It was a disaster for me.
In church, I felt suffocated by all the people there. I lost track of why I was there and had to just bolt.
Next, I came to my sisters house where I was invited for dinner. They did everything right...made me feel at home. Good food etc.
I showed up alone...the loner middle age aunt who takes up space in the corner but never really has much to say. What can I say? My life still isn't on track. I have no husband, SO or kids to bring. Just me. And I felt pathetic...again...like I have done at EVERY SINGLE calendar holiday since my exh cheated in 2008. When does this stop? When do I break out of my warped life and be normal enough to feel it at holidays and other events?
On top of it, I am pissed at myself for feeling bad toward my niece. I am 46 and have a 23 year old niece. Everything she has done in her life has been perfection. EVERYTHING. She has smarts, friends and opportunities that come to people her age. She has seen more of the country in her short life than I have in mine. All I see is that my life is flat out embarrassment to the family where hers is the triumph. Don't get me wrong, I love her and she is so damn sweet...but I am so angry that MY life doesn't have ANYTHING successful in it. I am 46 and too young to retire but too old to get the kind of breaks that come easy to her. I HATE feeling this way toward her for she doesn't deserve it. I can't seem to start over properly and I am now comparing myself to her!
Why am I so mental today?
47 is the new year of treating myself better than I have in 6 years.
What ever doesn't kill me makes me stronger so long as I remember that
My favorite drink is no longer Guinness but water. Call me Dasani23
Who ever thought this is where we'd be - so alone but there are people all around us. I worked hard all my life to make sure my daughter had a good education and happy life. I accomplished what I wanted - she's grown and has her own life - a very good one. BUT here I am at 65 - alone and feeling very sorry for myself today also. But we've earned to feel this way - tomorrow is a different day - and again these feelings will pass.
You do not need a SO or spouse to be successful. You do not need to bring anything but yourself to bring more than enough.
Maybe you and your niece could take a trip together sometime since she does a lot of travel? A place you haven't been?
Don't forget too that you can have opportunities to have friends at any age! Volunteering, meetup are great ways to meet others.
I would not go back to 23, there is so much pain ahead, you know? I have had a good life, many opportunities, and still there was a lot of pain in those mid/late twenties.
I'm sorry today was so hard. Try and have some self-compassion. Don't judge yourself so harshly. I am sure you have much worth just as you are and that you are capable of feeling like you belong and are not a source of shame to others.
Hang in there.
Maybe you and your niece could take a trip together sometime since she does a lot of travel?
I feel SO inadequate for such a thing! This girl is so cool, successful and empowered. I am just her boring aunt. Why ever would she want to go on vacation with me??
This girl was my flower girl at my wedding to my Exh in 1994 at age 4. She was sweet then and super sweet now. I'm just her loser aunt who can't seem to surface after her beloved uncle left. I am all washed up while she is going big places
I'm going to channel your 87 year old self and I'm going to kick your arse. You are 46. Your life isn't over - not by a long shot.
You couldn't PAY me to be 23 again. No way. I got my youth right the first time so I don't need to re-live it. I'm glad that stuff is behind me.
Are you still drinking? Your life will continue to be unfulfilling whilst you continue to only half live it. It is no way to live. Don't let it suck away any more of your life.
If your niece started heading down the road of alcoholism you would see her pissing away all of the opportunities and promise she has. Just as you are doing now.
Get this illness under control and your life will be infinitely better. Nothing will get better whilst you continue to not treat your illness. Nothing.
It sounds to me like you need a break from the herd. The suffocation is likely coming from your perceived judgement from the group, and that stuff is usually projected rather than real. If people ARE judging you based on who is on your arm, then your stock should have risen after you cut the dead weight of an unfaithful partner.
Holidays can be crazymaking. So can family gatherings. You're saying you've attended every single one of these functions lately?? You need a vacation. You need to be alone on a beautiful mountain somewhere, with no noise but the whistling wind and the beating of your heart. You have just as much worth sitting there as in a crowded room full of who's whos.
