Some Words from JimSharp

Jealous, again

When I was a freshly-minted poly person, and even before that, I was jealous of the attention that my wife was getting.

Now, when you’re a new convert to any philosophy, you tend to be very gung-ho about it. Feeling jealous is counter to playing well with others, and I felt like a monster because I felt the way “they” say I’m not supposed to.

The community at large can be unhelpful at times like this, because no one likes jealousy.

I beat myself up over it. I listened to what my wife said, my partners said, and what my friends said, and created an awful reality for myself: I’m a horrible person because I’m jealous, and that makes me completely undeserving of love, compassion, or the intimacy that I crave.

Let me share something with you that may or may not go against what you’ve heard.

Jealousy is normal. It is to be expected. Don’t fight it.

Jealousy is a hard-wired fear. It arises in response to a perceived threat against your pair bond (be that your SO, spouse, or best friend). Simple as that. This isn’t something you choose to feel; it is your lizard-brain having a field day.

In BDSM, in particular, you’re already messing with potent, primal feelings. You’re tickling the lizard-brain. Remember that.

You go out to a play party, and your primary partner is getting all vulnerable/wet/beaten/orgasmic/bound by someone who isn’t you. Your lizard-brain is already juiced up when you see this going on, and WHAM, you get flooded by emotions you can’t control.

Say you manage to keep your shit together until the scene is over, your partner’s reassurance doesn’t even make a dent in the feelings. The horrible feelings last.

You fight it, and try and push it down. You think you’re in the wrong. Fuck, it is just the most awful thing in the universe! Spin! Spin! Spin!

Okay. Stop.

Those feelings are normal. Your lizard-brain saw something it perceived as threatening, and reacted accordingly, but flooding you with neurotransmitters in preparation for battle. That’s why (as a biological male, at least) you feel like you want to kill something.

Fighting the emotions and neurotransmitters is the last thing you want to do. Why? You’re adding logs to the fire. It can, and will, push you from emotional discomfort right over into acting out in ways you’ll regret.

Jealousy is normal. Accept it. What isn’t acceptable is acting out in violent ways because you’re high on lizard rage juice.

What should you do?

Walk away. Remove yourself from the stimulus so you can safely feel the flood inside you, and allow it to pass without feeding it. When you’re more centered, and your partner is finished, don’t try to hide what you were feeling. Communicate sooner, so you can resolve it later.

This is what you’re going for:

“Baby, I felt really jealous, watching you and Master SugarNads playing. I want to talk about it when we’re at home, but I really want a hug right now.”

“Oh, honey! I’m safe, and I had a great time. Let me hug the hell out of you right now!”

Isn’t that better than a swath of emotional destruction through the middle of a play party? Yes.

Let me reiterate: jealousy is normal; accept it; acting on it can be the bad thing.

So, you’ve survived the experience. This means you can move forward, and experience it again. And again… Better than it sounds, and this is why. Every time you see your partner return, it helps your civilized brain tell the lizard-brain to shut the fuck up. Eventually, the lizard will not even blink in situations that used to leave you flooded to the hairline with rage juice.

Do not listen to the “beautiful and evolved” people who never seem to feel a single intense emotion when they tell you you’re bad for feeling jealous. Do not take their reality for your own. Take what you feel, work with it, remove the fangs, and use your words.

That is the path to peace with the chaos of jealousy.

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