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Losing my identity as an idividual without the mum, wife labels etc

(10 Posts)
AChocoLipsNow Sat 01-Nov-14 14:53:10

I'm not sure what i'm expecting to gain from this post.
Anyway, yesterday I took my sister out and we went shopping and for lunch and then to my parents house and I sat for a couple of hours and chatted with my parents and my siblings.
^^thinking about this this morning, although it was lovely and i had a great time has also made me really sad and depressed.

This type of situation is a once in a blue moon thing. When dh is at work i look after dc, then when he gets home he looks after dc and i go to work.
My social skills have never been particularly good anyway, i'm shy but that appears to have got worse and other than conversations with family i struugle to hold conversations with other people. I've thought about the reasons for that. When i'm with 2 yo ds my conversations never last more than 20 seconds, as soon as he can see me distracted he runs off or does something to gain my attention.
When i'm with dh, he is Mr.Popular, everyone loves him, if i start a conversation he will butt in and finish and make it sound far more interesting or funnier than i could've so i just stay quiet. He doesn't do this purposely or maliciously, it's just the way he is and i don't think he even realises he's doing it.
Ds 9, follows in his dad's footsteps too. He's far more interesting than me and people are very willing to talk to him and he has a hypnotic kind of way about him that mezmerises anyone engaging with him.

At work, i'm much older than my colleagues, although i get on with them and we have small talk. I'm not particularly close to anyone and whenever they're all going out for a drink after work i NEVER get asked. Last night this really upset me as we all dressed up for hallowe'en and i found out before i went home that they were going out after, I found out about 10 minutes before my shift finished. If i'd had notice i could of arranged things, i would've loved to have gone.

I spoke to dh this morning and he really doesn't get it. He said i've just got to stop being so quiet. I wish it was that easy!!
Also i feel i've lost the natural ability to hold a decent conversation and i'm just so serious now, i don't know where my sense of humour has gone but the conversations i do have are shit, no wonder no one wants to talk to me.

Sorry, i know all this is very woe is me.
I just dont know what to do. After speaking to dh about it he came back to me about 10 minutes later and tried blaming my period, saying shit about my hormones and the usual bollocks, i could've swung for him.

I can't be the only one that's felt like this. Has anyone with older dc been like this but they're better now? how did you get through this?

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 01-Nov-14 15:11:43

I'm sorry you're feeling so sad. Some people are naturally gregarious and can do the witty, charming thing, slotting in anywhere, and others are better one on one or need to be on a home turf subject in order to feel comfortable. You sound like the latter.

I'm glad you told DH how you feel and hope you told him to stop cutting across you when you speak. It's very rude because it's saying 'you're boring.... look at me' and, whether he means it or not, you have to make it clear that it's not on.

If you're with thoughtless colleagues who have left you off the invitation, do tell them that you'd have liked to be invited. I think you'll also have to make a bit of an effort to get to know them better. If you're too guarded, people tend to mistake that for being uninterested.

And then I think what's really missing is something that you do just for you. Not work, DCs or DH but maybe a hobby you've always wanted to try or an interest you had pre DCs. Something that gets you out of the house, having fun, engaging one on one with a few selected people.... and where DH can't talk over you

Benzalkonium Sat 01-Nov-14 16:38:49

Sorry you are feeling this way. This might seem a bit whacky, but it seems laughter is missing from your life... Is that right? If so, laughter therapy may be interesting for you. Good luck finding a space where you can develop your sense of self.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 01-Nov-14 16:39:57

BTW... when you say 'the usual bollocks' about him trying to make out that your feelings are hormone-related does that make it the normal response you get if you express upset? And since hormone related is often shorthand for 'silly, female, irrational'... is that what he thinks?

Belittling someone's problems would be very unkind behaviour. Add it to him talking over you and I'm starting to wonder if 'Mr Popular' isn't a contributing factor in the very low way you feel about yourself.

SelfLoathing Sat 01-Nov-14 17:34:28

When i'm with dh, he is Mr.Popular, everyone loves him, if i start a conversation he will butt in and finish and make it sound far more interesting or funnier than i could've so i just stay quiet.

I seriously doubt "everyone loves him". I think this is your perception of him because you are feeling down and because, I suspect, he is encouraging you to feel like this - maybe subconciously.

A man who would cut across his wife to finish her story sounds like the kind of man that causes other people to knowingly roll their eyes at each other as they walk away from him.

Also i feel i've lost the natural ability to hold a decent conversation and i'm just so serious now, i don't know where my sense of humour has gone but the conversations i do have are shit, no wonder no one wants to talk to me

Gosh - this sound so down and I wonder if you are a bit depressed. Seriously. Of course your conversations aren't shit. Of course people want to talk to you!

