...to ask how someone can stop the descent into bitterness

(36 Posts)
Punkatheart Fri 14-Mar-14 01:11:18

Bitterness is definitely the angry cousin of self-pity and God forbid that I should ever sink into a hole made by that. But I can feel myself sometimes feeling very very resentful about being kicked by life.

In short - partner of two decades left a couple of years ago. He wanted to be free, I had changed after my daughter and a serious illness - the typical script, really. Told me to move on etc etc.

In those years I have struggled a fair bit and my daughter has developed ongoing mental health issues. My own physical health has gone downhill and I have developed tumours, which have stopped responding to the chemo I take. So off for radiotherapy and sod it, I am fed up with treatment, hospitals and illness. My daughter at least seems to be coming through her problems but now it has become unpleasant with him because I am asking for more than 50% of the house. He is a salaried person and I have no idea what my future holds. He is on a film and he earns over £2,200 a week. He has another film lined up after that one and is very well-respected in his industry. Considered a 'lovely bloke' by all. I felt the same about him for 20 years but he has been so neglectful of his daughter and has ignored calls for help and emotional support.

It just seems very unequal and I am taking less and less interest in life. The colour seems to have faded from things. I do have good friends and a lovely family - all glorious blessings. I have had some fabulous support too from Mumsnetters, particularly when I considered suicide. But I feel ill, exhausted and now trying to make money when I actually want to rest. I feel as if I have tried to be a good person, to do no harm. I don't want to be all twisted about things but I feel life turning sour, while his star rises. I am not well enough to have a relationship either.

In part, I need to rant and moan at the world. Best to do it here because people in real life don't know what goes on in my heart.

What tips for anti-bitterness? I don't want to be that person...

whogrewoutoftheterribletwos Fri 14-Mar-14 01:35:18

You need these flowers

I think honesty helps. Not bottling things up and letting them fester. Is there anyone in RL who can help? You've been dealt a really shitty hand and your anger is completely justified. Maybe find something you want to achieve and focus on that - even if it's the ultimate relaxation technique or something

I know this probably isn't that helpful but didn't want to read and not respond. I hope things work out and treatment doesn't get too awful.

BritabroadinAsia Fri 14-Mar-14 01:37:39

I am so sorry to hear how tough life is for you, sending hugs and thanks.

No wise words, really. But you sound as if you are self-aware, and that in itself might help stop a descent into bitterness? You have every reason to feel sorry for yourself, yet you acknowledge the glorious blessings of your friendships and family; that doesn't sound like the words of someone bitter and cynical to me.

Perhaps even just saying how you resent your exP 'out loud' helps too? And do you think that you have to hide the less attractive side of yourself from the lovely people you have in your life? Are you worried that they won't like you for it? Supportive and caring friends like those are unlikely to be scared off by you revealing how you really feel about a horrible situation, over which you have very little control...

Please try and rest as much as you can, and I hope you can sleep well tonight.

Monty27 Fri 14-Mar-14 01:38:45

Dignity is the mother of negative emotions smile

Dinosaursareextinct Fri 14-Mar-14 01:46:26

Things are very hard for us too. I think it helps to try not to compare your life with that of those around you, including your ex-husband, friends, people on MN etc. Either just try to live it in a vacuum, without making comparisons, or see it more in the context of the kind of awful things that people in some developing countries go through. At one very low point I read "The Gulag Archipelago" by Solzhenitzyn - those people went through the worst possible time, and that helped me cope with what I was going through.
I would try to get rid of your feelings about your ex husband as far as you can. If possible, give the money argument to a solicitor to sort out and try to distance yourself from it, as it will cause you unnecessary stress and bitterness. If he is not prepared to give emotional support, just try to put him out of your mind and go to your family and friends for support. As you say, you are lucky to have them. And remember the good times with affection - you were lucky to have those too. And enjoy the little things - treating yourself to a favourite meal or dvd, re-reading a book you loved as a child, going somewhere beautiful, having a meal out with a good friend, buying a bunch of flowers with a lovely scent, the sensation of going swimming.

Punk I don't know mate. What I do know is that you are always brilliant on here so that's probably why you have friends and family who are great.

I was married to a 'great bloke' meedja type for a while. Sucks.

