Within families and stepfamilies that have experienced separation and divorce, horror stories are often shared and retold (to people within the family circle and outside of it) about who did what to whom; of alleged wickedness and “evil” behaviour; and of “monsters” real and imagined.
Whatever the situation (or the story), there is one monster in particular that often rears its ugly head causing tension and havoc in families and stepfamilies alike – that “green-eyed monster,” also known as jealousy.
Jealousy is typically an emotion rooted in a fear. Fear that something belonging to you will be taken away or of a loss in status of something of great personal value, particularly in reference to a human connection. Within stepfamilies, jealousies typically originate as a protective reaction to a perceived threat to a valued relationship and the anticipated loss of something that is important to the person in question. It typically co-exists alongside thoughts and feelings of envy (the desire to have something that is possessed by another), hurt, hostility, insecurity, fear, concern and anxiety. It is expressed through a myriad of different behaviours (as opposed to a single behaviour) and it doesn’t always look pretty. [Read More…]