Is the attractive person sitting next to your partner at the dinner table a tiger? No, of course not. But yet, you respond with fight or flight mode as if it's life or death.
You hate being uncomfortable and probably have never learned or practiced how to sit with uncomfortable.
When you feel jealous, you want that feeling to go away as quickly as possible, and by any means possible, often leaving your partner and anyone around with the uncomfortableness of your actions as you try to relieve yourself of those jealous feelings.
This episode give you a couple things to incorporate and practice to learn to create more space between when you feel jealous and when you act jealous. Open that space to create some time to calm down so you can respond properly to how you are feeling and why.
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[00:00:00] Shanenn Bryant: When those jealous emotions start to rise up and they start to boil up in you, your next actions likely fall into one of two buckets. You explode right there on the spot. No matter who's around, regardless of the circumstances. And you feel like you just can't hold it in and you let loose. You unleash!
[00:00:28] Shanenn Bryant: One of the most common threads I hear from others just like you, is the overwhelming rush of emotions that feel like you just can't control your jealous actions in the heat of the moment. As soon as you see something or you think you see something, you are spitting venom at your partner, like in an instant. Those direct-action habits start coming out and you start showing out.
[00:00:55] Shanenn Bryant: Maybe you're yelling, maybe you're crying. Maybe you stormed off and it's obvious to those around you that you're upset. And your partner is left to try to either put on a happy face and pretend like there's nothing wrong. Or they have to be the one who embarrassingly has to fill people in on what's going on. Or maybe they have to make up a story on the spot. Leaving the uncomfortableness to them, to your partner.
[00:01:27] Shanenn Bryant: And I get it, unfortunately that time between when we think we see something or when we think there's a situation and that launch of venom is so quick. In fact, when my husband and I first started dating, we went out one night with a bunch of his friends. And this was years ago, like at the tail end of us "going to the bars" and believe it or not, the beginning of Facebook, like Facebook was just out, not too long before that.
[00:01:59] Shanenn Bryant: My husband, then my fairly new boyfriend, had mostly single friends who loved being single. I mean, they loved it! So, when Facebook came out, everyone was reconnecting with people that they went to school with. And that was of course the original intent at Facebook. And so my husband had connected with some of the people that he went to high school with and, who he grew up with in the neighborhood.
[00:02:27] Shanenn Bryant: But there was one female in particular that stood out to me. And he did tell me that he connected with her because she and one of his still single friends... they all went to school together, and it sounded like maybe those two were previously interested in each other, but they never dated. () His friend and this girl).
[00:02:47] Shanenn Bryant: And he thought now would be a good time to set the two of them up. So, since me and my husband were already going out with this friend in this group of my husband's friends, he invited this girl and her friend to come and meet up with us so that maybe his single friend and her could reconnect because they already knew each other from school. And it seemed like there was a previous interest. And so he was trying to make a love connection and invited her to come out since we were going out with them.
[00:03:21] Shanenn Bryant: About an hour into being at the bar, my husband starts talking about her and how she's got a really good job and how nice she is. And he kind of seemed concerned with why she hadn't shown up yet. And he kept looking at his watch and then he'd say, "Well, I wonder why she's not here yet." "Maybe she decided not to come."
[00:03:42] Shanenn Bryant: And then, a few minutes later, he'd say "I just talked to her earlier and she said that she was bringing a friend and that they would definitely be here." "Maybe she's just running late."
[00:03:52] Shanenn Bryant: Now, as you can imagine. I mean, this is a Saturday night, the bar is completely packed. The music is so loud, like the kind of loud where you can almost feel it in your chest.
[00:04:04] Shanenn Bryant: And he had probably four or five, I can't remember how many of his friends were there with us. And they were all kind of scattered around different places, but pretty much in close proximity to our table. And for the very first time in our relationship, my jealousy came out and I mean I erupted like Unleashed!
[00:04:32] Shanenn Bryant: I started yelling at him. I was so nasty with what I was saying. I was screaming so loud in this bar. And I still tell myself to this day that I yelled so loud because the music was so loud. But deep down I know I yelled so loud because I knew I really liked him, and my level of yelling was matching my level of fear. But what came out of my mouth was not nice. It was disgusting. And it can only be interpreted as just nasty anger. And for the poor rest of those souls that were close by would probably describe it as a crazy episode, as I started yelling at him.
[00:05:22] Shanenn Bryant: "Maybe you should just date her." Only I didn't say date. "Maybe you should just date her if she's so great and so nice." "Why are you with me?" "Sounds like you wish you would rather be with her." And "instead of talking to me for the last hour, you've been talking about her and worried about her and where she was."
