Most of the time I feel in control of myself. When jealousy rears its head, every sense of solicitude I have vanishes. I am consumed with fierce emotion I'm barely able to rein in. I feel incredibly unlike myself.
The Desiring God article Hey, Jealousy helped me better grasp jealousy's power tonight. Here's the excerpt that struck a chord with me:
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). Anger is a tantrum, a screech, a baby’s cry. “Pressing milk produces curds, pressing the nose produces blood, and pressing anger produces strife” (Proverbs 30:33). Oh, no! Great and mighty anger! As titanic and Herculean as milk and the human nostril. Scripture knows: “Wrath is cruel, anger is overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?” (Proverbs 27:4).
Jealousy is tyrannical. It is catastrophic. It is metaphysical. It feels controlling and you cannot escape. It feels as if every particle of self-control you have in your entire being is vaporized in one fell emotional swoop. It brings people to the end of themselves in a millisecond, and they are no longer the same people.
Bodily, it makes you feel like you’ve been infected with the rage virus — radioactive, indestructible, decomposing, inciting strong aversion to any human interaction that does not meet your singular end: “Envy makes the bone rot” (Proverbs 14:30; cf. also Song of Solomon 8:6, “jealousy is fierce as the grave”). Relationally, jealousy knows no moderation; it is domineeringly exacting, exhaustive, unaccepting of excuses: “For jealousy makes a man furious, and he will not spare when he takes revenge” (Proverbs 6:34).
Simply understanding that jealousy is more powerful than anger helps. It means that I am not weak for not being able to stand when a wave hits me; it simply means it is more powerful than anyone could withstand, and that's comforting.