My Dear Readers,
Four years ago, about this time of year, I went into a tailspin caused by my addiction to a man who I thought I was losing to a younger woman. What I had done was drive over to his home unannounced- thinking I would find him with the woman that I feared he was interested in. He was alone and shocked that I had driven to his home.
As a result of what I call a “drive-by” I began to question my understanding of what love was and was not.
The premise of jealousy is that you the jealous person can be replaced. However, we all know at an intellectual level that we are not fungible or replaceable. But tell that to a person in the grips of jealousy. As one author put it “jealousy is like trying to stop a moving car on ice”. The following story exemplifies a time when I was both envious and jealous.
I was dating a man to whom I was addicted to or some would say that I was codependent with. My husband had died. I was fearful of being alone. I was scared of living alone. I was afraid that I would not know how to financially take care of myself and that I would end up homeless, man less and on the streets of Baltimore. So to say that myself esteem was missing is an understatement. The worry of caring for my late husband, who I had idolized both in life and death had worn me out and aged me. I was depressed. I brooded and I had extreme self-loathing of my aging psychical self. At the same time, I was a pleaser and caretaker that I had always been. Taking care of my dying husband had made me more so.Dave the man who I was dating was the perfect “temporary” guy. . He was a little in awe of me and the kind of man that I felt was “safe.” No one was going to claw their way to get to him. While I verbally berated Dave, inwardly I was desperately afraid that he would leave me for a younger woman because there was a 7 year age difference between us. Automatic behavior kicked in and I waited on Dave’s every need. Yet, I did not receive the kind of acknowledgement that I had received from my grateful and dying husband. Dave responded in the way a teenager is pleased with finding himself with a B rated former sex star. The more I catered to Dave, the more I loathed myself and projected that loathing on to him.
So, here’s what happened. It was in mid-October four years ago. Dave had been busy running his small underfunded business. He was swamped and overwhelmed. He and I had not seen each other for a week, which was unusual. He had called every night explaining his absence and for six days I had pretended that his absences were ok. In the meantime, Dave and his single young attractive female colleague with whom he worked had been spotted spending a lot of time together. This caused me suspicion. This young woman who I had always believed to be in love with Dave, was incredibly accomplished and had been honored with the highest honors of her profession.
With a second malicious report of spotting them together reached me and when Dave had not shown up that week, I was at high alarm. I was sure that he had taken up with her. In my madness of jealousy I put together disparate incidences of times that they had been together and I was jealous. I was being replaced by some young nincompoop!
When on the seventh night Dave had begged off, I got into my car and performed a “drive by.” The angry knock on the door was necessary. Dave opened the door and was puzzled. Hadn’t he just said that he was not feeling well? Why was I there? When I told him my suspicions, he said that they were completely unfounded. And then he made it worse and said that even if he was seeing her, that he and I did not have an exclusive relationship and that he didn’t have to hide anything from me. This was fire on gasoline. I called him every ugly name. Dave never raised his voice or was loud. He was simply amazed to see what he thought was such a put together woman falling apart. He offered me water and I could see the pity and alarm in his eyes, which shamed me even more. My ego and I had no place else to go, but to stalk out and leave him. But as I did so, my heart was breaking. I realized that I was totally out of control and it wasn’t about Dave, it was about me.
I had gotten lost and afraid. My erratic behavior had scared me into realizing that I needed to find myself; to re-invent myself. It was one of the hardest things that I have ever done. I had to learn to like myself. I had to learn to live alone. I had to learn to take care of myself on my own for myself. The journey to finding myself or finding the beloved within myself is the basis for my second book, which is tentatively named “Twisted”.
I have set myself on the path that is right for me. I have accepted myself and know emotionally that love is within and not found without. I also learned that someone’s attraction to another or desire for another does not lessen me in any way. At my most secure self, at your most secure self, you know your intrinsic worth. The first step in anything is awareness. When you catch yourself being envious pay particular attention to what and who you are being envious about. Then ask yourself, “Why is it that I feel that I cannot attain that?” Before you get to the point of insane jealousy ask yourself why you are jealous of that other person who is trying to take your place? Perhaps the question to ask yourself is “Where is my place?” These are not easy or short term skills to develop. However, understanding that envy and jealousy relates to our own lack of self-esteem might provide us with the necessary next steps. Remember it’s not them; it’s you.
Signed,Brianna S. Clark
Your Fellow Journeyer