They have nothing to do with you in the long run, and from what I can see you are articulate and compassionate and have a good sense of humor. Spend some time with YOU and take a break from worrying about the rest of the world.
[This message edited by Jrazz at 12:49 AM, April 21st (Monday)]
You said you haven't traveled as much as you would like. So fix that!
Go get a pencil.
Now, make a list.
start with your fantasy location (e.g., Scuba diving off the great barrier reef)
Then include more realistic places (you're in Indiana right? So how about Chicago?)
Then include local weekend get-a-way places... I just found a ton by Googling quaint towns in Indiana.
Summer is coming up plan your first trip, even if it's a one night bed-n-breakfast 3 hours from your house.
I do things like that ALL the time... yes alone. and yes I'm about your age. AND last year I had a 22 year old hear about one trip I'd recently took and say wistfully... "I want your life"
How awesome would it be for you to blog about your trips? There are SO MANY women in your situation looking for ideas and inspiration - YOU could be that inspiration. Go out and explore have an adventure.
The laundry list of stuff to do to improve your life? You already know what that is. That 46 isn't old, you know that. (Although the reminders by kind SI-er's is always good). These are definitely self rescue things to pursue.
But there's more. One thing I've been exploring lately is recognizing that there are people who make me feel good about myself and people who make me beat up on myself. The latter are not bad people (usually), they just ... for whatever reason, send me into that negative tailspin of self loathing.
So, you walk into church, oops it's overwhelming. Leave without guilt. Be proud you recognized a situation where it was hurting you. Your niece? Go, have a soda, say hello to everyone, then apologize because .... whatever excuse you want to use ... and leave after an hour. You didn't ignore the event, but you didn't hang out and spend all day in a situation that sends you into a negative tailspin.
It's important to truly honor how you feel right now. Not be ashamed of it. As you pay attention to this you'll start to tease out situations that are safe, and those that aren't. As you spend more time in situations that are safe, you'll start to feel better and stronger and that will build.
I can't promise you that you'll one day be teflon to the bad situations but rather that you'll recognize them asap and feel strong enough to leave immediately and protect yourself.
You have company, lots of it. The end of my marriage goes back to '08 as well. And this weekend was awful.
Maybe it's the holiday - a marker of things, time passing, being among friends and family and feeling stuck. A past re-written, a future uncertain, a present stultified. These things add up.
Sometimes the anguish just comes and stays for too long.
Her: WW/57 Me: BS/63 24yrs M
3 great kids, now 22, 20, 17 b,b,g
D-Day 8/14/08, D 1/13/11
As I read all of your comments and advise, I am simply blown away how strangers I don't even know "get" me more than my own family. I am from the Midwest. To have an Aussie care enough kick my "arse" when I need it is beyond priceless.
I need to re-read what you wrote and then I will comment on each. I am so grateful you all took time out of your lives to try to knock some sense into me and help a fellow sister in pain.
A heartfelt THANK YOU
I can't compete with her. My life is over. I am a failure. A screw up. Substandard. My niece is the one to bring esteem to the family
I get that this narrative runs through your head and feels overwhelming. But it's self-fulfilling. Feel like a failure and you can't see yourself any other way.
When you have negative thoughts, talk back to them.
"I can't compete with her." - self 2x4, thwack, life is not about competition. Love and family is not about competition, especially! double thwack.
"My life is over." Thwack. Where there's breathe there's life, where there's life there's hope. Be GRATEFUL for how much life you have ahead of you. Seriously, decades of life!
"I am a failure, screw up, substandard." Thwack. Would you judge someone else in this way? No. Then don't judge yourself.
People admire someone who picks themselves up, dusts off the debris, and aims for happier things to fulfill their meaning in life. NO matter if that happens at 26 or 46. Do not judge yourself by where anyone else is in life. It is not a race.
[This message edited by norabird at 9:40 AM, April 21st (Monday)]
Your feelings are very familiar to me, Guinness23.