[00:05:42] Shanenn Bryant: "Have fun dating her." Again, I didn't say dating. "Have fun dating her. I Hope you guys have a great time together." And I stormed off. Only the volume was like, times 17 million.
[00:05:58] Shanenn Bryant: And as I'm sitting here telling you the story, I can still feel the sickness in my stomach that I felt the next day and how embarrassed I felt around his friends the next day. Because by the way, the following day was the Superbowl. Which my husband had invited all of those same people back to his house for Superbowl. And to be honest, I wasn't sure that I was invited. It was horrible. I felt so awkward and so embarrassed around us friends and embarrassed around him. And sad and you know, the emotions that I'm talking about when that happens. And you realize that you kind of went off the rails a bit, but you're not... you're still not at that stage where you're fully ready to admit it.
[00:06:53] Shanenn Bryant: Everybody knew that I had this major massive blow up and just as I thought, I couldn't feel any worse, when my husband did finally decide to talk to me the next day, he said, "I just wanted to set my friend up with someone." " I'm so happy being with you and I feel so comfortable around you, I just wanted my friend to have someone too and have the same thing."
[00:07:22] Shanenn Bryant: Oh, my gosh, like I probably actually should stop recording this and call him and apologize one more time. Like poor traumatized guy. Okay. Listen to this while I go make a phone call.
[00:07:37] Shanenn Bryant: If you're enjoying this episode, please scroll down on the main page of the show and click the five-star rating. One click to show your appreciation, but more importantly, it helps to get the podcast in front of other jealousy suffers just like you and let them know that it might be worth listening to. And step two, go to the show notes and click the link to schedule your free clarity call with me.
[00:08:05] Shanenn Bryant: I have an amazing coaching program called three for me. Together we'll work on three areas: changing your goals, changing your habits, and changing your mind. You and me, one-on-one.
[00:08:17] Shanenn Bryant: Just two clicks! One click on the five-star ratings so others can join here on the podcast with you. And one to start focusing on yourself and sign up for the clarity call to discuss the three for me program. Let's get back to it!
[00:08:33] Shanenn Bryant: The second response bucket that you could have is that you hold on to everything. And you can flip back and forth. I definitely played in both buckets.
[00:08:45] Shanenn Bryant: You may be someone who's more in the second bucket where you hold everything in and you don't say anything, but you change your behavior to your partner, so they definitely know something is going on, but you won't tell them what's wrong. Your partner can tell that something has happened. You're being different and then they start working through their mind, like what could have happened? What could it be?
[00:09:09] Shanenn Bryant: They have to keep guessing what it is that they've done this time. Like, they feel like, oh my gosh, what did I do this time? And sometimes we feel like, oh, they absolutely know. And sometimes they do. Like, even though they haven't done anything they've been with you long enough, they know how you are. They also can already identify what you think is a threat.
[00:09:33] Shanenn Bryant: So, the first bucket is certainly the least emotionally regulated response where you just fly off the handle. And that one can cause some massive damage to your relationship because of the things that you say, or you do or both, but I guess on that one, at least your partner knows what's going on. Whereas the second type of response gives off this really heavy energy and inevitably it changes the dynamic of the day and the relationship anyway. So really it's a toss-up between the two.
[00:10:07] Shanenn Bryant: One of the things I help with in one-on-one coaching is creating that space in the moment between when you feel jealous and that action, whatever that is. Whether it's exploding or whether it's you pulled away from your partner. You're not letting them, hold your hand anymore. You've kind of turned the other direction, whatever that is, but I help create space in that moment between when you feel jealous and whatever that action is.
[00:10:36] Shanenn Bryant: I want you to consider the idea of getting comfortable with the uncomfortable. So, one thought blacker you may have is that life should feel good all the time. And if you don't feel good about things, that means that something's bad. Something's wrong. And when you logically think of it, like right now, you're probably saying to yourself, I don't feel that way. I know that, you know, life comes with a bunch of crap.
[00:11:05] Shanenn Bryant: But in our day to day, like going from one thing to the next to the next, we expect things to go smoothly. We expect things to be on time. We expect not to have any problems. Even though most of you because you're probably somewhat controlling, have also tried to prepare yourself for everything's going to go wrong. Like you're in your head thinking everything's going to go wrong. But you expect everything to go right. And that everything should feel good all the time. And if you don't feel good, then something's wrong and it needs to be fixed.
