and soul and turns you into something you never thought you had in you.

I hope it never happens again.  I'm sure it would kill me.

Mia , why chthonic? Of the Earth or sacrificial or something else?
Emotions usually have a purpose life. Love facilitates bonding and procreation&so on.  Hate and jealousy facilitates what?  Anger at loss, the fight part of the flight or fight duo.  Hey - give me back what is mine.  What I am thinking is that jealousy may be a defensive mechanism, part of mankind's survival instincts.  Motivates one to fight for what one values.
On the other hand, there are some pretty destructive sides of jealousy where it motivates some pretty hateful responses.  Can one experience productive jealousy and avoid destructive jealousy?  And how does one distinguish jealousy from envy?

I just googled both words - on jealousy it says  " It is not to be confused with envy".  Envy, it says, "occurs when a person lacks another's (perceived) superior quality, achievement, or possession and either desires it or wishes that the other lacked it.".  So envy is a pretty negative emotion.

I bet psychologists have a field day with both.
I can't remember being jealous or envious of  others - rather I've looked at what they have that I might envy or be jealous of and try to figure out how I can be there too (if that is what I want).  Having said that, I'm sure it's not true.  I must have experienced both in my life but I deny or ignore  it - I tend to actively avoid dwelling on the negative.  I figure that if one is minding one's own business, that is, you are busy living your own life, you don't have room for jealousy or envy.  But I'm sure that is too simplistic, perhaps as illustrated by Linda O Reilly's experience.

In response to John barri
Men and women experience jealousy and envy and to say you as an individual do not means you are lying to yourself. 

To state men and women are different in their reactions is also not accurate.  What do you think men who attacked their estranged wife is all about.  The OJ case is a prime example. 

To say we need to mind our own business is the way to go to avoid both of these emotions, however that is too easy of a statement.  We are emotional human beings and do not run like machines with complete logic.  We can say in our heads the logical approach, but that does not mean this is how we will act.  We are adults and we know using a simple answer is just that, too easy.

Some jealousy or envy does not have to be destructive.  It is how we react to these emotions is the real question.  Will we become violent based on our jealousy?  How do we control our reactions to a jealous situation. 
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Latest Post: December 18, 2011 at 2:05 AM
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