JEALOUSY: the toxin distilled in the mind from the vapours of seething envy

With effects similar to a drug, uncontrolled doses of jealousy expose vulnerabilities. A simple and honest envy of the success of others need be no more than a personal recognition of what appears to be desirable in life. Such an appraisal can be a positive spur to the individual to strive to attain a similar success. No harm in that. But when the envy is simmered with an adverse and negative comparison with real or imagined personal failure, the whole seething brew progressively distils and concentrates into a debilitating toxin.

Some individuals are not motivated to strive for loftier goals or to try to compensate for a perceived failure by looking for strategies and methods to correct the situation. When they are frustrated by the actions of another they don't explore more creative strategies that might enhance their own circumstance. They focus all their compensation options and any reactionary anger on the source of the perceived frustration. A purified jealousy has had every factor of a perceived failure distilled out, and left only the essence of an individual identified as the cause... whether that individual has actually contributed to the situation or not. The standard jealous lover, displaced for whatever reason by an interloping rival, chooses to simmer and brew the frustrating failure until it poisons all thought and behaviour. The only possibility of resolution focuses on the anger-driven destruction of the object-cause. The typical jealous employee, thwarted in promotion and status by a colleague, conspires to plot and intrigue and use opportunities for vindictive retributions whenever possible. The generic jealous child, displaced from being the focus of parental attention by the arrival of a new baby, adopted sibling, pet or whatever, adopts a course of action designed to harm the intruder and restore the former status quo. Even the archetypical custodiae of dark and cryptic secrets will tend to view those secrets as theirs and theirs alone. If the secrets have come to the knowledge of an outsider the fomented jealousy has often been sufficient to action the extermination of the recipient of their security failure.

Whilst such refined and purified examples are occasionally identifiable, life is much more chaotic and complicated than any of the above scenarios. The elements of deception, egotism, humour, trust, avarice, power, et al... are all more than likely to play some sort of role in any situation where jealousy might seem to be the principal distillate. The focus-cause-object of the jealousy may be anything but blameless. The flirtatious lover that distributes favours upon any available recipient. The successful competitor that rubs the success into the wounds of the failures. The winner of the giant pumpkin competition that guards the knowledge of the manure ingredients with paranoid obsession. Many egocentrically biased individuals actively promote their own interests at the expense of others and to expect those who have been deliberately disadvantaged not to be resentful is unrealistic.

The truth of the matter is, that being a victim of jealousy is of little or no benefit to the individual experiencing it. It cripples and constrains behaviour, and without intervention will be a serious handicap that can result in disaster. Having a range of creative, pragmatic optional alternatives available is the best preventative strategy. Avoid putting all your emotional eggs in the one basket until time and experience has allowed a trust to mature. Difficult to imagine though it may be sometimes... particularly in the throes of first sexual encounters... there really are more fish in the sea. Invoking the humorous can be one of the more satisfying antidotes to jealousy... but only if the very real possibility of violent retribution can be avoided. A wronged spouse, for example, might well enjoy the results of managing to subversively enable the cuckolding pair to experience a quantity of cayenne extract in the genital regions. Admittedly, the comic values of that scenario would depend upon where one's sympathies lay.