Punkatheart Fri 14-Mar-14 01:57:09

Thanks all of you. Sorry to hear it's been crap for you, Dinosaur and I quite agree that so many people have been through terrible terrible times. I send you my empathy and understanding. Thank you MrsTerry. I think the most horrible thing was seeing him in the papers on my daughter's birthday kissing a member of the Royal Family's backside. Our daughter was 16 and he hadn't even sent her a card! Bloody annoying when he keeps popping up like an ugly man's erection!

AcrossthePond55 Fri 14-Mar-14 02:00:31

It does seem that life has dealt you a bad hand, whogrew, and I'm sorry.

Anti-bitterness tips? I guess the only thing I can suggest, and I know it's toothachingly saccharine, is gratitude & awareness. For even the tiniest thing that is good in your life.

lessonsintightropes Fri 14-Mar-14 02:04:47

You've had some lovely advice here OP and my heart goes out to you. Having some RL and virtual friends who can help you find the positive are helpful. I've had some bad situations, different to yours, but find the Buddhist non-attachment practice personally helpful. I try to watch my emotional reaction to things now dispassionately, acknowledge the pain, and do what is in my power to change whilst trying to disengage from emotional reactions to things I can't. Far easier to say than do though, hope you get some practical help and support fro friends flowers

IAmNotAPrincessIAmAKahleesi Fri 14-Mar-14 02:15:19

I'm so sorry things are so difficult for you

Bitterness can be an easy (but very self destructive) path to slip into, what starts out as justified anger can become something much more toxic

Having not faced the problems you have I don't know if anything I say will help but I will say that for me it helps to seperate the problems in my head. I find it so easy to lump it all together and that tends to make me more resentful, much like a depressed person who blames their marriage for their problems when actually it's about so much more than that

Yours and your dd's health problems are the really terrible awfully unfair things. So random and so cruel. I can't imagine how hard that must be, I have severe health problems too but mine are not life threatening. You are right to feel angry,no one should have to go through what you are

Having to work when you just want to rest is also something very unfair and I can absolutely see why you would feel resentful about that, have you looked into what financial support is available? Dla etc? I'm sure you have but that was one of the hardest parts for me accepting that I needed that help and I was unable to support myself

Your ex partner is what I think might be tripping you up while you're trying to move on. Ending such a long relationship must have been devastating for you but it is something that can happen to anyone and people do sometimes just fall out of love and become unhappy in a relationship. I can see why it must be salt in the wound that he is successful and has moved on but that is what happens when things end. I don't blame you for reaching out to him for help and support, but ex's are usually not the best people for this, it's normal for an ex not to want to help as hard as that may be. It's also normal for him to protect himself financially just as you need to, I second the advice to leave all things financial to the solicitors (I'm assuming its more complicated because you aren't married?) I think you should ask for and expect nothing more from him than he's legally entitled to give, even asking is leaving you open to rejection and you don't deserve that

Counting your blessings is good, letting out your anger and frustration is also good (and necessary) I try to get the balance to 80/20 if I can and if I need to I have a whole day wallowing and crying and feeling sorry for myself, and then I dust myself off and remember that life is actually pretty good and try to enjoy the little things

My Mum used to send my exH's press clippings because she thought I would be interested. Somewhere along the line, I ended up wishing him well. No idea when that happened but it did. Fake it til you make it.

Latara Fri 14-Mar-14 05:59:59

I'm beginning to feel a bit bitter about life for certain reasons and trying not to as well. I think allowing yourself time to feel angry and then finding a way to work out the anger definitely helps - I've got the gym for that but you may not be well enough for that and have to find another way.

Try to look at the positives (it's hard I know) - you have a daughter who loves you very much for a start and you're a good parent to her.

It isn't easy to not feel bitter or cynical about what life has dealt you but I agree that it's best to try not to feel like that.

TheBody Fri 14-Mar-14 06:15:41

shitty deal op but so glad at least your dd is getting better.

I know 2 teenage girls whose lives have changed literally in seconds and they are both in wheelchairs. one with limited mobility and one with none and no prospect of walking again.

these girls are 14/15.

the older one is now (2 years after the event) heading to the Paralympics next games, fingers crossed, and the younger one is fighting back.

isn't that bloody bloody awesome and makes you have hope for the human race.

paxtecum Fri 14-Mar-14 06:19:53

Punk: I'm sorry about your problems.

