Dealing with being a huge disappointment to my parents(98 Posts)
I'm in my mid 20s. I have no friends and I haven't had any since primary school. I don't even have acquaintances. Spend most of my time alone doing a fair bit of sport and watching films. No friends means that I've never had a relationship and I've accepted that I'm not going to have children. I'm ok with that. I work in completely unskilled job even though I did well at school but I earn enough to support myself so that's fine. I've never wanted to travel or have a flash car or anything that costs a lot of money.
I'm struggling with my parents being disappointed in me and the pressure from them to change my life. They don't do anything horrible but it's the topic of conversation all the time. They're forever sending me messages about clubs and evening classes, buying job guides, forwarding applications, pushing me about changing jobs, getting a career, giving me pep talks, 'when you get married/have kids...' ... It's just the overwhelming message of 'get a life' and 'you're not good enough as you are' even though they never say that. I've told them that I'm happy but they say I'll regret wasting my life one day and I'd be happier with friends and a more fulfilling job.
I completely understand why they're disappointed in how I've turned out. My life isn't something anybody aspires to for their children. But their attempts at helping me to change are affecting my relationship with them. I don't want to see them or answer the phone or reply to messages because it quickly turns to life advice. Also, it's pretty upsetting that they don't just accept me how I am. I know it's because they care about me and I just have to put up with it, don't I?
I don't think you're a disappointment and neither do they. I think there could be a time in your life where you do end up having someone, having kids and then may regret not choosing to do something different. I wish I had done more before having kids and I understand what my parents were saying more than ever. That said, I'm not worried about not having friends and so on as one way doesn't fit everyone but I do wish I had done some more before. I was happily profiling along without thinking too ahead really and my parents encouraged me to do other things. That said I did loads as a teen and I think it tired me out when it got to being a bit more serious.
Try not to take it badly. I remember holding my first baby and thinking why didn't I do more, learn things I didn't even like much like sewing and so on because I saw how it would know benefit me.
Of course it's fine to be the way you are but I guess on the other side, I look back and wish I listened and acted more on their ideas.
Are you happy though?
Thanks for your replies. They absolutely are disappointed in me. They lie to their friends about what I'm up to to make me sound more interesting. I've been planning a holiday to the US 'next summer' for about five years But that doesn't affect me so it doesn't bother me. Pretty funny really.
Maybe I will regret it one day but it's not that I'm doing nothing with my time. Just that I'm a bit weird and almost always alone. Superimpose a couple of friends onto my life and my parents would be ok. I guess really it's the combination of no friends or partner, bad job and no serious ambitions that bothers them.
why are you happy with no friends, a bad job and no ambition?
this is the only go you will have a life you know
'Having no ambition' basically means being happy where you are. It is absolutely okay for you to be happy with your life as it is OP. Different strokes for different folks etc. If we all wanted the same things the world wouldn't function.
Their disappointment says everything about them and nothing about you. All any parent should want for their child is to be happy, they have no right to demand anything else.
I said no serious ambition. I'm a big fan of random pursuits. Nailed doing a handstand last year because why not? Also like MOOCs and I'm always trying to swim faster. I'm never short of money so I don't need a different job. I'm happy with no friends because... I've never known any different? I don't know. I just know I'm not lonely. Maybe I'd feel differently if I'd had friends at high school or college and lost them but I didn't so that's that.
IT does sound a bit of an empty life though. You might be happy now but how about in 10, 20 years when you're still plodding along in your menial job, no friends, social life, intimate relationships? I think your parents are worried about you and just want to help. I'd be sad if my children grew up to be like you. Sorry.
Thanks ShoutOutToMyEx Wish more people understood there's really not a correct way to be happy.
Do you rely on them quite a lot as company/emotional support? If so, I imagine they may be worried what you'll do when they're gone?
If not and you are pretty self sufficient and happy that way then sod 'em.
You might be happy now but how about in 10, 20 years when you're still plodding along in your menial job, no friends, social life, intimate relationships?
