Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Retrograde Jealousy : Quick Fixes

Retrograde Jealousy 

Retrograde Jealousy is of course, another term for retroactive jealousy (RJ). Now, in previous posts, I have already explained that RJ is

1. A form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
2. A distorted way of thinking.
3. Not the fault of you, the victim of a mental disruption.

By knowing these three, fundamental and important points, you can now begin to look at how to control the effects of RJ.

There are no Quick Fixes 

Despite my post title there are no quick fixes to RJ. As explained above, it is a form of distorted thinking and as a result, you need to change the fundamental way in which you process information in order to truly overcome RJ. This usually takes weeks, even months (or in my case, years) of 'retraining' your brain to be able to use the information you have about your partner and their ex, and to look at it in a different light, preferably in one that does not cause feelings of jealousy and resentment.

However, I am fully aware that these feelings can suddenly occur without warning and at random. During these moments, getting through this confusing mix of emotions can be very difficult and its quick fixes to these moments that I will discuss in the post.


First identify the triggers. These are basically sounds, smells, or even sights that cause you to react in a retroactively jealous way. For many people, triggers are usually a bit of information such as a past memory about their partner's ex. Or it could be a special film or song, that their parter shared with their ex. Unfortunately for me, it was certain inanimate objects that roused my own complex feelings of resentment and considering I had to encounter these items everyday, I had to quickly develop ways in which to cope. However, I could only implement my coping techniques after I had identified the various stimuli that peaked my RJ. Also, when you find the triggers, you can always avoid them. For me, a certain shop was a trigger, so I just made sure I never went there. There was nothing in that shop that I needed to get, or mattered enough that I would go through the feelings of RJ.

Breathing Techniques 

As soon as a trigger is encountered, the feelings of retroactive jealously will begin. Usually, for most people that I have spoken to, the 'mind film' of their partner's ex and their parter together will begin usually with the trigger as the focus point of the film.

For example, in one girl that I spoke to who had suffered with RJ for many years, any stimuli about pregnancy and babies would aggravate her RJ. Now, as you can imagine, this was very difficult for her as babies, baby shops and baby adverts are everywhere! Any form of baby memorabilia would remind her that her partner had got his ex pregnant, the baby was then miscarried and her partner had mourned the loss of the baby along with the baby's mother. Now, for most of you the series of events in her partner's life might seem very logical. However, to the RJ sufferer,  this bit of information caused her a great deal of upset. She didn't deal well with the thought of her partner getting another woman pregnant; this aroused in her feeling of resentment and bitterness stemming from the fact that her current partner had once created a life with another woman. That another woman was once worthy of carrying his child, something that she herself one day hoped she would be able to do. Secondly, the fact that her partner and his ex shared a traumatic experience made her feel threatened. To her, this was something that bonded them in a way that her and her partner could never bond.

Let me add that this girl, when not gripped by RJ, was rational enough to recognise that her way of thinking was not appropriate; to feel jealous over a pregnancy is one thing, but to feel resentment over the loss of baby and any bond that she felt was forged over this event, is clearly an indication of her distorted way of thinking.  She didn't want to think or feel this way, but she could not help it.

So clearly, anything can trigger an RJ attack and when this happens, try to do the following;

1. Take a deep breath and focus on the way you inhale the air.
2. Feel the air going in, expanding your lungs and lifting your torso.
3. Hold the breath to the count of five.
4. Exhale as fast as you can and exhale as fully as you can.

Concentrate on the four steps as you are doing it and you will see that you no longer have cerebral resources to both think of your 'mind film' and to conduct the breathing exercise.

Thought Control

Your brain has the ability to have one thought at a time. If a trigger starts to make you feel emotions related to RJ, then switch the thought with something else. I personally, used this technique and I would have to hand things I could think about instead that helped me not start my own 'ind film'. As I was a student at the time, I had plenty of information to memorise and each time a stimulus triggered my RJ, I would recite my notes. You can do this with anything. I know someone who used a small poem, and would chant that each time they felt RJ surfacing.

Today, I highlighted three ways in which you can quickly prevent the beginnings of RJ; identify and avoid trigger stimuli, breathing techniques and thought control. As you can see, these are quick methods that can be employed to immediately prevent the feelings of RJ cropping up. However, these are not enough to deal with your RJ, as it is a much deeper seated problem, involving thought processes. There are more permanent solutions that can be used to keep RJ at bay, and these will be discussed in a following post.


  1. you are so gorgeous for writting this, so kind and helpful, thanks to you a lot of us dont feel alone in this anymore, i am so grateful for all of this information. thanks a lot, hopefully we will all get over this and live free and happy. lets remember that life is beutiful and everything happens for a reason ,this is only a challange that will makes us stronger.

  2. nice you`ve done a great job on this.this can be a nice source for those who experience this situation. this site can also be a help retrograde jealousy for it really helps me on how to manage and control myself against retrograde jealousy. its been my problem since before but i slowly overcome this scenario.