Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Living an authentic life

(40 Posts)
JennyMe Sun 03-Jul-16 10:01:49

This might be a deep question (might not be).
I've really had to make some difficult changes in my life recently and to my relationships as I didn't feel I was living an authentic life, i.e. was trying to be who and what I'm not to fit in with other people. It's going to be an interesting and tough journey. It's had an impact within me and also on practical / outside areas of my life as well.
Does anyone else feel like they aren't living an authentic life or been able to make changes to live and be more authentic (however hard that has been). What results have you had in your life?
Or do you feel like you aren't living an authentic life and need to be?

headinhands Sun 03-Jul-16 10:08:11

I like to think I've made changes as I've gone along so never felt too much of a disconnect with my inner and outer life. But while I say that I appreciate that some may have an experience that causes a sudden realisation that they're not where they want to be. Is this what happened with you op?

fattyfattytoadgirl Sun 03-Jul-16 10:14:46

This thread should be very interesting. Can't wait to see the replies.

I hear you, JennyMe! I seem to have spent my life taking on the habits and wants of others and making their dreams come true and not thinking enough about myself. Having a bit of a midlife crisis, I'm afraid. The older I get, the more I feel the need to try and get back to who I was. I can't even remember half the time.

It was only later in life I realised my difficult mother is most likely a Narc. Explained so much. I never had much of a sense of self because of this and have always felt steamrollered in relationships, never standing up for my wants/needs. Then complained when I didn't get what I needed, which was quite PA of me, really.

I am in the process of trying to decide how I want the rest of my life to be. I also have a chronic illness which leaves me with less energy than I'd like, but it also gives me a sense of urgency about wasting no more time.

I will watch your thread with interest.

JennyMe Sun 03-Jul-16 10:16:02

Yes, I think as a knee jerk reaction to getting out of one relationship in which I knew I just wasn't being real, I got in to another in which I was way off from who I really am again.
Now focused on spending time single adjusting my compass in life to find my way home (very philosophical) but it's a very hard journey at the moment.

sonlypuppyfat Sun 03-Jul-16 10:18:35

What does an authentic life mean?

JennyMe Sun 03-Jul-16 10:20:12

Yes, very interesting Fatty (oh, I can't write that!).
I have used the same expression to friends that in my previous marriage I was steam rollered / tidal waved in to situations. I didn't seem to be able to identify what I was really about or was scared to for fear of being alone.
I lost who I was, my belief in myself, my belief in my ability to manage life myself and survive my own life alone or to trust that the right people would come into my life if I was just myself.

MessyBun247 Sun 03-Jul-16 10:22:40

Over the last couple of years I have been living a more authentic life. Listening to my intuition, cutting out toxic people, speaking from the heart, taking time to really get to know myself and making time for the things I enjoy without feeling guilty. It had caused a few problems. For most of my life I was a pushover, always went along with what other people wanted me to do and when I started living life more for ME, some people called me selfish, rude etc.

But I'm loving this journey that I'm on smile I'm so much happier and relaxed in myself.

JennyMe Sun 03-Jul-16 10:23:14

I think by being authentic / having an authentic life I mean being who you really are and living your life how you really want to and not being or doing things or living in a way that you don't really want to because it fits in with other people, is what they want you to do or makes other people happy but ultimately isn't making you really happy.

crayfish Sun 03-Jul-16 10:25:07

I think I know what you mean. To me, simply, it is a feeling of just not being yourself. In my previous marriage I recognise that I was, to an extent, playing a part and wasn't really being myself for nearly a decade. Now I am remarried and in this relationship I am more 'myself' than I have ever been. I do have a habit of taking on the persona that I think other people want me to be but I'm working on it.

Thistledew Sun 03-Jul-16 10:29:02

I hate the term 'authentic' when applied to someone's life.

Fair enough, you came to a realisation that you could be happier if you made some changes to the way you were living your life, and that perhaps the way you were behaving was motivated by a desire to please others above what made you happy, but that does not make your old life any less 'real'.

Great- say that you have made changes and you are now happier, but don't divide yourself into a category of people who are living 'real' lives as opposed to those whose lives are somehow 'fake'. It gives an unpleasant tone of superiority. Who knows, in another 5 years time you may make further changes - so what you now think of as 'authentic' may become false once again. There is only one life that you have and only one you.

It is similar to people who come across as abrupt or bitchy, and say "It's only because I am actually quite shy and sensitive". No, if you are being a cow to other people then you are a cow, regardless of why you are doing it. You don't get a free pass to be unkind to others just because you fear people being unkind to you.

HairyMoose Sun 03-Jul-16 10:30:21

Yes I have and it has worked out a gazillions times better than I ever thought possible. Even though it was terrifying in the beginning I literally feel as if I've won the lottery.

8FencingWire Sun 03-Jul-16 10:36:34

Let me get out of this house (and marriage) and move into my own (on my own) and I'll tell yougrin

The first 20 years of my life, I was someone.
The last 20, I was someone else.
The next 20 I will be someone else.

It's going to be very interesting.
I've spent the last 40 years trying to please/appease others. I've finally grown up smile

StarsAligning Sun 03-Jul-16 10:41:28

You lot are my spiritual home!

Steamrollered - that's me. It's taken me fucking years to realise that's what has happened. I've not really known and understood what I've wanted and needed. Then as pp says, saying what I want but in a desperate way but not realising that it's probably not right for me anyway. If that makes any sense.

I've been accused of closing up and not saying anything, yes that's what I've done because whatever I've said its talked around into being his decision. So fuck you. In essence, doesn't matter what I say, if he doesn't agree he will either talk me round to what he thinks or I shut up. Normally it's the latter.

