Jealousy toolbox: And Then What exercise

jealousy fear insecurity egg

An exercise to add to your jealousy/insecurity toolkit

We are often asked how to deal with jealousy, and we could teach an entire weekend of workshops around it. However, since we’re both pretty lazy and recognize that people are really busy, we have a few exercises that we recommend to help determine the root of your jealousy, fear or insecurity. By itself, this exercise doesn’t make that fear or jealousy go away, but it’s the first step in understanding and acknowledging it, which in turn gives you something to work on over time.

If you’re jealous, afraid or insecure, try this And Then What exercise to discover the root of your fear:

1. Take the situation you fear and state it aloud.

Example: I freak out when my husband and his girlfriend want to have sex without me.

2. Answer the question, what would that situation possibly result in?

Example: If they have sex without me, he might love her more than he loves me.

3. Assume that that result happens, and answer the question, and then what?

Example: If they have sex without me, he might love her more than he loves me. (And then what?) And then we might drift apart.

4. Assume that that result happens, and answer the question, and then what?

If they have sex without me, he might love her more than he loves me. (And then what?) And then we might drift apart. (And then what?) And then she and I compete for his love, and I lose.

5. Repeat the process until you get to the point of ridiculousness.

If they have sex without me, he might love her more than he loves me. (And then what?) And then we might drift apart. (And then what?) And then she and I compete for his love, and I lose. (And then what?) And he and I get divorced, and they live together in our house, while I’m alone. (And then what?) And I have to watch them being happy, while I date crappy losers and never find love again. (And then what?) And then they are happy, and I’m alone for the rest of my life. (And then what?) And then I die, homeless and alone with 20 cats.

Voice your fear to diminish it

For most people, it’s helpful and empowering to voice their deepest and darkest fears in this manner. Minx, being estranged from her biological family, actually does fear dying homeless and alone, so most of her insecurities center around this same ultimate conclusion. By bringing your fears to light and acknowledging them to yourself and to those you love, most people discover that there is an immediate reduction in the power that fear has over them.

Of course, there is still work to be done. Naming the fear doesn’t immediately obviate it. However, when you and your loves are aware of your fear, it becomes easier to recognize when that fear is guiding your behavior, and you can take steps to address it head on. And as you begin to deal with that fear on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, you’ll discover that its power over you does slowly dissipate. Minx’s fear of dying homeless and alone is still there. However, whereas it once was a giant elephant imposing rules and trampling all over her lovers, metamours and relationships, these days, it’s a tiny mouse that only squeaks every once in a while.

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