As many of my regular bloggers know by now, I have an eight month old and a two year old girl. I have noticed over the past few months, my older daughter plays with her younger sister in a friendly way. However, given the chance, she does not mind inflicting some physical harm to her younger sister either! From what I have heard, this is a common trait which the first child expresses when a younger sibling arrives. I then realized this is the first sign of jealousy! Now obviously my two year old daughter has not been conditioned or trained to be jealous. Therefore, this is an inherent trait in all human beings.
What, then, causes one person to keep this disruptive “emotion” in control versus the other? I am not a psychologist, and my Google research on jealousy showed the main focus has been on relationship related jealousy.
I want to talk about non-relationship jealousy (competitive jealousy). I believe all humans feel envious at some point in their lives. Envy is a normal emotion. When I was in residency, I envied my friends who were set in their work and income and had started a family. But this feeling did not go beyond that. I was able to move on and focus on my own progress.
A jealous person, in my opinion, cannot control their envy or behave abnormally to a situation which provokes envy. What I have noticed is this group of people behaves as one’s best friend when one is “at the bottom”. They will go out of their way to help one. However, God help this person if they should show any progress in life! A jealous person has an illogical thought process. For example, person A, a jealous person, lives in a multi-million dollar home by the beach. His/her friend, person B, lives in a one bedroom apartment. Person B eventually saves enough money to buy a one bedroom studio. Even though person A has a much better living condition, the fact that person B has improved in their life will bother person A. Typically person A will make sarcastic comments when shown the studio, and may act distant. A passive-aggressive behavior usually follows.
You may wonder why I bother writing about this. I am a plastic surgeon and not a psychologist. Well, as a plastic surgeon it is my responsibility to make sure my patients have realistic expectations and are psychologically stable. If a person is contemplating cosmetic surgery because of competitive jealousy, long term happiness will not be the end result. This illogical thought process also creates stress, and chronic stress will significantly increase ones chance of health related problems. I know of one extremely jealous person who was diagnosed with stress related hypothyroidism. This person’s cortisol level was ten times normal!
If you can identify with having this trait, please speak to a psychologist or psychiatrist. You will NEVER win, since the finish line will constantly change.
Michael A. Jazayeri, M.D. is a board certified plastic surgeon with over 13 years of experience. His office is located in Orange County, California. To schedule a complimentary consultation, please call 714-834-0101.