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Does having a hard life make you stronger, or leave you bitter?

(30 Posts)
rickman Fri 11-Feb-05 10:57:46

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horseshoe Fri 11-Feb-05 11:01:42

makes you stronger....whats the point in being bitter, you hurt no-one but yourself

spook Fri 11-Feb-05 11:05:46

Stronger.Why let the people who have made it hard win?

Caligula Fri 11-Feb-05 11:06:29

Depends on your character. Is the glass half full or half empty?

secur Fri 11-Feb-05 11:07:14

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Enid Fri 11-Feb-05 11:09:31

depends on your character as Caligula says.

I had a difficult childhood with an emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother. I went through a phase of feeling sorry for myself and resentful of those who had seemingly 'normal' parents.

Now I feel that I am probably a better mother because of my own experiences (although I expect an inordinate amount from myself which can cause problems) and I have moved on from it to a new and very happy phase of my life.

Because of some of the things that happened when I was younger, I truly feel I deserve to be happy now, and expect life to be kind rather than horrid.

colditzmum Fri 11-Feb-05 11:12:59

I do think it is personality type, as I did NOT have a particularly hard life, yet I am quite bitter.

Actually, I have been in tears before, hating myself for being bitter because I know it's wrong to feel this way when I have very little to be bitter about. I honestly think I am just that sort of person. I try to keep it to myself though

secur Fri 11-Feb-05 11:13:59

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snafu Fri 11-Feb-05 11:18:09

I think it depends on lots of things (sitting on the fence here!) Depends what you mean by a hard life - emotionally, economically? But mainly I think it is down to personality. The things that I am bitter about in my life are not necessarily what people would consider part of 'a hard life' - they're just things I've dealt with badly. Whereas the really tough things aren't making me bitter but (I hope) stronger and more focused on how to make my life better for me and mine.

expatinscotland Fri 11-Feb-05 11:18:49

Depends on the person and what they chose to be. I've made some mistakes, and I have to pay for them now. Sometimes, I notice others who get e/thing they ever wanted and life and yet see fit to whinge. I can either let it get me down and make me bitter, or try my best to ignore others and focus on improving life for my own family.

Marina Fri 11-Feb-05 11:20:41

Caligula, you Irish lady you ! My Dubliner mother had a crap childhood and it made her stronger. Scarily so at times. She's a half-full person.
My pampered home counties MIL, on the other hand, had a fairly crap marriage and she is very, very bitter and self-pitying. I compare the two women and I know whom I respect more.
I prefer the stronger approach too. I feel horribly sad about the stillbirth of our second child two and a half years ago still but I want to use that experience to help me to help others in the same miserable position, and I never for one second resent people with comparatively carefree pregnancy and birth careers.

nnosam Fri 11-Feb-05 11:20:45

i have to agree with spooks...
if you spend life being bitter then whoever cause you the pain has won and keeps on winning.........

nikkim Fri 11-Feb-05 11:22:04

Obviously it depends on the nature of your hard experiences and your personlality type.

From my own expriences I think it made me strong at the time, as i needed to be to cope, but then bitter just afterwards as I thought what I had went through and am now enetering a period of being strong again as I can look back and think that was hard but I made it, so I could do anything.

However some people do just end up very bitter my own mum had a tough childhood and two bad marriages and is now very bitter and hardedened, it really worried me when I went through my difficulties that I would end up like her. That may ahve been what made me strong, a determination not to be bitter.

PhDMumof1 Fri 11-Feb-05 11:36:51

I remember my formtutor at school quoting Nietzsche (I think) to me when my life was really really falling apart. "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger". I almost killed her, because at the time it was so insensitive.

However, many years later I can say it to myself, but with the hope that it doesn'yt make you bitter or brittle.

Brittle is sort of like when you get so tough everyone is scared of you, which also happened to me. I kept wondering why I couldn't make friends but it was because I was so "out there" in terms of being independent, strong, tough etc that I couldn't find time to listen to anyone else's problems. As far as I was concerned no-one had the same sh*t to deal with that I had so they were all being whinge monkeys.

