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Confronted with the ugly side of my character

(13 Posts)
PecanSandy Sat 18-Jul-15 13:22:06

I don't know if this belongs in relationships but anyway. I just had what I guess was a fight over the phone with a very good (gay male) friend. We were chatting idly about dating and I said I had been chatting to someone in another city who seemed nice. He said he could not understand my approach, why even bother with someone that far away, why don't I just look for men in real life instead of looking online. He's always critical, I feel, but never has any constructive advice. I asked him specifically what he thought I should do, he said he had no idea, I tried to change the subject but he kept on about my approach being totally wrong, saying I come across as desperate (do I?) and wouldn't drop it. Finally I asked (in what I thought was a joking tone) if I should use his method, which was to go out to a bar, get so drunk he doesn't remember clearly what happened, and bring a stranger home? He did this a couple months ago (not at all usual for him) and met someone who happens to be very nice, if very young. (Back story: he had a partner for 9 years who died a year and a half ago. He is of course still grieving. I didn't know him then, we've become friends since.)

He got really angry and accused me of attacking and insulting him. I said I wasn't I had just stated the facts as he related them to me in some detail, and did he think that was a good strategy for a woman my age (52)? He got very angry and told me my problem wasn't the lack of men, but my character, my low self-esteem. He also said I was jealous, jealous of him with his new friend, jealous of a friend of mine who recently got married, jealous of a lovely colleague of ours and her new bf. Etc.

That's all true. It's all true. I am jealous. I want very much to be happy for other people, I think they deserve it. I thought though that I was pretty good at hiding my envy, but apparently not. I feel he's just split me open and exposed all the ugliness inside me. I apologized, he apologized, I cried and am still crying and thinking how did I get to be this age and still so fucked up and immature in some ways?

I don't know what I expect anyone to say to me. Slap me around a bit, give me some advice about how to be a better person, how to get rid of jealously and honestly be happy for others.

Sorry if this is stupid and self-indulgent.

DonkeyOaty Sat 18-Jul-15 13:28:25


He's no friend, let's get that straight first


Tell us a bit about you. You are 52. That's all we know. Apart from you being REALLY hard on yourself.

PecanSandy Sat 18-Jul-15 13:38:53

Well, I've struggled a lot with depression. So has he. That's sort of how we became friends. I helped him with some important admin for work that he just couldn't face in the wake of his partner dying. It was actually for a course abroad we went on together.

I tend to confide him about my adventures in dating, he's probably sick of hearing about it. I have pretty much been alone since leaving my husband at 31. I have a son who's 21 and away at uni. I had a brief relationship that ended two years ago (dumped by silence just when I thought it was going well, it really crushed me), have gone out with a few guys I've met online, nothing great yet, was a bit excited about a guy I'd seen twice who then bailed on our third date, cried on friend's shoulder a bit.

Yes, I'm looking online but it's hardly the only thing going on in my life. I'm not desperate, if I were I too would be trolling bars. I can live with the thought of being alone for the rest of my life, but I haven't given up yet. Nor do I let myself get excited until something real happens.

My jealousy is something I work on, I truly do try to cultivate wishing others well. My friend is right when he says I'm jealous because my own life isn't exactly what I hoped for. I hate it though and want to root it out.

BolshierAyraStark Sat 18-Jul-15 13:40:35

He doesn't sound like a very good friend tbh.
It's very natural to feel envy of other people when your feeling down yourself, please try to remember that.

AskBasil Sat 18-Jul-15 13:48:13

Firstly your friend.

He's horrible and entitled. He thinks he can rip you apart and then is outraged when you retaliate in kind.

Second, your feelings of jealousy and unhappiness about your own life.

I think you need to pin point what it is about your own life you feel so unhappy about. And I know people always say go to counselling as if it's some kind of panacea and it isn't, but I think you should consider it because you mention that you have very low self-esteem - your horrible friend has picked up on it (which is why he thinks he can kick you around) and you say you have. That's probably at the root of whatever unhappiness and jealousy about other people's lives you have and it might be the most effective approach in tackling everything else.

PecanSandy Sat 18-Jul-15 14:28:34

Thanks to everyone for your kind words. Basil I'm not really unhappy or consumed with jealousy most of the time. In fact I was doing quite well this morning until this phone call.

I know, because I tell myself all the time and have read all the self-help books, that nothing I can achieve or obtain will make me happy, ie., even if I did have the best relationship in the world the negative stuff would squeeze out through some other hole. I don't expect a BF or anything to fix me. Most of the time I do a good job being happy as I am. One reason I'm entertaining the idea of a LDR is that I'm not sure I want someone around all the time. I'm good at being on my own. I should be, with all the practice I've had.

