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to ask how to stop feeling envious and bitter?

41 replies

itchypoo · 16/06/2013 20:13

I am having somewhat of a crisis of late. I am sinking into a pit of negativity and I can't seem to buck myself up.
I have a lovely Dh and 2 Dc. We are doing ok, muddling through as you do. I just can't shake this feeling of dissatisfaction with my life. I feel like I have nothing I am really good at, I am underachieving professionally, and don't have the confidence to change my job and try for a promotion.
It sometimes feels as if everyone around me is happy, content, talented, wealthy, fab relationships etc. It feels as though I am doing a crappy job of being a parent, wife and have been stuck in the same job for too long.
I wish I could do some evening classes or something as I used to be quite creative, but I have lost sight of that now. Lack of time and money dictate my lifestyle to a certain extent.
The worst thing of all is that I am becoming so bitter. I can't hear about someone else's successes without feeling pangs of envy and bitterness. I don't want to be that sort of person that I am becoming.
Sorry, I know its a bit pathetic to post this here, but its hard to say this to RL friends for obvious reasons.

OP posts:

marjproops · 16/06/2013 20:16

itchy i really feel for you, its an awful feeling and I feel exactly the same as you.

(was just sharing an email about this witha close friend).

Im sure you're better than you think you are tho.

and this friend suggested i find just ONE thing to encourage myself.

i did.

my homeschooling DC is going brilliantly.

thats the only good thing really.

please find something, im sure you have more than one thing, but it does help a wee bit. have some Thanks from me, i really do understand.


itchypoo · 16/06/2013 20:21

Thanks marjproops, that means a lot to know that its not just me!
I didn't sleep last night very well as I had this negative soundtrack playing on repeat in my head.
I wish I could feel happy in my own skin.

OP posts:

INeedSomeSun · 16/06/2013 20:25

Think of it this way - you could waste energy being jealous of other people, or you could use that energy in doing something about your own situation.

Looks like you need to find another job or move roles in your present organisation if possible. What is stopping you do this?


dotty2 · 16/06/2013 20:31

You do know that the people who you think are having fabulous lifestyles and are happy and successful think this too? It's a cliché, but it's so easy to envy other people, but the grass just looks greener. I am reasonably happy, and very lucky in lots of ways, but also find myself envying friends (for their readier access to babysitting and better social lives, mainly). I think the trick is to accept the envy - we can't help feeling like that. But remind yourself that it's illusory, and try to stop the envy turning into bitterness.

I often find Oliver Burkeman helpful and this article came to mind when I saw your post.


Parietal · 16/06/2013 20:31

Just recognising things are going wrong is a great first step. Lots of people don't manage that. So well done.

You said you like creative stuff - can you do that at home or cheaply?


ConstantCraving · 16/06/2013 20:32

My mum always used to say 'count your blessings', and I know it sounds trite but it is true. You have listed many things to be thankful for in your post - a happy relationship, children, being in employment - all things many people must long for. You also don't know what goes on in many seemingly 'perfect' peoples lives - look at Charles Saatchi and Nigella, on the surface as perfect and successful as you can get and yet it looks as though she is really in an abusive relationship if the news today is anything to go by (and very unhappy).
Things that help me which are free are exercise (walking more, jogging), which always lifts my spirits, or meditation.
Hope you feel better soon...


marjproops · 16/06/2013 20:33

Ineed its easier said than done though. especially when youre busting your butt all the time and other people seem to have a golden spoon in their mouths all thetime.

thats not to say we cant be happy for others fortunes and good lives, but it DOES get to the point where you think 'what about me? i cant do/be any more than i am yet its like 1 step forward 5 steps back.'

but thenm you get accused of being selfish and self centered and you cant win either least with a couple of comments from people in my life.

I agree though suggesting to Itchy maybe a change of career?

