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.

SlobAtHome Fri 23-Aug-13 21:27:38

Oh I feeeeeeeel this pain!!

My two siblings are also FAR more successful, but finally I have got us on our feet and things are going well. Maybe I am common and poor in their eyes (they would never say this btw) but I know that things are looking up for us and I have plenty of time to improve things.

You can't be that old OP so what are you worrying about? smile Cheesy as it sounds, enjoy what you DO have, which I am sure it lots in many ways!

utreas Fri 23-Aug-13 21:29:44

Slobathome- I'm 31 so I'm not exactly young.

MammaTJ Fri 23-Aug-13 21:30:25

I kind of feel the same when meeting with my DSis. I love her to bits, but she has been way more organised and lucky in her life than I have in mine.

She has nearly paid off her mortgage, her three DC are all grown and contributing to the house. She married DBil at age 19 and is still with him.

I have never got a mortgage, I have been married twice and now live with the father of my two youngish DC.

We are both happy with our lot though, so competativeness does not really come in to it!!

MammaTJ Fri 23-Aug-13 21:32:27

Bah, 31, plenty of time to improve your life if you are disatisfied with it!!

Kleptronic Fri 23-Aug-13 21:34:41

Hoi! You are inferior to nobody. That is all.

utreas Fri 23-Aug-13 21:35:14

MammaTJ- We're not competitive but I just feel so awful in comparison

catsoup Fri 23-Aug-13 21:36:44

Never feel ashamed because you don't have what they do. You are your own person and everything else is just materialistic shite.

Yeah it would be nice to have trips away and fancy homes but it doesn't mean anything really. I bet you've got a lot more going for you than you think.

Kleptronic Fri 23-Aug-13 21:36:57

Sorry, that wasn't helpful. But true.

Thurlow Fri 23-Aug-13 21:37:20

I know what you mean, there are some friends I can't help but compare myself negatively too.

Jobs and clothes and cars are not the most important thing in the world.

If there is something you feel strongly about - I notice you say "frumpy" - could you focus on that to make yourself feel better? The S&B threads on here are great. If you feel badly dressed compared to them (and I know I do compared to some of my friends) then would you feel better if you focused on getting some new clothes?

Nagoo Fri 23-Aug-13 21:38:51

Comparison is the thief of joy.

If they are so driven then they probably will not be content with what they have got either.

If you can be contented with what you have then you will be doing alright eh? And if you aren't think what you need to do to change things?

utreas Fri 23-Aug-13 21:42:57

Thurlow- Its not that I think I dress frumpily but sis had a designer dress and heels on and my brother had a sharp suit with tie and hankerchief so I looked a very poor relation

SilverSixpence Fri 23-Aug-13 21:43:47

I'm 30 and still feel young shock

Focus on what you like about your life, and change the things you don't (without comparing). Things like buying expensive clothes/food etc don't necessarily bring happiness but you have to feel good about yourself so think about how you can do this.

Enb76 Fri 23-Aug-13 21:46:01

You have no reason to feel inferior or worthless, your life just took a different path. Think of all the things in life you do have rather than looking at the things you don't.

If you are dissatisfied with your life then do something about it but don't waste your time being envious of someone else's.

Fuzzysnout Fri 23-Aug-13 21:49:34

Don't feel bad or compare yourself to others. What are you happy about with your life and what things would you like to improve? (because you would like to alter them, not because you think someone else is doing it better).

For what it's worth I had a similar moment this evening. A friend I went to school with updated her FB status, campaigning about poor healthcare, saying she was lucky enough to be able to pay for better care which she felt everyone should be able to have access to. It really hit home as I've got a very serious illness & no hope of paying for the best treatments (she doesnt know this BTW).

At 31 you're so young. Please change your life now if you're not happy. I won't get the chance. You sound thoughtful & nice - don't compare yourself to others. It's not all about money. Good luck.

