Jealousy: Experiences and Solutions

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University of Chicago Press, Apr 16, 1990 - Psychology - 356 pages
Deeply ingrained in human nature, jealousy occurs in everyone's life, with varying intensity and significance. Profoundly puzzling, jealousy provokes humans to irrational, sometimes violent acts against others or against themselves. It is a passion that has fascinated writers, storytellers, and audiences through the ages.

Hildegard Baumgart, a practicing marriage counselor, pursues a multilayered exploration of jealousy that is at once public history, based on literary and cultural records, and private history, drawn from individual clinical cases and psychoanalytic practice. In the process she discovers provocative new answers to two central questions: How can one understand jealousy, whether one's own or another's?

Baumgart focuses on the fear of comparison with the rival that motivates much jealousy, and she shows how this idea is, in fact, built into both mythology and theology. She adroitly combines a rich array of documentation and evidence: detailed, clinical descriptions of the classic dilemmas of love triangles; a history of the concept of jealousy in the Judeo-Christian tradition; examples from the lives and writings of a fascinating gallery of authors (Shakespeare, Tolstoy, and Goethe, among others); discussions of Freud's writings on jealousy and of later psychoanalytic methodologies such as systems analysis, paradoxical intervention, and communications theory.

Throughout her narrative, Baumgart writes with compassion and feeling. Drawing on her personal experience of jealousy, her own psychoanalysis, and anecdotes from her counseling work and the clinical literature at large, she presents many fascinating vignettes of the painful—sometimes crippling—effects of jealousy as seen from the standpoints of both sufferer and therapist. What is more, she offers sensitive and sensible solutions to the problem of jealousy.

Baumgart's intriguing tapestry of the varied manifestations and interpretations of jealousy gives extraordinary resonance to the case histories she describes. In providing such a panoramic view, Jealousy invites everyone—analysts, counselors, sociologists, jealous lovers, and avid readers of advice columns—to reconsider both the cultural significance and personal meaning of this universal emotion.
 

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Contents

The Jealous Individual
25
The Partner
32
The Rival
38
Normality and Justification
44
Destructive Solutions
50
Between Patriarchate and Sexual Revolution
61
Difficulties with the Concept of Possession
68
On the Historicity of Emotions
79
Shock Rage Pain
266
A New Reality in the Relationship
271
Seeing Oneself Anew
276
The Reality of the Partner
283
Withdrawal from Symbiosis
289
Working through the Past in Marriage Counseling
292
Fantasy and Reality
295
Severed Constituents
302

The Power of Emotions on Olympus
90
Love and Freedom
100
The Difficulty of Expressing Jealousy
106
Traditions
114
Freuds Essay of 1922
145
Husband Wife Child
168
From the Triangle back to the Biangular Relationship
199
Countermovements
255
Thirty Cases from Our Counseling Practice
257
Homosexuality?
306
Letting Go and Returning
316
New Life New Love
321
Laughing and Crying
324
The Solution of the Gods
335
Works Cited
341
Index
351
Guilty Individual or Multilateral Entanglement 224
352
Copyright

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About the author (1990)

Hildegard Baumgart has been a marriage and relationships counselor at the Ecumenical Counseling Center in Munich-Neuperlach, West Germany, since 1973. She also has a doctorate in Romance languages and literatures. In addition to Jealousy, published in German in 1985, she is the author of several articles on marriage and relationships and the editor of a collection of letters from East Germany, Briefe aus einem anderen Land (1971).

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