Holistic hypnotherapy is excellent for getting bad emotions out of your body.
It's a visit to a therapist, then you have to invest your time carrying on the treatment at home each day if possible.
Mindfullness Meditation is another method which is often recommended.

Best wishes to you.

Melonbreath Fri 14-Mar-14 07:04:12

Rant to the Daily Mail?
But I'm a vengeful bitch and maybe my advice shouldn't always be heeded.

Meerka Fri 14-Mar-14 08:39:05

Im so sorry it's been so hard, punk

My own life has, ahem, had its ups and downs. Bitterness has been waiting in the wings waiting to slice its way onto centre stage along with self pity Urian Heeping around.

How have I kept it at bay? Mostly successfully, I think.

1) I took a good look at older people who are bitter. Very, very unattractive.

2) choose, when it lurks, to take a deep breath and not to indulge it. Turn your thoughts away from bitter thoughts. You can't help being aware of what other people have / have not done that isn't fair or kind, and you can't help the bitterness coming back, but you can stop yourself from going over and over. If you allow it to wash over you then to drain away over time it will get easier. If you go over the bitter thoughts again and again, they will become ingrained.

3) allow yourself to be angry now and then about it. Not bitter, but plain angry. find a damn good friend or if necessary a counseller to speak your anger aloud to.

4) Consciously think of the people who -are- there for you in your life. You and your daughter have been badly let down by someone who really should have been there, but others are much nicer.

5) it does help to consider some of the people you know who've had even harder lives. Or take a read of some of the threads on here, some people have challenges that you just wonder how in god's name they can ever meet.

6) take a look again at the people who've allowed bitterness to root deep in themselves and who have grown old, and those who haven't. Which do you choose to be?

IDugUpADiamond Fri 14-Mar-14 09:13:33

Punk I am grateful you have started this thread because the whole becoming bitter thing haunts me as I get older, as I've seen it in my sister and my mum.

Reading what you have written about, there's no doubt that life had dealt you a bad hand, but somehow I am still getting a positive vibe about the person that you are.

I wish you all the very best

Punkatheart Fri 14-Mar-14 11:24:47

I am feeling less positive every day, Diamond - but thank you.

Yes, I know exactly what you mean, Meerka. People's faces and even body language sometimes reflect their lives too and they can look all pursed lips and hoisted bosom. I look all kicked teddy bear. I want to be regal Oscar Wilde!

AcrossthePond55 Sat 15-Mar-14 01:52:16

Punk, sometimes if we start acting (i.e. pretending) to be the way we want to be, eventually it becomes who we really are.

So, buy a flowy cravat, wave a cigarette, look down your nose at us all, swan about, and do your best regal Oscar!

Seriously, I wish you & your DD the best. Life does have good things for you, it's just that sometimes they're hidden so fucking well!! One of my professors used to tell us "When you're standing shoulder deep in horse shit, keep digging. There's a pony in there somewhere!"

I hope you find your pony soon.

I've been thinking about you Punk. When I was going through Shitville with exH I only confided in one friend. He convinced me that my other friends, and family, would want to know. And, they would want to support me for once, what with me being the 'OK' one. Try telling people.

Taking the moral high ground might be the right thing to do. But fuck me its hard.

Sometimes I want to scream the truth from the rooftops. But I made my decision to stay quiet and I owe it to my daughter to do so. I have to see the lie through to the bitter end..Even if it comes back to bite me on the ass. ..

I feel your pain,

<drunk and slightly bitter>

Meerka : you are wise

Punkatheart Sun 16-Mar-14 00:10:37

Across - I love that pony quote!

MrsTerry - I am so glad you did confide in people - yes, it does help.

Southern - I read that very quickly as 'fuck me hard'. Freudian slip in my brain there! That's a bloody horrible thing to have to carry for you. Yes, we have to believe that it will all be right in the end. When my daughter told someone she thought I was a 'good person' I felt so proud. That will be my legacy, I hope.

Onwards and upwards in search of my pony. For you all as well.

Dinosaursareextinct Mon 17-Mar-14 09:43:04

Sometimes (or often) life requires courage. Think of yourself as being courageous, whether anyone else appreciates that you are or not! Right now I'm imagining going over the top in World War 1! Actually, bad things that happen more slowly require greater courage though.

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