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AIBU to feel like a failure because my best friend's life has turned out so well?

(96 Posts)
Bumsnetnetbums Mon 08-Jan-18 12:44:09

First time poster here.
Me and my friend have known each other years. In some ways our lives are similar. Mainly our childrens ages and we got friendly as both single parents. Recently I have started to pull away at how our lives are changing. This isnt to be spiteful far from it i am happy she is. But by the same brush my life is hard and i am unhappy.
My ex was nasty. Hers also wasnt great. We carried on with our kids however one of mine has a life threatening illness and the other has a physical disability. Hers has some mild special needs but these are genuinely minor. Am not minimising so please no posts about invisible disabilities as im not like that and helped her over the yrs as she has me.
She has since met a lovely man and physically is looking amazing. They both have their parents who are generous and they have lovely holidays and on facebook look perfect. I get this is only a snapshot but they are all very happy. She also has loads of friends and is very keen that people think good of her as in she presents herself in a certain way.
My parents are both dead. We have no contact with ex as social services would become involved if we did. I have had to quit work due to caring responsibilities. I have no time or money to look nice. I have a severe and enduring mental illness and a physical condition causing pain.
I am pulling back because the more I see her life the more depressed i feel. I will never get another partner first because i believe im worthless after ex. Second due to the strain of kids and my own conditions.
The thing upsetting me is that anytime i try and talk through my problems (very rare) hers are always worse. Her negative experiences are always worse than mine similarly her childs needs are more worse even though there have been 4 surgeries this year alone on my DD. Everyone thinks shes an angel for coping. Her childhood was worse than mine she was more battered than me in marriage. The reason she has not got a mental illness is because she thinks positive. Her achievements are made out to be the same as mine so for instance i would get a degree and her a gcse (example). But she would tell everyone and put it on fb about what shes qchieved despite adversity and how hard her life is. Its draining. I feel anything nice about my like is minimised and any acheivements are invalidated as they arent hers.
If i make friends, she makes friends with them too and then it is always about her being over bearing and all these hard things she has overcome and said friends are totally inspired. I on the otherhand pull away or it is all about my friend and how great she is. I now keep any friends secret or mention them under pseudonyms so she cant steal them. I must sound about 12.
I struggle to get through each day. Many times she has helped me out. But I am starting to resent this as she comes across so smug (to me) and i feel irritated by it. I might be bad for feeling this but i do and i have withdrawn a lot. Then according to her i am ungrateful and think im too good for her.
I honestly feel so shit when i see her and hear her talking about the next holiday or anything. I cannot understand why anyone would want me but she is so sure she is attractive that she demands respect. She has made the most of herself since being married and looks lovely. I am sure this is the right way to be.
But like another poster asked i would probably erase myself from life. I am already doing it anyway (not suicidal but no point if friends are going to be taken off me-i now spend every day alone or with my kids). She criticises my parenting. It should be her way or no way.
What can i do to feel better? I am happy shes happy but its making me feel worse. I dont want to feel like it sad
Why are some peoples lives so much nicer than others? I know im lucky to have a home and car and to have kids. To someone else i have a perfect life i suppose so maybe i am just depressed.
So AIBU to feel like this and what can i do about it?

WellAlwaysHaveParis Mon 08-Jan-18 12:48:39

Please don't take this the wrong way OP. I do mean this in the nicest way possible flowers

Could it be that you're upset because your friend isn't very supportive rather than you being upset because your friend's life circumstances seem different to yours?

What you've written towards the end of your OP suggests that your friend isn't particularly supportive or kind.

LyraPotter Mon 08-Jan-18 12:50:22

It doesn't sound like the problem is her nice life, it sounds like the problem is her attitude towards you. Maybe it's insecurity on her part or maybe she isn't aware she's doing it, but it sounds like she is constantly belittling you and minimising your experiences. It's no wonder that has left you feeling fed up.

