“You will have a brother soon”: how to teach a child to cope with jealousy

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“You will have a brother soon”: how to teach a child to cope with jealousy

Jealousy is a fairly common reaction of a child to the news that he will soon have a brother or sister. Widespread – and destructive, and for the child himself, and for the atmosphere in the family. How to help a son or daughter cope with this emotion? Opinion psychologist Victoria Labokayte.

“If you give birth to another child, I’ll leave home. Or I’ll throw myself out of the window. Know it! ”Said the fifteen-year-old daughter from her first marriage to her mother. And the one, as luck would have it, has a third pregnancy, which she is now afraid to talk about, because her daughter has been getting used to her stepbrother for so many years. And how in such a situation to report that there will be another?

In the way my mother told me this story, I heard fear and guilt. And so she asked her: “What do you feel?” And I learned that for eight years now, since I had divorced my first husband, she feels guilty that she couldn’t, didn’t save, didn’t give all the best, deprived daughter of a full family. And by all means during these years he has been trying to make amends in various ways. From here, the daughter has the power and strength of resentment. Because she perfectly feels the state of her mother, and since the mother herself broadcasts a sense of guilt, then there are reasons?

Surprisingly, until the mother feels her right to manage her own life, the right to her mistakes and her happiness, it will be very difficult for her daughter. In any case, it’s not easy for her, and her feelings are clear, but when mom is not sure of the correctness of her decision, when mom doubts, is afraid to say, feels guilty, it is even more difficult for a girl. And this is mom’s job.

And what is the daughter’s job? And can a person cope with jealousy at the age of fifteen?

I think this is the age at which one can already begin to learn to process such complex emotions as jealousy. But help is needed. Perhaps the girl had not even thought about a similar task: the work of the soul in re-melting to the surface. Perhaps she does not understand that not everything that pops up should be splashed out on others. Perhaps he does not know what to do with the fact that, remaining inside, it turns into an uncontrollable storage of explosive toxic waste.

We learn to cope with such experiences all our lives, and many of us need help when it comes to feelings such as envy, anger, resentment, jealousy. Because it is very difficult and painful. It sometimes happens that it seems erroneous to us that something is wrong with us, that good people do not experience such feelings, that our task is to achieve final enlightenment, in which all these unpleasant sensations simply will not arise.

But no. We are people and for the most part we experience anger, resentment, and jealousy from time to time. But we have been given a brain, a soul and the ability to change, to gradually learn to make a conscious choice, recognizing and at the same time melting all that is most painful into love or a resource – at least in the interests of self-preservation.

Possessing even a small fraction of reflection, we can notice that anger, jealousy, and resentment in the negative situation become fuel for the destruction of oneself and relationships with others, and in the positive – fuel for achievements, changes, strength for effective competition and even love.

How is this achieved? It seems to me that the experience of growing up and losing gives us all the opportunity to learn this art: to melt in the crucible of the soul all the worst that is left in the palm of your hand, as in the tale of the Tin Soldier, only your heart.

It can be a little easier for us to start giving, if our childhood is filled with love, if we have a supply of feelings of recognition and love

At an early age, one of the first crises is the recognition by a growing child that the world is not controlled by his crying, that not all his desires are fulfilled, that his mother is not an extension of his body, that she is not in his undivided power. The loss of merging with a beloved object is experienced very bitterly, and we repeat this lesson in increasingly complex forms all our lives.

We all want to be loved, recognized, ideally – the most beloved, the only, unique. And at the same time, our life in the end is about letting go of loved ones and parting, about a balance of pain and trust, about taking time and giving time. It can be a little easier for us to start giving, if our childhood is filled with love, if we have a supply of feelings of recognition and love. And it is more difficult when there is no this past, early, maternal love that fills us – the source of strength.

But over the years, experience comes, because life is an endless lesson in non-ownership, non-management, impossibility of unlimited power. And the sooner we understand this, the more likely it will be easier for us?

