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I love my friends but I also feel angry and envious of her achievements...How to deal with my feelings?

(40 Posts)
Falconi Fri 02-May-14 22:04:40

This is going to be long as I want to explain as much as I can.

Basically the year I arrived in the UK, I made friends with A. She had just arrived few months after me and I was supposed to give her training at work. We got on really well and became good friends.

I came to the UK in a bid to heal from my divorce. My xH who was very abusive, also a big time cheater and he left me for a 'friend' of ours.
I had no children and was still young, I needed a challenge blahblahblah to keep my mind occupied and carry on with my life.

It was probably too soon to be getting in new relationships but I started dating Q, also a work colleague, and was really into him. Everyone knew.
Specially A. I confided in her a lot.

Suddenly when I though everything was going great, Q went cold and decided to take time off and travel. He cut all contact with me whilst travelling and never replied to my emails. I was under the impression we were friends to say the least...we started our "relationship' as friends and he was the one who pursued me.

When he came back, him and A were together almost instantly. They never announced their commitment, but they were just closer and closer at work and you could smell and sense their chemistry. After while they were openly dating.
Obviously it hurt me a lot and for a while I was civil but kept my distance from them.

I then started going out with Dh. He was also a work colleague and I knew he was into me but I never gave him a chance as he didn't fit with my 'type'. But there came a time when I was so lonely and hurting, and he was there for me comforting and listening and treating me like the most important person in the world. And I felt I could trust him as I was having a hard time trusting people at that point. I gave him a chance and we started a relationship. I knew that Dh was more into me than I was into him. I was still confused with feelings for my xH and Q. I didn't know wether I want to stay in the UK or go back to my home country. I wasn't taking things so seriously...
Dh helped me enjoy myself again and get my confidence back. I became friends with A and Q again as a couple and we even became flat mates at one point. We also travelled together (although this was a big mistake).
There were few dramas in A and Q's relationship, I was always there supporting both (stupid emoticon). But I was happy with Dh and their relationship never bothered me anymore, they were just my friends.

Fast forward 8 years, A is no longer together with Q.

Q moved from the UK and we all lost contact with him.

A had a string of failed relationships but went on to become very successful in her career, whist I was sometimes a SAHM, sometimes a part timer and now self employed doing relatively well but not fulfilled. Dh is a lovely guy and a great father but he is quite laid back, has no formal qualifications and we scrape by. We have been through a lot of hardship.

Now the bit that I don't understand about myself are my feelings is the sudden envy and jealousy and 'anger' and 'unfairness' that I feel for A now a days.
A couple of years ago she met this guy who made her really happy. He is very nice, good looking, clever, high achiever and fun...(I have no feelings for him what so ever). He is the opposite of Dh and their relationship reminds me that Dh wasn't (isn't?) my type of guy...nor physically or even intellectually, although I appreciate many qualities in him.

A and her OH moved to a really nice place in a wonderful location, they had a beautiful baby, they are amazing parents. They buy or do anything on the click of their fingers (like going twice this year back to mine and A's home country, the travel that I saved for 6 years to be able to do, it is VERY expensive) just because they fancied it. Also travelling to another locations. Also buying lots of expensive goods all the time. They got engaged and she has a huge diamond ring, they are getting married, they are looking at more rings, dress, venue is sorted, there is going to be a big party, the whole shebang. And she still is a SAHM ffs.

Now, I am not envious of their money, although it would be nice not to have financial pressures, (I even struggled to feed myself when Dd was a breastfeeding baby and sometimes I couldn't afford a ice cream cone during the summer when she was a toddler), I think I am envious of the whole excitement and how easy she always had it when to me it was always been a massive struggle for everything.

I know it is childish and shallow, I feel awful, but it is hard to understand and deal with my feelings of being happy for her but envious at the same time...sometimes I even avoid her, just not to feel this way.

I just need to get this out. I have met her today.

Falconi Fri 02-May-14 22:08:19

Sorry lots of typos as usual.
It is just the angst to try and explain my feelings mixed with English not being my mother tongue.
I wish I had MN in my own language...

Falconi Fri 02-May-14 22:45:32

I want to be a better friend.

AtrociousCircumstance Fri 02-May-14 22:48:13

It's ok to avoid her, if she makes you feel crap.

Obviously you need to look at your relationship and your life and make some decisions or give things some thought, but you don't have to force yourself to be 'fair' and rational with regards to this woman if she makes you feel rubbish.

You are allowed to opt out of any friendship if it doesn't make you feel good.

Trillions Fri 02-May-14 22:48:52

I think this is natural. I could not be friends with A at all, just reading your post makes me want to slap her!

