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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Jealousy-100 Words for Sunday, October 28, 2012


Shakespeare and Verdi, Johan Botha and Renee Fleming, jealousy and intrigue, once more the tangle of deceit, this time evoking love destroyed by jealousy. The innocence and incredulity of Desdemona to believe her love capable of being doubted combines with the insecurity of the powerful Otello to feel loved for himself. Was she unfaithful because my face is black? he wonders. The music thunders and caresses, echoing and raising the emotional tension as each of Iago’s schemes unfold. I love having the opportunity of seeing the live performances from the Met on widescreen including the behind-the-scenes glimpses of the set preparations.
Emotions and feelings are universal and Shakespeare wrote so poignantly about all of them and the tensions that are raised between people. How much more difficult it is to maintain our confidence in ourselves as we witness the disintegration of someone we love.First, when a situation arises in which we feel threatened by someone we love, we feel as Otello does, doubtful about  ourselves; we doubt if we were ever deserving of the love or even the friendship we felt we had. Then we become angry with the other person because we feel insecure, because the balance has been shifted. Who is she or he to make me feel this uncomfortable? we think.
If we act on these feelings, looking as Otello does, for "proof" of our suspicions, we will find them and destroy our relationships too. If we are so trusting, as Desdemona is, not believing anyone could think badly of us, we lose as well since we cannot face the challenge of the situation. This situation forms the tension for a great play which ends tragically. How can we resolve conflicts with people we love and have put our faith in without destroying the relationship?
Of course this is especially true when a loved one is ill and becomes dependent; the balance of the relationship shifts to one provider and one receiver and often feels unbalanced. We echo the feelings we had as adolescents when the balance had to switch from receiving child to adult responsibility for our relationships with our parents. Adapting to change is hard and most of us find it difficult to adjust without feeling angry or jealous. We need to recognize our feelings, talk about them and not act them out in a violent and hurtful fashion.
I struggle with my feelings when something I have planned to please my husband doesn't go well; I feel angry with myself for "expecting" Bob to appreciate my effort. I feel angry with him because he isn't able to. I feel disappointed with each of us. Attending a support group, watching the opera with a friend, having dinner with family, all help diminish these feelings and to turn my mind away for a short while, but caregiving for a loved one with Alzheimer's or other mind damaging dementias is all-consuming.

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