martedì, agosto 02, 2016

Envy in everyday life written by Patricia Polledri

I read a lot of books of psychology during my teenage age, from Freud to Jung, passing through Milton Erickson and it was one of the topics I have always loved the most.

I didn't know anything about envy, not psychiatrically, although I know how this powerful feeling can be able to destroy the existence of people.

I was curious to understand much more and I requested this book at Netgalley: Envy in everyday life written by Patricia Polledri.

I start to tell you that I found it simply superlative. I loved and loved and loved to reading it.


Polledri in the past wrote another book about envy,but it was for specialists so terminologically difficult for common people. She wanted to write a book this time understandable to everyone and she reached the result.

Envy is a feeling old like the time, but absolutely the most destructive force existing in nature. More dangerous than jealousy.

But what is envy?

The author cites in the book some lines of Paul Tournier:

"Other people's judgement exercise a paralyzing effect. Fear of criticism kills spontaneity, it prevents men from expressing themselves freely, as they are. Much courage is needed to paint a picture, to write books, to erect a building designed along new architectural lines, or to formulate an independent opinion or an original idea. Any new concept any creation falls foul of a host of critics. Those who criticize most are the ones who create nothing. But they form a powerful wall which we all fear to run into more than we admit."

Polledri defines envy in this way: "When one person feels they lack what another person has and wishes that the other person did not have it."

What will do the envious?
The envious will fight with all himself for ruining, destroying the other person.
The second person, the envied one, mustn't enjoy the beauty he has.

The envious is a poor man because constantly unhappy.
He thinks of being inferior of the envied and he can envy substantially everything, writes the psychiatrist: the person's success, happiness, joy, health, wealth, good looks, sunny disposition, character, knowledge, material possessions, power, title job, status, and can you imagine it? The envious envy also the freedom from enviousness that the other person experience!!!

The author later will explain the various differences between envy and jealousy. Jealousy in general involves three people and it is related at a love-sexual feeling, while the envy is a much more nasty sentiment.

There is not humanity, not any kind of humanity in the envious.
He must destroy and he doesn't do that accidentally but deliberately. The envious is happy only when he can sees the person damaged, inflicting him any kind of punishment.

In envy we just can speak of hate.
The envious hate, and just hate the other person and in his state, in his world doesn't exist anymore his self, but a sort of distortion of projection of the poor envied person in his own personality.
The envious tries to understand how he would feel for example if he would have the characteristic of the envied person.
But, the envious knows for sure one thing: he must destroy.

Envy is the desertification and desolation in term of every kind of good feelings.

The envious is a person capable of all the most outrageous actions for arriving at his purpose: the destruction of the other human being.

It's simply scaring just to think at it. Well also pretty comical if it wouldn't have dramatic aspects...

There are many levels of this sentiment and of course various situations. For example siblings, says the author can feel envy for the other one. It happens when they could have felt a sense of injustice and deprivation, when there were comparisons with someone with more things than us, and the most scaring factor that the envious thinks that he can't have what he wants as long as the other person has it.

Psychologically, explains the author it works with this internal mechanism: the other person, the poor envied one, can't have what he has, because the envious feels that he is less than who he is.

The envious insists the author is able to envy not just possessions but also certain characteristics of the envied one, like the goodness, the innocence, peace of mind.

Immanuel Kant a philosopher said that: "Envy is a hate that is not open and violent. The complete opposite of human love."

Envy is pure cruelty.

The envious is a sick person or anyway a person with a lot of problematic for sure.
There is not sufficient self-esteem, because someone with a good character would understand that there is no reason for being like that.


An envious become that also thanks to the social environment and family he is surrounded by.

And now relationship between men and women.

Freud as all we know invented psychoanalysis, but being a man he elaborated just the concept of "penis envy" so looking in a man's perspective the relationship between men and women and thinking that maybe a woman would have wanted to be like a man but avoiding to take in consideration, as says the author, the big power that there is within a woman and the envy felt by men thanks to the sociological role that a woman plays in the society. Who is a woman? Someone able to give life. Someone able of perpetuating life thanks to the maternity, an experience this one unknown to men.
This envy and this hatred brought men to try to put down since now women in the society dominating them at work. Just for not being considered inferior.

Another kind of dangerous envy the one can involves a workplace.
Not only it can be devastating because a place contaminated by envy is not joyous but oppressed and poisoned but also because the organization where we work can start to suffer seriously for this condition. The best team is the team where leaders are in grade to put all their workers in condition to work with great serenity and enthusiasm for giving all their best.

Every chapter will be illustrated with clinical examples of psychiatrist cases.


A special chapter treated the case of Oscar Pistorious the notorious runner without legs, that in a moment of desperation and jealousy killed her girlfriend.


It will be analyzed the first period of life of this man, both legs amputated for a serious illness at 11 months, and at 14 prosthetic new legs,  At 17 years he starts to run and he tries his best for being admitted at the Olympic category for normal runners and not for people with disabilities.
There was an involvement of press incredible regarding his case. Anyway he did it.
He had everything. Wonderful sponsors, wonderful life, wonderful girlfriend, but maybe his internal conflicts biggest than not what they appeared at first in the surface.




Anna Maria Polidori 

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