Have you tried gently and honestly explaining how you feel? It might be that she truly doesn't know what she's doing and just needs a wake up call. But if you think she is aware and just doesn't care that she's hurting you, it might be time to protect yourself by minimising contact. You don't need to cut her out of your life, but seeing her less and on your terms might help you feel better. It sounds like you have other friends who you can lean on for support when you need it.

I hope it all works out for you x

WellAlwaysHaveParis Mon 08-Jan-18 12:50:53

Could you go low-contact or no-contact with your friend, and then see whether this makes you feel after a couple of weeks? And perhaps make a list of things that you might enjoy doing e.g. going out for walks, reading, cooking, whatever you feel you might enjoy doing smile and the other important thing is not to push yourself to do these things but to do them when you feel ready smile could you also have a chat with your GP about how you feel, perhaps? flowers

gamerchick Mon 08-Jan-18 12:58:22

I dunno, my guess is she likes you exactly where you are confused

Personally I think it would probably do you good to keep her at arms length.

Bunbunbunny Mon 08-Jan-18 12:59:48

Pull away, at start I thought you may be jealous but clearly it’s not a true friendship. It sounds like you need some time apart to focus on you.

I think it’s worth you getting some therapy as you need to work on your self esteem. You need to look after yourself, and have some help to see the positives in your life. It’s hard to do that when you feel low and have a shiny beacon of how good life can be etc but remember that’s not real people on social media only show what they want people to see. It’s fake so unfollow her or block her and ignore!

Nikephorus Mon 08-Jan-18 13:01:41

It sounds like you need to take a step back from her and give her a lot less involvement in your life. You obviously don't struggle to make friends so just don't mention them at all to her - if you have to talk to her make it all about her (sounds like that might suit her anyway) and keep your life to yourself.
Decent friends don't try to outdo you.

Bunbunbunny Mon 08-Jan-18 13:03:03

PS you are not a failure you got you and your kids to safety and away from your ex. That took strength to do that, you wake up every day to look after them. That is not failure x

Fromage Mon 08-Jan-18 13:03:09

Oh my goodness this woman is not your friend.

Some people need to be the worst off, need to be constantly validated and praised by others, and another person who is worse off challenges that.

So if she's like that, she needs to keep you down in order to keep herself up. And it might not be that at all, and I am reading too much into this, but it seems as though this woman is not currently any good for you. That might be because you are perceiving the situation in a way that is to do with your own feelings about youself, and you are misinterpreting her words and actions. But also, it might be because she is careless with your feelings and your friendship.

I think in either of those cases, or whatever the case actually is, you need a break from her. She is being a bit of a Wendy.

I don't think you are in any way unreasonable so it's a big YANBU from me HOWEVER I do not think you are a failure at all. I'm very sorry you feel that way about yourself - I think you've identified the cause and I think it would help you enormously if you distanced yourself from someone who makes you feel so bad.

Bumsnetnetbums Mon 08-Jan-18 13:04:07

Well thank you.
I dont know. If i were to call her shed be here in a flash. I think im sick of being grateful. Shed be here in a flash because she can because she has support from family. And she is a 'rescuer' and lets people know that she is. I want us to be friends equally. But i cant as shes on this pedestal so i have to be the grateful one.
I want my own identity instead of just being traceys friend or the invisible single mum.

ConciseandNice Mon 08-Jan-18 13:09:09

Oh my goodness, the previous posters are spot on. She likes you where she has you. I have a friendship exactly like this and I only realised when I met up with my friend last month. My life is slowly working itself out and suddenly because I have things to be positive about and share my friend keeps frantically changing the subject to be all about her. Like yours my friend also will make a point of saying how her problems are infinitely worse than mine etc. It’s a toxic friendship OP and I know you care about her, but she isn’t making you feel better, it’s making you depressed (whether she wants to or not) and a good friendship doesn’t do this. I’d try and get some space if you can and slowly pull away. Maybe unfollow on FB, she won’t know and it will be easier. Some people are all about themselves and although there’s a time and place for that. Friendship is give and take and she seems oblivious to you. I am so sorry. Xx

whiskyowl Mon 08-Jan-18 13:17:41

Your problem is that your friend isn't very nice. At all. She's a competitive, manipulative, slightly fake person by your description. And instead of supporting you, she's running against you, turning daily life into the Victim Olympics.

