There’s no such thing as jealousy

Jealousy: that dragon which slays love under the pretense of keeping it alive” ~Havelock Ellis

green_eye_by_paramorepixie-d55b0k0
Photo credit

So if jealousy doesn’t exist, where does this mythical beast come from? This green-eyed monster that leaves us sick with despair and transforms us into an angry god who fires lightning bolts at the ones we love to stop them from pursuing their bliss, on account of our own self-preservation? What causes such ugliness in us all?

The Ethical Slut (first edition) blew my mind during my first forays into polyamory over a decade ago. The authors suggested that ‘jealousy’ is not actually a feeling or emotion. Rather, it is an umbrella term referring to a collection of emotions that can come up in any number of situations. Reid Mihalko describes an octopus with eight arms, each arm a continuum of an emotion that falls under the construct of jealousy. We can fall anywhere along all 8 arms, creating a unique emotional venn diagram. Kathy Labriola prefers to simplify jealousy into three main feelings: fear, anger and sadness. She then provides a comprehensive list of feelings and symptoms falling within these categories that can help direct us towards a core underlying experience of jealousy.

While jealousy may not ‘exist’ as a pure emotion, it is real, it is alive, and it is valid. I have yet to meet anyone, even those who claim they are not jealous people, who don’t experience at least a wobble, if not a crushing blow, from this creature of the dark. I have seen friends and lovers try to tame or hide their emotions for fear of not being seen as ‘poly perfect’. I’ve even had a partner ask me, “Are you sure you’re poly?” during my own times of intense emotion (this was intensely triggering for me, btw). There is no shame in having feelings. Do not buy into the ‘stigma’ that becoming poly makes you more evolved to the point that jealousy falls off your radar. Jealousy is not weak, is not shameful, is not erratic or out of control.

My so-called ‘evolution’ only means that, in the face of jealousy, I choose to remain heart-centred, to swim through whatever is alive in me, do the shadow work, to love myself, and to come out the other side still loving you without trying to control your joy. No matter what happens, I know I will be ok, in fact I will thrive. From this place I can nurture my fear, my anger, my sadness, the way I would care for a child. There is such a thing as jealousy. She is a green-eyed dragon, but she’s a baby dragon. I’ve got this.

Photo credit

 

Advertisements

Horizontal hostility: sex negativity wars

2991767301_a2a4eaccf0_nWhen we apply…unfair judgments to other people who are like us, when we see our friends as too slutty or too free, this is called horizontal hostility” ~The Ethical Slut

The words come out of my mouth so quickly and sharply, with a smile and nonchalance, yet a faint and  pointedly ugly undertone of disgust.

“So, are you going to fuck her too?”

“Hunting again I see”

“Wow, I’m surprised you didn’t get her phone number. What’s wrong?”

Passive aggressive is an art form I have mastered. Not because I chose it. It chose me. In fact, it seems to have an entire nation in a choke hold.

Born and raised in a culture brimming with judgement, fear, resentment, jealousy, moral codes, and scarcity. And above all, righteousness. If I am good enough, I’ll go to heaven. If I am good enough, I will be loved. And what is good enough? Well it’s quite clear, it’s everywhere. Billboards, TV ads, media, church, parents, text books, teachers, well-meaning strangers – they all know the truth, and they deliver the message with such conviction. Such passive aggressive brilliance. I am that.

I spend all my days diligently tearing apart these beliefs, balming these deeply ingrained wounds from our ancestors, our contemporaries, our childhood. Learning how to speak and listen from a compassionate place of acceptance and forgiveness. Yet there they are at the surface, simmering, lying in wait for the next attack. I don’t need to put any effort or energy towards them at all, they have a consciousness all their own. In perpetual tantrum, they seethe and quietly calculate in the background, looking outwards for signs of “it’s not fair”. If I can’t be sexual, then no one should be. If I can’t express myself freely, neither should you. If I can’t (fill in the blank), sure as hell buddy I better not see you (filling in the blank).

Tragically, every one of those “can’t” statements is a belief I have internalized, allowing myself to be disempowered by everyone and everything.

Giving temporary yet false satisfaction in a vastly unjust world, out they come. Deliberate, active, carefully veiled hostile acts. I am judging you. I am judging you harshly, for doing the very things I wish I could do. I feel so small for this, and in that smallness, I kick it up a notch and lay it on even thicker. If I really speak from that place of righteousness, then maybe, just maybe, you will feel as small and dark and lonely as I do.

 

Horizontal hostility occurs when members of a targeted group believe, act on, or enforce the dominant system of discrimination and oppression.