[00:11:44] Shanenn Bryant: And I know that, you know, that's not true. But the minute you get into uncomfortable, you freak out. You go into panic mode, catastrophe thinking and starting to try to figure out how do I fix this? How do I make it go away? Make it better. Just want to get this out of me. I don't want to feel uncomfortable.
[00:12:05] Shanenn Bryant: But it's not true. You don't always need to fix it. You don't always need to live in comfortable. You don't always need to get out of uncomfortable, ASAP. It was so beneficial for me to learn to sit in uncomfortable. I preach all the time about practice. That you have to practice the skills and practice using the tools that are available to you. If you want to overcome this obsessive jealousy, if you want to tame that anxiety, and this is just another example of something that takes that practice.
[00:12:47] Shanenn Bryant: So, let me give you an example of needing to practice, getting comfortable with uncomfortable. And this scenario may resonate with you. But you and your partner try to do a date night and you go to a Japanese restaurant, you know, the kind where they put you like eight people all at the same table and you can be total strangers or be, you know, maybe it's a group, but it's usually like people who don't know each other, all get sat at one table and then the cook is right there and cooks everything at the table with you.
[00:13:16] Shanenn Bryant: So, there are other strangers being seated at the table and of course, your partner gets seated directly next to the beautiful woman wearing the low cut top. And I'm just using a woman for this example, but it could be your partner seated next to Mr. Sexy, too.
[00:13:34] Shanenn Bryant: Now, if this is in your jealous drunk drawer of situations that trigger a meltdown, the minute this happens you start to heat up. You're breathing speeds up. It gets shallow and your heart is already racing. And most likely you're getting ready to begin the meltdown process because them sitting next to her next to an attractive person makes you feel uncomfortable?
[00:14:02] Shanenn Bryant: And everything starts to heat up. It's in this moment, in the very beginning, when you feel that tenge of jealousy that you already start to go into fight or flight mode. You want the danger to be over and you're going to do anything to get it to stop, or to get to a safe place in an environment where you feel safe again, whatever that is.
[00:14:25] Shanenn Bryant: This worked really well for us as humans, way back in the beginning of time, when it was a tiger! When we needed to run and fight or flight from a tiger. But she's not a tiger. There's no immediate danger.
[00:14:42] Shanenn Bryant: But you let that nervousness sink in and you start to think danger. I don't like this feeling. This sucks. I don't like it. I don't want to feel like this. I don't want her sitting there. I don't want to feel jealous. I don't want to feel uncomfortable.
You want to push those feelings away. You don't want to feel that discomfort and not just, you don't want to feel it, you don't know how to sit with it. It's probably something you've never learned to do. Not something that you've ever practiced before.
[00:15:15] Shanenn Bryant: What your default brain tells you is if I'm uncomfortable, if I don't feel good in a situation, I must do something to change it. I must react. I have to change the dynamic in some way to make it stop. You're focused on getting that jealousy feeling out of you. That's what you want to do. You want to get rid of those emotions as fast as possible so that you don't have to feel uncomfortable anymore.
[00:15:44] Shanenn Bryant: And hence you either explode or you give a look. You know, the look. The look that you give to your partner to let them know to change whatever's happening. Like, hey, I'm seeing this I'm upset. Maybe yours is to, like I said, to turn in your seat or pull your hand away from him. That thing you know you do when you're signaling your partner to fix it. The signal that you give to let them know that you're not happy. And that they better figure out real quick why.
[00:16:17] Shanenn Bryant: And no matter how gross you feel about doing it in the moment you will do whatever you have to do to feel safe again. And that makes it feel like you have no control over it. It seems so automatic. And there's no stopping it and you blow up in the moment.
[00:16:36] Shanenn Bryant: And in that moment, you're not concerned with how uncomfortable you're making your partner. You're not worried about who's around or how you make even the innocent woman feel who randomly got seated next to your partner. I mean, sometimes it gets transferred onto them as well. Even if you know your partner's going to be REALLY pissed this time, you make everyone else around you uncomfortable so that you don't have to be. Everyone else around, including your partner, we make them uncomfortable, so you don't have to be. You're in that fight or flight and you're taking a whole bunch of innocent people with you.
[00:17:24] Shanenn Bryant: And anyone and everyone in your line of fire is fair game for destruction as long as you get it out of you. Like you get to not feel that way. The quickest path to back to comfortable is where you're trying to get to. You haven't practiced sitting in discomfort.
