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Can you be born unhappy?

(122 Posts)
gillybob Mon 24-Jul-17 11:13:09

Listening to a discussion on radio 4 whilst stuck in a traffic jam this morning, I was interested to hear that an "expert" (his name escapes me) said that babies/young children cannot be depressed just unhappy and that is usually as a result of "unhappiness or insecurity" being passed on to them by their parents. Depression kicks in much later.

Looking back on my life, I really can't think of a time I have been happy, I don't mean enjoying a concert or a meal I mean TRULY, unconditionally happy.

There have always been things, issues, situations, that seem to put dampers on everything. Maybe it is depression but I don't think so. I really think that I was born unhappy.

I don't think my bringing up (born in 1962) was very much different to others of the same era.

Blinko Mon 24-Jul-17 12:05:07

I'm not sure that people can be born with a happy or unhappy disposition, but it does seem that some people are not happy whatever their situation, whilst others are more resilient and consequently happier with their lot in life.

This doesn't seem to be dependent on money, attractiveness or other circumstances.

I was attracted to my OH of 50 years because I saw right away that he was one of life's happy ones.

I don't know what makes someone either a happy bunny or a Job's comforter.

whitewave Mon 24-Jul-17 12:06:52

They did say that if you got a miserable child whose a pain in the whatsii, they don't usually make miserable adults.

grannysue05 Mon 24-Jul-17 12:24:40

I suspect that there is something genetic in there somewhere.
Before I retired, I worked with many different personalities and was always aware how some people were positive and cheerful while others were the opposite.
It had nothing to do with money/status/health or situation in life.
Some were just always ready to make the best of everything.

rosesarered Mon 24-Jul-17 12:25:48

Yes, genetic but nuture affects children as well.

gillybob Mon 24-Jul-17 12:30:57

I heard that too whitewave and I think I was a miserable/unhappy child although my dad says I wasn't. I'm not sure how he knew tbh.

I think I do have a good sense of humour and mainly enjoy(???) making fun of myself. My sister says that this is just a kind of defence mechanism? Make fun of yourself before anyone else does?

Also I Have never been able to take compliments of any kind.

No wonder I don't have any friends.

kittylester Mon 24-Jul-17 13:30:36

I think that people are born with an optimistic take on life or a pessimistic one.

My personality is optimistic generally and I know some people find that really irritating.

gillybob Mon 24-Jul-17 13:35:21

I think you are right kitty I am most definitely a pessimist (glass that never had anything in it at all). I think i use it as another coping mechanism whereas if I think the worst I am never disappointed.

hildajenniJ Mon 24-Jul-17 13:40:53

I'm a happy person, full of optimism and jollity. DH on the other hand, is a pessimist and can be quite maudlin at times. It's funny how opposites attract, isn't it?
I did my personality type test at the weekend, and found it very accurate and interesting. DH did his, which I read and laughed all the way through it. It summed him up perfectly. Turns out that I have an Adventurer personality, and he has a Logistician personality type.
Here's the link to the test, if anyone is interested.

Norah Mon 24-Jul-17 14:04:47

I am always happy, I think it comes from within. Nothing to do with outside influences, just nature.

gillybob Mon 24-Jul-17 14:05:17

Thank you hildajenniJ I will do it later.

I am very interested to see what it says about me. I do hope it doesn't self destruct.

Auntieflo Mon 24-Jul-17 14:48:06

Gillybob, what an interesting thread. I think I have always been a " glass half full" type of person. My DH is the opposite. We are both Gemini, but at either end , me mid May, him mid June. We can both be very opinionated, but on the whole I am a very happy person.

BlueBelle Mon 24-Jul-17 14:53:03

I think you and I are a bit alike Gillybob I think my outside persona is happy jolly and full of life but my real me isn't that at all I can't think of many times I ve been truely truely happy even having my babies which was the most wonderful thing I ever did was overshadowed by inner worry and anxiety although no one outside of me knows anything about it
Everyone thinks I m an extrovert but the real me isn't at all
I think when a lot of things go wrong in your life when you are young you tend to expect rubbish and get it some people have just had a more blessed time then it's easier to be optimistic

gillybob Mon 24-Jul-17 15:38:07

Apparently I am a "defender" hildajenni . Haven't read the full report of what a defender actually is yet though.

gillybob Mon 24-Jul-17 15:40:27

I think a lot of my unhappiness comes from worrying too BlueBelle. I can never "enjoy the moment" for fear of what the pay back will be.

I agree with your last paragraph too. You get kicked in the teeth so many times you just come to expect it.

cornergran Mon 24-Jul-17 16:14:17

I'm a 'defender' too, gilly nice to have company smile. Its scarily accurate in my case.

KatyK Mon 24-Jul-17 16:29:12

Don't you think it depends on how you are treated as a child? I was always frightened as a child and I have become a fearful adult. Too many knocks can make you not want to trust life - sorry if that sounds self-pitying, I know there are a lot of folks worse off than me.

Ana Mon 24-Jul-17 16:39:58

It's true though, KatyK - in my case it made me very defensive and unable to let other people get close. I don't think it ever goes away...

MissAdventure Mon 24-Jul-17 16:42:17

I think I'm a bit of a misery, and was quite famous as a child for my dour nature, but at least I'm not moody
Those people whose lives are a constant roller coaster of ups and downs drive me mad. People know where they are with me.

KatyK Mon 24-Jul-17 16:43:14

I agree Ana

Maggiemaybe Mon 24-Jul-17 16:43:52

I'm a Consul, apparently, like Monica in Friends, J-Lo and a lot of people I've never heard of. I'm not sure it quite hits the spot, but it seems I should be a happy sort on the whole, and yes, I am (not sure that Monica always is, though smile).

Nonnie Mon 24-Jul-17 16:47:54

The trouble with such questionnaires is that they generalise too much and do not build in questions which confirm or contradict other questions. This is a science which requires well qualified people to administer the test and then to interpret the results. Sorry to put a damper on it but I have studied this subject.

In answer to the OP, and because I have studied this, I would say it is more likely that life's circumstances determine whether we are generally happy or not. We are all products of our upbringing and how life has treated us.

I am sorry for those who feel sad all the time, there is so much to be cheerful about in our lives when we look at what others have to deal with. I have had such very hard times but do try to find things to be positive about. I think if we try we can usually recognise the good things in our lives.

Tippy22 Mon 24-Jul-17 17:00:46

I don't think anybody is born unhappy just as nobody is born to be violent or a criminal, I think it's just the hand that you are dealt and how you deal with it. My daughter's in-laws have had so much heartbreak but they still have a positive outlook on life and I've seen that also so many times here on GN. It's certainly made me think again when I'm feeling unhappy.

DanniRae Mon 24-Jul-17 17:07:53

I am a defender too! I enjoyed doing that, thanks hildajennij.

gillybob Mon 24-Jul-17 17:08:30

I am sorry for those who feel sad all the time, there is so much to be cheerful about in our lives when we look at what others have to deal with

I totally agree with this Nonnie and I too have so many things to be grateful for. A lovely husband, 3 fantastic, healthy grandchildren... It's not a case of not knowing that I am lucky (crikey I know I am) this is something entirely different. I find it hard (impossible even) to think positively about very much.