Falconi Fri 02-May-14 23:00:16

But she doesn't make me feel bad on purpose.
It is not her, it is me.
Yes, she made a mistake back on the old days of Q (not sure if they were together at the same time I was dating him but I was definitely dating him before her, in fact I introduced them) she has never apologised and we never talked about it really but I had forgiven her and I don't even bothered about her and Q for such a long time.
A has been nothing but a good friend to me since I got over Q and she loves Dd so much...
She doesn't flash her good fortune, career etc on me, she is actually quite humble tbh.

tribpot Fri 02-May-14 23:02:45

We never know what goes on behind closed doors. A friend and I had lunch today and we were talking about 'dream' couples who you would have thought had everything ... but many of these relationships have ended, often through infidelity. You can just never tell what the truth is.

Not that I particularly wish A any ill-will - it doesn't make life any better for you if it's more difficult for her, nor vice versa. But I wouldn't get too hung up on imagining her perfect life.

I don't think I'd want to spend too much time with her, either, though. What exactly has she ever done for you? You supported her through her dramas with Q (why on earth, when she knew how you felt about him and he cut you off without explanation?) but you don't mention anything she's done that has made you feel better about the friendship.

You don't owe her anything. You're not obliged to be happy for her or to continue the friendship past (a long way past) the end of its natural life.

Let her go - maybe she'll live a charmed life, maybe she won't. Your life has many good points to it (without under-rating the difficulties you face) but you only need to have people in it who enrich it.

Rivercam Fri 02-May-14 23:10:50

Maybe her life seems a little more exciting at the moment, and you feel stuck in a rut. We've all been there.

Also, you don't know what happens behind closed doors.. They may go on flashy holidays, but they may also have huge credit card bills.

I think social media has a lot to answer to. Some people are always posting trivial things makes a humble home-made shepherds pie look glamorous and exciting.

stillrollingwiththetimes Fri 02-May-14 23:13:02

Maybe you're not angry with her, but with you? Scraping by makes a HUGE psychological impact on anyone, especially if it's long-term, so she may be acting as a mirror to you right now?

I do think that a decade of no discussion about the Q situation is long. This is her fault as a friend, not yours.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Fri 02-May-14 23:17:59

Aww bless you, Falconi.

I think it's quite common to feel as you do and it sounds to me as if you're taking stock of your life and with that comes the inevitable 'measuring up' and benchmarking against your friends. It's that which is the problem. Your post reads to me as if you think you've 'settled' somehow. You got together with your husband when you were still hung up on Q and when he got together with A it was like (A=10 points, Falconi=null points). He treated you very badly, by the way. You had a lucky escape and ultimately, so did A. She failed to abide by the code of not dating a friend's man so she can have some minus points for that...

In case you still wonder whether you 'missed out' as you think 'he dropped you', what do you know of his and A's relationship breakdown? He could well have dropped her too... so A=10 points/Falconi=10 points... because you both GAINED.

I think you've been 'scoring' your life like this ever since you've been friends with A, maybe it even started before then? You mention an ex husband that you had feelings for... were those feelings still raw when you had a relationship with Q or were you so delighted with Q that the impact of your ex-husband was minimal? When you were with your husband-to-be however, because you feel as if he was more into you than you him, those feelings of doubt crept in?

So A has a baby now and is getting married. Do you think that she might have been wistful at your marriage and your baby? She might well have been posting about your settled status... many people would kill for what you have.

As far as A's lifestyle is concerned, she has what you think is a charmed existence. I don't think anybody has such a thing, there is always a price to pay and that price isn't necessarily obvious to an outsider.

What's your friendship like now? Are you still close or are you more distant? I think that you were never really close, you were brought together by circumstances and have always been competitive with her. Is she competitive with you also? Are you competitive with other women or only with those who you feel are slightly 'above' you? If you feel that what you had with A has run its course then allow it to fizzle out, no harm no foul, you're just at different stages of your life now.

You need to look at what you have and count those blessings because you have very many. Imagine your husband with somebody else... would that make you realise what you have and what you could have lost? It's not nice to feel as if you've settled and no doubt, your husband has no idea of these feelings. He may also have dated 'the one who got away' before he met you.

You're not on your own with these feelings, Falconi but you've got to lay those ghosts to rest because you could spend the rest of your life fixating on 'what might have been' when in reality, it wouldn't have been and, even if it had, you might not have liked it at all in reality.

Hold your family close and place those who are not close, firmly in their place further away from you because they really don't matter. Not what they have, not what they do - only those who are really close to you matter. thanks

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Fri 02-May-14 23:18:59

x-posted with everybody! shock

Falconi Fri 02-May-14 23:24:56

You supported her through her dramas with Q (why on earth, when she knew how you felt about him and he cut you off without explanation?)
I know. I just liked them both as friends, as people.
I know they didn't treat me very well, but once the storm was over, I forgave and forgot and were friends with them again.

