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self-pity. I can't seem to stop!

(42 Posts)
ohdear Mon 20-Apr-15 15:40:17

Well--I need some help to get going. I know I am lucky but I feel that I am drowning in self pity, which is really ugly but I don't know how to stop. Help!

I am a new gran. GS is 6mths old and our first one. He is my eldest sons 1st child. I get on quite well with my dil. I cannot stand her mum. She makes snide comments about my son (lack of ambition, not earning enough,etc) but turns it all into a joke. She is careful not to say anything like this in front of her daughter. She also says only idiots own thier own house (we do) and that the only sensible thing to do is rent (like her). I am always careful to be nice to her because she is my dil mum and has far more contact with my gs than we do. She also has a long history of depression and self harm so I don't want to make her any worse. She babysits and I do not. She goes out with them a lot and my ds takes her shopping. I see them once or twice a month even tho we all live within 8 miles. I know I am jealous and I hate that.

Also--my dh (61yrs old) has just found out he is being made redundant in June. we have no savings (another story) or pension and I have no idea what we are going to do about money.

Also--my job is ending. It was a temp contract and although I have applied for jobs I have found nothing. I have never had a problem before.

Also--am going though the end of the menopause and I feel like an old prune. Have put on loads of weight and cannot find the desire to do anything about that.

Have read this back and I realise I sound so childish. I think thats why I have not spoken about any of this to my family/friends and instead poured it out to a forum! I am in tears--frightened about the change in me and the change thats coming up in our lives. I don't know how to cope with it. The stupid thing is that its the situation with my ds that makes me most unhappy.

On the plus side---my daughter, who has been unwell for several years has been on a medical trial. She is now well for the first time in her adult life and has great hope for her future. She got married a couple of months ago.! We never thought that would ever happen.

My youngest has found a new job, new flat and new boyfriend and he is very happy. We see them quite a lot and really enjoy thier company.

I am very lucky and my dh loves me. Sometimes I have no idea why.

I guess what I really want to know is how to adjust? How to come to terms with the fact that we are now at a point in our lives where things will happen to us that we might not have any control over. Health, work, housing--it all seems to be on a down path. --As I said--a lot of self pity.
Anybody recognise any of this? Any thoughts?

ohdear Wed 22-Apr-15 11:42:47

Thankyou all.
Have slept on this overnight and as some of you have said, just putting it all down has helped.
I am going to really try and not be jealous. My dil mum has not got so much to hang on to and looking at it I suppose I can see that she must feel that she has got a lot to lose. I will try and be nicer to her (difficult!). But I can feel myself clenching up whenever I see her--and I don't like that in me.
And thinking about it properly---he is not going to remember who changed his nappy the most when he was 10 weeks old and I know that we will get to know him better when he is older . I KNOW that (but there is still that little worm in the back of my head saying he will not know me). But it will get better.

And yes--I think I have been using my jealousy as a way of not having to cope with everything else. Not having much luck finding a new job. Am going to look at everything--not just the things I want to do. My dhhas a meeting next week about his job, so at least we will know where we stand.

I always thought that when we got to this part of our lives the money would not be so pressing and we would have some put by. That has not happened--mainly because of my dds ill-health. She was first ill aged 9, then on and off for years. She was told that she was not physically ill but had mental health problems and we had no help at all. She missed loads of school and only managed part of her university course. When she was ill she could not get herself out of bed, and I had to wash her and even feed her sometimes. When she was 21 she went to the gp with yet another uti and was seen by a locum . He sent her to a consultant immunologist who diagnosed her with a rare auto-immune disorder. She has been on a drug trial for 3 years and the difference is amazing. No mental health problems but a shed load of experimental drugs! Anyway--whenever she was ill I just stopped working. I have had about 10 jobs in the last few years and this last one has lasted 2 years. My oh has been very good but it has not been easy. It is so much better now.

I love jomarie idea of a spoonfull of bi-carb!! How I wish that would really work.

I have also read some of the other threads about grans who feel sidelined by the other gran and see that its quite a common feeling. That has also helped--to know that I'm not the only one who has felt this way.

Am going to sit down with oh and work out what to do next. I am the one who wants to sell up while we have the choice but he wants to saty put and "see how it goes". I know its early days but I don't want to be forced into moving in a hurry and he doesn't want to move only for him to get another job the following week! How I wish for a crystal ball.

Janeainsworth---no, have not been tested. I shall ask about it next time I go, thankyou.

