A very wise friend who was also a psychotherapist had just listened to my litany of complaints about a female colleague. I was bothered by how little interest she took in things I had done, how little acknowledgement of my work, and most of all by her constant put downs and snide remarks about activities I was involved with. ‘Envy’ said my friend. ‘Classic envious behaviour. She doesn’t want you to have anything and what you have got she wants to spoil .’
It was obvious that the two of us might be competitive. We were in the same area of work, both trying to publish in the same outlets with children roughly the same age who had taken remarkably similar pathways. And while competitiveness is nothing to be proud of in such a situation – after all we could just become best friends with similar interests – nor is it that unusual, especially in an unsupportive work environment. But as my psychotherapist friend pointed out, envy is different from competitiveness .Competitiveness, at its worse, might entail flaunting your latest news and achievements, showing off, or trying to have or be the best. But envy is destructive. Envy isn’t just about trying to go one better. Envy is a grudge-bearing emotion, arising from wanting to spoil what the other person has or enjoys, including any good feelings they might have about their achievements. .
Read the full article on the new website: welldoing.org