I think you are over focusing on it and it's making you anxious.

I'd suggest three easy ways to generate conversation which you can pre-prepare before you go out to help alleviate your anxiety:

1. start reading a topical book, anything that is generating conversation - eg. right now The Assasination of Margaret Thatcher by Hilary Mantel would be a good choice. Even if someone hasn't read it, they'll have a view. Easy to start with "At the moment I'm reading [this book]; so far [I'd recommend/not recommend] because [what you think of it].

If you have a current book on the go at any time, it will be something to talk about. Other people will start talking about what they are reading.

2. google around for an amusing relevant anecdote preferably involving a famous person but doesn't have to be. Churchill is often a good source! So (eg) if you are going to (say) a Halloween party, have a look for a short Halloween anecdote; if it's a kid's birthday party, something about kid's birthday parties. Practice telling to a friend on the phone in normal chat (I read this the other day . .. ).

3. Look for a topical news story that is current and quirky (But not political). This is good source

web.orange.co.uk/p/news/quirkies

For 2 and 3, I'm not suggesting that are trying to become a stand up comedian or learn stuff off by heart, but it may give you a bit more confidence that you have something interesting to say - which you will do anyway, you've just lost your confidence.

You just need to relax about it and once you get into the swing of it, you'll soon forget you ever felt like this.

SelfLoathing Sat 01-Nov-14 17:35:40

PS: One more tip, if you get really stuck, just ask people questions about themselves. Everyone loves talking about themselves.

RaisingMen Sat 01-Nov-14 18:09:23

On Monday, approach the colleague you get on with best, or is particularly nice, ask if they had a good night and say you'd love to come along next time. I'm sure they didn't deliberately exclude you, it was maybe just thoughtlessness on their part.
Could you be a suffering from depression as the above poster suggests? X

ConstantAcceleration Sat 01-Nov-14 18:50:20

I think you need some time to yourself that isn't work-based or childcare based. (Easier said than done, I know)
It can be hard when work and home are everything to have anything interesting to say, I have certainly felt that. Is there anything you have an interest in that you could pursue with a bit of time to yourself?
I think it has to be a priority for you to do this, otherwise your self esteem will slide more and more and you will feel worse.

AYellowCreation Sat 01-Nov-14 22:53:35

I'm quiet and sometimes feel that I'm a bit boring, but here's a few things that helped me:

Use people's names: "What did you do this weekend, Constant?" and remember things they've said to you and ask about it. "How did your Mum get on at the hospital on Tuesday?" Most people love to talk about themselves.

Comment on people's appearance (when appropriate). "That colour really suits you."

If anyone ever asked me what I'd been up to, I used to be so surprised that they wanted to speak to me that I'd just say "Nothing much" and then that killed the conversation.

Now I always keep a few things in my head that I can say - my daughter's just gone back to uni - I've started training for my first fun run - I'm reorganising my garden - anything that will prompt interest and give the other person something to grasp onto to keep the conversation going.

And don't compare yourself to other people - you are you and as worthy as anyone, you just need to believe that. Make enhancing your self esteem a priority and if your DH isn't helping in that department, you need to tell him and insist on a change in his behaviour.

PoundingTheStreets Sat 01-Nov-14 23:08:57

I think most mums apart from a small minority can relate to what you feel. Unless you are in unusual circumstances or possessed of a remarkable sense of self-assurance (which most of us aren't), most mums tend to end up with their lives somewhat taken over with domestic tasks and parenthood. It's not that their 'little women' and more simply that someone has to take over the main role of responsibility towards the children, and 9x out of 10 that is the mum because she earns less and/or her job is more flexible, etc. etc. Unfortunately, in taking on that role, social life and individual hobbies tend to fly, too, either because of lack of time/freedom or simply because of cost. Mums become facilitators of other peoples lives, instead of active agents in their own.

One of the most depressing moments in my life was attending a university reunion. I was the only one with DC. By most people's standards I was doing well - decent (if distinctly average and distinctively averagely paid) job, my own house, some nice friends. etc. I realised, however, that everything I talked about in relation to 'me' was described in relations to someone else - I was a mum, or a sister, or an employee, for example. There was no "PoundingTheStreets is x or likes y, etc." It was like I'd become wallpaper in the lives of other people, despite working my guts out.

I left that reunion thoroughly depressed feeling like a woman painted in invisible ink who was boring and had nothing to offer the world. I vowed I wouldn't stand for it and changed my life. It wasn't easy because of limited funds, but I made time and money for a new hobby which eventually transformed by life both professionally and personally.

Men aren't being selfish by protecting that bit of themselves when they become parents. More women should insist that they get the same privilege.

Go for whatever it is you want to do and don't let anyone stand in your way. If your DH loves you he will champion you in this.

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