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To ask, if you grew up working class or not well-off and have done well for yourself?

(194 Posts)
TheHouseOnTheLane Sat 02-Jan-16 12:29:15

Do you ever get a weird longing for the past and the way it was even though you know the reality wouldn't please you?

Do you ever feel a sort of guilt if you left your home town?

DH and I have done ok...we're not rich but have a lovely house in a very lovely town. Blah blah...DH is from a middle class family but I grew up in a steel town during the 70s in the memories are probably tainted but I sometimes hanker for the close community that was my home town...I feel guilt for leaving....or something...what IS it?

cleaty Sat 02-Jan-16 12:32:11

I miss the sense of belonging. I don't feel like I belong any more.

TheHouseOnTheLane Sat 02-Jan-16 12:34:58

Yes...that too. I don't feel like I belong here I suppose but it's a town full of incomers....I can't get my head around the bloody guilt! Not towards my family, they're ok...but the community...I feel bad for leaving it. That's just daft!

TurnipCake Sat 02-Jan-16 12:36:00

I get you, OP.

I spent my life wanting to get away from my home town, and now when I look back, I miss it a lot (well, more the people there, my family)

I'm by no means wealthy, but I'm the first in my family to be part of a profession and I can live on my own and pay all my bills. Guilt isn't the right word, but I do spend a lot of time wondering what it would be like if I lived there now

dontrunwithscissors Sat 02-Jan-16 12:36:25

I worry that the DDs will grow up to not appreciate the value of money and that we work hard to give them a nice life. We try to teach them, but many children at her school get tons of money spent on them--stuff that I could never have had growing up. I don't miss the area where DH and I grew up at all, but i really wish we were closer to our parents n

OublietteBravo Sat 02-Jan-16 12:37:08

I miss the sense of 'belonging'

I don't share a common background with most of my friends and colleagues, and especially not with DH (privately educated at boarding school). Education has got me a loooong way, and I'm very grateful that I have a comfortable life and my DC are having a lovely childhood.

But I don't really 'belong' anywhere. Not back home - I have a totally different life to the people I went to school with, and very little in common with many of them. Not here - I don't have the certainty and sense of entitlement that comes with never having been short of money.

OublietteBravo Sat 02-Jan-16 12:38:16

Oh - X posted there. Not just me thensmile

cleaty Sat 02-Jan-16 12:39:43

When I describe aspects of my very poor childhood to friends, they have no idea. Their experiences were so different.

knobblyknee Sat 02-Jan-16 12:39:53

As someone who grew up in a big working class family of drunkards, wife beaters, jailbirds and ne'er do wells, you are not being daft.

Its just a thing we do, we stop and assess how far we have come. Its not something you ask your brain to do, it just gets on with it.
When you work hard for something its because it seems better than what you have.
When you get theres, its not identical to what you left. And you miss the good bits. Even if you only remember them through rose tinted spectacles.
Its just nostalgia.

Try to enjoy wondering what it might have been like to stay put, or what it might be like if where you lived now was more warm and homely, and dont let it upset you.

DragAct Sat 02-Jan-16 12:40:44

Who or what is making you feel guilty? I grew up in a family that was on the bones of its ass - my father spent most of the 70s either desperately looking for work, or on strike. My parents and their four children lived with three elderly relatives in a tiny, three-bed cottage, and you always knew what day of the week it was by what (or how little) there was for dinner. We always knew never to invite anyone home (or to ask about school trips or anything extra) and anyway most of the others at school had their own problems, though we were in the poorest category, apart from the travellers (who were segregated and appallingly treated).

I got out, went to university on a scholarship, made all my younger siblings work and go to university (not UK, and at a time when we were all able to get grants based on parental income), did two Oxbridge degrees, and now juggle being an academic and being a novelist. My husband is from a similar background and took the same route out. We're far from rich, but it's unimaginably different to any kind of life I imagined when I was a child, when I thought the best I could do was working in a local shop, because I didn't see anyone doing anything else.

I haven't the slightest guilt. My parents did their best, but had come themselves from very deprived, dysfunctional backgrounds, and had no education. They aren't proud of us, though - they wish we had all done things they understood, like trained as hairdressers and lived locally.

TheHouseOnTheLane Sat 02-Jan-16 12:42:18

cleaty I know! I discussed childhood with another mate I've not known long....he had a similar childhood to me and we talked about growing up poor in the 70s and our hair was standing on end with the memories of it.

Parsley1234 Sat 02-Jan-16 12:42:54

Yes I feal this way too, I grew up in an affluent family for the area and moved away when I was 16. I have ducked and dived and grafted hard to give my son a private education in a very wealthy demographic and now I am between a rock and a hard place. I'm seen as not part of the community I grew up in too rich too snobby(I'm not) and where I am now not part of the public school set who seem to know everyone by osmosis it's really lonely

DragAct Sat 02-Jan-16 12:44:28

But yes, I realise my entire life is built on luck, the quirk that I was fairly clever (though in a school where that just got you ignored by teachers who were dealing with fights) and had the stubbornness to get out without any encouragement.

