If you thought that jealous behavior was reserved for partners, kids, and friends; think again! Relatives – even the closest of family members – can display jealousy and make things extra awkward for the whole family. Of course, if you don’t want to cause upset in the family, you may want to learn a few ways to deal with jealous relatives when that kind of behavior is lobbied your way.
Knowing how to handle jealousy can really get you out of a potentially tricky situation with your family member. Even though the jealousy isn’t “your problem” as such, it’s a good idea to handle the situation carefully so as to keep harmony in the family.
Want to learn about each of the suggested jealousy-handling techniques mentioned in this article? Read on; here’s what you can do if a family member is acting jealous of you:
15 ways to deal with jealous relatives:
1. Bite your tongue.
You might want to snap a snarky comment in the direction of a relative who is behaving jealously towards you, but don’t. Don’t say anything. In fact, the less you say about it, the better. Rather act like it doesn’t bother and say nothing. It might be instantly relieving to say something and try to put your family member in his/her place, but you will only feel worse in the end.
2. Get over the guilt.
There’s no reason to feel guilty about being good at something, achieving your goals, or looking your best. These are things you should be proud of. If you are feeling guilty because your relative is hurling jealous comments at you, get over it. Don’t allow yourself to feel bad for your life and the direction it is going in.
3. Take a step back.
If your relative is feeling jealous of you, being there all the time is not a good idea. It will only exacerbate the problem. Simply take a step back from the situation and minimize your contact with the relative. Allow for some time to pass before you go back to spending all your time with said person.
4. Apply positivity to the problem.
It’s hard to feel anything but kindness towards someone who is a positive ray of light in your life. If your relative is acting in a jealous way, make a concerted effort to be in a positive mindset when you are around them. This will help you to bond on a different level. You might even inspire your relative to be a little more positive too.
5. Try to get some understanding/clarity on the issue.
If your relative suddenly starts being jealous of you, try to look at the situation from all angles with the purpose of understanding the situation better. What is your relative actually jealous of? If you can understand what the jealousy is about, you might be able to help the relative feel better about him/herself.
6. Take a long hard look at yourself.
Sometimes how we behave is what makes someone else jealous. You could be contributing to the awkwardness of the situation. Are you consistently rubbing your achievements in other family members’ faces? Are you constantly only talking about and promoting yourself, or are you more balanced? Make sure that you aren’t doing something that is causing that family member to act outwardly jealous of you.
7. Adopt a non-confrontational approach.
How often do you feel like lashing out or saying something cutting when someone is jealous of you? When someone is jealous, they tend to treat people in a way that can cause frustration, upset, or hurt feelings. You might be tempted to retaliate by getting confrontational about the situation. Rather avoid doing that at all costs, especially because this is a family member you are dealing with.
Remember that you don’t get to remove yourself from the family tree, so it is important to preserve your family relationships. If you feel like you are going to get confrontational, remove yourself from the situation. Go for a walk, do some exercise, or go out for a bit.
8. Keep being you.
A lot of people allow other people’s jealousy to change them. That would be a mistake. Don’t allow someone else’s behavior to affect who you are. It’s important to remain who you are, regardless of how someone else feels about it. Of course, you don’t want to rub things in anyone’s face, but keep laughing, keep showing up, and keep participating.
9. Don’t react.
If a jealous relative says or does something and you notice it, what do you do? In my opinion, one of the best things to do is nothing at all. Do your best just not to react – do nothing! Simply ignore the behavior. It is the best way to let the problem naturally subside. If you take an explicit action and retaliate, you will be creating a bigger problem. Be the bigger person and simply carry on as normal.
10. Play oblivious.
It’s a good idea to pretend that you don’t notice that your relative is feeling jealous. This will help them save face in the end, but also help you from avoiding a confrontation. If you make out as if you notice the problem, you are putting yourself in a precarious confrontational situation.
11. Practice mindfulness.
When you are entering a situation where a jealous relative will be present, try to stay in the moment and give thought to what you say and do before you do it. Don’t allow yourself to lose control and if you feel that you are, bring yourself back to a sense of calm. There are several apps available that can help you to practice mindfulness.
12. Be kind.
Remember that jealousy springs from a place of wanting what you have. When someone is jealous, it might appear as if they dislike you or hate you, but that’s not the case. Your presence is merely shining a spotlight on how much insecurity they have for themselves. Chances are that the jealous relative really wants to be in the same situation as you, look like you, or be as successful as you. In a way, it is a compliment if someone is jealous of you, so be kind. Show kindness, gentleness, and be nothing less than absolutely polite.
13. Get involved in family activities as usual.
You might balk at the idea of a family gathering or get-together if one of your relatives is a jealous person. Don’t allow the jealousy of another person to disrupt your life and plans. Don’t let the situation create distance between you and the rest of the family. It is important to remain close to the family and to keep showing up. Don’t hide out or stay away completely. You could maybe just make a wide berth around your jealous relative.
14. Take it as a compliment.
You’re probably wondering how you could take someone’s awkward behavior as a compliment, but that’s the reality behind jealousy. As already mentioned, just take it easy and accept the jealousy or envy as some form of compliment. People only get jealous when someone has what they want or when someone achieves what they know they might never will. Now is the time to act with grace. Accept the compliment and let it go.
15. Give it time, from a distance.
There’s no need to “solve” the jealousy problem right now. Instead, give the situation time to simmer down. Chances are that your jealous relative will get over, see the error in their ways, or find a new focus in their life. Keep distance between you and your relative without being rude or mean and simply wait it out. Time heals all wounds – even jealousy.
If you are able to keep a level head about you and apply the above advice to the situation, you will be able to thwart a family-destroying fall out between you and your jealous relative.
Dealing with jealous relatives can be a tricky thing, but not impossible. It’s important to take a breath and remember that you might have to see this person for the rest of your life. It is better to keep the peace than to burn bridges when it comes to family relationships. Just remember, it’s all about preserving family relationships, so put in the effort. When it gets really hard to deal with, just keep in mind the age-old saying, “this too shall pass”.