• Jealousy in Families | Dr Terri Orbuch | Episode 153

  • Jealousy in familiesDo you ever feel compelled to snoop on your kids, spouse or partner? Does it make you crazy when your child spends tons of time with friends or in activities and doesn’t have time for you? Are you ever worried about losing the connection you have with someone? These feelings are normal. They stem from jealousy and they can harm our relationships. Listen in as Mighty Parenting podcast host Sandy Fowler talks about jealousy in families with Dr. Terri Orbuch. They discuss the difference between jealousy and envy, the two types of jealousy, how jealousy harms relationships and what you can do about it. 


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    A Favorite Quote from the Show: 

    We tend to respond to suspicious jealousy with more harmful behaviors. We snoop or become overly watchful of our kids in an effort to confirm our suspicions.

    High Points From Our Conversation about Jealousy in Families:

    A quote about jealousy in familiesWhen we want something someone else has, it’s envy.

    Jealousy is being afraid of losing a relationship you really value or you’re afraid of losing a kind of relationship you don’t want to lose.

    Reactive jealousy — become aware of an active threat to a relationship or something is happening that will change a relationship and we don’t want that relationship to change or end.

    Suspicious jealousy — nobody has misbehaved, a relationship is not going to change and we are not at risk of losing a relationship but we believe it will happen. When this happens we behave like we don’t trust this person. We start reading their emails, listening to their calls, snooping in other ways and this is incredibly harmful to a relationship.

    If the other person hasn’t done anything wrong and I’m suspicious then it’s about me, how I feel about myself and my self-worth.

    Jealousy in families can be damaging. We can become suspicious jealous of work, hobbies, or activities if we are afraid it will change our relationship. 

    Parents can become afraid of losing the relationship they have with their child as the child grows older and spends more time out with friends and activities. It is true the relationship is changing as our child grows and becomes a young adult and the parent may not want the relationship to change.

    We tend to respond to suspicious jealousy with more harmful behaviors. We snoop, become overly watchful in an effort to confirm our suspicions.

    The behaviors around reactive jealousy tend to be less harmful. We can alleviate this with notions of “this is normal” and “change is inevitable”.

    The first strategy for alleviating suspicious jealousy in families is to be honest and share your feelings with the other person. Actually, this would be true in the case of suspicious jealousy as well.

    Nonverbal communication, facial expressions and the way we hold our bodies, speaks volumes. In fact, study after study shows the truth lies within the nonverbal communication.

    Being aware of what’s happening is the first step and discussing it is the second step.

    It’s validating when we share our concerns and people reassure us that we will not lose them.

    Sometimes the discussion doesn’t go so well. Sometimes when a child hears a parent express their concerns, a child can become anxious. We need to be validating and affirming.

    Remember that even when we express ourselves well, using I language, we are likely catching the other person off guard and they can become defensive. So the first response may not be the only response.

    Remember to not take what people say personally. Usually people’s behaviors and what they say are about them not you.

    They might get angry. They may even be fearful too. And they may come back later to have more conversation. 

    Wondering if jealousy is brewing in your family? Listen to your body. If you feel adrenaline surge just by watching someone, you’re consistently feeling like you have a stomach ache when that someone talks to other people, this can be a sign of jealousy.

    When you depend on a relationship to tell you how you feel about yourself or determine your own self-worth then you know jealousy is brewing.

    Fostering independence and building our self-confidence helps deter suspicious jealousy in families.

    While we want our kids to focus on their strengths and build their confidence, we can do it so they observe it. One way Terri does this with her kids in their cards. She writes “You are so…” then lists some of their strengths.

    Resources Mentioned in Show:

    Marriage And Kids: Why It Matters | Dr Terri Orbuch | Episode 27 

    How Parents Of Teens Can Keep Their Romantic Relationship Healthy | Dr. Terri Orbuch | Episode 57

    Unmotivated Teens Shift Gears When They Find Purpose | Tim Klein | Episode 146

    Our Guest Dr. Terri Orbuch:

    Dr Terri Orbuch discusses jealousy in familiesDr. Terri Orbuch (Ph.D)(aka The Love Doctor®) is an author, speaker, therapist, professor at Oakland University, and research professor at University of Michigan. She is also the director of a landmark study, funded by National Institutes of Health (NIH), where she has been following the same couples for almost 3 decades. Dr. Orbuch is widely published in scientific journals and the author of “5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage From Good to Great.” and “Finding Love Again: 6 Simple Steps to a New and Happy Relationship.” Dr. Orbuch has been featured in such publications as, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Reader’s Digest, USA Today, Women’s Health, Cosmopolitan, and TIME magazine and has appeared on The Today Show, MSNBC, The Katie Couric Show, ESPN, HuffPost Live, and CNN. Her new video dating course is called “Finding Love in 7 Days,” and her relationship segments are aired on Fox-2 Detroit Morning News. Her national public television special titled, “Secrets from The Love Doctor” has been airing since December 2013.

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    Sandy Fowler—Find Time for What Matters Most to You