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When Women Are Jealous

When Women Are Jealous

Girls being jealous of girls was the spontaneous topic of conversation for me a few times this week. And by girls, I guess I mean women because the friends I talked to were in their twenties and we weren’t speaking in past tense. Sure, when we were in middle school we huddled with our friends and talked bad about the girls we secretly felt were prettier than we were even though we said they weren’t and who we secretly knew were better athletes than we or smarter or, what it most often came down to, we didn’t like because the boys gave her more attention than they gave us. And I’m saying “us” and “we,” but I was jealous all by myself a lot too.

A few days ago as I was driving down the freeway talking to one of my best friends. We began to confess how we still get jealous of other girls and it is still often for the same reasons. All bad reasons of course, but that’s where jealousy is bred—in unreasonable arguments clouded and confused by insecurity.

Have you ever done this: Facebook stalked the girl who is dating your ex or dating the guy you wish you were dating and come up with all kinds of reasons you are better than she is? By stalking you dig for evidence that you are indeed prettier, funnier, lower maintenance, more adventurous, better educated, more highly organized, creative and that you love Jesus more than she does. Yes, you have found evidence of being holier than the girls you don’t like. You have felt the toxicity of jealousy inside of you and have allowed it to bubble out your pores. That sounds gross, but jealousy is really gross so I don’t know how else to describe it.

There is something about women and jealousy. It comes naturally for us and sticks around for a long time. It reeks heavily in our conversations with other women but we are so accustomed to the smell, we don’t even notice it. Not within ourselves at least, but we sniff it out when it’s coming at us from someone else.

As I drove and chatted with my friend, we discussed the women we’ve felt jealous of recently. They weren’t people we knew well. We basically had to make things up about them to have something to feel jealous about. We were ashamed. How old are we? We asked. But you don’t grow out of jealousy. And you certainly don’t grow out of insecurity. They are ageless, old friends.

We noticed as we were speaking how destructive jealousy is, not only for our hearts and confidence but for our gender as a whole. How can we support each other and be for each other if we just want to be better than each other? If we are all panicky about equal rights and being seen as strong and capable, why are we ripping each other apart? How is this helping us, or anything?

I have long thought about the gender plight. It’s a war my generation didn’t start but was born into and then ordered to take up the cause. Jealousy has always been obvious in this war to me. The jealousy of women toward men. I have felt it and seen its danger, but I don’t know that jealousy of men is as dangerous to women as jealousy of other women is. I don’t know that this is a war with two sides anymore. Or that it ever was. And now more than ever, I feel it’s my job to focus on one side, my own side and learn to love it well. And in order to do this, jealousy must be the first conquer.

 

(This is a re-post from May 2014)

21 COMMENT

  1. ketrahsimpson | 12th May 14

    Good morning Andrea! Thanks for the post, you brought back a few memories for me too. It just had to be said….
    As women, we are often jealous and yes, we have had years of practise from chilhood.

    As a child I recall it was more about being accepted in the ‘right’ clique than about trying to be mean to others!
    As an adult, I think our jealousy stems out of our trying to define ourselves so that we can feel good about who we are as individuals.
    As children we want to feel included~ as adults we want to feel exclusive!

    Thanks for the post and for keeping us in check with where our hearts ought to be.

    As in water face reflects face,
    So a man’s heart reveals the man. (Pro27:19)

    • Andrea Lucado | 13th May 14

      That shift from inclusion to exclusion
      –such a good insight! I’m going to be thinking about that today

  2. tessadoghor | 12th May 14

    I have been jealous before
    But I’m laid back
    And spirit controlled
    BUT…
    I have been the object of other people’s jealousy and I suffered for it
    O I suffered
    I think I have the martyr complex
    Having it though, helped me.
    Tears still come to my eyes when I think of how they made me suffer and afterwards pretended nothing happened
    It makes me want to cry because I refuse to hit back at them
    But I’m human and that’s why I cry.
    Something they did teach me though is that jealousy is a deadly emotion not to be cultivated
    ínstead if I can’t say something kind about some other person I try to shut up.

    Cheers
    Hate, hate, jealousy.

  3. Karen | 12th May 14

    Reblogged this on The Shadows Prove The Sunshine and commented:
    We discussed this topic in my Early American Lit class and I had thought about writing about it… and maybe I still will. But I deeply identify with this and vow to work on not being jealous. We should build each other up, not tear others apart.

  4. Sara Martinez | 13th May 14

    Hi, Andrea. I think this is a very important topic for women to discuss — not merely to acknowledge that these feelings of envy exist but to also acknowledge their destructive power and to try to uncover their source. I think you’re exactly right that our envy of one another stems from insecurity. Women feel competitive with each other — that we need to be more attractive, more successful, more together than other women — and the source of that is a fear that we aren’t attractive enough, aren’t successful enough, don’t have things together enough to be considered valuable members of society. I think what it gets right down to is the things that women are taught make them valuable. We believe, deep down, that to be worthwhile we have to be attractive to men, and when we see other women attracting men it triggers this fear that the attention they are receiving is something that is being taken from us. I think one of the most insidious parts of the whole issue is that it focuses so much of women’s energy and resources on competing for the attention of men. All of that time and all of that energy could be put to much better use. I think that’s the real destructive power of the type of envy you’re talking about here.

    • Andrea Lucado | 13th May 14

      Amen, Sara. I think we are wired to believe this very young. It is something I still fight today!

  5. jesuseun | 15th May 14

    This is so true , as women, we need to help, strengthen, empower and learn from each other. Our struggles are mostly common so why don’t we help ourselves instead of putting the other down. It takes deliberate efforts and steps, lets deliberately chose to do the right thing.
    Great Job Andrea, thanks for sharing.

  6. Patricia A. Oluku | 20th May 14

    This is something I used to have issues with. I tried to convince myself that being is normal as long as, you don’t feel hatred toward them. I thank, God , for His mercy because people are the ones jealous of me. I think the best thing to do is to help each others, by building each others up and not to break us apart.

  7. Millie | 24th Jun 16

    Wow I must confess you make some very trncahent points.

  8. Dalton | 26th Jun 16

    Hey, that’s the grtaeest! So with ll this brain power AWHFY?

  9. Latasha | 24th Oct 16

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  10. Christina | 17th Nov 16

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  11. Juliet | 8th Nov 17

    Jealousy is nothing but a lack of love. There is nothing hard about figuring it out. When hatred for another enters our hearts and we despise another woman who seems to be blessed in ways we are not, we are practising the murder that Jesus described, which is anger without cause.

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