BrianTheMole Fri 23-Aug-13 21:50:03

There are always people who have more than you and always people who have less. Don't use this as an indicator of success, you will never be happy if you do as you will always be striving for the unachievable. Focus on the good things in your life and work towards things that will make you happy. Comparing yourself to others will not make you happy. Be proud and content for who you are. You are not inferior to anyone else and you certainly shouldn't feel ashamed for having fewer material possessions than someone else.

luanmahi Fri 23-Aug-13 21:57:50

I was an admin assistant until I was 28 then got a marketing exec job. I don't have a marketing degree, I was just in the right place at the right time. It always seemed a really glamorous from the outside but actually it's not that different to being an admin assistant - answering and sending emails, updating spreadsheets, etc. I've been doing it for 8 years (well 7 really as I had a year off on mat leave) and now want to do something else. At 31 you can easily choose to do something else with your life.

The things you feel inferior about are the trappings of wealth and it's not worth feeling inferior about that. You can have nice clothes without going designer.

Stop comparing yourself to them and just concentrate on enjoying the company of your loved ones.

utreas Fri 23-Aug-13 21:58:39

I know money and stuff isn't everything but I couldn't help but feel bad. As for changing I've got no chance of matching them as they are in a different stratosphere to me.

currentbuns Fri 23-Aug-13 22:00:48

My siblings are both much richer than me. One, in particular, is absolutely rolling in it - he possibly makes ten times my combined income with dh. But he is a bad-tempered self-important so&so with a long-suffering wife. Cliche though it may be, there really is more to life than money. Focus on the important things that you have some control over - your relationships, your health, what you do in your spare time. There are bound to be things about you that your siblings admire or envy.

BrianTheMole Fri 23-Aug-13 22:01:59

You know, at 31 you are still very young. What is it you would want to do if you had a choice?

SlobAtHome Fri 23-Aug-13 22:03:10

Op, 31 is young, you're not allowed to retire for over an other of your life times! That sounds like time to me grin

Thurlow Fri 23-Aug-13 22:03:27

Oh, ok - well, in that case, I bet they actually looked twattish!

I have a friend who works in fashion. She wears things that to me look fashionable and 'cool'. DP always looks at her and says "she'd look much better in some nice jeans and a t-shirt" grin

Oh OP, your post makes me sad ....I am the most successful of 6 siblings <twat alert> and I am happy...but the thing trays worries me is my siblings doing this. I love them for who they are, not what they have. I am more successful by virtue of a lot of luck and I never judge them, I just want them to be happy and loved and fulfilled...who gives a shit about houses, cars, money...the most important thing is family smile

utreas Fri 23-Aug-13 22:26:13

currentbuns- I can't think of a single thing that they would envy about my life tbh.

StElmo Sat 24-Aug-13 01:00:50

Since when is 31 'not exactly young' you're not even middle aged!

Monty27 Sat 24-Aug-13 01:10:10

I feel for you. Don't compare yourself to them, be glad for what they have, hopefully they will be generous grin

I'm skint. But I'm not frumpy. We do skint and not frumpy on here. Love yourself.


I saw a $90 million yacht today. I had a brief, "awwww" then I said to DH, who was carrying the cutest child in the world (DD) "I bet they are no happier than I am". That's the spirit.

SignoraStronza Sat 24-Aug-13 01:32:07

Don't worry op. As long as you're happy and healthy, who cares? And I'll bet that the majority of their bling is bought on credit anyway

I went to a party recently where I was the eldest there. 100% of then were graduates, at least 70% had masters degrees and half had, or were studying for, PhDsshock . I have one scraped A level after leaving sixth form at Easter of my final year, a tefl certificate and a bit of OU. I did feel really inferior at first - but then like to think I filled them in on some gaps in their knowledgewink and, to be fair, the inferiority complex was all of my own making.

They're still your siblings and I bet you have lots of embarrassing memories of times before they appeared so materislistic worldly wise and sorted.

MusicalEndorphins Sat 24-Aug-13 01:54:20

There are always people better or worse off than others. These things you mention are only material things. It may be nice to do and have this and that, but not having lot's of money is no reason for you to feel ashamed!

