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CLEO (Malaysia) - - YOUR LIFE, YOUR RULES! -

eceiv­ing up­wards of six phone calls from a friend in a day usu­ally only hap­pens on drunk night out, right? But not for 28-year-old Cath, a univer­sity re­searcher. Her best mate, Amelia, used to ring her six times ev­ery day of the week, at least.

“The calls were con­stant,” she says. “I found my­self ly­ing about where I was, and why I couldn’t take the phone call. Amelia al­ways wanted to know where I was, what I was do­ing, and who I was with.” But in­ces­sant phone calls (and texts and emails) were only a small part of this pos­ses­sive, con­trol­ling friend­ship. “Amelia did ev­ery­thing for me, to the point where she wanted to pay for us to go on hol­i­days to­gether,” says Cath. “She’d go out of her way to pick me up and drive me ev­ery­where. Then, if I did some­thing to up­set her — like not take her calls — she’d make me feel guilty.” Amelia was also a gos­siper, which was es­pe­cially bad be­cause the two girls worked to­gether. “When I did grow close to some­one, es­pe­cially at work, Amelia would get in and try to be bet­ter friends with them,” says Cath. “She’d take them out for one-on-one lunches, then come back and say things like, ‘Jen­nifer said you’re un­pro­fes­sional with clients’.” It was mis­sion ac­com­plished for Amelia — she had Cath iso­lated, in­se­cure and all to her­self. Dr Na­dine Pelling, se­nior lec­turer of Psy­chol­ogy at Univer­sity of South Aus­tralia, de­fines jeal­ousy as fear and anx­i­ety over a loss that one an­tic­i­pates. An­tic­i­pates is the op­er­a­tive word; no loss has hap­pened. “Jeal­ous peo­ple feel threat­ened when their friend goes off with some­body else. It makes them feel re­jected, and it can make them want to get back at them.”

Ac­cord­ing to Dr Pelling, jeal­ousy is tied to low self­es­teem, and has a habit of ap­pear­ing in peo­ple who are wor­ried about aban­don­ment. “Chil­dren need emo­tional con­nec­tion to grow into healthy peo­ple, but not ev­ery­one gets that,” says Dr Pelling. She com­pares be­ing left be­hind to a wound, and con­se­quent feel­ings of jeal­ousy as salt. “You’ve to heal that sore, be­cause salt doesn’t sting on healthy skin.” Cath ad­mits she en­abled Amelia’s jeal­ous be­hav­iour. “I’m a peo­ple pleaser — I at­tract dom­i­nant peo­ple, and then I let them take over be­cause I just want to make them happy.” Cath be­came friends with Amelia at the low­est point of her life. This is a com­mon way for jeal­ous friend­ships to start off, says Dr Pelling, as that per­son is very vul­ner­a­ble. Cath af­firms, “I’d just bro­ken up with my boyfriend of seven years. I re­mem­ber Amelia com­ing over and of­fer­ing me a lift home, which I ac­cepted. I was baf­fled as to why she was be­ing so nice. But, I was, like, ‘Well, I’m a bit lonely and I need some com­pany’, so we fell into this rou­tine.”

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