Jealousy: Uglier Than I Ever Imagined

jealousy-300x300Years ago I remember getting into my car in a parking garage and being stopped by an angry lady. She wanted to know if I had already paid my parking fee. (It was one of those parking garages where you pay the ticket at a machine and then feed the ticket into the turnstile on the way out.) I said I had. She explained that the turnstile was broken, that the gate was stuck in an upright, open position, and that people who had recognized this before paying their ticket were just driving out without paying. She was outraged.

It was not the ethics of whether to pay, even though the system was broken, that struck me. It was the intensity of her anger, her certainty that she had been cheated, because she had not noticed the malfunction like the others. Why should she have to pay when others do not, she asked? I was speechless. I was just glad to have accomplished my errands with my newborn in tow. I didn’t really understand how the good fortune of others was a blow to her. I still don’t understand this mentality.

Because I fell in love with my husband, his ex-wife has rained down massive amounts of toxic, green hate on us. I could never have imagined that anyone could be filled with so much spite and jealousy. Nothing was taken from her. Their relationship had been over for years, and she had ended its latest iteration. But her sense that she has been wronged has fueled a toxic hatred that is astounding.

In the parking garage, I just got in my car, shook my head and drove away. I could laugh at how petty the woman was, that she actually felt something had been taken from her because a few people didn’t have to pay to park. I wish I could drive away from my husband’s ex-wife. She is so mean, I’d rather have a root canal. Having had one this week, I can say that and mean it. There should be support groups for women being attacked by ex-wives with bottomless hatred and spite. If you know of one, I’d like to join.


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  1. philospycho says:

    I’ve never been a fan of the intent behind the quote, “Kill your enemy with kindness,” but sometimes it helps to diffuse the situation. The Dalai Lama said that friends are easy to get along with but they don’t encourage moral growth; it is those we can’t stand who hold us to the fire and either melt or refine us (or he said something equally maddening). I am lucky enough to not have come into contact with ‘the other woman’ more than a handful of times, but when I did, I pretended she wasn’t in the room while she screamed *about* me instead of to me :/ Avoidance is a luxury for those of us who do not have to share children, though.

    I have been in the place of the woman at the parking garage, and later realized that I wasn’t angry at the other person, or even at life’s (or Fate’s, call it what you wish) unfairness, but at myself. Either I was angry for being a martyr or for simply not knowing that a ‘hall pass’ was available.

    Oddly enough, I don’t feel angry when I pay my taxes, knowing that there are always those who are capable of working, but choose to take advantage of freebies. Perhaps it is a matter of what’s at stake: A little money (when I don’t even know where it’s going) represents far less value than how I feel about my own suffering or intelligence. Maybe it’s a psychological thing. Maybe the woman felt so intensely angry because she was angry at herself for not noticing the freebie, while others obviously had. Or perhaps she feels strongly about rules, and when she sees others breaking the rules it represents a larger issue in her mind. On the other hand, maybe she’d already felt slighted by someone earlier in the day and this small incidence was the last straw. Oh, the possible psychological processes at play!

    • Wanda says:

      I think you are probably right about the woman feeling angry at herself. I have definitely come across the mentality that if others are cheating and you don’t do it too (either because you didn’t notice in time to take advantage of the gliche or because your conscience won’t let you), you are the stupid one.

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