Theoretical Paper

Jealousy as a defence mechanism of low self-esteem

Author: Ruxandra Răşcanu
Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences, University of Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania

It is often accepted that being jealous means to protect something that is yours: Jealousy is maintaining the status of „owner” of a certain „trophy”, which also involves competition. In our society, competition has a noble status; it is considered to be a quality that arises very early. According to psychoanalysts, competition occurs in the same period as the manifestation of the Oedipus complex, the first competition being that between the child and the parent of the same gender, in order to win exclusive love from the other parent. Or, it may appear after the birth of siblings; the older child feeling forced to compete for the attention of parents. The result of losing the competition, in this case the loss of parental attention, is manifested by the appearance of the feeling of jealousy in direct proportion to the degree of emotional involvement of the subject and translates into bursts of emotions (Gerard, 2003). Something similar to this triangle of infant jealousy also occurs in adults' conflicts of love.

Keywords: Jealousy, projection, Self-esteem, abandonment, egocentric, defence mechanism