In today’s video, I’m going to talk about how to overcome the biggest roadblock on the path to total freedom from retroactive jealousy.

Read on or watch below if you feel stuck with retroactive jealousy and want to overcome the biggest roadblock to freedom.

Zachary Stockill: I put out polls regularly on my YouTube community feed, asking for feedback, asking for opinions and insights. And not long ago, I posted a polk on my channel. And the results of this poll truly shocked me. 

The question was: “Do you consider yourself a victim of retroactive jealousy?” Last time I checked, the response was something like 75% “yes.” Around three-quarters of people who responded to this poll said “yes, I feel like a victim of retroactive jealousy.” Now, you may have a very different interpretation of the word victim than I do. I generally have a negative association with the word victim. I believe thinking like a victim is extremely dangerous. 

In today’s video, I’m going to share four steps to stop thinking like a victim. Even if you think you don’t need this video, I think this could be extremely important for any retroactive jealousy sufferer. 

So the first step to stop thinking like a victim is deceptively simple, or at least it appears simple on the surface, but it’s actually pretty deep and complicated. The first step is simply to ask yourself, 

What do I gain by continuing to feel like a victim? By continuing to think like a victim? What am I getting out of this mindset? 

What are some benefits of thinking like a victim? Now, you may hear me say that and want to throw your phone across the room and call me names and send me nasty emails and all the rest. I don’t care. 

Human beings are motivated by incentives, right? We’re incentivized to make certain choices, to adopt certain perspectives, to adopt certain ideologies… Often ideologies and perspectives that don’t actually serve us, aren’t going to get us where we actually want to go. And your beliefs, even some of your limiting beliefs, even some of your unhelpful beliefs are serving some kind of purpose in your life. There’s a reason you’re believing these things. There’s a reason you’re adopting certain perspectives. 

And people with a victim mentality gain a certain comfort from feeling like a victim. 

Because when you feel powerless, it gives you an excuse to not do anything, to not take action.

stuck with retroactive jealousy

It gives you an excuse to throw up your hands and say, “These are the cards I’ve been dealt, I can’t do anything about this. I’m powerless. So I guess I just have to make the best with what I have.” That kind of thing. This is just one example. 

But there are many benefits that thinking like the victim is offering in your life. So try to really focus. You can journal, you can go off and meditate, and really think about this question. What am I gaining by engaging in this behavior that clearly isn’t helping me? By engaging in this behavior that clearly isn’t going to get me to my intended destination?

A quick note on that. If you’re a retroactive jealousy sufferer, hopefully, your intended destination is freedom from retroactive jealousy, i.e. clarity, and peace of mind. And if you want to get to that destination, thinking like a victim will get you nowhere. I hope I’ve made that point clear by now. 

The second step to stop thinking like a victim is to ask yourself another absolutely crucial question. And you have to be so honest with yourself when you answer this question. 

The question is: What is the worst-case scenario if I don’t change my mindset? If I keep going down this road?

If I keep following the path that I’m currently taking, that clearly isn’t getting me to my intended destination, that clearly isn’t getting me where I want to go? If I keep thinking like a victim, What’s the worst that could happen?

And again, you need to get very clear, vivid, and detailed when you answer this question for yourself.

I’ve asked myself this question many times. And often, the answers are kind of scary. 

Because here’s the interesting thing. We know ourselves pretty damned well, especially if we’re in our 20s and 30s. We know ourselves pretty well.

We know our strengths, we know our weaknesses, we know our demons. 

stuck with retroactive jealousy

And the clearer you can get about what will happen if you don’t change your current mentality, if you don’t change your perspective… The more clear you can get about this stuff, the more motivation you’ll have to change your thinking; to start challenging some of your limiting beliefs. 

What is the worst that could happen? For some people, that might involve a breakup or a divorce. Or more months or years of misery and frustration and pain. It could involve losing your marriage, losing your house, losing your family.

Everyone’s going to have different answers to this question. The point is to really spend time thinking about this because it’s a very good motivator in life whenever you’re dealing with a serious challenge. 

