I was happy to listen to a jealousy teleseminar facilitated by Kathy Labriola and Dawn Davidson last week. They discussed some new techniques for managing jealousy- who doesn't like those?? :)
One of these techniques was Kathy's jealousy pie chart- you can read more about it in her new Jealousy Workbook (available for pre-order). Essentially, you create a pie chart and assign what she names as the three main emotions behind jealousy: sadness, anger, and fear. By targeting which emotions, and inquiring further into what specifically you are sad, angry, or fearful about, you can work on drastically cutting down your experience of jealousy. Here was the quick pie chart I constructed while I was on the phone last week (the questions are taken from one of the worksheets Kathy provided; I bolded those things that I found to resonate most with my experiences of jealousy):
In addition, Dawn discussed a self-applied Eye Moment, Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) technique. EMDR is not recommended for use except for with a highly skilled therapist, but this simple exercise can be used on your own. Basically:
Sit comfortably. Close your eyes. Cross your arms and put one hand on each shoulder (your right hand on your left shoulder and vice versa). Think about an event that triggered jealous feelings for you. Immerse yourself as best you can in that experience- what happened, how you felt, what your reaction was. As you think about that experience, begin to tap your shoulders, alternating between your right and left shoulder. As you tap, allow your eyes (while closed) to look at your right and left shoulders. So when you tap your left shoulder, look at your left shoulder, and then tap your right shoulder and move your eyes to look at your right shoulder. Try to hold onto you jealousy-provoking experience as best you can while you do this. You may notice that you have a more and more difficult time remembering and paying attention to your memory.
This technique is interesting to me- I think it is basically a feeling-diffusion technique, one meant to simmer yourself down. One caller during the Q&A mentioned that she found it extremely useful for all sorts of stressful situations and feelings. I actually have used it laying in bed as a way to quiet my mind: I don't even need to physically tap my shoulders. I simply imagine my right hand tapping my left shoulder and vice versa and move my eyes back and forth across the midline of my vision. It's worked to help me relax and fall asleep.
I love coming across new jealousy management techniques and hearing how other people treat and manage this (sometimes) gnarly emotion. It was really awesome to listen to other people ask questions, and then during their brief conversations with the facilitators, go through pretty quick "ah-ha" moments about how they could better negotiate boundaries, ask for things they want, and manage their jealousy. It's pretty transformational!