Sometimes I am stupid like this, I think I forgive people too easily and give them endless chances.

but you don't mention anything she's done that has made you feel better about the friendship
There were times I wanted to go NC. It was when she was with Q and even after when Q was gone. But she always got in touch and wanted to meet up, visit, keep the friendship going etc. I just felt, I am not sure, but lucky somehow, that despite everything, I could still have one more friend in my list of friends if this makes sense?
I don't think she has done a lot for me, no, because I stopped being comfortable talking to her about deep personal staff but Dd and her have a special relationship.

Falconi Fri 02-May-14 23:52:06

were those feelings still raw when you had a relationship with Q or were you so delighted with Q that the impact of your ex-husband was minimal? When you were with your husband-to-be however, because you feel as if he was more into you than you him, those feelings of doubt crept in?

The feelings for my xH were very much raw when I was dating Q and my Dh. Even after I got married again and had Dd, I still kept xH in my mind a lot. This was because I did not understand I was a victim of abuse and I blamed myself a lot for his cheating and divorce. Once I understood that he is simply a bad guy, I was free.

I am not and was never a competitive person, specially with other women.

It was relatively easy changing my feelings for Q to friendship feelings, after the shock was old news (remember xH cheated on me with a friend also, so it seemed like a curse) in fact, once Q was with A, I realised he wasn't a good match for me and they were more suited to each other. I don't see him like the one who got away.
They had a long relationship and they cared for each other (him had stronger feelings I think) but they ended up leaving in different cities and after a long distance relationship, they broke off.

Do you think that she might have been wistful at your marriage and your baby? She might well have been posting about your settled status... I am sure she has. All she wanted was to have a serious relationship and a baby. And she got it exactly the way she wanted.
And this is what makes me feel like a 5 year old saying: it is so unfair!

I have it too. But I don't think is the way I wanted.
Yes. I just need to count my blessings.

tribpot Fri 02-May-14 23:52:56

I know they didn't treat me very well, but once the storm was over, I forgave and forgot and were friends with them again.

That's not forgiveness. That's self-defeat. You've never expressed your hurt and disappointment, you've never received an apology. You haven't been asked to forgive, you chose to accept it was alright for them to trample on your feelings.

I am not sure, but lucky somehow, that despite everything, I could still have one more friend

Despite everything what? Despite the fact she wasn't your friend, basically!

I would use this as a good lesson in putting yourself first - in believing in the validity of your feelings and not tolerating those who choose to dismiss them. Your DH, for all his shortcomings, has treated your feelings as important and your happiness as something he wants to contribute to. Did A only come back around to you when she wanted to offload about her latest drama?

I'm not sure I really buy this thing about her having a special relationship with your dd - is that her interpretation of it? But that doesn't mean you have to see much of her - let them have special time together.

Falconi Sat 03-May-14 00:05:07

You are right tribpot, I have never think about it like this.

I think I was used to be treated like shit and was happy with any crumbs anyone would offer me.
Might still have to watch myself even now a days.....

I just think she was genuinely happy for me when I was PG and she really loved Dd from the first time she saw her as a new born to now.

A would like to be around us a lot more but we have busy lives, before was her career and my motherhood and now is her motherhood and me, fighting to get my career going again. I also avoid a little bit, as I don't want to feel envious and it seems that there is this elephant in the room, at least for me (Q situation, even though I have no feelings for him, nor has she).

Falconi Sat 03-May-14 00:08:43

Oh, and I forgave and forgot and was friends with them again because at that time, no one had kids and it was all about work and extra times at work, and socialising with work mates so pretty much all my friends were their friends and Dh's friends and we were all workmates.
I couldn't scape them.
Gave them the cold shoulder but after a while, I was happy with Dh so it was easier to let them in again.

tribpot Sat 03-May-14 00:17:23

Maybe she would like to be around you more. But what matters is what you want. You're not obliged to be friends with her. If her presence in your life doesn't enrich it, reduce it. You don't have to be friends with someone just because they want to be friends with you.

Falconi Sat 03-May-14 00:45:59

So true.
I think I was saw her making an effort to be in my life as a way of apologising without using the word sorry.

I do like a wedding but not sure if I want to go to hers.
The only problem having such a close relantionship is that I can't be myself around her like I once was. I will never be able to confide in her anymore nor want to hear anything more deep she has going on in her life.
I think I will keep it superficial and cold.

TequilaMockingbirdy Sat 03-May-14 00:49:41

It's natural to feel like this and I'm really sorry for you because you can't control it so it must be so hard.