Thankyou all and hello lizzymae!grin

Tegan Tue 21-Apr-15 10:43:48

Thinking about it again you are having to be strong about your financial situation therefore your emotional outlet is through your unhappiness about the problem with your grandchild [compounded by your hormones being all of the place due to the menopause]. Therefore you're somehow subconsciously giving yourself permission to be more upset about that. Am I thinking too deep about this confused?
good advice yet again from Jane and Lizzie et al [hello Lizzie by the way smile]...

FlicketyB Tue 21-Apr-15 09:48:55

"ohdear" There is nothing worse than financial uncertainty and I think with that hanging over you, other problems with DS and family are bound to feel heavy and counter all the lightness of the good things happening with your daughter.

I cannot give advice in this situation, all I can say is we faced a similar problem when DH was made redundant at 60. We were fortunate his redundancy happened when his industry was starting to expand rapidly so he found a new job quite quickly, even I managed to get temporary job so another job is not beyond possibility for both of you.

janeainsworth Tue 21-Apr-15 03:17:47

Hello Lizzie smile

janeainsworth Tue 21-Apr-15 03:13:11

ohdear nothing really to add to the good advice you've already had, but I wonder if your thyroid function was tested when you saw your GP?
Gaining weight and feeling low and lethargic are symptoms.
I was only diagnosed with under active thyroid quite by chance, but realised those symptoms had been building up for years.

LizzieMay Mon 20-Apr-15 22:20:08

Sorry, I forgot to say, I'm a new member. Hello everyone!

LizzieMay Mon 20-Apr-15 22:17:52

Why not have a quiet word with your DIL about just how much your current problems are affecting you?

You probably feel she has enough on her plate with her own mother but I'm thinking it might be time you trusted her enough to confide in her. You may always come across as the strong one who has it all sussed out but it would do your DIL no harm to learn that this is not always necessarily the case.

We all fall into these roles so easily without even really noticing. i.e. DIL's mother is the weak one. You are the strong one. Being the strong one doesn't mean you always have to suffer in silence though. I think your DIL might surprise you. Hopefully even her mother might too.

It's not a sign of weakness to ask for a wee bit of help & understanding. It maybe seems a bit of gamble but what have you really got to lose?

Jomarie Mon 20-Apr-15 21:21:48

Hey- life's rotten sometimes, but you have a healthy grandson who will come more and more into your life the older he gets if you just hold on to your self-belief. Your dil is a "carer" for her mother and wants a family for her son the same as her husband had- wow! what a compliment. Trust her to make this happen. Make sure you assist her in this plan - be supportive of her support of her mother (who obviously has had problems forever poor soul) you are a dealer of problems. The menopause can be horrid (I know) but it does eventually pass - Make lists (as suggested) prioritise, make a concerted effort to be rational. If you see your gs once or twice a month make a very real effort to see him at least once a week (with or without the dil's mother) her presence doesn't need to matter to you. Be nice, friendly, bake a cake!, laugh at your problems, agree with dil's mother that you have an easy life. In other words don't let them get to you. My belief is that your dil sees you and your DH as the kind of family she wishes she had - keep proving her right by taking a good spoonful of bicarb of soda each day (helping you to rise above it) - "joke" and act upon all the really good advice previously posted. Jbells is right about standing up for ourselves more - but there are different ways of "standing up" I'm suggesting one way (possibly a slightly devious one) but it worked for me. Good luck smile

Deedaa Mon 20-Apr-15 21:14:15

I can sympathise ohdear because when DH became ill 5 years ago we were faced with the likelihood of him never working again, I was already retired and couldn't work because I was looking after him and we still had 3 years left on the mortgage. At the time things seemed hopeless, but with financial and benefits advice from Macmillan and help from our building society ( mustn't forget help pension wise from his employers) we have ended up with the house paid for and we are paying our way. Still have ongoing worries about SiL's health and DS's slightly wobbly relationship but it has all been copeable with. Target one thing at a time and things will gradually fall into place. flowers

AshTree Mon 20-Apr-15 18:07:34

Not childish at all. I feel for you so much - you have had a lot to contend with in a short space of time and it's enough to make the strongest amongst us buckle at the knees and feel wobbly. Time will move on, things will improve, you will get stronger. And the b***dy menopause will give up in the end and leave you alone!
In the meantime, you are recognising the good things in life - such wonderful news about your daughter, and your other son is at last happy, so hold onto this. Visit your daughter if you can for a bit of TLC, and do some girly things together.
And keep saying Jane10's little phrase, like a mantra - 'this too shall pass'. You will wake up one day and realise that it has. flowers

Tegan Mon 20-Apr-15 18:04:08

Not making excuses for her behaviour but I'm wondering if there's something in this womans history that makes her so needy; self harm is often a reaction to pent up feelings from things that happen in childhood [I think].

