Thursday, November 13, 2008

Emotional Thoughts - Jealousy, Fear and Anger

I've been thinking lately about jealousy. What causes it, what it triggers as a reaction and what makes it evaporate.

We see jealousy often in Adoptive relationships.

Adoptive mothers jealous of First Mothers. Jealous of the time they got to carry the baby. Jealous of the genetic link to their child. Jealous of the way they look alike or sound alike. An adoptive parent experiencing these feelings might begrudge sending those updates, or resent time spent arranging visits. Her heart might grip with fear at the thought of her baby in another mother's arms, and as such try to prevent contact. For her adult child, she might make reunion a miserable experience. This mother is scared.

First Mothers jealous of Adoptive Mothers. Jealous of the time they get to spend raising the child. Jealous of the way they know their child. Jealous of the family connections they share. A first mother struggling with these feelings might spend copious amounts of time criticizing the adoptive mother's parenting or blaming her for her own feelings of grief. This mother might feel hopeless or angry. This mother is scared.

Kept children jealous of placed children and their perceived "better life". Placed children jealous of kept children and their intimate, taken for granted, connection to their biological history. They are scared.

Biological children of adoptive parents jealous of the "special" status their adopted siblings receive. Adopted children jealous of their parents' biological children "not-adopted" status. These children are scared.

We see jealousy often in other relationships as well.

Marriages. One spouse jealous of outside friendships. A partner jealous of time spent at work. A spouse resentful of outside interests. These spouses are scared.

Friendships. Someone jealous of an old friend's new friend. Resentment at an old friend's new interests or the changing dynamic of a growing friendship. These friends are scared.

I thought about the irrationality of jealousy this week and tried to understand the many ways it drives people to act outside the realm of their normal behavior.

I've seen first hand normally sane, kind and considerate women turn into irrational, possessive maniacs at the mere mention of arranging a visit with their child's birth parent. I've seen adoptive parents pack up and move when they received an unexpected letter in the mail asking for an updated picture of a beloved child.

I've seen sane, kind and loving women upon reunion verbally attack the family that raised their child, in a futile attempt to undo the lost years and forge a relationship with a beloved child.

I've seen loving wives attack and manipulate their husbands. I've seen adoring husbands abuse and control their wives.

I've seen friendships destroyed. Jobs lost. Marriages torn. Reunions end. Open adoptions fail.

Its a logical leap that jealousy stems from fear. But fear of what?

And then I realized, its not fear that someone you love will love someone else; its the fear that they don't love you ENOUGH.

Acts of Jealousy are the attempts to stop your loved one from loving someone else, but the feeling really stems from the fear that the depth of their love for YOU isn't enough.

I have to trust that my sons love for me is deep enough to survive them loving their other mothers.

I have to realize that the boys not loving their other mothers doesn't mean they are going to love me more.

I have to trust that my husband's love for me surpasses his love of football or affection for his buddy.

I have to realize that making him not do his idiotic football pool or not talk to his best friend isn't going to make him love me more.

We have to trust that our relationships, ON THEIR OWN MERIT, are strong enough. We have to trust that we are loved enough. We have to believe that we are worthy of love.

If my sons, or my husband, or my friends choose to leave me its not because they loved something or someone else, its because the quality of OUR relationship wasn't strong enough. They could never love another soul in their lives, but it wouldn't mean they loved me any more. I have to be responsible for my own relationships. I have to believe that I am worthy of being loved. That the love I share with those I love the most is strong, enduring and timeless.

This might not make any sense (it is rather late, and I am rather tired). But to me, when thinking about crazy acts of irrational jealousy I have seen lately, it makes alot of sense.

When I act like I am worthy, I believe that I am worthy and I am loved as I am worthy.


Vanessa said...

Great post!! You know you're right on with jealousy. When it rears its ugly had it can reak havioc on so many people!!
I know I love my daughter enough and she loves me enough to have room to love her first mother as well. This is why I believe God lead me to meet them! She'll now be loved in two countries by two mothers!! Wow that's a lot of love for my sweet girl!

Lala's world said...

"When I act like I am worthy, I believe that I am worthy and I am loved as I am worthy."

AMEN!! well said!