Alas, at fifteen this is practically impossible, and we, the parents, can only be an example of non-appropriating love – one that carries the quiet joy of the fact that our beloved just exists, love without the mortal need of another, without the desire to receive it in full and undivided possession, realizing that this is impossible, and most importantly – not very interesting.

Love that grows not out of poverty, but out of wealth. Love from poverty is trying to “complement” itself through another, wants to be saved from existential loneliness and sounds like “I need you for …”. And the one from wealth is capable of giving without quid pro quo, and only in it we can see a person in all its volume, and not only in that part in which it serves some kind of our personal utilitarian purpose. And in this case, we are capable of what Irwin Yalom calls genuine concern “about the essence and growth of the other.”

When our loved ones leave forever, does our love leave with them? When our children grow up and create their own families, when perhaps we have not seen them for years, do we stop loving them? So, we are able to love, even when the object of love is not at our complete and undivided disposal? And this understanding, perhaps, indicates to us the difficult way of processing jealousy. However, it seems to me that this is the path of an already mature, adult person with sufficient life experience.

How to be the one who is young? What about those who are so captured by feelings that they can no longer pull away, think and see a logical failure in their conclusions? What about those who have not been filled with love since childhood, who have lost confidence, who have been wounded and betrayed many times?

No one but you knows how hard jealousy is for you … It comes from the fear of being betrayed or abandoned by those you love

There are very specific practices that help us in the fight against jealousy. They are described in detail, for example, in the book of Robert Leahy “Jealousy. How to live with her and maintain a relationship. ” Leahy also writes about what a complex feeling, jealousy is – a mixture of anger, anxiety, anxiety, fear, love, doubt, helplessness and sadness. The fact that it is logical and biologically justified, about who is more prone to jealousy and why, but most importantly – talks about how jealousy turns out to be a problem, how our mind falls into its captivity and how to free ourselves from this captivity.

“If we are told from childhood that appearance is everything, then we can form a basic belief that being attractive to a partner is the only thing that strengthens relationships,” he explains. “Our confidence that a partner finds someone else attractive can lead to jealousy.” In addition, “a lack of parental attention can lead to a basic belief that we are not interested. We can focus on this idea, and this will make us not trust the people with whom we enter into a relationship. “

Leahy helps readers learn their basic assumptions and rules that interfere with full-fledged relationships and cause jealousy. He also offers questions, the answers to which allow you to see all the inconsistency formed in relation to other expectations. For example, to work with the conviction “If a partner really loved me, he would never have considered someone else interesting or attractive” the following questions are useful:

  • Is it logical that you are the only person in the world whom your partner finds attractive?
  • Do you find other people attractive?
  • Does this mean that you cannot be trusted?

The author offers a number of practical techniques, for example:

  • set aside a daily fixed time for experiencing jealousy,
  • 15 minutes a day to repeat the same unpleasant thought until we begin to get used to it and it does not cease to cause a negative response,
  • to disengage from unpleasant feelings and thoughts, asking myself the right questions (“Do I want to strengthen my jealousy or abstract myself from it?”, “What happens if I act under the influence of feelings?”, “Is it possible that I can misinterpret the situation ? “,” What exactly can I do now to better cope with myself? “).

What Leahy writes about relations in a pair will be true for the situation of competition between brothers and sisters, and in general for everyone who is somehow drawn into a painful and poorly managed relationship with jealousy – regardless of who she is facing.

Finally, I would like to share another quote from the book. “No one except you knows how hard jealousy is for you … It comes from the fear of being betrayed or abandoned by those you love. The time has come to think of yourself as a person whom you care about, whom you respect and love. We can call it compassion, because you want to stop your torment and pain, surround yourself with care and accept your love for yourself. “

Victoria Labokaite

about the author

Victoria Labokaite – psychologist, consultant.

Photo Source: Getty images

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