I could have written this thread though. im afraid I cant say anything really positive and i hope that doesnt make you feel worse,itchy but sometimes you just want some empathy, no?


itchypoo · 16/06/2013 20:36

There are lots of reasons really. My Dh's job is unstable and his working hours may be about to change. This means our childcare arrangements will all have to be reshuffled. My organisation is being dissolved so I may be moving to another workplace soon. This could involve either a pay cut or longer journey to work. Neither option is good for us. Everything feels unsettled and uncertain.
I have never really been a go getter. My lack of confidence holds me back. I am also feeling quite low at the moment so applying for jobs takes enthusiasm that I just find hard to muster. As I said, lots of reasons (or excuses?)

OP posts:

piffpoff · 16/06/2013 20:36

No you are not alone itchy, I've been struggling for some years with similar thoughts compounded by hormones/ PMT and a couple of bad decisions which have nearly ruined us financially.
It's getting better though and this September I am doing an art class in the evening as I was always quite arty at school and somehow let it go when I got to adulthood.
That is just the start, I plan on a furniture restoring class after that and then who knows?
I think you have to really work hard at finding something just for you and just make it a small thing to start with. Good luck Smile


itchypoo · 16/06/2013 20:42

Thanks to everyone, empathy is what I need. I love MN for that. This is not a conversation I would dare to have in RL. I don't even like talking to Dh as he starts to feel as if I am unhappy with him. The last thing I want to do is drag him down with me.

OP posts:

cerealqueen · 16/06/2013 20:43

YANBU, I'm currently going through a phase of this and only I can get me out of it. To things have helped me in the past - changing my internal record, ie what I say to myself, book called 'what to say when you talk to yourself' can't link on phone but its on Amazon, and weirdly enough, Bach flower remedies!!
Like others say, grass is always greener and you don't know what goes on behind closed doors. Do you have your health? I try to be very helpful for that, having had a few too many bereavements.
Never too late to take up a new hobby or interest, sounds like you need to do something purely or you?


cerealqueen · 16/06/2013 20:45

Try to use your creativity! Now I bet people envy you for that!!


dotty2 · 16/06/2013 20:45

Sorry - rereading my post (and the Oliver Burkeman column) I realise I maybe came across as a bit unsympathetic - not my intention at all. I absolutely sympathise - but think that realising it's illusory might be a useful first step. And absolutely - find a tiny bit of time to do something cheap that you enjoy, even if it's only a chapter of a book in the bath once a week.


WeGotTheKrunk · 16/06/2013 20:48

I just can't shake this feeling of dissatisfaction with my life. I feel like I have nothing I am really good at, I am underachieving professionally, and don't have the confidence to change my job and try for a promotion.

I hope you don't mind me saying so OP, but you sound a bit depressed. Echo what cerealqueen said- try Back flower remedies for anxiety / stress or maybe St John's Wort - it can just buck you up that little bit enough to start enjoying the things you have. The truth is, it's when you feel unhappy in yourself that you can't help but react negatively to others' apparent successes- it's like a kind of suppressed anger.

I'd also say, you don't always know what else is going on in your friends' lives. On facebook for example, it always looks like other people are having an amazing time - purely cos people tend to use social media only to share positive things. But even people who seem to be doing massively well & happy might be hiding some secret pains you don't know about. Just concentrate on trying to make yourself feel better in some small way, an when you feel better yourself you'll much more easily be able to feel genuinely happy about other people's successes.


itchypoo · 16/06/2013 20:57

I have felt below par for a while now and have been taking St Johns Wort. It doesn't seem to be working anymore. I long since gave up Facebook for reasons of self preservation.
Dotty, your post was fine, and you are right about it being illusory.
Do you know the thing I envy the most? Other people's talent, intelligence, above all, ability to shine.

OP posts:

SueDoku · 16/06/2013 21:00

I do feel for you OP. I have been there and know how dragged down it makes you feel - and how you feel guilty because you haven't got a 'big' thing that you can blame.
All I can say is that it does get better - sometimes not in the way that you think, but it does get better. The kids grow up and childcare isn't so stressful, your job changes, life throws different challenges at you (and you cope with them) and one day, you do realise that you are happier and that things look brighter. Flowers


FoundAChopinLizt · 16/06/2013 21:01

Sorry you are feeling low, OP.

