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Pathological or Morbid Jealousy

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Pathological or Morbid Jealousy

Pathological or Morbid Jealousy
By: Andres Carvajal
Edited By: Stephanie Dawson

Jealousy is common issue in many romantic relationships. Often there are rules in relationships, unwritten fidelity and loyalty guidelines that allow the couple limits. Love and jealousy are closely related. Most of the time, the person in love remains in a state of awareness about the other. Jealousy in small doses is healthy, some consider it to be natural and romantic. However, at some point jealousy can become obsessive and cause unbearable pain.

With morbid jealousy, even if they assume some control, it is difficult to overcome. One way to overcome these feelings is to talk about it with your partner or a therapist or counselor. With pathological jealousy there is an urge to be in command of the partner’s life, to suspect all acts will lead to unhappiness.

Pathologically jealous people often suffer from:

• Low self-esteem
• Difficulty seeing merits and virtues in himself
• Affective losses during childhood
• Hypercritical parents with high demands
• Poor role models

Pathological or Morbid Jealousy

Low self-esteem

Some specialists agree that pathological jealousy is a symptom, one that cannot trust their partner as they cannot believe that person is capable of love and loyalty. When a person has low self-esteem its difficult to accept that someone will pay attention, care, or deserve love. There are cognitive beliefs that underlie the structure of the pathologically jealous, often self-deprecating.


When someone is pathologically jealous it can lead to belief that the partner is constantly looking for ways to cheat. He may gather any signs available that confirms elaborate theories proving infidelity. Often cell phones and computers are checked, there is concern related to working late, and even talking to neighbors.This can lead to aggressive, controlling behavior.

Physical or psychological aggressiveness

When a person who is morbidly jealous, every time he or she fears betrayal they may act in an aggressive way, physically or psychologically, with critical thoughts, recriminations, or arguments. Irrational thoughts or theories, yelling, aggressiveness, and tantrums are the norm in these relationships. The episodes are unpredictable, even an innocent occurrence can trigger a scene.

How to overcome pathological jealousy:

• Both partners should identify what causes the jealous episodes to recognize rationality or nonsense. Sometimes speaking with the jealous person can be difficult or dangerous, a neutral third is often necessary, a counselor or therapist is preferred

• Keep a journal or a notebook

• Look for help, a counselor or therapist. Jealousy is a serious issue and will affect both partners life quality with increased anger and anxiety.

• This condition will not disappear instantly, it can improve with education and self awareness. These might be relapses, years of therapy, and progressive patterns of jealousy and control.

• If your partner is making a jealous scene walk away, you need to protect yourself

Easton, J.A., Schipper, L.D., & Shackelford, T.K. (2007). Morbid Jealousy from an Evolutionary Psychological Perspective. Evolution and Human Behavior, 28, 399-402.
World Health Organization (1992) The Tenth Revision of the International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD–10). Geneva: World Health Organization
Shepherd, M. (1961) Morbid jealousy: some clinical and social aspects of a psychiatric symptom. Journal of Mental Science, 107, 688–704.

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