I do come back to that, because I remember exactly who I was at 14, thinking 'I will leave school and see if I can get work in McCarthy's shop up the road, and if I can't, I'll sign on, and then I'll be in there every Tuesday in the same queue my whole life.'

happystory Sat 02-Jan-16 12:44:48

I think what I miss is having family around( not all of them!), and old friends. Dh and I went to uni and then moved to an area new to both of us. Similarly friends are scattered and it's hard to keep up with them as much as you'd like. Went to funeral back home recently and it was nice (if that's the right word) to see graves of old family members altogether (grandparents etc) What has helped me feel I belong is working in a community based job and meeting lots of people. The kids know no different and do feel they belong here which I am glad about. I do love going back and hearing everyone speaking with my accent!

FrostyNipples Sat 02-Jan-16 12:48:48

I don't want to out myself so I need to leave bits out. wink

Crap childhood, area, life, what the modern world would call chav.
Completely working class background.

Eventually moved away, great paying job with the kind of responsibility that would put me firmly in the 'them' camp in comparison to my youth.

Hated it, I just couldn't understand the values and drive of the middle classes I lived and worked with.

Now doing the same job but from home for loads less money and living in my home town in an ex council house.
Best decision I ever made!
I knew the second day I moved back and overheard "that best not be your Grandad s fucking ferret in that carrier bag" being shouted across the field.

I feel much happier grin

OublietteBravo Sat 02-Jan-16 12:49:47

My DC are experiencing a similar childhood to DH (not boarding school though). So I'm the odd-one-out even in my immediate family.

happystory Sat 02-Jan-16 12:51:06


LaurieMarlow Sat 02-Jan-16 12:51:10

Interesting that the word belonging keeps coming up. As humans I think we always yearn to feel part of something and a collective/shared identity is important for our wellbeing. This kind of experience creates a displacement. We are neither one thing nor the other.

I don't feel guilty at all. But I do feel somewhat isolated and not as comfortable in my own skin as I could be. Living in London has been good for me though, as people here are from a myriad of backgrounds and the focus is always on where one is going rather than where one comes from.

vinoandbrie Sat 02-Jan-16 12:52:00

I feel massive relief.

I don't feel guilt, but I do feel sad that I'm not closer to my extended family. I can't be though, it's different worlds, UKIP voting etc. I couldn't go back, I wouldn't fit in, but then I didn't anyway I don't think.

Relief, and gratitude. That's all I really feel. I knew from a young age that there had to be more than poverty and grind out there for me, and worked my bum off to achieve more and get out.

Usernamegone Sat 02-Jan-16 12:52:53

I feel very fortunate and settled where I am now. I grew up in a very dysfunctional family with drunks, drugs, violence, bailiffs at the door, etc. I remember as a young child wanting to go to university so I could get a good job and have a nice warm house with plenty of food and no arguments.

I moved away 10 years ago but could never go back as I fear being sucked back into the dysfunction.

EastMidsMummy Sat 02-Jan-16 12:54:11

I was born into a lower middle-class background (working class parents who had 'improved' themselves) and have moved into a more established, settled middle-class area. Lots of people might not even appreciate the subtle differences between those statuses, but I know them and feel them. I can imagine your experience is even more pronounced...

I guess what you have to understand and internalise is that no-one can have everything. You can't both stay where you are and move on. You can't both put down strong roots and be free to go where the mood takes you. And you can never give your kids the same childhood you had. But you can make sure your values endure wherever you are.

cleaty Sat 02-Jan-16 12:55:18

As I get older, both my and my friends parents/relatives have died. Suddenly my friends have inherited money and been able to leave work to spend more time with the children, or retire early, or buy a bigger house. I have and will never inherit anything.

RingDownRingUp Sat 02-Jan-16 12:58:20

I did grow up like that and I don't miss anything at all from those days. Every day I'm thankful that I don't have that life any more.

captainproton Sat 02-Jan-16 13:00:05

I don't miss it. I can remember being very very cold in bed at night and I used to cry about it. Never anything new to wear. God awful food. Abusive home life probably not helped by living in poverty.

I am so so frugal and I can't ever imagine not being. I live in fear of going back to those times and I am determined to make a better life for my DCs.

DH had a very idyllic childhood 3 or 4 holidays a year, had everything they ever wanted. In/laws are lovely and I can't fault them, his parents were proper dirt poor east Londoners and I can see a lot of me in them. So I fit in with the family which helps a lot.

I wish I had DHs carefree attitude. But we went from earning over 100k a year to just about 60k due to ill health and I've managed to get us through it. We are committed to our mortgage and life here and we will get through it. We now live totally within our means. I actually don't think we would have coped so well if I hadn't lived in poverty as a kid.

I kind of view going back to my hometown as failing, certainly no guilt. I don't miss it but then there weren't many happy memories and most of my family have either died or moved away.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Sat 02-Jan-16 13:01:26

I was born in a council house to what would be called romantically I guess, a hard working, honest, working class family.

I went to a grammar school and uni (first in family).

Met Dh at 24 - he's solid middle class, privately educated etc - and he earns a lot of money. Our dc are privately educated, we have a lovely house etc.

I feel very comfortable where I am now. Totally fit in with my friends in my same situation, who were born to it. I don't advertise my place of birth, but I won't hide it either.

I wouldn't want to return to my childhood upbringing, but I had a pretty brilliant time growing up.

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