The Jealousy Gene?

People are different…we are born with different personalities…we are raised in different environments…thus Nature vs Nurture. This subject never fails to interest me.

There is one emotion that especially bothers me. J-E-A-L-O-U-S-Y is the most useless and harmful of all human(and animal) emotions. In the day care setting, I observe human behavior every day. Actually, watching babies is fascinating because they are basically blank slates. I have noticed some differences between the genders and their needs. Moreover, it seems the babies come with predetermined dispositions. I have not run double blind studies but the 35 years as a caregiver have offered more than a small sampling of observations.

Currently, I have some kids who  compare and concern themselves with the “goings on” of others an awfully lot.

The pros to this are:

  • Learning from the mistakes of others.
  • More ideas the merrier.
  • Never miss activities due to concentration on their own thing.

The cons to this are:

  • Never satisfied to be themselves.
  • Measuring what others have takes energy away from fun.
  • Taking anything but total equality as a personal insult.

Since I do not have a “jealousy gene” that I am aware of, this behavior really BUGS me. I try to understand it and I realize it is beyond their total control. I do not think that jealousy comes from insecurity, as often as it comes from, the individual’s nature. The kids have offered a unique study for me.

Envy and jealousy are absolutely different emotions. Of course, we all envy a lottery winner. But a jealous person is one who wishes ill upon the winner or dwells on the fact that THEY did not win. (Doesn’t even matter if they,themselves, ever played the game!)

Now, the idea that this ” jealousy factor” seems to run in families could be evidence for the nurture argument. Take a closer look at those families. Are they all jealous people or are some of them inheriting the trait while others do not have it?

I believe there must be a jealousy gene. I also believe that our personal capacity to feel joy comes from a genetic predisposition more than an environmental cause, as well.

Look around if this idea interests you…let me know what you discover.

4 thoughts on “The Jealousy Gene?

  1. ebonysunset 06/16/2011 / 3:48 pm

    Hello Susan. I’ve been away for a while but I am slowly returning. This subject interest me to a great degree. I have a family member to say good-bye to on Saturday June18th, as we lay him to rest, but this subject is so captivating and interesting to me. I will be back in a few days to comment but wanted to thank you for broaching the subject. Humans should ask themselves more questions such as this one. Where does this come from? Am I part of the solution, is there a solution? Am I part of the problem, is it a problem? Where does this emotion come from? Is it generational? Is this inborn or is it learned? Can it be stopped? What can I do to stop it, to stomp it out in my generation so that it goes no further for it is rotteness to the bone.

    • sillyfrogsusan 06/17/2011 / 6:34 am

      I look forward to your thoughts excitedly,my friend. You have been missed and my deep condolences to you and your family.

  2. Lisa Keren Mentz Sievers 09/01/2011 / 2:45 am

    Silly Frog, I just found you and this site. I whole heartedly believe jealousy is the worse of traits for a soul. I have seen it in my family to the nth degree. From mother, to daughter, to granddaughter. Mother recognized it, worked hard to keep it from happening. Daughter was horrible. Granddaughter was worse. I am the adopted daughter. I, nor my daughter, got this from my mom. I lived with my parents only for about 3 months and I was 17. They were who formed the next 30 years of my life. But my sister is terrible. She is so jealous of our brother, his wife, everyone. She quiets her jealousy. However, her daughter is so outrageous with it that I know she can see it now, daughter is 10. Others notice and comment because it isn’t nice. She will go up and grab something out of someone’s hand, a ball she wasn’t playing with, because it IS HERS. Or because she was playing with it first.
    How do you deal with this? Our mom passed three years ago. Mom thought me telling my sister about her being sick and some of the medical issues were best. She thought we had become close. She knew her daughter was jealous. She just thought that since she was dying it would be gone. It got worse. We don’t speak anymore. She turned the family against me, I’m not blood. I just want to know if there is a gene, a spirit, a trait. How is it taught? Thank you, very good post!

    • sillyfrogsusan 09/01/2011 / 6:23 am

      Dear Lisa,
      I am so sorry that you have had to deal with so much. The fact that your daughter and yourself do not have jealousy seems to further my point about it being a part of genes more than learned behavior. If I am correct, there is little that you can do but ignore and stay away from it. I really don’t think that those who have it can overcome that tendency . Maybe, if they realize it as a problem, THEY could seek professional counseling but that is totally up to them.
      I wish you and your daughter the best. Embrace your own feelings and don’t let them change you one bit!
      Susan 🙂

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