One thing that struck me though was your relationship with your DH. Do you love him OP? Or do you think you've settled and are simply 'fond' of him?

thecatfromjapan Sat 03-May-14 01:05:35

There was an interesting article in the Guardian the other day - the Anna Babiesi answers bit in the "Family" on Saturday section (I know I have her name wrong - the person sounded so similar to you. The answer suggested that the letter-writer sounded very sad about previous hurts in her life. Beneath her present unhappiness and confusion lay a great deal of unresolved pain about earlier unfair treatment (by other people; by life) that the writer had never been allowed to be vocal about. Her role in her family was to not moan and get on with things (there's a fine line there between being the not-moaner and the one who gets dumped on!!!) so the result was that she didn't allow herself to acknowledge her feelings of disappointment and hurt. She didn't expect those near her to listen or respond. She had taught herself not to give voice to those feelings even to herself.

I do think a lot of the earlier posters have said much that I might have suggested (that this might be prompted by you taking stock of your life, and is quite natural; that you have good things going for you; many other things) but I wonder if perhaps you also need to actually allow yourself to acknowledge how much it hurt when that xh hurt you; how bad you felt about Q; how let down you felt about A.

Throughout what you have written, I sense almost a fear about your closest relationships. Do you fear that you will never be truly loved? Do you fear that you can never truly love?

Or is it a fear that your life has gone "wrong" somehow, and that this is not the life you were meant to have?

Are you frightened that you never properly got over your xh? That your relationship with your h is not secure?

What is your relationship with your child/ren like?

Most importantly, your life is not fixed, it is in process. You are very young. Now is a good time to really ask yourself what you want, to not be passive, to be utterly honest about the things you want to grasp, keep, cherish, acquire. live by, or live towards - and start going after them. Your past is there for you to learn from, not to tie you by the ankle and drown you.

And, I know this will sound crazy, but are you also, perhaps, a little homesick for your home country?

Falconi Sat 03-May-14 01:18:50

I love him tequila. But I do struggle with romantic relationships since my xH, he left me traumatised. I basically got married again because of Dd as I needed to be in the UK and there wasn't another way since I had a baby and could not get a student visa (who would look after dd and pay for my studies?) nor a working visa (not senior enough at work to be sponsored). Having another marriage was not in my plans. I could happily just have a long term boyfriend but not another husband.
Also we had a lot of financial pressure in the past and I have had to drop my standarts a lot in order to be wirh him. Our backgrounds are just very different. And we both have to adjust to each other.
However all the other guys from the 'right' background and 'right' look always let me down and treat me badly (not only xH but a lot befire him). I think dH is the only one who loves me for real and I think we are content.
I am just too wounded.

Falconi Sat 03-May-14 01:22:10

Cross post with thecatfromjapan.
Very interesting article. I will try to find it.

thecatfromjapan Sat 03-May-14 01:22:35

Uh oh. This is not really about A.

I think the story you are telling yourself (I am always hurt; I always fail; I am not living a "Real" life in this foreign country) has the potential to be really, really damaging. sad

TequilaMockingbirdy Sat 03-May-14 01:23:34

I'm really sorry your ex left you traumatised - that's awful. Do you think you have any issues that still need addressing? Would any sort of therapy help you do you think? Maybe it'd solve this jealousy too. I don't agree with the marriage thing because technically you used him, but I don't think now is the time or place to go into that.

I think maybe you're judging your DH a little bit harshly though, about his background etc. But maybe once you feel better yourself you'll be able to feel better about him?

I do think you'd benefit from talking about your feelings and the past, maybe to help you process it

Falconi Sat 03-May-14 01:42:25

thecatfromjapan here dome answers, on my phone now so apologies for the mess.
Not homesick. Been there last year. I don't like that place and I don't even like being around my family much.
I grew up with criticism, little sympathy, labelled as the black sheep. I was the middle child. I was healthy. My siblings needed a lot of care and my parents were troubled and selfish. There wasn't much left for me.

My family is kind of disappointed with me even though it is irrational. My siblings' life look better on paper but it really isn't. They refuse to acknowledge this because my role is to be the bad apple.

I will never be passionate and lust again. This just gets me into trouble.

My relationship with Dd is overall good. I wish I was more soft and naturally extremely lovely. But I am doing a good job not repeating my abusive/ neglectful parents and other members of the family, specially the unqualified nannies ( remember I didn't grow up in the UK) whose I spent most of my time with.

Yes I am going after some goals in my life right now although it is not exactly what I want because I never knew what I wanted in the first place.
Yesterday I just remember being criticised as a child for wanting to be a teacher, or nurse, or social worker or actress, or accountant or working in the advertisement industry. I actually did try some of the above as a teen with no support.
I think my wish is to be a whole new person tbh.
Yes I need therapy.

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