I have been in the "hole" you're describing for awhile now. This weekend, it was exasperated.
My brother's wife & son came through town. My brother is the only sibling who has kids. My sister & I do not have kids. I don't really even like kids. I'm not "fun" around them, really. I don't know what to say, how to act, etc. It's just awkward for me. I know my nephew doesn't care about visiting with me. He wants to go to his mother's brother's house where it's "fun". I hate the "obligatory" visit they make. He's 11, so he doesn't have much of a filter & will make comments about how he can't wait to get there...how he's so bored..."Aren't we having pizza at Uncle ___'s?"
My niece is in college & living her own life. She met up with them on Saturday---completely left me & my mother out of it. I know. We're no "fun" to be around. We're boring.
Yea...I feel the way you do often. At work, among the very few people who I call "friends"...everywhere I go, I'm the weird one...the one with no husband, no children, no SO. Yep. The loner middle age family member who takes up space in the corner.
I know the feeling. I'm sorry you're also feeling this way.
I look at my life and I don't have a ton of friends, literally maybe one or two really good friends. Sure it's not as much as anyone else, but I'm happy with it. Self-Acceptance is a wonderful thing.
I'm 29. I have a lot of friends about your age. My aunt is one of my best friends.
You specifically mentioned traveling. So, travel. Even if by yourself. I do it all the time now. And, Indiana is oddly central to a LOT of places. If you don't mind driving, Chicago and St Louis are fairly close. As is Nashville. (obviously this depends on what part of the state you live in. i'm NE) There is beautiful scenery in WV and Virgina. If you are up for something longer, but still doable in a day, Atlanta, NYC, and Niagara falls, and Washington D.C. You can get to a beach in less than a day as well, if you really push it. Pic a city, look it up online and go enjoy whatever they have to offer. People will wonder why you are so lucky and get to have so much fun. Memorial day weekend is coming up, do you have a long weekend? Make a plan to be out of town, and you will have a built in excuse not to go to a family thing AND you will have something to talk about next time.
It will all be ok in the end. If it's not ok, it's not the end
Happily remarried to a wonderful man (Aussie). I think I found the right guy and the right finger this time.
I can't compete with her.
Don't! Why do we do this to ourselves? Compare ourselves to other people and decide we don't measure up? Her life is completely different from yours, same as all of ours are from each other. We can't say what we'd do in each other's shoes. Check out your life from your perspective, decide what you're truly not happy with and what you can realistically change and go for it! Because this...
My life is over.
Simply isn't true. I know you know that and were just venting. You have the right to vent as much as you like, but we can get swallowed up by those feelings and start to believe them. Wouldn't you rather get swallowed up by feelings of pure bliss, joy, admiration for yourself and what you survived, etc.? Anytime you have thoughts about her or someone else just say to yourself awesome for them and then busy yourself finding awesome things about you too! There's not a finite amount of awesomeness in the world, we can all have plenty.
I am a failure. A screw up. Substandard.
To who? In who's eyes? If someone judged you that way then their opinion is worthless, honestly, because that's cruel. I know so easy for me to say from the outside looking in, but ouch! Haven't you been through enough? Why continue to beat yourself up like that or care about the opinions of others who do?
My niece is the one to bring esteem to the family
Again, says who? To who? Who defines esteem and...truthfully, who cares? I'm not trying to be flip, I know you're hurting and I respect that, I'm just wanting to really get down to the heart of this. It feels so much to me like you've made up your mind about yourself as a certain way against very specific and limited standards and I just wonder if you can re-define what esteem means to you. What good qualities do you have? Would you be your own friend? Would you be glad to have yourself over for dinner? Isn't that really what esteem is? Being an honorable person?
I am having a melt down like I haven't had in a long time. Thank you for taking time out of your lives to knock some sense into me. It is not unheard.
I was going to reply to everyone but there are too many good comments and I am so overwhelmed.
A heartfelt thank you to all.
[This message edited by coldshot at 7:36 PM, April 22nd (Tuesday)]