Crunch. Did you hear that? That’s the sound of his ego being shattered. As blunt as it sounds, the vast majority of guilt-trips stem from an ex attempting to reconcile his self-image with his wavering sense of self-worth. In a sense, then, it is less about his ability to manipulate you, than it is about his battle with his own inner demons.
See it for what it is
Jealousy at its core, is the fear of losing something that is highly valued. In this case that would be you. Superficially, manifestations of jealousy seem counter-intuitive. By manipulating and controlling, don’t we risk alienating the object of our attention?
Yes, but the subconscious mind doesn’t care. If an ex is having trouble moving on, bad press is better than no press because at the very least they have your attention. If they have your attention, at some level they are comforted by the fact that you still think of them. Even if what you are thinking isn’t quite as flattering as they hope.
Once we realize that jealousy is nothing but a smokescreen for insecurity, its effects should begin to diminish over time.
Making it stop
Making his manipulation stop is only partly in your hands. Only once he is able to come to grips with loss will his need to clamor for your attention end.
There are things you can do to accelerate this process, however.
- Don’t allow him to bait a reaction out of you. Confronting him will only end with him attempting to make you look insecure (as well as give his broken ego exactly what it wants — your attention).
- Remove yourself from the picture. If he continues to contact you with his mind-games, do what it takes to limit his access to you. This might include removing him from your social networks or changing your number.
- Don’t attempt to rationalize his attempts at jealousy. Don’t allow his own wavering self-esteem to bring yours down. Remember; if he was truly over you he wouldn’t bother.
There is something to be said for standing up to your ex and cluing them into the fact that you are fully aware of how transparent their mind-games are. While this may work, I personally feel that it can also reset both your, and your ex’s healing process. Potentially making things a great deal worse. I would steer clear of the drama — but that’s just me.
Other reasons for jealousy
While all forms of jealousy are fundamentally a manifestation of insecurity, some are fueled by more than just the pain of dealing with unrequited desire. In some cases jealousy isn’t just ego-driven self-mutilation, but is the fruit of something more specific. If that pain can be smoothed out, so too might his desire to evoke jealousy.
Resentment is another common catalyst for mind-games. Sometimes it isn’t about reconciling. It’s about paying you back. If your relationship ended badly, or there is something which caused him to resent you, he might simply be seeking a crude form of revenge by emotionally torturing you.
Wounded pride is also another common culprit. Particularly prideful people will care deeply about notions such as “social status” and may be fixated by the feeling of having publicly lost face. In this case their attempts to make you jealous have nothing to do with you, but are a pathetic way of attempting to inform everyone else that they came out of the breakup the “victor”.
Rather than allow their games to tear at your own self-worth, make sure you understand that mind games are the symptom of self-inflicted, ego-driven malaise. Rarely will you have anything to do with it, and there is rarely anything you can actually do about it.
Don’t allow his guilt and insecurity to become yours.