Thanks for the counselling suggestion. I haven't had much joy out of it in the past (and I've done CBT and traditional therapy). The only thing that's really helped me was ADs and I'm going back to the doctor who prescribed them because I think they may have pooped out. though I started the day congratulating myself on getting out of a slump confused. I've come to think that I have to FEEL better before I can view the world and myself more positively. I know they say "your thoughts create your feelings" but for me it's been the other way around.

Thanks to those who have replied. It's hard to know if someone else is being unreasonable or just telling you what you need to hear.

AskBasil Sat 18-Jul-15 14:45:19

Maybe it's just this particular unpleasant friend that makes you feel like this then?

PecanSandy Sat 18-Jul-15 15:01:29

I think in some ham-handed way he was trying to be helpful. I do take rejection hard and might have expressed some resentment towards other people who seem to have relationships fall into their laps. Not to the people in question, to my friend, in a low moment. I think he was saying that as his friend he wants me to be happy and stop sabotaging myself by talking about my fat ass or "settling for scumbags".

I am jealous, I know it, but of course I'd rather die than let others think I'm anything but pleased for them, I mean, beyond saying "I'm so jealous of you" in a light-hearted way.

pocketsaviour Sat 18-Jul-15 15:18:54

If your friend is otherwise a good friend to you - i.e. the support goes both ways - then you should chalk up this conversation to experience and not discuss dating in the future.

At only 18 months after being widowed, I would expect your friend to still be feeling quite raw about relationships, and I think you dealt a low blow to bring up something that was out of character for him, and that he may feel quite ashamed of.

That said, of course, if he doesn't want to hear about your dating woes then he should have said "You know what Pecan, I can't really deal with discussing this right now when I'm still grieving for my partner."

You acknowledge that your self-esteem and envy of others is a problem. Would you consider seeing a therapist who specialised in personal development/life coaching? If you find yourself envious of what others possess, the best way to get over that is to take positive steps to attain that desired thing for yourself (or to decide that your life is happy enough as it is.)

Mintyy Sat 18-Jul-15 15:37:16

Op, if you have only known this friend 1 and a half years, are you sure you really are that close?

It sounds like he didn't take your lighthearted comment about getting drunk and picking people up in bars too well and, as you say that it's actually unlike him, maybe he was understandably rather annoyed/hurt by that?

You've had a row and apologised to each other. I'd suggest you put it behind you, send him a text apologising again, and move on.

And ... take a break from online dating maybe?

IsItIorAreTheOthersCrazy Sat 18-Jul-15 16:09:41

I also dont think this 'friend' is as nice as you seem to think he is.
I'm also wondering if you are a need to be needed type person, so your friendship was fine when he leaned on you for support but now he's feeling better and his true character is coming through the friendship isn't everything you thought it was?
Either way, don't beat yourself up about it. Very few people look at their lives and think they have it all, everybody wants a little more of something. It doesn't make them bad people.
For example, I have been ttc for 2 years with no luck. I see friends with their partners and children and I ache with the envy of their lovely families. I don't show it, I'm not horrible to them, and i sometimes feel guilty about it but there's more to me than that. It's a very small part of me - the majority of my character is nice.

As for advice, all I would suggest is full your life with exciting things and don't say no to anything you may enjoy. That way, you'll either meet someone with similar interests or you'll make lots of friends and have a bloody good time smile

Fairyliz Sat 18-Jul-15 16:19:29

Blimey op I think you are being a bit hard on yourself. Surely its a normal human emotion to be jealous of people who have what you want?
E.g. When I was ttc I was consumed with jealously at people who seemed to fall pregnant easily.
Part of my release was to bitch about them with my infertility support group about what rubbish parents they would be. Does that make me a bad person or did it stop me being nasty to their face.
I think you just hit your friend on a bad day and he took it out on you. Just cool it for a couple of weeks try and get out and about with other friends and do some hobbies that youenjoy. Hopefully it will all blow over.

mommyof23kids Sun 19-Jul-15 11:02:51

You're not jealous, you're envious. Nothing wrong with that, it's a perfectly normal human emotion. Feel the emotion, be happy for your friend and their good fortune and realise it doesn't make you a bad person.
I feel envy quite a lot but just suck it up. It changes nothing in life so I just feel it and get back to life.

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