Now I try to be a little more tolerant and not bother whingeing ever ever ever because my life is sooo sorted and stable now.

Chandra Fri 11-Feb-05 11:46:21

I'll would say both, but hopefully more stronger than bitter

piffle Fri 11-Feb-05 12:14:10

it made my mother more bitter and so strong she prefers no company other than her own.
And for what it's worth her life was no harder than anyone elses that I know...
Define hard life,
is it lack of money?
Single parenting?
Divorced parents
Abuse?
Alcoholism?
Most of the people I have met who have had serious hard lifes as in abuse/being orphaned etc have turned out really nice open and caring people.
It is very individual I would say, my mother has always being highly strung, she left my dad after 35 yrs of marriage because she was bored...
she actually tried to cite this as her irreconcilable difference! My dad counter cited with infidelity on her part... bored!
humph can you tell I still have issues? But I am not bitter!

lilibet Fri 11-Feb-05 12:14:54

I had a very hard few years with exp, when I was being battered, had two jobs - one from 5 am to 8 am and one from 8.15 am to 3pm, and my Dad was dying. When I left him with 3 children (and two cats,!) we lived in three different houses in 12 months, each one in a worse area than the last.

All this has turned me into a much stronger person with an "I can get thru anything" attitude. But what it has also done is made me quite unsympathetic to other people's troubles - I end up thinking "so what I've had worse, deal with it!" which really isn't nice.

PhDMumof1 Fri 11-Feb-05 12:43:10

exactly lilibet - altho my situation was different from your's - it has taken me a while to practise being a "nice" person. But then I also hate it when I tell people about what I did go thru and they go all gooey on me - yuk! I have people I talk to and confide in, because I know they understand and respect what happened, either thru experience or thru general wisdom.

I think I have got wisdom but only because I tried hard to get it after all the difficult experiences. it doesn't just "come" to you thru hard knocks.

PhDMumof1 Fri 11-Feb-05 12:44:31

piffle I also think that you CAN define a hard life, and actually most people have had a hard life at some period of their lives.

Luckily, in this country, there are ways to change your life if you are in any of the situations that you describe.

lilibet Fri 11-Feb-05 14:25:54

I used to hate New Years eve until I was about 30 as up until then nothing really bad had ever happened to me, and I always thought that the next year would be the one.

Love 'em now

Amanda3266 Fri 11-Feb-05 14:32:30

I think this depends on your definition of a hard life. I consider that my childhood was a difficult time due to my parent's marriage break up, constant moving around, being abused by an acquaintance of the family (who promised that he would kill me if I told ).
I left school with no qualifications - not a single O Level to my name!
However, since that time I have fought my way through college, a career and evening schools which enabled me to study. Two years ago I completed a Degree in (Public Health) Nursing.

I'm not saying I wouldn't have done this anyway but I think having experienced so much chaos as a child I craved order and security which my studying has given me - it was tough and I fought back.

fairyfly Fri 11-Feb-05 14:35:03

Depends how you classify a hard life really. Mine hasn't been particularly great recently but none of us are protected from pain. It was just my turn.
I do feel stronger, i feel brave, faced some fears, but saying that i protect myself more and have become harder than i was. I don't have the same rose tinted glasses on which i quite liked wearing.

rickman Fri 11-Feb-05 16:27:58

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Amanda3266 Fri 11-Feb-05 17:52:30

I am sure we come away from these things wiser. However, it can have a very negative effect. Despite this most people cope - you have to or you'd go mad. I'd say that given the experiences you describe that you've survived to see another day and it's that strength from surviving all these things which helps you to do that.

anorak Fri 11-Feb-05 17:57:19

I agree with Chandra, it's a mixture of both. I think we all begin with bitterness and hopefully convert the bitterness into strength, bit by bit. I think you need the bitterness to begin with. If you didn't feel bitter you wouldn't have the self-respect to understand that people shouldn't treat you badly. After a time it's important to have to maturity not to sit around whining all your life and actually take hold of the driving wheel again.

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