If you are creative and not creating you will feel out of sorts, and frustrated. You need to work out what would make you happy, most people need some sort of goal or purpose to give meaning to life.

If you had the time, money, childcare and energy what would you do? Or put another way, if you won the lottery and also knew you only had ten years to live (in good health) what would you do?


itchypoo · 16/06/2013 21:10

In some ways this is the hardest stage of life. When you have small DC, juggling work, trying to maintain a marriage, and all this with money worries too. I know its not just me who is going through this. I am sure those things will improve as time goes on.
I have a niggling feeling that I am quite a horrible person really (inside my head) I really ought to be able to be happy for people who are close to me, when things are going well for them.
I can't get the thought out of my head that I am a bit of a talentless thicko after all. Still I suppose someone has to be!

OP posts:

Chottie · 16/06/2013 21:12

itchypoo I can assure you that very few people lead a 'perfect' life. Unless you are a really close friend, people are unlikely to share all in their lives.

I find writing a 'gratitude journal' helpful. Everyday I take a moment to take stock and write down 5 reasons to be grateful. It could be sitting in the sunshine, smelling a rose, having a cuddle just anything that adds a little sparkle to your day.

I find having a creative outlet really works for me too. I garden, I cook, I sew, I knit, I take a pride in my home, I go to yoga. I also try to live in the 'now'. It is so easy to be thinking about the future, trying to double guess the future, I really try to enjoy the moment and not worry about things which are out of my control such as work


FloozeyLoozey · 16/06/2013 21:14

I used to be terribly bitter of two parent families like yours, having raised DS alone since birth. There is always someone better off, and worse off, than you.


itchypoo · 16/06/2013 21:14

Crikey, I must sound like a woman on the edge. I am fully functioning and not quite that bad (yet). Just wanted to add that! Grin

OP posts:

dreamingbohemian · 16/06/2013 21:21

Can I ask, what kind of creative stuff did you like to do in the past, that made you feel good about yourself? Maybe some of us can suggest some ways to get back into a bit, on limited time and money, to lift your spirits.

IME there's a limit to how much you can 'talk yourself out of' feeling bitter and envious -- you need to make some kind of changes, even if tiny ones. It's not so much that you envy others as that you are not happy with yourself. But sometimes you can do even little things to shake yourself out of it.


cerealqueen · 16/06/2013 21:50

I find writing a 'gratitude journal' helpful. Everyday I take a moment to take stock and write down 5 reasons to be grateful. It could be sitting in the sunshine, smelling a rose, having a cuddle just anything that adds a little sparkle to your day.

I love this chottie! OP, how about it? I'm going to do it too!


FoxPass · 16/06/2013 22:00

I feel for you OP. I have young DC and have found I have had to radically change my expectations of life and what I can do while they are young. I feel dissatisfied at times and there are things I'd like to do but can't. It is hard, and it feels like it will never change, but lots of friends and posters here with older DC say it gets easier.

I recommend a book by my friend, Jamie Smart. I was lucky enough to do training with him 5 years ago and also life coaching. His book is Clarity and it is a very enlightening read. Basically all we are feeling, at any moment, is our own thinking. We create our realities with thought, from 'the inside out'. It's not as woo as it sounds and it has helped me hugely with depression and anxiety, and unhelpful thinking.

I hope things get better for you Flowers


DizzyPurple · 16/06/2013 22:10

You sound a bit like me OP - fed up with most things although mine has been going on for a few months and I'm considering antidepressants for it. I have been seeing a lovely counsellor though and a bit like Chottie said I have to write down 3 good things each day even if its something small. And don't write down the negative stuff! Have been doing it about 10 days and somedays struggle to find 3 but it definitely helps! Makes you look for happy things each day. Give it a go!

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