I don't know. Who knows anything about the future? All I can say is that I've been plodding at work for six years and haven't had friends for 15 and I've yet to get sad about it. Intimacy is the one thing that I do wonder about because I quite like the idea that there's somebody who's perfect for everybody and so there's somebody out there who'd like me just how I am but I know that's not reality.
Do you rely on them quite a lot as company/emotional support?
Not at all but it's a valid point because I think that they think that I do. There's not really any polite way to say 'I really don't rely on you' though! Most of our conversations are about film and TV but they are pretty much the only conversations that I have apart from small talk at work.
I would be worried sick if I was your parent.
You sound very detached in a slightly odd way.
Have you ever had any therapy to get to the bottom of what's going on with you?
At least your parents care. Some parents don't care what you get up to but are very quick to point out your mistakes
You say you are happy as you are but you don't sound it at all. Still I don't suppose that means you aren't happy so if it suits you to be as you are then all well and good, don't blame your parents for wanting you to have more of a life tho. Any decent parent would
I doubt that they are disappointed with you, it's more likely that they are desperately worried about you. Their suggestions about clubs etc sound well meaning. Even their talk to their friends about the fictional US holiday is probably well meant. When you love your children very much, you can't even bear the thought that others might have a judgemental view of them. Not necessarily for their own sake but to 'protect' you in an abstract way. If you are truly happy as you are then just politely accept their suggestions and ignore, and reassure them that you are ok with your life as it is. You are only in your twenties, which is far too young to write off the chance to meet someone and have a family. However, the way you are living at the moment does make this a little harder to achieve. If you are genuinely content with how things are, then that is fine. As a pp said, we are all different - thank goodness! If, however, you do want a different type of life, then you need to take some steps to introduce some changes - however, this is totally your choice. I do think that there are potential partners (and friends) out there for everyone, but you have to widen your life in order to meet them. Are you a very shy person? Also, if one has been hurt by previous experiences (at school for example) it is understandable to retreat inwardly. ( Sorry, if that is not the case with you.) Are you an only child or do you have siblings? I truly wish you much luck and happiness op, whatever form that takes for you.
Seems that people really can't get their head around the idea that there are other ways to be. Good for you OP for resisting the pressure to conform. I'm sorry you feel disappointment from your parents. Such a shame they can't accept you for how you are if you are not harming anyone.
Live the life that works for you. My DS has Aspergers and is quite happy doing his own thing. I have to frequently remind myself that his solitary habits wouldn't make me happy but that this isn't my life, it's his.
I would be very worried if I was your parent.
Your life is not not all I don't mean that in a matt way. Humans evolved craving and needing social interaction. The fact that you do not have one single friend does suggest as others have said that you may be on be spectrum. Is this something you have ever considered?
I don't think your parents are disappointed. They are concerned. They are worried that when they the gone you will have absolutely no one.
It is unusual, particularly at such a young age and with so many decades ahead of you, to have decided that all you want from your one life is a menial job and enough money to exist.
I think your parents have decided that you can't possibly be happy and must be pretending, and that it's their job - as the people who love you most - to help you discover that there can be more to life.
Or maybe they are thinking that you think you're happy, but could be even happier if you discovered the joys of a close friendship, intimate relationship, rewarding career or interesting travel.
They sound worried and well-meaning to me. If they lie to their friends it is probably because they can't stand to have other people think negatively of you.
Why are you so opposed to trying something new or straying out of your comfort zone? Why not try one of their suggestions, as a sort of experiment? I can think of lots of things I've resisted in my life, but then loved them and regretted not trying them earlier.
Your parents are probably worried that when they are gone you won't have anyone. Do you have brother or sisters? You could try talking to a therapist to see why you prefer being along. I understand that different things work for different people, but there's so many more things to explore in life.
Tell them exactly how you feel. And state the obvious that everyone is different and enjoys doing different things.
I finally had these conversations with my DM in my 40s and things are so much better now.
