Wednesday, February 2, 2011 - 00:00 -- BY WACUI MAKORI

In the realm of relationships, jealousy is one of the
emotions that will once in a while rear its head. In fact, it is not uncommon
to read in the daily newspapers, people confessing to feeling jealous of their
partners for one reason or the other. Individuals in troubled relationships,
often find their problems are more often than not rooted in jealousy.  
According to Counselling Psychologist Joseph Nginya,
jealousy in itself is not bad. He notes that within reasonable limits, it can
actually be considered as a normal and acceptable emotion. “Jealousy” he says,
“becomes a vice once it becomes excessive and the individual has no control
over the emotion. In this state, the person is lead and driven by jealousy,
lives their life along its dictates and it affects their relationship with
         Nginya notes that normal jealousy does not exist
without a real reason. It is often as a result of feeling territorially
challenged and dissolves as the situation gets resolved. Abnormal jealousy on
the other hand has no reason, continues to exist in spite of irrefutable proof
that things are not as the individual thinks they are. This kind of jealousy
Nginya says, does not reduce with the passing of time, if anything it seems to
get even more intense and acquires a sinister element.
“In romantic liaisons especially,” Nginya says,
“abnormal jealousy can lead to disastrous results, even death. Yet the
unfortunate thing is that people with these kinds of partners initially assume
that their actions are as a result of the passionate love they have towards
them. Even convincing themselves” he continues, “that it is just extraordinary
attention instead of seeing it for what it is i.e. possessive, controlling and
potentially dangerous behaviour.”
Due to this rampant naivety, Nginya gives the following
as some indicators that one can use to determine whether or not they are
involved with a person who is abnormally or insanely jealous. He notes that if
a person exhibits several of these symptoms, he/she may have a jealousy
disorder that needs professional intervention.

- Extremely moody and especially when
things don’t go their way.
· Constantly watches and monitors your movements;
barely letting you out of their sight.
· Exhibits intolerant behaviour towards the
partner’s parents and friends; may even go as far as banning the partner’s
interaction with them, disallowing any form of communication even phone calls
from and to them.
· Constantly accusing partner of infidelity
without an actual basis; spying on partner and always interrogating the partner
on every move they make.
If such a relationship is not stopped, the person
becomes a victim and begins to manifest some symptoms which Kiiru gives as
·  You become very afraid even of the mundane
things since you do not want to upset your partner.
·  Being on time becomes an obsession. You
will forego even the most important of appointments if it means being where your
partner expects you to be – when they expect you to be there.
·You find yourself walking on eggshells
around your partner; everything you do is carefully geared at not rousing their
suspicion. As a result, you begin to withdraw from interacting with others and
become a recluse.
·  You begin to neglect your appearance; feel
afraid of getting all dressed up or wearing makeup since you do not want your
partner to think that you are trying to attract anyone else.
·  Your self-esteem, self-confidence and self-concept
is non-existent. Despite your best efforts to be totally cautious, guilt become
part of your psyche, you feel that you are not good enough and begin to blame
yourself for the way things are.
According to Nginya, jealousy has four root causes; the
lack of self confidence, having a poor self image, fear and insecurity. He
insists that however intense the feeling, jealousy is just an emotion like any
other and can be controlled if there is willingness within the individual.