By Alexis Zinkerman

What’s the line between a healthy territorial reaction and delusional jealousy? Bestselling author and relationship expert Susan Winter explains how bipolar individuals can know the difference.

I was chatting with another bipolar friend this weekend on the phone and the topic of conversation turned to jealousy. And I started to wonder how many other bipolar people struggle with the green-eyed monster old envy. Is this a feeling that goes hand in hand with bipolar? There’s delusional jealousy and then there’s out and out paranoia.

I struggle when a friend gets promoted at her job and I’m trying to find steady work. I struggle when I see my husband chatting with friends online and offline and the few friends I had I lost due to my illness. I even once sent someone I was jealous over a nasty email in a fit of psychotic envy.

What is jealousy and why does it make us do awful self-destructive things? We all can relate to the seventh deadly sin. It is popularized in songs such as by Alanis Morissette. It’s something we all go through, but bipolar makes this emotion far more intense. I contacted relationship expert and best-selling author Susan Winter for her take on jealousy.

“Jealousy is a defensive response to feeling inferior and devalued. It’s the auto-reaction of one who doesn’t know their own worth, or that of a partner responding to an inappropriate situation created by their mate,” said Winter. 

“In relationships, a chronic jealousy of ‘others’ signifies the fear of losing one’s position of power. Other people are seen as a threat. Real or imagined, this creates an emotional roller coaster that eventually erodes love within the partnership.”

I’ve always seen other women as a threat, especially if they were prettier, thinner, smarter, had a better job, went to better schools. I get envious of the way some women have this repoire with men.

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