[00:17:45] Shanenn Bryant: But what if you decided that it's okay to be uncomfortable? That not everything has to feel good all the time. And not just that, not everything has to feel good all the time, but that you're ok feeling uncomfortable.
[00:18:06] Shanenn Bryant: I want you to just sit with that for a second. Like what if it were okay to be okay in an uncomfortable situation like that? What if you could start little by little putting some space in between the jealous feeling and the blowup? The jealous feeling and the dirty look? The jealous feeling and the change in your attitude towards your partner? What if you could put some space in between that? A little bit of space to live in the discomfort. A little space to feel it. And think about it for a moment to endure it a little bit.
[00:18:49] Shanenn Bryant: Here are a couple of things that you can start to do to try to build some space between the feeling and the action. So first, understand that when you're feeling jealous and you start to have that nervous pit in your stomach, your breathing starts to shallow, and I talked about that earlier. So, with that less oxygen to your brain, it is harder for you to think clearly. So, you're already not coming from a clear mind.
[00:19:20] Shanenn Bryant: So, one option is incorporating the box breathing exercise as a way to think about something else while you're sitting in that uncomfortable, giving you something to focus on while you are sitting in the uncomfortable.
[00:19:36] Shanenn Bryant: You can, and most likely will, still be able to feel the uncomfortableness. So, you get to experience it and you get to sit with it but you're working to calm the breathing a bit in that time. So the box breathing can work really well. One, to just kind of bring it down so that you can start to have a clear head and you may not go all the way to totally clear head, like you do the day after when you're starting to regret everything, but you can start to create some space there and to pull down that level, that energy a little bit.
[00:20:17] Shanenn Bryant: The other thing I love is to start focusing on the feeling. Where do you feel it? Like let's sit with it and let's learn to experience our feelings. And start focusing on what are we feeling? Where do you feel it, where in your bod is that anxiety showing up? For me, mine, it's always in my jaw. I feel my jaw tightened and I kind of purse my lips. Like I really clench my lips a little bit.
[00:20:48] Shanenn Bryant: So In that moment, consider thinking about where yours is. Is it in your jaw? Is it your stomach? Is it your throat? Really take a minute to think about. Okay. I'm feeling this way. The goal is to create some space between this feeling and whatever I'm going to do, what my action is. And so start focusing on the feeling, where am I feeling it in my body? And then once you have identified, I feel it in my throat. I feel it in my stomach. I feel it wherever that is. Maybe it's your chest.
[00:21:22] Shanenn Bryant: Once you've identified where you're feeling it, search in your mind then for what emotion it is. Go deeper than just, I feel jealous. Think through the why to get to the emotion that you're really feeling. Do you feel a sad. Do you feel embarrassed? Is there something about the situation that makes you feel disrespected? What is it exactly? And by focusing on locating where you're feeling the anxiety and focusing on getting to the nitty-gritty like, what is this emotion really cause usually the first thought of our emotion is not what it actually is. So, by focusing on, I'm going to first locate where I'm feeling this in my body and I'm going to then try to name it, think through like, what is it really?
[00:22:18] Shanenn Bryant: This is going to put you more into spectator mode where you're almost like, like as if you were watching yourself. Because you're looking for where you feel the anxiety and what it is, kind of takes you to that 360 degree outside of yourself a little bit. And this really helps to pull you out of those intense feelings a bit and start creating some space there. This helps to practice sitting in that discomfort so you can start to practice working on creating a longer space,
[00:22:55] Shanenn Bryant: Because here's the thing, even if you were able to gain 10 more seconds of space before your action or 30 more seconds, or as you practice more... three minutes, five minutes, 10 minutes, two days. Trust me. It'll happen.
[00:23:10] Shanenn Bryant: The more that you practice sitting in the uncomfortable, learning how to do things in that discomfort starting maybe with these two things, the box breathing, and then start identifying the emotion that you're having, this will start to create some space.
[00:23:27] Shanenn Bryant: Even if you change it just a little bit. If it changes the outcome just a little bit, that is progress. You are so much stronger than what you're giving yourself credit for.
[00:23:42] Shanenn Bryant: So try stretching out that uncomfortable time in between feeling jealous and acting jealous just a little bit. I know that you can do it. If it doesn't work the first time, try it again. If you only can get 30 more seconds and great. Even if it changes the outcome just a little bit that's progress.
[00:24:06] Shanenn Bryant: And just know, I believe in enough for the both of us. So, you got this. Practice, practice, practice creating that space.
[00:24:16] Shanenn Bryant: Until next time, take care. And remember you're not alone.