There is nothing more frustrating that someone who just doesn't Get It, yet who insists that their life and sufferings are somehow greater than those of others. A great gift in a friend is someone who knows when to open up and receive support, and when to shut up, listen and offer it. Without both, it's a care-relationship, not a friendship.

There's a great saying - before you diagnose yourself as depressed, make sure you're not just surrounded by arseholes. I am not saying this to minimise depression as an illness, but as someone who has felt very, very down in the last year about the behaviour of a couple of so-called friends. It can really affect your mood and self-image! My new year's resolution was to minimise contact with toxic, selfish, narcissistic people in my life and spend more time with kind, generous, caring friends. It has already made a big difference!

Knittedfairies Mon 08-Jan-18 13:18:30

You are a bit part in the story of her life, yet she has a starring role in yours. As upthread, she has you just where she wants you; time to step back, I think.

Shadow666 Mon 08-Jan-18 13:19:11

I agree take a break and see how you feel. You can unfollow her on Facebook and she won't know. It does sound like the friendship is draining you.

Nctothisfornow Mon 08-Jan-18 13:19:28

Step away OP. She is bringing nothing good to your life, but dragging you further down.
Everything you have said about what has been hard for you, you have automatically tried defending why you are saying it and claiming you know others have it bad etc.
It sounds like you constantly need to try and force some support out of your so called friend because she forever downplays your life experiences.

What you are dealing with is incredibly difficult and with little support. This friend is not a rescuer otherwise she would be support for you, but she is not supportive of you in the slightest. She may be there at the drop of a hat, but i bet that is because other peoples misfortune make her feel better about herself.

I bet your strength and belief in yourself continues to rise once she is out of the picture

ChickenMom Mon 08-Jan-18 13:20:00

I totally understand as I am in a similar position with a friend I’ve known over 20 years. We were all in the same boat back then. Similar finances, lifestyle, interests etc and similar amounts of friends. Since then I suffered with PND and my life has gone downhill and got tougher and tougher. Friends dropping away, depression, weight issues etc but her life has skyrocketed to the point she’s living a multi millionaires lifestyle and all the trappings that go along with that. I find it hard to be around her. While my weekends pretty much involve going to Tesco as the highlight of my day, here involve pool parties and champagne parties with interesting and keen new friends. I go the whole weekend without a single text apart from my mum! It’s impossible to compete with that and it makes me feel like crap every time I see her. I feel like I’ve failed at life and feel huge resentment. It’s impossible to maintain a normal friendship under those circumstances. I think sometimes friends have to drift away if their lives have become so different. There’s nothing binding you together anymore.

mareemallory Mon 08-Jan-18 13:21:15

I agree with PPs, but just wanted to add that I think this alone

The reason she has not got a mental illness is because she thinks positive.

is reason enough for you to pull back a bit. That's such an unhelpful thing to hear when you are struggling with genuine mental illness yourself.

LeCroissant Mon 08-Jan-18 13:25:06

Honestly, she sounds absolutely horrible and I think you'd be far better off without her.

Things can get better for you, but first you must get rid of people like this who drag you down.

HermioneAndMsJones Mon 08-Jan-18 13:38:52

I suspect she is one of the reason why you are depressed and that. Your outlook in life will be much better if you stop seeing her.

Some friend has a life shelf. They are great at one point in your life (when you were both struggling as single parent) but not any more.

She is much too critical, is using you as prop to make herself feel better, whatever the cost to you.

