I have never heard of the phrase “Morbid Jealousy” used as a medical term before. Yes, I may have heard or even used it to describe my ex’s jealous thoughts a long time ago, but I never thought that it is actually a mental disorder. And that my experience of what I called morbid jealousy back then was not even close to real “morbid jealousy”.
I became interested in the subject because of a friend who recently tried to commit suicide because of her frustration and helplessness about her husband’s jealousy and baseless accusations.
So I researched on the subject of jealousy, paranoia, and neurosis. To my surprise, I found that there are a lot of women who practically lives in hell in their own homes because of the unfounded and really crazy thoughts of their husbands. One of the websites I visited, WiseGeek.com, I learned that “Morbid Jealousy”, though not formally listed as a mental illness in manuals for psychiatry or psychology, is a mental condition that is recognized by health professionals. It is also known by other names such as “Delusional Jealousy”, “Obsessive Jealousy”, “Pathological Jealousy”, and “Othello Syndrome”. This mental condition is very scary because just like in Shakespeare’s Othello, it can end in murder, or like in the case of my friend, in suicide. Both of which are tragic endings, not to mention traumatic, especially for the children who would be left behind.
Early detection of this mental condition is vital because, just like any illness, it gets worse if not treated right away. The situation could… and it really would get a lot worse. The innocent partner may cause it to get worse without realizing it, by fighting back or saying things out of frustration that might just give rise to further suspicions and fuel the jealousy. It was also said that “assurances of fidelity or love tend to be completely ineffective, and being the partner/spouse of such a person hazards real risk”. So the best thing to do is to get therapeutic help immediately. Now you ask, what are the signs that tell your partner is experiencing morbid jealousy? If your partner is doing 2 or 3 or more, of the following, you should…no, you must, consider getting professional help before it gets worse:
- Checks your mobile phones for messages, received calls, dialed numbers;
- Asks your whereabouts every so often, double-checking/verifying if you’re telling the truth;
- Checks on you every hour – calling, texting, chatting too much that you can’t do anything anymore;
- Gets mad if you don’t answer the phone in one or two rings, then accuses you of talking to someone else, or having “company”;
- Talks to your friends, relatives, neighbors, and colleagues, asking them for any suspicious behavior that might indicate you are cheating;
- Wakes you up (with a call if you’re not yet living together) in the middle of the night just to check if you’re already sleeping or still up chatting on the internet;
- Wakes you up in the middle of the night because a jealous thought suddenly came to him/her and then accuses you of cheating;
- Tells you that “some people” are telling him that you are cheating but won’t reveal these “sources”;
- Connects events and information together in the most absurd, outlandish and illogical ways to prove your infidelity;
- Thinks that all the people who defend you, or vouch for you, are in cahoots with you;
- Accuses you of cheating whenever you go somewhere without him/her. Limits your world with just him/her. You lose contact with friends and even relatives, because they are also suspects or cohorts in your infidelity;
- Curses and calls you name like slut, whore, cheat, etc…etc…
- Forces you to confess your infidelity and apologize for it;
- Flips in and out of these jealous fits – some days ballistic and ready to strangle you, then some days normal, loving, caring, doting, and even apologizing for the accusations;
- Controls you…manipulates you…hurts you…hits you…
In such cases, do not be ashamed to ask for help. None of these is your fault. Even previously independent and self-sustaining women, who had good-paying jobs and promising career, fall victims to abuses like this and end up alone in the house with no one to talk to. And in their frustration, they also fall into depression and contemplate suicide.
For more information and to get help, you may call your country’s Domestic Violence Hotline or Women’s Help Desk, or whatever it is called in your country. I’m sure they can be found through Google search.
For women in the Philippines, there is UP-PGH Women's Desk with Contact Nos. (632) 524-2990/ (632) 521-8450 local 3072, e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org and website, http://www.upm.edu.ph/womensdesk/index.html