DM couldn't understand my lack of ambition and lack of interest in things that were so important to her. Couldn't understand why I was interested in the things I enjoy because she isn't interested and finds them pointless. Probably the same as happens you.
I put up with it for years because I told myself that she couldn't help herself and had my best interests at heart. But I then finally blew my top as it had been building up inside me.
I found what worked was using her own phrases back at her. So when DM criticised my lack of ambition work-wise I told her that I pitied her because she could never be content and enjoy what she'd got because she was always striving for and worrying about the next thing. Did the same when she asked what was the point in my hobby.
OP if you are truly happy how you are then you need to spell it out. Let them know that you're happy and that it's their attitude that makes you unhappy. Tell them that they make you feel not good enough. They need to readdress their expectations if they're going to have a good and close relationship with you going forward.
I think as a PP said, its more about their own feelings. They have this insecurity; but also they are worried. In your place I guess I would try at some point to sit them down and tell them what you have told us. I used to be the same with my mum, funnily enough. She is an intravert, and when I was younger I was always on at her to join clubs, meet people, do stuff etc. I realise now she is happy doing her thing with her routine. What I like isn't the same as what she likes! It would be great somehow if your parents could understand that about you. Good luck
I'm a bit torn about this. Is there a compromise position? Could you join a club connected with your hobbies, or start a new hobby?
Social connection is associated with better health outcomes, and in general people with more social connections are happier. Most people would not be truly happy in your situation. Having said that, if you find friendships difficult, then pursuing them and sometimes being disappointed (inevitably) would be stressful for you. As you get older, the isolation could get much worse. What about when you are too old to work?
My BIL is very like you, I think. At the grand old age of 50, a work situation forced him to eat as part of a group in a different restaurant every night for several weeks. He ate loads of food he has always refused before, and now has a much more varied diet.
Sometimes you don't know what you are missing until you try it.
"You could try talking to a therapist to see why you prefer being alone"
Erm... MrsG, perhaps YOU could talk to a therapist to figure out why you prefer being with other people? How bloody condescending to suggest she needs therapy as if preferring her own company was a mental health issue!
Instead of trying to pathologise the OP, how about we all make an effort to understand that not everybody enjoys the same things in life or is happy with the same lifestyle?
I never wanted children and I spend quite a lot of time on my own, in silence, no music. It is bliss. I am married but, had I not found my DH, I would have been very happy living alone with a dog. Some members of my family made my adolescence and early adulthood hell by insisting that not having children meant I was weird, selfish, and that I would be miserable for the rest of my life. Others are horrified that I travel a lot and change careers all the time. Guess what, I LOVE my life and I am much happier than any of those aforementioned family members, who keep moaning about theirs every minute.
Not everyone needs to like the same things. If the OP is not feeling lonely now, chances are that she will not feel lonely when she is old either... perhaps she will still prefer to be on her own? Not that having friends and children guarantees you will not be lonely in old age, mind you.
OP, if you are happy with your life, good on you for finding contentment and balance they way you do!
OP - there's nothing wrong with you life. You sound perfect as you are.
But I have a really strong suspicion that the reason you are like this is because you have Aspergers.
if you do think you have Aspergers you don't need to do or change anything. But researching it might help you articulate to your parents why you're absolutely fine as you are - and why you won't change.
Sorry to hear that you feel your parents are disappointed in you OP. I agree that there's not one or few single ways to live your life and find happiness. Just from my own personal observations working in health care though, it seems that human relationships are very important though, platonic or romantic or familial. I just wondered, you say you never had friendships, what do you think is going on for you there? I wondered if you had a very bad experience at school and have subsequently closed yourself off to any sort of friendship/relationship? I might be totally wrong in which case tell me! But you may have told yourself that you can't miss what you never had for fear of being rejected or feeling hurt, when you're missing out on the opportunity to build relationships (not necessarily romantic). You know the expression 'no man is an island', I think that is a key statement about humanity. But then as I said, I work in health care where relationships are everything and can be the difference between people being mentally well or being admitted to a hospital or nursing home so I'm probably quite biased x
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