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A personal recount about feeling jealousy and anger

Introduction The Cartesian notion of subjectivity as unitary, contained and rational, that is the mainstay of much mainstream psychological work on emotions, faces a critical challenge from theoretical traditions informed by existential phenomenology and process philosophy, amongst others.

  1. Analysis of memories We analyzed the memories both separately in between Meetings 1 and 2 and together as a group in Meetings 2, 3 and 4. An important feature of memory work is its collective nature.
  2. This uncertainty results in a replaying of the situation, a reflective attempt to make sense of the irrational. However, while Yahweh seeks to deter Cain from dangerous course of action, Jezebel, on the other hand, wants to pacify the anger of her husband by getting for him Naboth's piece of land.
  3. Women's collective constructions of embodied practices through memory work.
  4. Yet, in spite of this reticent character of the narrator in his description of the angry scenes, he conveyed nonetheless the vivid emotional character of this scene.

In this article we draw on these somewhat neglected traditions to examine the nature of romantic jealousy, within the context of a piece of memory work. It is worth noting that most studies engaging with subjectivity have been within poststructuralist discursive traditions but instead we seek to preserve the intercorporeal and intersubjective through a memory work study drawing on existential phenomenology and process philosophy.

There is thus a psychosocial problematic at play concerning the mutual patterning of subjectivity and broader social circumstances. This problematic opens up the possibility of "thinking together" issues of feeling, imagination and desire alongside social figuration, structure and process. He did not simply dismiss subjectivity, with many references in "Being and Time" 1962 [1927] to an "actual" subject and a "subject-entity. He does not refer to human beings per se in his exploration of being but instead uses the term Dasein in the later writings appears as Da-sein.

Dasein is a commonly used German word often translated as "presence" but HEIDEGGER uses it to refer to "there-being" or more commonly in English "being-there"the place of openness where being occurs. This does not mean we need witness the loss of subjectivity itself but rather realize a form of subjectivity that is not a personal recount about feeling jealousy and anger deep into nature but also "deepened and intensified" itself p.

We adopt these theoretical perspectives in this study and use them to frame our work and, in the spirit of both the existential-phenomenological and process philosophy traditions, seek to ground this in the empirical and avoid the excesses of high-level theoretical abstraction. The ability to describe and experience an emotion, for example, can be enabled or constrained by one's cultural background, experience and vocabulary and the classification of emotions varies between cultures with new emotion terms emerging and disappearing over time GERGEN, 1999; FREDMAN, 2004.

In this context, the emotion of romantic jealousy is of particular interest since the circumstances and forms of subjectivity associated with it are: We acknowledge that jealousy is much more than simply "romantic" but choose to exclusively focus on that specific form here in order to limit the scope of the work and also as a result of our recognition of the way discourses of romantic jealousy are deployed to support particular forms of relationships and conceptual understandings of relationality.

This study is concerned with exploring the nature of romantic jealousy through a phenomenological narrative analysis of jealous memories within the context of a group memory work research project. In memory work there is no separation of researcher and participant, no researcher-subject and participant-object. Instead, the focus is a reflexive process in which subjectivities come into being within a pre-determined social space.

Below in Section 2 we detail the memory work method adopted for this study and the phenomenological and process philosophy methodology being used to supplement this approach. The findings are presented in Section 3 with the final section discussing these in relation to both the extant literature on jealousy and broader discussions of subjectivity. Method A group of academics was assembled with a shared interest in theorizing relational, embodied subjectivities, questioning mono-normativity and exploring alternative ways of understanding relationships.

Memory group work requires bringing a group of between four and eight people together who all share a key characteristic of relevance to the study. In this study this entailed an interest in romantic jealousy alongside a commitment to researching the topic. All participants had previously researched and written on topics of relevance, such as jealousy e.

The latter two were involved in the production and discussion of memories but did not take part in the data analysis or writing up of the research due to other commitments. The first phase being the production of memories 1. Generating memoriesthe second phase supporting the analysis 2. Analysis of memories and the third phase facilitating theory generation 3. It is usual for memory work studies to include memories written in the third person to encourage the production of accounts that focus on rich description, avoiding reflective comment.