Now it's the end of the line for us. I have tried to be reasonable. I've caught myself now because in my reasonableness, it's gone from him moving out to me moving out, having way less than half of our wealth and him looking after the dc. I'm still here, as he is. I'm beginning to hate him.

We went to couples counselling to start with. She was fucking awesome. He hated her, although he hasn't told me that.

Sorry turned into a rant about where I find myself. But that's my life all over. It's got to change

ButIbeingpoor Sun 03-Jul-16 10:45:15

Now my DC are adult, I feel more 'me' and less their 'mummy'. I can do and say things that reflect how I truly am and less of what my understanding of what an 'ideal' mummy is.

JennyMe Sun 03-Jul-16 11:17:53

Thistledew - maybe it's not a good term for me to use.
I don't want to offend anyone, just better my own life and learn from others. I don't feel superior to anyone as only the person themselves knows what their life is about and how they feel. I only want to learn from others experiences.
I'm just giving my experience of my life of realising that how I was living was making me unhappy. Others may have had the same lifestyle and felt that was how it is meant to be and that made them happy.
I guess I'm just talking about what and when people know they are truly happy and what they did to get there.

MessyBun247 Sun 03-Jul-16 11:23:23

You don't need to justify yourself OP, the vast majority of people will understand what you mean.

fattyfattytoadgirl Sun 03-Jul-16 12:47:42

StarsAligning

It's exhausting being with a man like that. I've been there! You feel like you've done 10 rounds with Mike Tyson in the effort of being allowed your OWN thoughts about your OWN decisions for your OWN life. Whew! Eventually, you feel so tired of it all, you just let him have his way because it seems easier. That's what he wanted all along.

Are you an Explainer and Justifier? I am. I realised that a lot of it, for me at least, comes from a feeling of weakness. I am trying to learn to "never explain + never Complain" when it comes to decisions for my life (that don't affect others) or preferences. That way, the bullying types don't get an "in" to start working you over to change your mind to their point of view.

By all means discuss stuff with a truly interested sympathetic ear (we all need outlets like that) but don't give ammunition to the wrong people.

something2say Sun 03-Jul-16 14:18:43

I had to go thro this when healing from child abuse. I had literally no idea who I was, what I liked, what I wanted to do. I used to sell my spare time to be with 'friends' even tho I often didn't like what we were doing, found it boring or whatever.

It was great to overturn that. We have to live with ourselves no matter what don't we, and I found that as I've aged, I am less willing to be quiet about things I don't want or like. What you say about not explaining is good as well, you are so right there. No one needs to understand your reasoning, it's enough that you think so.

My best piece of advice I think is......we are all different and irreplaceable. Just as the next man or woman has their POV, so do you and yours is equally valid. Live by it and it will make you happy xxx

StarsAligning Sun 03-Jul-16 15:24:54

Fatty - please change your username! Thanks for your comments. You're spot on, I am fucking exhausted. Maybe he picked me because I will acquiesce?

I'm not sure what you mean by explainer and justifier, that's a new one on me. I shall Google in the mean time. I need all the knowledge I can get, thanks.

I've felt like I've gone against my own judgements and principles so many times but he's persuaded me its the right thing to do. In fact, I don't think anyone has done this to me so much as he has. He's not a bad man, he genuinely believes that x is the right course of action. But there's a little bit inside of me asking 'is he a good man'. When I feel as shit as this.

Moistly Sun 03-Jul-16 15:29:23

You know the phrase, "Don't set yourself on fire to keel others warm"

That was me in a nutshell! For YEARS.

It's only in the past couple of years I've woken up to how much of a doormat I've been, and why. Being more assertive and less "beaten down" has been difficult but it's getting easier.

Moistly Sun 03-Jul-16 15:32:30

...my Dh can be domineering and want all his own way at times. I believe I subconsciously picked a man similar to my dad. I have learned that he doesn't actually know the answer to everything, and im not as stupid and helpless as I thought I was! I think in time we will learn to rub along in a more positive way.
I am learning to assert myself in a positive way with a lot of family members.

StarsAligning Sun 03-Jul-16 17:58:02

Fatty - thank you thank you thank you. I googled but actually came up with something else that so hits my dh it hurts. I'm fucking scared, confused, in a way not surprised. I was kind of coming round to identifying it, I just couldn't put my finger on it. Sadly, he's an emotional manipulator and very very clever at it.

www.heartless-bitches.com/rants/manipulator/eighteasyways.shtml

fattyfattytoadgirl Sun 03-Jul-16 18:09:28

That is a GREAT site, Stars!

I used to read on there a lot. Haven't been reading it for a while. It's got excellent material though. I'd forgotten about it - thanks for reminding me.

Great, great stuff.

I think what I find eerie is how these men ARE ALL THE BLOODY SAME!! There you go, thinking he's unique and maybe the problem lies with you, then you find a site like that and discover IT'S A TYPE OF BEHAVIOUR. Plenty men do this and the behaviour runs through them like words through a stick of rock. They can't be changed. You will die trying.

Suddenly, you realise you are not going mad and your eyes are wide-open.

Failbydefault Sun 03-Jul-16 18:35:54

For me, living authentically means living according to your values. If you are an open minded, positive person who aims to see the best in people, but you're living with someone who's negative and suspicious its hard to put your values into practice. Similarly if youre a compassionate person and your partner is not, your compassion has no outlet, which can be very frustrating. Living authentically is being able to behave according to your core values. Another one here having a mid life crisis!

JennyMe Sun 03-Jul-16 18:53:16

Really useful comments and insight. Thanks.
Good to know I'm not alone.
I'm in my 40's and it's taken me a very long time to realise how much of a pushover I've been.
Even up to very recently I've realised I've had some friends manipulate me as well because I haven't had to strength or courage to live my values for fear of not being liked.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now