Bumsnetnetbums Mon 08-Jan-18 13:42:36

Sorry reply got deleted.
Thanks for replying didnt expect any. Re her wanting me where i am, this 100 percent. She always needs to be better. I got a new car the week later she got a newer one. I decorated a room she did hers better. Things we did together such as a course. I got an A she got a B. She tells everyone she got an A. Or ive got a painful arm. She has rheumatoid arthritis (she doesnt). Doesnt matter what it is hers is better.
When we met she had a friend who was depressed. She slagged her off to everyone that she was lazy and a bad parent and i bought into it. Now i can see that it was just so she felt better about herself amd the other woman is quite nice.
I am low contact but anytime i try to explain is met will two tesponses. The first is well thats just you and im weird. The second is fuck off then and im not grateful. Both said in a nicer way but you get my drift.
Yy to constant praise. Either through fb likes or being a good samaritan. Things which individually look humble and kind but when in a pattern are actually quite controlling. Someone we know made a comment about a school mum we are familiar with in a moany way as you do. My friend tells the woman what she said. Because she 'deserved to know'. The result? Moaning friend got dumped to my friend moved into her place and has taken the role of best friend rescuing her from a nasty person.
Thanks for making me see its not just me. Ive had so much trauma in my life that it woukd be nice to be loved by some adult who isnt my kids. But noone can come near because she takes them and creates every social relationship through the lens of her own reality. And my illness is psychotic so my own reality is sometimes flawed. But i dont think this is?
I am a bit jealous tbh.
I can make friends easily. I had many at work in a totally seperate field from her. She got a job in a firm working alongside ours. So i sidestepped into something else and loved it knowing they would never know her. I had to leave because of my DD. And I have a hobby. But noone to watch the kids. After they go to bed i am on my own amd i wonder what I have done so wrong as to be so lonely and unloveable sad

greenlids Mon 08-Jan-18 13:47:53

<Toxic friend alert>

Nctothisfornow Mon 08-Jan-18 13:51:32

You are not unloveable. You are feeling that way because you are so down right now.
Hopefully now you have posted and had your own thoughts confirmed you can see it for how it is. You can make friends easily, which proves you are also likeable. This friend doesnt help you make steps forward, so side step from her no matter how she takes it and focus on moving forward.
Build new friendships and shape your life how you want it

Shadow666 Mon 08-Jan-18 13:51:45

Look, she has self-esteem issues. Do you think she doesn't know exactly what she is doing when she discusses her next holiday with you? But, you also have self-esteem issues. It's a new year, so try and focus on your self-worth, Build up your confidence. Look for the positives in your life (and it sounds like you have many).

Megs4x3 Mon 08-Jan-18 13:53:06

Tou are NOT unloveable. You are just in a horrible situation at the moment with your main 'friend' taking all your time and energy. You have been sucked into comparing yourself with her unfavourably which is what she does. She is NOT your friend. She is someone who uses you to make herself feel good. Please, as others have said, pull back from her. She would not be there to help you in a heartbeat, she would be there to glean more ammunition for her iwn self esteem in a heartbeat. There's a difference.

SparklyLights Mon 08-Jan-18 13:56:45

It's not an even sided friendship. If someone is making you more sad than happy then it's time to wind it down, at least for a while. I wouldn't try to explain or look for any understanding from her. Could you focus on building up other friendships? You are not unloveable and look at all you have achieved. A home, car, bringing up two children with SN on your own, your DD has had 4 surgeries this year - even one would be a big thing for most families - you have done courses, worked, have a hobby... you are achieving far more than you realise, not everything is measured in how many holidays or clothes you have. Times may be tough now but life moves on and we all never know what's round the corner, something amazing could happen this year.

How does she look amazing? You say you have no time or money to look nice yourself but I bet you look better than you think. I understand the no time or money thing but there are always little things we can do to help. Water's free (as such), lots of that will perk up your skin and flush out the toxins. Keeping an eye on the junk food (if you eat any) is another. Even something small like £2.99 on a nice colour nail polish for your toes can be a boost.

I hope you feel better about things, but I think it'll be speeded up if you aren't beholden to this friend. Can you not just see less of her and if she asks say vaguely "been busy with the kids... not been sleeping well so a bit tired.." e.g. general stuff that she can't compete with or get in a huff over? At the very least, you said she loves to rescue people. So use that to your advantage. Keep her enough in your loop that if you did need a favour she'd be useful, but not close enough that she can use you to boost her own self-esteem and confidence at the expense of yours. Good luck x

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