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What type of person is a jealous person?

Jealousy is a complex emotion that most people experience at some point in their lives. It can arise in various interpersonal relationships, including romantic relationships, friendships, family relationships, and work relationships. While jealousy is a natural emotion, excessive or irrational jealousy can be problematic and detrimental to relationships. So what type of person tends to struggle more with jealousy issues? There are several factors that can predispose someone to being a jealous person.


Insecurity is a major root of jealous feelings. Individuals who lack confidence and self-esteem are more prone to jealousy. They may constantly question if they are “good enough” for their partner or if their partner might leave them for someone better. Even small signs that their partner is pulling away can be magnified in the jealous person’s mind. Insecure people have difficulty trusting that their partners genuinely care for them, so they become hypervigilant for any potential threats to the relationship.

Common signs that someone is insecure include:

  • Needing constant reassurance from their partner
  • Frequently comparing themselves to others
  • Assuming their partner will lose interest in them over time
  • Obsessing over the possibility that their partner will cheat on them

Insecurity stems from deeper issues like low self-worth, attachment disorders, or previous betrayals. Unless the root insecurities are addressed, jealous patterns will continue. Therapy and building self-esteem can help reduce insecurity-driven jealousy.


Possessive personalities are prone to severe jealousy. They view their partners as objects or possessions that they must control. A possessive person feels entitled to their partner’s affection and attention. If their partner has outside friendships, hobbies, or responsibilities, the possessive person sees these as threats. They want their partner’s world to revolve entirely around them.

Signs of a possessive personality include:

  • Isolating their partner from friends and family
  • Demanding their partner’s passwords and reading their messages
  • Interrogating their partner about who they spend time with
  • Throwing a fit if their partner does something without them
  • Stalking their partner or showing up unannounced

Possessiveness often stems from low self-worth and the need to dominate one’s partner. It may be rooted in previous abandonment or betrayal. Counseling can help possessive individuals gain insight into their controlling behaviors. Setting healthy boundaries is important in these relationships.


People with a tendency to distrust others make very jealous romantic partners. They find it difficult to take others at their word or give them the benefit of the doubt. Even when there is no rational reason to suspect their partner, they remain skeptical and suspicious.

Signs of a distrustful personality include:

  • Assuming their partner has ulterior motives
  • Expecting their partner will cheat given the opportunity
  • Looking for “evidence” their partner is being deceitful
  • Questioning the details of their partner’s story
  • Snooping through their partner’s phone, accounts, belongings

Distrust may stem from past betrayals, growing up around deception, or being lied to as a child. Therapy and relationship counseling can help distrustful individuals examine these roots and learn to reestablish trust. If the distrustful habits continue, however, the relationship may fail.


Paranoid personality disorder is a mental health condition characterized by intense, irrational mistrust and suspicion of others. Paranoia goes beyond everyday jealousy and distrust. Paranoid individuals see threats that do not really exist. For example, a paranoid person may be convinced their partner is cheating based on minor everyday actions like going to the store or getting a text message. Paranoia involves delusions and seeing connections that are not real.

Other signs of paranoia include:

  • Seeing neutral events as personally threatening
  • Believing their partner is constantly watched or tracked
  • Thinking their partner is spreading lies or rumors about them
  • Having conspiracy theories about their partner’s activities

Paranoia requires psychiatric treatment. Paranoid jealousy will not resolve without addressing the underlying thought disorder. Medication and therapy can help paranoid individuals gain perspective.

Low Self-Esteem

People with chronically low self-esteem are prone to high jealousy. They feel unworthy of love, so when they get it, they live in fear of losing it. Minor issues get blown out of proportion. Low self-esteem makes people take their partner’s innocent actions personally. For example, if their partner does not immediately answer the phone, the jealous person may think it means their partner is upset with them or withdrawing.

Signs of low self-esteem fuelling jealousy include:

  • Hypersensitivity to perceived rejection or abandonment
  • Constantly seeking reassurance from their partner
  • Mood plummets if their partner spends time away
  • Feeling they do not deserve their partner
  • magnifying small issues as relationship threats

Therapy to improve self-worth and self-compassion can help manage jealous feelings driven by low self-esteem. Supportive, reassuring partners also ease this jealousy over time.


People who struggle with being unfaithful themselves may turn around and project their guilt and behavior onto their partner. For example, a husband who is cheating may become convinced his wife is also cheating. Or a person prone to lying may constantly accuse their honest partner of lying. This projection shields them from looking at their own actions.

