real life

'I was so jealous of my friend's successful career, it ended our friendship.'

I am a jealous person. I am working on it, I promise! But it has cost me a friendship in the past.

Usually, when someone admits a bad trait publicly, they follow it up with a very loud disclaimer that although they feel bad things, they've never acted on these bad feelings.

I've read a million articles about jealousy; someone admits they struggle with the green-eyed monster but always quickly discloses that the jealousy they feel ultimately only hurts themselves.

But in my experience bad traits tend to impact the surrounding people. The fact I struggle with jealousy means I haven't always been the nicest person or the best girlfriend. I am the girl worried her boyfriend might cheat and sometimes I struggle to be happy for other people. At the height of my jealousy, it cost me a friendship that mattered to me.

Watch: The one of three steps to deal with jealousy. Story continues after video.

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I've never felt quite good enough. Maybe it's because I have a very high-achieving older sister, (seriously, she's a lawyer with a colour coordinated wardrobe) maybe it's because I'm in a highly competitive industry, maybe it's because I never entirely made the popular group in school, or maybe it is just who I am.

Perhaps there is just something in my wiring that makes me more likely to feel jealous. Either way, I've struggled to feel like I am enough and that has manifested in me occasionally being an arsehole. 

I always feel like other people have more. More success, more money, more looks, more everything and then I get jealous. These feelings peaked when I graduated from university, and I really struggled to find my place. I knew I wanted to be a writer, but I had zero connections and it felt impossible. It was a weird and uncomfortable time of transition.

I had a friend who graduated around the same time with the same degree and was seeking a career in the same industry. She also knew people and was connected. When I finished university, for the first few months, I couldn't even get an interview for a job in the industry I wanted. Meanwhile, she got a job straight out of university.


She was nice about it. She never made me feel bad, she never said sh***y things or made me feel small but the fact that her career was thriving, while I was stuck working in a part-time retail gig, meant that her mere presence sometimes made me seethe. Her success felt like a reminder of my failures.

It felt like she represented everything I wasn't. She seemed cooler, prettier, luckier, more talented, and she had the job I wanted. How did I handle that? Well, in retrospect, badly. I made snide comments, put her down sometimes, and tried to minimise her achievements.

If she spoke about her work, I'd likely comment, "I wish I knew someone that could get me a job like that." Or if she mentioned something good that happened at work, I'd say, "good stuff always happens to you!".

I minimised her achievements.

I didn't try to sabotage her or anything that dramatic but I was a bad friend. Unsurprisingly, she withdrew from the friendship. At the time, I didn't even mind because seeing her was confronting for me. While she was going to media lunches, I was hiding in the stockroom so I could text on my phone.

By the time it sunk in that we weren't really friends anymore and I asked her about it, she simply replied: "It's hard to be friends with someone who can't be happy for me."

It really hurt but I deserved it. I was so caught up in my jealousy, I really hadn't for a second weighed up how she was feeling. Ultimately, the end of our friendship was a good thing for me. It forced me to deal with my feelings of jealousy. I couldn't pretend anymore that the way I was feeling wasn't hurting people around me and I felt really embarrassed by my own behaviour. 

Since that friendship, ended jealousy is something I've extensively spoken about in therapy. While sometimes I still have those bad instincts to put someone down because I'm feeling small, I've mostly stopped.

I haven't magically become someone who doesn't struggle with jealousy. I still do, but I've learnt how to manage my feelings and I've also learned how to be more comfortable in my skin. It's a process, and likely it will always be a process. However, I've learnt the ultimate lesson, you must deal with your issues before they cost you the stuff that matters.

Feature Image: Getty.