The Trickle of Jealousy That Runs Through My Relationships With Healthy People
I’m a jealous wife. I’m a jealous friend. I’m jealous of the stranger on the street, the put-together moms on the school run, and the frantic ones, too. I’m jealous of stay-at-home moms, I’m jealous of working moms. I’m jealous of my hairdresser, the lady in the fish and chip shop and the garbage man. In all honesty I’m jealous of pretty much anyone — well no, not anyone. I’m jealous of the healthy. I’m jealous of the able. I’m jealous of those seemingly better equipped to cope with chronic illness or disability than me.
To admit to being jealous is a scary thing for me to do. People assume that if you’re jealous of someone, you automatically harbor resentment for them. You wish them to fail, to be “brought down a peg or two,” for them to be miserable. A jealous person is a horrible person, right? For me, I hope that is not the case. That’s not how I roll.
Just because I’m jealous of you doesn’t mean I wish bad things upon you. Honestly I am the biggest cheerleader when my friends and family achieve something. I’m always incredibly proud. I just wish I was able to live like “normal people” do. It’s hard not to hate yourself when you have a trickle of jealousy running through every adult relationship you hold. Particularly on days that trickle becomes a raging torrent, sweeping away your sensibilities and spewing forth over whoever unwittingly triggered it. Usually this happens on a hard day, a day full of pain and exhaustion, but that’s no excuse.
I think I find dealing with the jealousy I hold towards my husband the hardest to deal with. My husband is my caretaker. He does so much for me, and our children, to the point he’s given up work to keep me safe and as well as possible, losing his social life somewhere along the way, too. So what do I have to be jealous of? Well, I will tell you…
I’m jealous of the fact he is the main caretaker now, not just of the kids but of me, too. I’m jealous that he can get up in the morning and function. He can do the school run and shopping and anything else needed. I’m jealous that he can run around with our children and make them squeal with sheer delight. I’m jealous that I’m often stuck in my bed and missing the children growing up whilst he’s in the thick of it. I could go on, but you get the idea. What makes things worse is on top of the jealousy, there’s the thought that if you’re jealous of someone who does so much for you, you must be a bad person.
So I’m letting it go. Not the jealousy, I know from years of experience (and counseling) that while I’m this ill, jealousy will factor into my life. I’m giving up feeling bad about it.
My jealousy is my own. It’s my cross to bear. I’ve come to realize I’m not jealous so much of what you can do, it’s more because of what I can’t. If I have to choose, I would rather deal with feelings of jealousy than feelings of self-loathing. I’ve been there and it’s no fun. So I’ve accepted my jealousy and I’m not going to feel bad over it. As long as it remains a trickle most of the time, and I can still live and be happy for those around me, then I can live with that. On those bad days, well I’ll do my best and I’m not above apologizing if I’m in the wrong. As for my husband, he knows me well enough to realize how much I truly love and appreciate him.
Besides, while I’m jealous I have the extra impetus to keep trying. Pushing forward. Moving on. Living my life to the best of my ability.
Follow this journey on This Little Life of Mine.