AmandaHoldenmigroin Sat 24-Aug-13 02:18:47

Why do they find the need to brag so much in front of you? Why does he have a penthouse apartment if he is a marketing executive? He could be up to his eyeballs in debt.

HappyJustToBe Sat 24-Aug-13 02:27:55

Comparison is the thief of joy

I'm tired and tipsy but hell fucking yeah. My new mantra.

JessieMcJessie Sat 24-Aug-13 02:51:07

Sorry OP but if your brother had a hanky in the breast pocket of his sharp suit, he probably looks like a try-hard to most people that he'a working with. He won't be earning much as a new grad marketing exec and the penthouse apartment is probably only described as such by estate agents-it'll be a top floor flat and he'll peobably decide it's over his budget anyway.

I earn a lot more than my brother. However he made some really good choices and is not chained to a desk like me- he's the clever one really. So you have DC? if they don't, maybe they envy you that. As long as they are not sneering at you, enjoy the fact that you all want to spend time together-many siblings don't- and either steer the conversation on to more neutral topics or just tell them they are making you feel bad.

Monty27 Sat 24-Aug-13 03:04:29

Probably not bragging at all, it's just the circles they are used to maybe? OP who paid? What was the occasion? They probably did not have a clue how you felt, but just glad to see you.

flowersinavase Sat 24-Aug-13 03:07:49

Almost every reason you give in your post for being 'inferior' is materialistic: they have a nicer car, a bigger house, spend more money on food etc.

This stuff means nothing in the long run. So many people with more money than they know what to do with are miserable. Also, you don't know that all this stuff isn't bought on credit which is just stupid.

In respect of the job/career thing - you can change that at any time. But what is it that YOU really want to do (irrespective of how impressive a job looks to other people)? Focus on that, not on what people will think when they hear the title (for example, I used to be a lawyer. Sounds impressive and Ally McBeal-esque, in reality it was a miserable existence).

If you're satisfied with your lot at all times other than evenings like you've had, then great: congratulations.

If this evening has just brought into your consciousness feelings you've been hiding, then great: use it as a springboard to change. But please don't fall into the trap of only considering yourself a success based on bank balance or possessions...

cantspel Sat 24-Aug-13 03:23:49

Why do people have to try to make the op feel better by being negative about her brother and sister?

The op hasn't said they are bad people or nasty in any way just that they have a different life style and have achieved different things in their lives.

Op i am sure you have things in your life which others would envy but if you are not happy with your life then you are not to old to change it. Your life can be as rich and fulfilling as you want it to be and i dont just mean by having financial success.

Secretswitch Sat 24-Aug-13 03:40:17

Damn skippy..comparison isthe thief of joy!

Funghoul Sat 24-Aug-13 03:42:17

I used to feel like this about my brother. He's five years younger and married with a house. Me and dp rent and are a long way off having money for a wedding. That said, we sat down and talked about marriage. We truly are happy as we are. We're committed and a piece of paper won't really change much apart from my name. I have a crappy job with not many prospects, but I've come to realise I'm not career minded, I work to live. We have a beautiful 3 month dd. our little family is worth more than all the money in the world.

You don't need to have a lot to be happy, you sound like you need your confidence building up. No one should feel inferior to anyone else just because they don't have flash cars, or penthouse apartments. Take stock and I'm sure you'll find something in your life that makes you feel happy and proud to be you.

Secretswitch Sat 24-Aug-13 03:44:45

Op, I struggle with envy a great deal and for many reasons. I am really working on gratefulnes. I wish I had a magic spell to cast away the feelings of inferiority that occurs when I see other's with so much more wealth.

raisah Sat 24-Aug-13 04:41:06

10 years ago i was in a bad place but now I'm in a much better place personally & career wise. I have carved a niche career for myself and years ago people would look down on me but not so much now.

