Family jealousy and hatred

Family jealousy and hatred


your avatar   Celeste (33)

Hi. I am very perplexed and looking for an answer about "jealousy". I cannot seem to separate jealousy from hatred. I am currently in therapy and I keep pondering this over and don't seem to come up with an answer. I am not a jealous person - as far as I can recognize. My problem seems very odd to me. I am the 3rd daughter in the family. My mother and 2 sisters are extremely jealous and spiteful. My father died a few months ago and their "stunts" have gone way out of control.

I have been working hard to distance myself from them - however they seek me out to do nasty things to me. I can't seem to understand how they could be so jealous and do such icky things yet not hate me. The latest stunt they pulled crossed the line from spiteful trickery to true sickness. My dad's body was temporarily being held in a mausoleum until his permanent spot was finished being built. They put him in his final burial space without me. And now - although my Mother hasn't spoken to me in 6 months - they seem to want to wallow in my agony.

It's almost as if they can't enjoy what they've done unless they see me hysterical and hurting. Only then will it truly be satisfying to them. And if I were to cry or complain - they would further enjoy telling me that I was bad for doing so and that I was "torturing" THEM. I just don't get it.

Can someone be seriously jealous of you without feeling hatred towards you?


    Margaret Burr, MA, MFT


You ask if jealousy and hatred are the same, and appear to have wrestled intellectually attempting to differentiate between these two words. You say you are in therapy and "keep pondering over this." That's interesting. The definitions of these two words seem to be very important to you. Have you looked them up in a dictionary? The fact that you could probably acquire definitions for these terms quite easily makes me wonder what you may be really asking, and why you are not asking THAT question.

I don't know what your real question might be, but I can guess. You might be asking, "Is this any way to treat a daughter? (or sister)" or, "Why would anyone be so cruel?" or, "What did I ever do to deserve this?"

I am suggesting, of course, that you continue to ponder about the definitions of words in order to not feel how painful the relationships you have with your mother and your sisters are at a time when you are hurting. Is this something you know about yourself? Do you generally analyze, rather than feel?

Please try to remember that you are grieving the loss of your father. Your mourning will, necessarily, involve feeling shock, confusion, sadness, disappointment, and even anger. These feelings may be some of the ones you have historically avoided.

Please be gentle with yourself through this time. Rely on your therapist and whatever support system you have. You might ask your therapist to recommend a local grief support group. Your job - at this time - is to grieve the loss of your father. This is a feeling task, not a thinking one.

Take care,

Margaret "Peg" Burr, MA, MFT

This question was answered by Margaret "Peg" Burr. She is a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFC34374) with a private practice in Santa Clarita (near Los Angeles). She performs psychodynamic psychotherapy with individual adult clients as well as couples, teens, and families. She also runs groups for adults and adolescents. Her specialty area is Object Relations Systems Theory. This branch of psychodynamic psychotherapy uses a client's interpersonal relationships as windows into his or her intrapsychic structure.For more information visit:

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