Step three is to adopt one of my favorite principles from Stoic philosophy. You’ve probably heard me talk a lot about Stoicism on this channel, how Stoic philosophy can help you overcome obsessive jealousy. But step three is borrowing one of the fundamental ideas, one of the fundamental precepts from Stoic philosophy, which is as much as humanly possible:

Always try to focus on what is within your sphere of influence; what you can control what you have power over.

And as much as possible, to try to disregard everything else. Disregard everything that is outside your control, outside your sphere of influence. 

So maybe you can’t control the fact that you struggled with retroactive jealousy for the past six months, one year, two years, or more. You can’t do anything about that. As much as you might regret those times, as much as you may regret some of the choices you made in the past, as much as you may regret your current circumstances, those days are gone. 

You can’t do anything about the past. But you can do a hell of a lot right now.

You can start making different choices right now. You can acknowledge that whatever you’re doing right now is not working. You can make better choices in your relationship. 

If you’re struggling with retroactive jealousy, and you’re taking it on your partner, you can stop. You can completely decide, “You know what, I’m never going to ask them any more questions about this stuff. It’s driving us crazy. It’s driving her crazy…”

You can read a new book, you can take a course such as my flagship course “Get Over Your Partner’s Past Fast”, you can read more of my articles or free YouTube videos if you don’t want to invest in my products, and services.

Doing something different is the point that I’m trying to emphasize here. 

Always try to focus on what you can control, and as much as possible, disregard everything else. 

Because what’s the alternative? People who rant and rave all day about politics and all this nonsense that has no bearing on their own life…

Tthey’re ranting on Facebook all day, but their own lives, their own personal lives, their own professional lives, are a nightmare. They’re a complete mess because they’re wasting all of their energy focusing on things they have no power over, no control over. It’s a complete waste of time. You don’t want to be one of those people. So focus on what you can control. 

The fourth and final step to stop thinking and feeling like a victim is to always, as much as possible, try to practice gratitude. And I can hear the objections already. “Zach, that’s easier said than done.” Yes, it is. Welcome to life. 

Many things that are important are easier said than done. Right? I’ll share a very brief story about my own experience of practicing gratitude in some extremely difficult circumstances.

And it’s been five years, almost five years now. But it’s still difficult for me to talk about when my mother died far too young. But five years ago, I was devastated. I was heartbroken. It was the worst month of my life. I can’t even get into it. 

It was the worst period of my life. Suffice it to say, that it was extremely wrenching and just awful. 

What helped me get through that time, to a considerable extent, even when it was extremely difficult to do so, was practicing gratitude. Because I lost my mother. And far too young.

And in the midst of my pain, in the midst of my grief, in the midst of my despair, I was very angry. “Why? Why was it my mother? Why did God take my mother?”

And I knew I had to start practicing gratitude.

I lost my mother when I was 29 years old. But guess what? I had an absolutely incredible mother for 29 years. And that’s a hell of a lot more than most people, unfortunately. I had an absolutely wonderful mother, for the first part of my life, for my first 29 years. 

What an incredible gift that I was lucky enough to have in my life. What really helped me overcome my intense grief was simply trying to practice gratitude, trying to be grateful for all the wonderful gifts my mother gave me while she was alive, rather than focusing on the fact that she was gone. Now, this is an extreme example. Obviously, my point is to merely suggest that you really can:

Practice gratitude in incredibly difficult moments, even in moments when you feel like you don’t have anything to be grateful for. 

stuck with retroactive jealousy

Because there’s always something to be grateful for. If you’re watching this video, you have the internet. Wow, what a miracle that is. You have the means to afford a smartphone or a computer or a laptop or whatever. Again, another miracle. 

If you’re struggling with retroactive jealousy, you have a relationship you probably have an incredible person in your life who cares for you, and you care for them/ What an incredible gift that is.

I’m sure you could list 100 more things that you could be grateful for right now, at this moment. There’s always something to be grateful for always.

Take the necessary steps to overcome retroactive jealousy, and this practice will get easier and easier.

Zachary Stockill
Zachary Stockill

Hi! I'm a Canadian author and educator whose work has been featured in BBC News, BBC Radio 4, The Huffington Post, and many other publications. I'm the founder of, the author of Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy and The Overcoming Jealousy Workbook, and the host of Humans in Love podcast.