ENVY Jeal­ousy’s evil com­pan­ion

A tran­quil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot. Proverbs 14:30

Jamaica Gleaner - - FAMILY & RELIGION - Ce­celia Camp­bell Liv­ingston Gleaner Writer fam­ilyan­dreli­gion@glean­erjm.com

JEAL­OUSY HAS been high­lighted a lot re­gard­ing mar­i­tal re­la­tion­ships, but an­other more sin­is­ter emo­tion is just as harm­ful – envy. Envy, if not han­dled prop­erly, will sooner than later man­i­fest it­self in jeal­ousy or even more hurt­ful ac­tions. Dr Ed­ina Bayne, as­so­ciate pas­tor and mem­ber of the Amer­i­can As­so­ci­a­tion of Christian Coun­selors, points out that envy is based on a per­cep­tion that one is in­fe­rior, or that one’s self-es­teem is threat­ened by some­one else’s well-be­ing.

“So en­vi­ous peo­ple act from a po­si­tion of in­fe­ri­or­ity, and that is why they be­come ag­gres­sive, whether in words or ac­tion. Envy is a po­tent mo­tive for en­gag­ing in put-downs, whether through in­sults, ridicule or in­tim­i­da­tion,” she said.

Ac­cord­ing to Bayne, envy is im­moral and ex­tremely dan­ger­ous be­cause it can be prac­tised in­wardly – this eats up the bearer of envy and leads to out­bursts and ex­plo­sive be­hav­iour.

Envy is def­i­nitely a re­la­tion­ship killer and it is not a friend in mar­riage. Bayne stressed that this emo­tion is a big threat to re­la­tion­ships – be it mar­riage, fam­ily or friends.

“Envy is un­jus­ti­fied ha­tred of oth­ers be­cause of their good for­tune, their peace, their joy – you just don’t want them to have any­thing good, and you want to see it taken away. One sees the other’s well-be­ing or suc­cess as a per­sonal af­front and they are made to feel in­tim­i­dated, in­fe­rior or worth­less, so they want to de­stroy it,” said Bayne.

Envy comes in many types, and to prop­erly deal with the emo­tion, Bayne shared that there must be an un­der­stand­ing of them.


Ac­cord­ing to her. there can be gen­eral envy and par­tic­u­lar envy, with the for­mer en­tail­ing hat­ing en­tire groups of peo­ple be­cause we don’t have some things that we do not want them to have – un­jus­ti­fied spite.

“Then there is par­tic­u­lar envy di­rected to­wards spe­cific in­di­vid­u­als with whom we com­pare our­selves or against whom we com­pete.

“For ex­am­ple, a hus­band can dis­like women in gen­eral, and envy his wife in par­tic­u­lar, who might be suc­cess­ful and con­fi­dent; he might see him­self in com­pe­ti­tion with her ca­reer, or for the af­fec­tion and/or re­la­tion­ship with their chil­dren,” said Bayne.

The driv­ing force of this emo­tion, said Bayne, are feel­ings of in­fe­ri­or­ity, ha­tred and im­po­tence that re­sult in heavy doses of self-im­posed suf­fer­ing.

This, she said, can man­i­fest it­self in the re­la­tion­ship with that en­vi­ous part­ner as­sault­ing the other.

The prob­lem, she said, goes be­yond a one on-onere­la­tion­ship, and can lead to ha­tred on a large scale, in­volv­ing en­tire classes of peo­ple, and also has the po­ten­tial to dis­rupt so­ci­ety.

“So when both these cat­e­gories of envy ex­ist in a mar­riage, they have the ca­pac­ity to wreck mar­riages be­cause of the pain and abuse – phys­i­cal and oth­er­wise,” she points out.

Get­ting past the emo­tion and heal­ing the re­la­tion­ships in­volved is a dif­fi­cult one, as Dr Bayne said it will take the part­ner ac­knowl­edg­ing to them­selves or be­ing forced to con­front sev­eral un­flat­ter­ing truths. It would also mean ad­mit­ting that their self-es­teem is so fee­ble that it de­pends on the mis­for­tune of the other per­son.

“When a spouse is self-de­ceived about envy, this leads to a loss of con­scious su­per­vi­sion over these emo­tions, and the ha­tred does not go away. It is usu­ally un­cov­ered when it ex­presses it­self by out­wardly ex­plod­ing, ver­bally or phys­i­cally. When a spouse says, ‘I don’t recog­nise this in­di­vid­ual as the man or woman that I mar­ried’, it is be­cause an en­tire per­son­al­ity has been taken over by this un­con­scious envy,” shared Bayne.

She added: “In or­der to over­come or weaken envy, they have to re­move the feel­ings of ha­tred, in­fe­ri­or­ity, and im­po­tence with which it is as­so­ci­ated. They must in­crease con­fi­dence in their abil­ity, strengthen the ba­sis of their self­es­teem, and in­crease their ca­pac­ity to ap­pre­ci­ate rather than hate,” she said, adding that it will take hard work, but it is some­thing that can be achieved by de­vel­op­ing sta­bil­ity, dis­cov­er­ing their own tal­ents and de­vel­op­ing them through work and re­la­tion­ships.

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