Mishap Mon 20-Apr-15 17:47:34

Please do not cry!

But shedding jealousy can be very liberating - go for it!

You are allowed to hate this woman! - just don't be jealous of her, because you will be the loser in the end - it is very corrosive.

ohdear Mon 20-Apr-15 16:48:04

Mishap--your post made me cry. You are so right about jealousy. I know that I have been focusing on that feeling rather than trying to do something about it and all the other things that are happening. I know its not healthy--but I seem to be stuck.

thankyou all. Have to be off now, but will be coming back.

ohdear Mon 20-Apr-15 16:41:03

amarmai--yes, she will love it!! She was in her teens when she had dil, but then so was my mum when she had me and she didn't turn out like this!

As I have been posting this I have come to realise how much I don't like her. I really REALLY don't like her. Thats quite a liberating thought. I think, like my dil I have seen her as being unwell but the truth is she is just not a person I want to spend any time with. She has taken several overdoses in the past and has self harmed (cutting) for many years. However, I don't think she has done that for a couple of years. I just don't want to alienate my dil or make her life any harder than it is.

I guess that I can hope that she will eventually be bored with gs, in the same way that she did with her own children.

Mishap Mon 20-Apr-15 16:40:09

First of all, you are not being childish - you are suddenly beset with a whole raft of new challenges that you need to try and adapt to. No wonder you feel a bit overwhelmed!

I hope that it has helped to put it all down on "paper" like this - sometimes that can be a help in itself.

Self-pity visits us all, and, if we choose, it can be the impetus to grab life by the balls and look at ways forward.

Firstly, maybe you and your DH should take yourself off to the CAB and check out what financial help you might be entitled to when both your jobs come to an end. This will be a factor in deciding the next step.

Maybe being forced out of a rut might be a chance to look at some new ideas in life - new ways of using this period of good health before you become decrepit to do some of the things you enjoy before it is too late. And moving on to do these things might also help you not to dwell on the DIL and her Mum scenario. And it might make them look at you both in a new light.

Get some medical help with your menopausal symptoms, as you do not want these to hold you back - but sometimes these can seem worse when you have other challenges besetting you.

We spend our lives working and bringing up children and never stop to think what else life might have to offer - this may be your opportunity to do that.

We have taken several apparently unwise decisions that left us financially worse off, but our view was that life was to be lived and we had to grab chances whilst we could - which turned out to have been the right approach as OH has had Parkinsons for the last 7 years.

My strongest advice to you on the DIL and her Mum front is not to get sucked into the jealousy trap (which is what it is) because that way lies madness! My DGC have more contact with the "other" families in the main, because we are less fit, and I have resigned myself to that with a good grace. Different grandparents have different things to give, and the range and variety of experiences that come the way of my DGC are partly due to all this wider family contact. Six months is no time at all, and, especially if your life circumstances change, you will find your niche in your DGC's life as time goes by. Jealousy is an evil weed and will strangle you - you can choose not to let it!

Hold on to the good things; and make some good things of your own happen, now that you will be gradually relieved of the work, work work treadmill.

This is a whole new phase of life and change can be hard - but it can also bring new opportunities.

KatyK Mon 20-Apr-15 16:33:04

My DH says some of these women have what he calls 'queen bee syndrome'. We know one or two of them. It's hard to keep quiet sometimes but I do now, for my own sanity but am still appalled at what goes on.

Teetime Mon 20-Apr-15 16:32:23

I'm sorry ohdear that you seem to have a lot on your plate at the moment and No you are not childish just overloaded. Many of us on here have had our moments and our trails so we know where you are coming from. There are some good suggestions here. I wondered whether it would help to put all these things down on paper - just some bullet points and try to divide them into things you can do something about e.g. Avoid the Dragon Lady and the things you need some support with. When problems feel overwhelming it helps me to get things in proportion if I make some list and some notes- I find I start to problem solve better in this way. If worries are keeping you awake it certainly does seem to help to write them down. I hope things start looking up for you soon and you feel more able to cope - keeping talking to us though. smile

ohdear Mon 20-Apr-15 16:30:40

jinglebells-- its odd, you know, because I work with offenders in the criminal justice system and am not a timid mouse. But where this woman is concerned I seem to lose all self-confidence. I think because she controls dil and I could lose all of them.