There is no reason why you can't retrain, put yourself forward for jobs that earn more money. Don't belittle the admin assistant role, if you break down the skills that you have acquired they will be transferable to a lot of sectors. The term admin role is just generic, a lot of them particularly in the NHS & higher education require a highly specialised skills set.

daisychain01 Sat 24-Aug-13 05:48:55

utreas, in your early 30s, you have loads, and I mean loads of time to make some important changes to maximise your life and potential. You are very young, in the grand scheme. Dont see your life as frozen in time and set in stone, but as being open to improvement. If anything, use your siblings' success as an example to follow, not a reason to put yourself down. And dont forget, life is a marathon not a sprint, it isnt a race to the finish line! Think about success as something you deserve at every point in your life, not as something for others but not for you.

Have you thought of some training or studies, as it will boost your self confidence and open new doors for you. The new academic year is shortly starting, you could look at part time courses to fit in around your work, family commitments etc. You could apply for a concession for fees if you are on a low salary. Uni's and colleges are very welcoming to "mature students" who have life skills and work experience, as they see those people as more stable. Education is the best way to open doors and create opportunities for yourself!

Bamboobambino Sat 24-Aug-13 06:58:07

You're not inferior to anyone OP.
BUT, if it really is affecting you, channel the negative energy into night classes( or day) return to education. Get an OU degree or similar and go get that earning power of your own!

SPBisResisting Sat 24-Aug-13 07:06:32

Op did you enjoy seeing them at all? Do you feel any affection for them?
Are you like me by any chance - most clothes bought from the supermarkets? I went on a proper shopping trip to proper shops recently for the first time in about a decade, maybe longer. Sales were on and it wasn't much more expensive than the supermarkets but imo the clothes are much nicer and more flattering. It's given me a real boost.
Also at 31 you have plenty of time to enhance your career- if you want to that is. It doesnt have to be big and scary,

SPBisResisting Sat 24-Aug-13 07:08:17

Sorry phone

But I bet theres a natural next step up in this job or similar. Night classes, asking for more/different responsibilities in current role etc will get you there. Or take the plunhe and apply for something you fancy, you never know! Only do this if you are dissatisfied with your current job though.

SPBisResisting Sat 24-Aug-13 07:10:18

Agree that admin people have transferable skills. I work in a technical environment and there are plenty of trainee type roles we'd give to someone currently working in admin but who had proved to have skills and interests in the field. And of course that's if you want to move out of admin which you may not.

Comparison is the thief of joy.


Hoi! You are inferior to nobody. That is all.

^And this.

0utnumbered Sat 24-Aug-13 11:26:50

Never feel ashamed to be you! The way you've described them makes them sound great but if I were there with you 1. I don't give a shit about cars as long as they get me where I want to go 2. I would hate to do anything that involves sales and marketing, even the term makes me cringe, I'm also an admin assistant in a doctors surgery and I adore my job 3. I hate steak unless I've cooked it myself as I'm stupidly fussy and would of ordered off the kids menu if I could of got away with it lol

Their life isn't better than yours it's just different smile if you aren't happy surf bits then change them for yourself but otherwise, be proud to be who you are

utreas Sun 25-Aug-13 00:18:15

I guess your're all right band I was probably being very negative last night.

TeaAndABiscuit Sun 25-Aug-13 11:58:12

'Comparison is the thief on inner joy' is spot on and I'm going to remember that-a fantastic piece of advice.
I went to a party a while back-lots of successful surgeons and professionals and me not in that sphere. They were all talking about skiing and one of them said to me 'you don't ski do you xxx?' When I said no they had nothing else to say to me! I would rather be able to relate to and include people than make people feel small for not having a particular life style.
OP it's only your perception that there is nothing about you to envy. You sound grounded and lovely smile

Monty27 Tue 27-Aug-13 00:59:12

OP just be you and proud of what you have. I need reminded of that every day. I bet your db and ds love the bones of you. smile

Mimishimi Tue 27-Aug-13 04:37:01

YANBU but do they love and care for you or do they inyend to make you feel diminished? My brother went through a really hard time compared to the other two of us in his twenties and he was really embarrassed about it for a while. Once he realised that we only saw him as our brother, not as competition, did he relax a bit and then he got into a career doing something he really loves( rather than trying to be something he couldn't) and is probably doing better, lifestyle and healthwise, than me now smile

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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