However, this was felt to distance participants from the process of recollecting their experiences and so was adapted to include writing in the first person beyond the first memory elicitation stage. Rich description was thus given priority, with all and any attempt to interpret or theorize our account bracketed, as much as is ever possible. Each group member was also encouraged not to edit the memory for narrative consistency.

Inconsistencies and tensions a personal recount about feeling jealousy and anger considered to insightful and useful. Analysis of memories We analyzed the memories both separately in between Meetings 1 and 2 and together as a group in Meetings 2, 3 and 4. All group discussions were recorded and transcribed and used as further data to be analyzed. That is, they were leaderless and cooperative with an active attempt to minimize power differentials between participants whilst encouraging open and honest dialogue and disclosure of feelings.

An important feature of memory work is its collective nature. Data is produced and analyzed by a collective who seek to work together to understand the social relations within which the meanings are constructed. Whilst each memory is a personal recount about feeling jealousy and anger produced the hermeneutic process of analysis is highly reflexive and contextualized with all participants working collectively to discern the meaning of the topic being researched.

The group discussions themselves are therefore subject to the analytic process alongside the analysis of the memories themselves. This entailed us attending to thematic patterns through a strategy of thematic decomposition, STENNER, 1993 and also the macro narrative form of the stories being recounted.

The analysis was first and foremost grounded in the data with a focus on the analysis emerging out of the memories rather than being imposed upon them. Theory-building Memories were analyzed independently and as a group cross-section of memories.

We then discussed the recurring themes, common processes, patterns and narratives through which jealousy came to be experienced. Any recurring themes, common patterns and narrative structures were noted and described in order to develop an account of both core invariant properties and those elements which varied across the accounts.

However, we acknowledge that such a clear split between hermeneutics of empathy and suspicion is not completely possible as theoretical understandings inevitably colored our earlier descriptions and discussions, whilst personal experience no doubt colors the theories we are drawn to.

Similarly, we all made a point of not reading other peoples' memories before writing our own each time and the months elapsing between meetings meant that memories from the previous time were not well-remembered but we inevitably influenced each other's telling of memories to some extent.

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This was not uniformly consistent however, as the three types of memories described below represented different expressions of this structure, highlighting varying aspects. We start by providing detail of the three different "types" of memories, which highlight different features of the experience of jealousy, to discuss the ways in which a core structure of romantic jealousy differently manifests itself depending on the nature of the jealous experience being recounted.

We then present the core narrative structure discerned across all memories before moving on to discuss the findings more broadly. Findings Through the coming analysis we will return particularly to the non-rational, unexpected, intrusive nature of jealousy and its relation to competing virtual subjectivities. Particularly we will consider the "disruptor" moment where a different subjectivity that was being conjured up could not be maintained, a turning point in the narrative being recounted.

Sometimes this is a subjectivity we have enjoyed imagining for ourselves in the present, or it is one we feel we'd like to keep open for the future, whilst at other times it is one that we had available in the past that is linked to a sense of a loss of possibility.

There was a strong physical performativity in the stories recounted wherein bodies, perhaps unsurprisingly, proved to be central to this particular lived experience BUTLER, 1997b. Bodies were experienced in space, feeling lost or trapped in another's space, or with others with a vivid physicality and frequently a fleshly touch both within the written accounts and within the analytic process when they were recounted and discussed.

Emotions were expressed through a variety of evocative and often particularly difficult inwardly directed feelings churning, sick, nauseous, curdling stomach, pulsing vein, stunned senses, cold, can't breathe, furious heart, excess energy, buzzy, disgust, can't stand to be touchedalongside outward directed anger and rage.

One set are "actual" jealous memories where all the people involved were actually present and there was some real sexual context. Another set are "virtual" jealous memories where we were the only people present for all, or most, of the experience, and all of the emotional business was happening in our imagination.

The final set were "in between," in that two parties were present in the flesh but a third party or parties became more "real" during the process. Thus the sets of memories were on a continuum from "real" to "virtual. In each case below, one example memory is provided with names and places changed to ensure anonymity to illustrate the analysis, though it is important to note that the analysis has been derived from careful consideration of all the memories in each category.