Yes--the money support has already stopped. We will do all the stuff about pensions, redundancy pay and downsizing. We have been poor before and survived and we will be able to do it again. I think what is differnt this time is the lack of control over so many different things at the same time.

Tegan--I, like you, have no wish to be "number one". I just want to see him a bit more. I am very good friends with my dds mil and we see each other quite a lot. We did not know each other before our children got together. She is a very generous woman and I am looking forward to being a co-granny with her!! I suppose I had hoped that my dils mum would be much the same.

But--you are all quite right about the "pussyfooting"!! Her mental health is not my concern ,although the health of my dil does concern me and is the reason I have not said anything so far.

GillT57 Mon 20-Apr-15 16:22:04

It sounds like your DiL is wise to her Mother and her antics, she sounds as if she was a very young Mother ( only 43) and thus hasn't really gown up herself, she is probably put out that she is no longer the centre of the universe. Your DiL obviously sees your family life as one she wants for her family and you should be very proud of this, proud that you have raised a caring family, she is likely fed up with her infantile Mother and her self centred ways. Stay calm, stay proud, you have done well.

amarmai Mon 20-Apr-15 16:18:52

Sounds like the other gran is jealous and insecure if she needs to turn up every time you are there. Next time you can make her feel less insecure when she hears that you are selling your house! Doors are opening as well as closing . I don't live in UK,but is there an organisation that can advise you how to make best use of the money you'll get when selling the house? You can't control the DIL situation but maybe your son will be willing to listen to your desire to see your gs more and bring him to visit you . Take as much comfort as possible from your other children. I believe most women put on weight during menopause , but you can lose it afterwards. I joined a gym for a year and also had a personal trainer whose exercises i do whenever i get bored!

Tegan Mon 20-Apr-15 16:18:02

I like the term 'flaky'. Years ago when my ex and I still liked each other I would sometimes say to him 'I'm all in bits today' and even he would tread carefully.

ohdear Mon 20-Apr-15 16:16:34

Thanks all, for the kind words.

I hope my dd does have a child soon. They both want one so very much. Her health means that it is very unlikely that she can have a child, but she is on fertility treatment and try to be hopeful.

jinglebells--you are quite right and I think that this is the first time I had thought about it. We all walk on eggshells around her so as not to make her life difficult. But it is not my responsibility to make sure she is ok. I do not want dil to have to care for her any more than she already does--but her behaviour is very controlling. My dil missed lots of school to look after her mum and brother. She used to take her to her hospital appts and make sure her baby brother did his homework, got to school, had meals, clean clothes etc. My dil has said that she wants her new family to be one that she has made and she wants it to be like the family ds has. That makes me feel quite proud--but then I see her running around after her mum, having days together and I never get to hold my gs!!

I just want to stop feeling like this.

Have been to gp about menopause. Cannot take much because of family health history and I think that I have just about finished now. The nights are still quite bad but feel better that I did. tbh I am very fed up.

GillT57 Mon 20-Apr-15 16:15:44

You are not being childish ohdear you are quite rightly frightened and worried about the future and just what lies ahead, and seeing someone else take advantage of your good nature is upsetting. You mention that you help DS and family with money? Well that has to stop immediately, and they need to be told why. You have to look after your health and that of DH. Look up online just what DH will be entitled to as a legal minimum when he is made redundant, if you get more then hooray. Get an appointment made at job centre as you both need to keep your NIC credits going as you are so close to retirement. It is worth going online and getting a pension forecast; if you find that you both already have the full contributions then there is no panic about pension amounts in a few years time. Go onto Rightmove and see what your house is worth, what else you can downsize to; it is astonishing the difference in price in a 3 bed semi and a 3 bed detached for example. Hopefully taking charge of your future will help you to feel better, and please dont feel guilty about any of this, none of it is your fault. Sometimes these terrible stress situations lead to a better situation, be brave, be strong, and post on here, we will all do what we can.

jinglbellsfrocks Mon 20-Apr-15 16:08:54

I think you all need to stand up for yourselves a bit more! sad

jinglbellsfrocks Mon 20-Apr-15 16:07:27

I know Tegan. sad