Prof. Dr. Kemal Arıkan

Romantic jealousy

Romantic jealousy… To be jealous of love or the loved one. There is also “envy” which means being jealous of what others possess. The Turkish word that corresponds to it would be “haset”… What I want to talk about is romantic jealousy…

During my medical practice I very frequently come across people who are ill because of jealousy… There are two forms of it. The first one is in the form of an “obsession”, in other words a jealousy with obsessive characteristics. The other one is psychotic jealousy. I start with distinguishing these two. In the obsessive type the connection to reality remains whilst the other unreasonable believes are dominant. He is sure that his lover is unfaithful. In fact, if the person in question is his wife, he goes as far as thinking that the children are not of him. Jealousy starts in a 5 months old baby. You may witness sibling jealousy. When more attention is paid to the other sibling the poor little thing stops eating. According to psychoanalytical views jealousy erupts even for the mother’s breast. In fact you can witness it in animals… When a new animal arrives at your home and resident animal gets less attention, the cat or dog immediately starts to protest… People who suffer from romantic jealousy are submerged in tears… They usually come to know of it through the mobile! Messaging is the biggest proof that their lover is interested in someone else… They are devastated. Their self-image is shaken. They are ugly, useless, inadequate, inapt. This damned other person has been preferred… In some cases we see that the scale of jealousy is such that it borders the dying or killing. Do not say “I never had a bout of jealousy!“ I won’t believe you… Have you never resented even innocent words spent on someone a little bit cleverer or better looking than you? Particularly during your youth? The flame of jealousy flares up when the lover behaves somewhat different, for example when she puts on a bit more make-up than usual or uses a different perfume. Some people, although difficult, manage to control themselves; others almost surrender their soul to this feeling. You cannot be indifferent to the pain they suffer. With a reflex you try to reach out. But in vain. In the end the matter ends up at the doctor practice, for instance. As I have written at the beginning, we deal with it either as an obsession and make an appropriate treatment plan. We apply SSRI and cognitive behavioural therapy. Or if it is in the form of a borderline psychosis, we try to clear the condition with neuroleptics… However, based on my experience I have to say that jealousy even when kept under control, leaves deep scars in the soul. It’s pain is felt until death…

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