I am a good-looking and intelligent young woman. I have a jealousy problem that is becoming obsessive. My sister in law (I’m not married but I am in a 3year relationship with my boyfriend) is two years younger than me, 10cm taller than me, a couple of shades blonder than me, thinner than me, has a better figure than me, and so on. She looks like a milliondollar earning supermodel. I am emotional, and sometimes I can be pretty dependant of my boyfriend. She is down to earth and can walk away from a guy who’s doing something she doesn’t like, just like that without doubting. This is because she has pdd-nos, not because its a characteristics of hers. But still. Then she has the greatest taste in clothes. Everything she buys I want to have, but I can’t buy it anymore because I don’t want to copy her, I have to much pride for that. Whenever I buy something that she has too, I make sure I don’t wear it around her. It’s becoming obsessive because I’m up to a point where I have pictures of her saved on my computer, looking at her online profile pages regularly for new pictures and to see who she’s talking to, making sure I look my absolute best whenever I know that there might be a possibility that she’s gonna be at my boyfriends parents house when Im there.. I’ve removed all the pictures before and stopped checking her pages cold turkey, but it didnt help because Im doing it again. It doenst make any sense because I look great and have no reason to be so sickening jealous of this girl. I just want to get rid of it.
A. You are acting as though you and your sister-in-law are in a competition. In reality, there is no competition. You are not rivals. You are dating her brother; there is no competition.
You seem to believe that she is superior to you. It is important to recognize that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. One person may find her more attractive than you but the next may find you more attractive. Attraction is dependent upon what one likes and dislikes; it varies greatly from individual to individual. There is no one standard of beauty.
I had a wonderful college professor who used to conduct an exercise in class to prove that there is no one standard of beauty. He would present a scenario to the class in which students were stranded on an island, alone and never to be saved. Each student was then asked to choose a celebrity they wanted to live with them on the island. Interestingly, each time he conducted this exercise, there were a wide variety of choices. Rarely did students choose the same celebrity. He conducted the exercise for the purpose of demonstrating how unique each person’s attraction is to another. If there were one standard of beauty, there would have been no variation in the students’ choice.
You also make the point in your letter that you have a high opinion of yourself (“I am a good-looking and intelligent young woman”…) but if you truly felt this way then you would not be jealous of your sister-in-law. Jealousy is an issue of low self-confidence and feelings of inferiority. It occurs when people do not have high self-esteem.
It is important to deal with this jealousy problem, otherwise it will continue to degrade your life. One way to handle this situation is to work on improving your self-confidence. I would advise you to read books about self-esteem. I would also suggest paying less attention to other people (especially your sister-in-law). I understand this can be difficult. With practice you may learn how to accomplish this task. Another idea is to make a list of accomplishments, to serve as a daily reminder of your positive qualities and successes.
You were able to stop obsessing about your sister-in-law once but as you noted, you’re doing it again. If you continue to struggle with these issues, psychotherapy could help. Click on the find help tab at the top of this page to search for a therapist. Please take care.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Aug 2010
Randle, K. (2010). Obsessive Jealousy of Sister-In-Law. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 24, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/08/30/obsessive-jealousy-of-sister-in-law/