to feel inferior and ashamed

(60 Posts)
utreas Fri 23-Aug-13 21:18:19

I went out for a meal with my younger sister and brother tonight and the difference between them and me is so stark. Everything from their attitudes to their clothes shouts success whilst in comparison I looked like frumpy no-mark. When it came to choosing the food and wine they both wanted really expensive steaks and a really pricey bottle of wine whilst I have to be more modest (we’re not on the breadline but we’re not wealthy either). In the conversation sis is looking at buying a new car and was talking about how she wants to get an A1 whilst I drive a banger and bro is looking at renting a city centre penthouse apartment whilst I live in a house that badly needs renovating. Sis is a successful recruitment consultant and bro has just graduated but already got a marketing executive job and it just seems that they have made so much more of themselves and their lives than I have (the best job I’ve ever had was as an admin assistant).
It goes further because they are now both planning a trip to the World Cup in Brazil and so that will be another great experience that I won’t have. We all grew up in the same house and had the same opportunity but they have made such a better fist of it and in comparison I feel inferior and I’m quite ashamed when I think about it.

Jinty64 Tue 27-Aug-13 06:38:27

Our neighbours have great careers. They have paid off their mortgage and have, at least, two holidays a year. They drive naice cars and on the face of it have an enviable life. However he doesn't keep well and, I know, they would swap the whole lot for just one of my children.

I know what I would rather have.

Tee2072 Tue 27-Aug-13 06:48:13

I changed careers at 40, had a baby then too.

31 isn't old at all.

exoticfruits Tue 27-Aug-13 07:04:53

I would call 31yrs very young and you can make changes, if you want to. They are even younger- who can tell where they will be in 20 or so years time?
I expect they caught you at a bad moment. Either you are generally happy with your life or you have things you want to change- but don't let the comparison colour it.

TroublesomeEx Tue 27-Aug-13 07:42:39

I don't compare myself negatively to anyone.

I have the shittest family of anyone I know.
The least money of anyone I know.
I'm the only lone parent I know.

But I'm as happy as any of them and happier than some.

The answer really is being grateful for what you have. Would you want an expensive car (I know I wouldn't) or to rent a city centre penthouse (doesn't interest me).

Just making comparisons won't achieve anything. Look at what you've got, what you're happy with, what you'd like to change about your own life and then act on that.

Mojavewonderer Tue 27-Aug-13 07:50:22

Aww I feel for you. My brother owns a successful business and owns a yacht and I am just a sahm married to a aircraft engineer so big difference there. I do have an edge though because I have lived abroad for a number of years and my brother has always wanted to live abroad but he can't relocate his business. My other brother has a good job but lives at home so while I would love my mum to look after me at least I have my own house lol.

cantreachmytoes Tue 27-Aug-13 08:34:38

"The happiest people do not have the best of everything, they make the best of everything they have."

I feel for you OP. It's hard, even if you normally don't think about it and then it just pops up as it did for you over dinner.

If you're 31, you still have about 35 years before retirement age. A few years out to retrain seems like a lot on one hand, but when you look at the big picture, it's not so long really.

If you don't want to change careers, then your lucky to be doing something you actually like/want to stay in. Either way, you are not inferior to them anymore than someone earning less than you is to you.

DontmindifIdo Tue 27-Aug-13 09:10:15

I do hate when there are threads like this people trot out "I bet it's all on credit" or "they won't be happy" - because a lot of people who are sucessful aren't up to their eyeballs in debt or miserable. It's also a bit nasty to be encouraging the OP to hope her siblings' lives aren't going as well as they present to the world.

Anyway OP, you have a very different life to your Dsiblings, are you the only one with DCs? they might look at you as the one who's got their life sorted if you've got a family and a proper home (rather than just a place they live at the moment). Even if they have more stuff, they might not notice you don't have those things/couldn't afford them if they aren't suitable for your life. Pre-DCs DH did a couple of trips to rugby world cups but now he wouldn't, not because of finances but because those holidays aren't really compatable with having a family - they probably would assume the Brazil trip wouldn't be suitable for you so hadn't stopped to think if you could afford it even if you wanted to go.

I bet they'd be really upset to read your opening post and think they made you feel that way.

Focus on what you have in common, not stuff but attitudes and shared history. And think about your life choices that have lead to you this point, is there anything you think you should have done differently, would you give up what you have now? I know I could have made different choices that might have lead to a more affulent lifestyle, but if I'd taken those routes it's unlikely I'd have met DH, so I wouldn't have my beautiful DCs and god knows what sort of wanker I've had ended up with....

Silverfoxballs Tue 27-Aug-13 09:46:55

The only aspect of a persons life I judge them on is their kindness, nothing else.

I have many siblings, I am far more comfortable than them. So I suppose I'm the equivalent of your siblings, I actually don't go on about holidays etc in front of them because I know they cannot afford them. So I think your siblings are a bit inconsiderate. They probably have no idea they are doing it.

Pinupgirl Tue 27-Aug-13 10:10:01

I feel for you op-I compare myself and our situation-too many kids in too small a house-too others and it really gets me down. I know that a lot of the reason for my dh's apathy to doing something to get us out of this situation is due to the fact that he compares himself to work collegues/peers who have done so much better than us-huge homes,great hols,dcs in private schools etc. I don't care what anyone says-it is bloody depressing.

Dahlen Tue 27-Aug-13 10:17:55

If your siblings were living on the poverty line, you'd probably feel very lucky in comparison. Apparently, our level of contentment is determined by how well we compare to those in our social circle. That's all very normal and doesn't really say anything about you.

That said, I'd say this has more to do with you being unhappy with your own life, not feeling inadequate compared to your siblings. If you were genuinely happy, the comparison would probably make you laugh rather than feel bad. The key is "they have made a much better fist of it" which to me suggests you are beating yourself up for failing to realise your potential or for making 'bad' choices.

The key to feeling better is to set yourself a task and achieve it. It doesn't have to be anything life-changing. It could be as simple as taking up a new form of exercise once a week, or decorating a room at home. Keep building on that. The more you do, the higher your self esteem, the greater your confidence, the more you aim for and the more you achieve.

However, success is not always defined by material means. I'd rather count among my friends the kind and poor than the rich and selfish, so don't find yourself wanting just because you drive a banger instead of an audi.

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