Jealousy is a human feeling experienced by everyone in varying intensities, at different times and phases of growth. Frequently confused, jealousy and envy are often intertwined. Even within the psychoanalytic literature confusion persists and much less has been written about jealousy than envy.
However, unlike envy, jealousy involves three entities and affects all people involved. It can be painful as other difficult-to-bear feelings (e.g. shame, guilt anger, hatred) underlie jealousy.
Yet, total absence of jealousy renders a person less human, less relational. In analytic terms jealousy is a defense against emotional anguish. This book begins with an extensive overview of the nature, developmental origins and poignant cultural (especially poetic) allusions to jealousy, emphasizing that it is through artistic expression that a true understanding of this frequently deeply disturbing feeling is achieved.
It closes with a thoughtful summary, synthesis and critique of the chapters by 12 distinguished analysts. These contributors, addressing the developmental, cultural and clinical aspects, add to the understanding of both normal and pathological jealousy and to the clarification of its confusion with envy. To do so, they draw on poetry, literature, film and art as well as psychoanalytic literature, personal and therapeutic experience.
Together, the 12 chapters provide readers with a far-reaching knowledge base which increases empathy for patients and therapists themselves struggling with jealousy. Therapeutic skills to manage jealousy in clinical practice are sharpened. It is a deeply rich, thought provoking book, well worth reading by psychotherapists.