Signs of projected jealousy include:

  • Obsessing their partner exhibits the negative qualities or behaviors they themselves exhibit
  • Heightened jealousy any time they have been unfaithful themselves
  • Outsized reactions if their partner engages in the same behaviors they do
  • Thoughts like “I’m cheating so they must be too”

In these situations, both people in the relationship likely need counseling to change the dysfunctional patterns. The projector needs help looking inward at their own actions without deflecting.

Prior Betrayal Trauma

Being betrayed in the past, especially in childhood or previous relationships, can breed lasting jealousy issues. People who have been cheated on, lied to, or abandoned by those closest to them may come to expect the same treatment in new relationships. While understandable, these trust issues and jealous instincts can sabotage healthy new relationships.

Signs of betrayal-fueled jealousy include:

  • Assuming new partners will eventually betray them too
  • Looking for early warning signs of betrayal or abandonment
  • Developing anxiety whenever it seems like the relationship is going well
  • Reliving past betrayals whenever their partner goes out alone

Betrayal trauma is best overcome with time, inner work, and the support of a faithful, trustworthy partner. Therapy can help people process past hurts in a healthy way. Journaling, support groups, and learning to self-soothe anxiety are also beneficial.

Anxious Attachment

Anxious attachment derives from inconsistent early caregiving. Individuals with an anxious attachment style desperately crave intimacy but also fear losing it. When they get into relationships, they become preoccupied with fear of abandonment. Their partners’ normal activities outside the relationship trigger separation anxiety. Anxious attachment fuels constant jealousy and hypervigilance to any potential relationship threat.

Signs of anxious attachment include:

  • Separation anxiety when apart from their partner
  • Overanalyzing their partner’s words and actions
  • Needing constant texts and reassurance from their partner
  • Experiencing physical symptoms when stressed about the relationship
  • Avoidant attachment can also induce jealousy from believing one is unworthy of love

Attachment styles are ingrained but can be improved through therapy and developing self-soothing skills. Anxiety medication can also reduce associated jealousy during this process.

Borderline Personality Disorder

Those with borderline personality disorder struggle to regulate their emotions, thoughts, and relationships. Intense, unstable relationships and fear of abandonment are hallmarks of the disorder. Those with BPD are prone to bouts of severe, irrational jealousy over perceived or imagined slights from their partners. Mood swings between idealizing and devaluing partners fuels jealousy.

Signs include:

  • Viewing their partner as perfect or terrible with no in-between
  • Outbursts of anger, blame, or jealousy over minor issues
  • Suicidal threats if their partner wants to leave
  • Manipulating or guilting their partner to gain reassurance
  • Reacting violently to jealousy like breaking things or stalking

BPD requires professional treatment with medication and targeted psychotherapy like dialectical behavior therapy. Partners can help by maintaining healthy boundaries.


Pathological narcissism breeds intense jealousy when the narcissist’s fragile ego is threatened. Narcissists need endless external validation. Anything that shifts their partner’s attention away provokes narcissistic rage. Their grandiose sense of self-importance makes them feel entitled to their partners’ total focus.

Narcissistic jealousy involves:

  • Attention-seeking behaviors like causing drama
  • Lashing out if they feel ignored or less-than
  • Seeing their partner’s independence as a threat
  • Raging when their partner succeeds independently
  • Excessive jealousy of their partner’s success or talents

Treatment for narcissism can help, but progress is difficult with narcissists. Partners should avoid over-validating the narcissist and set healthy boundaries.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Though not an official symptom of OCD, jealous obsessions and compulsions are common in romantic relationships. OCD involves anxiety-provoking intrusive thoughts that trigger repetitive rituals to relieve the anxiety. Relationship obsessions about infidelity, abandonment, and other threats can drive compulsive jealousy behaviors like constant phone checks, grilling one’s partner, or following them.

OCD-fueled jealousy involves:

  • Obsessing over thoughts of their partner’s fidelity
  • Compulsively looking for evidence of cheating or losing interest
  • Badgering their partner for reassurance
  • Repeatedly checking their partner’s phone, accounts, bag, etc.
  • Rituals like driving by their partner’s office for reassurance

Treating the underlying OCD is key to resolving these obsessive jealous behaviors. Anxiety medication can treat OCD symptoms along with counseling for healthier coping strategies.


In conclusion, the type of person prone to jealousy issues often struggles with insecurity, possessiveness, distrust, paranoia, low self-worth, projection, betrayal trauma, attachment anxiety, borderline personality traits, narcissism, or obsessiveness. Identifying and addressing the root causes through counseling and inner work can help mitigate these destructive jealous patterns. With self-awareness, empathy, healthy communication, and establishing mutual trust, any couple can overcome jealousy challenges in their relationship.