He is with someone else, who is unaware of what's going on. I don't feel good about doing this, especially being in his house. I would much rather be on neutral territory. He has cooked for me, and I feel so young and excited to be on a date, where I am the sole focus and object of desire.

I am talking a lot and he finds what I am saying interesting, engaging, amusing, whilst all the time, the undercurrent of sexual desire is wafting round the room. However, this doesn't bother me; I know what this relationship is really about and I don't have grand expectations about anything being deep and meaningful.

I find him extremely attractive but I don't see him as a potential serious partner. His views on things are simplistic; dumb even. The house is hot and inviting and I begin to wander around, to discover more about him and how he lives. As he is clearing up the dinner things, I look around at the objects on the shelves and the pictures on the walls in the house, which they share with others. I come across a photograph of him and his partner on holiday somewhere hot.

He is behind her, holding her and she is brushing his face tenderly with her fingers.

  • Woven into such experiences is some kind of comparison with, or competition to, others who are imagined to offer something that the actor now cannot offer due to the closing down of this potential subjectivity;
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  • I would much rather be on neutral territory.

I think they are on a beach. She looks so beautiful and they look so in love. They are the perfect image of happiness: I begin thinking about their relationship and how jealous they both get when the other talks to another man or woman or so I am told. If only she knew! I also began thinking that while I didn't agree with jealousy in principle especially at that ridiculous level!

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Why didn't he feel that way about me? Why didn't anyone feel that way about me? I begin to feel alone, deflated and not so clever and desirable after all.

  • Look not round at the depraved morals of others, but run straight along the line without deviating from it;
  • In some way the fact of their existence, which had previously been known but in a rather distant way, became objectified and very "real;
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  • In the story of Rachel, it was simply, "Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?
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  • In this pericope, Moses shared the same point of view as Yahweh as readily seen in the shared emotion of anger by Yahweh in v.

The night turns sour, and I try to remove all emotion from what I am about to do—i. It works, and during the time we are having sex, the original feelings of youth, power and desirability return. I feel wrong having felt those things about their relationship and slightly embarrassed, but it did speak to something I can't quite explain. A jealousy of their jealousy: It begins with an anticipatory context. In this case finding oneself in the territory of another with the emotional life that such displacement engenders: This anticipatory context frames the later jealous turn, with desire and uncertainty amplifying the eroticism, which appears key to how jealousy is evoked so powerfully.

The ambiguity of the relationship is resisted here as in the other in between memories. However, the "disruptor," where there is a significant narrative shift and the emergence of jealousy, comes with the objectification of the other, in this case in the form of a photograph in the others it is the presence of a condom and via a phone call.

The shift in subjectivity that occurs as a result of this is powerful and seemingly uncontrollable as she is unable to sustain herself in reaction to the objectification of the other's involvement. She struggles to sustain her identity of herself as powerful, desired, free in the face of this physical objectification of the person. Furthermore, the disruption occurs as a result of a shift in settings "I begin to wander around [. The precariousness of the set of relations with her lover, which were at first acknowledged and accepted "I know what this relationship is about and I don't have grand expectations about anything deep and meaningful" becomes for a moment a source of anxiety and ambiguity "Why didn't he feel that way about me?

Though this shifts towards the end of the memory "I feel wrong about having felt those things [. It is, therefore, possible to say that the "assemble of relations" LATOUR, 2005 that feed into this variable and contradictory experience of jealousy is achieved through the spaces and objects present.

The very nature of the actor's subjectivity as a person who is not jealous, who is just having fun is challenged through the objectification of another desired person a person who is being cared for and desired: There is a common anticipatory structure in all three memories in this category, grounded in desire and a sense of being territorially unsettled.

Part of this anticipatory work also included a personal recount about feeling jealousy and anger constructions of a subject who is not jealous, who is just having fun and who is desired.

What is also demonstrated is the sense of mismatch between threat and emotional response, which feels out of proportion and comes from nowhere.