Insecurity and jealousy in a relationship

Handling insecurity and jealousy in a relationship can be difficult. However, change is possible once you understand their underlying causes. This page is designed to help you discover the emotional truth of your jealousy and insecurity. If it your partner who is insecure or jealous, please click here.

Free Self Help Exercises

You might find that one or two of these exercises may not be a great fit for you, but it is important that you try each of them. You may discover some uncomfortable truths about yourself in doing these exercises. Try to be nice to yourself, and if you become overwhelmed at any point, just stop and rest. If you have a history of abuse, panic or thoughts of self-harm, please schedule a session or go through these exercises with your therapist.

Some of these exercises ask you to complete a sentence. Please read the sentence-stem either aloud or silently and then let the sentence finish itself without trying to pre-think an ending. Feel free to change the sentence-stem in order to make it feel more true. Repeat the exercise over and over until you are not getting any new endings before going on to the next one.

1. Please picture a recent time when you felt particularly jealous or insecure. Allow that scene to become very clear and name how you feel in your body. Now try saying, “Right now I am afraid that…” and let the sentence finish itself.
Keep doing this until you are getting no new endings.
When you are finished, write down some of the sentences that felt strongest.

2. Still in touch with that feeling, let yourself go back to the first time you remember feeling that way. Describe that scene out loud as though you were watching it happen. Allow whatever feelings to come up that want to and name what you are feeling. Now still in that scene try saying again, “Right now I am afraid that..” and let the sentence finish itself.
Keep doing this until you are getting no new endings.
When you are finished, write down some of the sentences that felt strongest.

3. Imagine the important people in your life from then and now and try saying to them, “I know that you don’t like me (or hate or can’t stand or don’t love me).”
Spend some time with this experience before moving on.
Write down what you learn.

4. Still present with those people, try saying to them, “You don’t like (or hate or can’t stand or don’t love) me because…” and let the sentence finish itself.
Keep doing this until you are getting no new endings.
When you are finished, write down some of the sentences that felt strongest.

5. Still present with those people, try saying to them, “You don’t like (or hate or can’t stand or don’t love) me because there is something wrong with me.”
Spend some time with this experience before moving on.
Write down what you learn.

6. At that time, who were the important people who believed that about you? Even if they did not say it, who treated you like you were bad, stupid, defective or unworthy of love and care? Name them out loud and spend some time with this experience before moving on. Write down what you learn.

7. Now imagine all of those people from your life who treated you badly or believed you were bad, (or worthless or another word that feels true) and tell them, “You think I’m…” and let the sentence finish itself.
Keep doing this until you are getting no new endings.
When you are finished, write down some of the sentences that felt strongest.

8. Now say to those people, “There is a part of me that thinks you are right about me.” or “I think you are right about me.” Spend some time with this experience before moving on. Write down what you learn.

    • If those sentences don’t feel true, you can try saying, “I hate to admit it but there is a part of me that thinks you are right about me.” Another option is to go back to the more recent example of feeling bad about yourself and say, “I guess I feel about myself the same way they felt about me growing up. Maybe I think they were right.” Spend some time with this experience before moving on. Write down what you learn.

9. Now imagine that group of people (particularly from your childhood) who treated you badly and get a clear picture of them. Now try saying to them, “If I know that you are wrong about me, then…” and let the sentence finish itself.
Keep doing this until you are getting no new endings.
When you are finished, write down some of the sentences that felt strongest.

10. Stay with that group of people and try saying, “I need to agree with them that I am bad (or worthless, or another word that works for you) because…” and let the sentence finish itself. Keep doing this until you are getting no new endings.
When you are finished, write down some of the sentences that felt strongest.

11. Moving to the present, picture all of the important people from your life who have treated you badly. Now, very aware of yourself as you are today try saying to them, “Even today, I don’t want to know you are wrong about me because…” and let the sentence finish itself. Keep doing this until you are getting no new endings.
When you are finished, write down some of the sentences that felt strongest.

By this point, many people will feel like they have just found a part of themselves that they did not know existed. You may have discovered that you have an important purpose for agreeing with the people who treated you badly. It may preserve your connection with them, or your hope of someday feeling connected. It may be there to keep you safe. It is important not to turn this part of yourself into an enemy, but rather make peace with it and let it become a friend. You can do this by not trying to change it or argue with it, but instead just accepting it and letting it be true. You should also spend some time each day reading over what you have learned about yourself and just sitting with it without trying to change it. Many people will feel a strong need to have someone with whom to share this new truth. You can tell a trusted friend, a support group or schedule a session with a therapist.

Other factors

In addition to working with emotions, there are other important factors in helping to relieve jealousy and insecurity. Please look over the following in addition to discovering your emotional truth. It is very important to remember that if anything on this list is difficult for you to do, there may be a hidden emotional truth against doing it. If so, try adapting the discovery exercises above to learn about this emotional truth, or schedule a session to get help from a therapist.

  • If you can, find a place that makes you feel safe. Common places are a bedroom or somewhere in nature. Try to spend as much time there as you can, preferably each day. Make sure to let yourself feel safe while you are there.
  • Try to stop sugar, caffeine and any other stimulant you may be taking.
  • Get enough sleep, eat right, find some support (like a friend or group). Some people do not want to burden their friends with their troubles. Going to a support group is a good solution to this situation. You might try AA, or CODA.
  • Get enough sunlight and exercise. They have been shown to be as effective as many forms of therapy at treating stress.
  • Practicing deep breathing for 10-20 minutes each day can also help with insecurity. Find a safe, calm place, sit comfortably, and take deep slow breaths. Try to concentrate on the sensation of breathing in your nose, chest or belly. You will soon find yourself lost in thoughts and worries, and when you do, congratulate yourself for having noticed that your mind wandered. Then go back to the breathing.
  • You may want to practice sending yourself love and compassion for 10-20 minutes a day. Find a safe, calm place, sit comfortably, and take deep slow breaths. Now say to yourself, “May you be safe. May you be loved. May you be healthy. May you be peaceful.” Repeat these over and over again, just knowing that you want good things for yourself. You can also try sending these wishes to others.