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A feeling of emptiness I can’t explain..

(26 Posts)
Enidd Sun 09-Apr-23 08:11:36

I feel so lost right now.

I’m mum to two adult children, one has moved 2 hours away and the second visits her partner most weekends. I’m not particularly close to either, especially my daughter whose personality is so very different to mine. It’s not that we don’t get along, just different to the relationship I have with my own mother, ie. we both enjoy shopping, coffee, etc. That said my mother is now 82 and has recently been diagnosed with a heart condition so she really has to take things easy nowadays. I do support her with picking up the food shopping once a week and we chat and do coffee. My daughter and I never do this, if she’s home she chats with her dad and if I try to include myself she doesn’t stay for long before going upstairs to her room.

I hate my job too, the manager can be difficult and I find she favours my colleague over myself. I don’t care about that as much but it all goes towards me feeling empty inside. I get on with my husband ok but he has health issues so has to be careful, taking plenty of rest.

I don’t have many friends but those I do, I only meet up twice a year as they have their own families.

How do I fill this void? Please be kind, I’m feeling sad this morning.

Enidd Sun 09-Apr-23 08:15:30

In the last two months I have been to see my GP explaining how down and low I’ve been feeling and now take Sertraline which helps take the edge off when I’m working (was given extra work to do with not enough training) which was causing me to panic and constantly worry.

Skydancer Sun 09-Apr-23 08:37:55

My situation is not all that different. My adult daughter lives near me and although we speak most days we are totally unalike and therefore do very little together. She spends most of her free time with friends and I get a little bit hurt as she doesn't want to do things with me. I think we expect our children to be like us and yet they often aren't. I have learned to accept the situation. I am there when needed and realise she thinks of me as a mother and not a friend. What I mean is I often see mothers and daughters who have a very close bond and I am envious of them. Similarly I see sisters who do things together but I don't have one. I get the same feelings as you. I guess we are sensitive people. Could you try explaining to your daughter how you feel? They can't read our minds so maybe she has no idea. I have lost my Mum - we were friendly but again, totally unalike. I miss my Grandmother who I was very close to. In my old age I realise you can't change people and there will be those we relate to better than others. I'm not much help but just to let you know it isn't just you.

LRavenscroft Sun 09-Apr-23 08:39:08

Hi! I am so sorry you feel like this but can identify with it. You don't mention how old your daughter is but from personal experience mine was very much out and about in her teens and 20s but settled down in her 30s. I think a lot will depend on her age. It also sounds as if you are the main stay in your family with others dependent on you and you in fact need a little support and I suspect this is what is partially causing your empty feeling. Is there anyway you can diarise your daily emptiness triggers and take it from there? Whilst some people may wonder why diarising things is not necessary, it has helped me identify my flash points, foods, negative people, hateful supermarkets, nosey neighbours etc. What I do now is try to avoid the trigger points? Try to please yourself, so your nosey neighbour comments on your washing again, just say good morning and move on. If you have a negative person in the office, just do the professional side of your job and be objective. Also, can you pamper yourself? Pedicure, manicure, walk in your favourite spot. Do you have to be responsible for all the things you do and are they necessary? If you can get and objective view on balancing your own needs with those in your family and control as much as they need and not more, perhaps that will remove some of the empty feeling. We all need to be nurtured and sometimes that starts will self nurture. Please look after yourself first and let go what you can. The diary certainly helped me go from waking up feeling that the end was nigh to waking up thinking right today I am going to do this, this and this and get some pleasure out of it. And remember, one day at a time is all you need.

pascal30 Sun 09-Apr-23 11:27:34

You don't say how old you are, but are you menopausal? That could explain a lot of your feelings..

crazyH Sun 09-Apr-23 11:37:30

Same here - daughter lives a 10 minute drive from me. On the odd occasion, we do go shopping together, but most of the time, she is working or with her friends. Her teenage children are in University, so I guess for the first time , she has some time for herself …

Woollywoman Sun 09-Apr-23 12:30:14

Hi Enidd, I went on Sertraline in the last few months, and I think it helps with anxiety more than low mood - in my experience, anyway.
I also find Easter, like Christmas, is a tricky time if there is no family get-together, or if you’re not religious. I hope you can raise your mood somehow - writing it all down (& then ripping it up so that no-one reads it…) helps me.
Life doesn’t get easier, does it?! All the very best x

Grammaretto Sun 09-Apr-23 12:44:30

Make some new friends!
When my DH was ill and then when he died I found solace in meeting up with others through U3A, through Gransnet, through local volunteering, clubs etc
Now when I don't see my DC at least there is something to look forward to.

Although I have 4 DC and 7 DGC, I don't depend on them for company.

My only DD , like yours, is very different from me and has moved a couple of hours away with her family.
I love to spend time with them but their pace of life is faster. They always seem to be in a hurry.

I hope your work situation improves. That sounds like the root of your problems and not your family who are behaving as expected

DamaskRose Sun 09-Apr-23 13:15:53

I’m sorry you’re feeling this way Enidd and there is some good advice on here. You seem to have more than your fair share of difficult situations to cope with. Would you consider some form of counselling? Does your medics perhaps take longer to kick in?
I am unlike my DD in many ways but we have a very close relationship. However my worry is that she has very few friends of her own and depends too much on me. What happens when I’m no longer here?! DS is more like me in many ways and has a close circle of good friends so I don’t worry about him.
I really do hope you start to feel more settled soon. flowers

DamaskRose Sun 09-Apr-23 13:16:49

Medication - autocorrect!!

Ellie Anne Sun 09-Apr-23 17:53:15

I understand much of what you say. My daughter lives hundreds of miles away but we don’t really connect and never have. I’m not too close to my sons either though they all mean the world to me.
Sadly I don’t have a good relationship with my dh . We really don’t communicate . But I do have some good friends. If you are working it’s difficult to meet new people and build up friendships. Most of mine have come through the church but that is not for everyone.

Hithere Sun 09-Apr-23 18:01:05


What can you do to make happy?
A hobby, activity, go to movies, volunteer, etc that doesn't rely on others.

Then I would reevaluate the work environment with a more positive outlook

Baby steps

It is great you have such a friend oriented relationship with your mother - your daughter is not you (in this situation) and what I feel you would love to happen, it is unrealistic

Palmtree Sun 09-Apr-23 18:25:50

I am so very sorry to hear how sad you ar

Palmtree Sun 09-Apr-23 18:40:10

I am so sorry to hear how sad you are feeling. I have been in a similar situation. I was very close to my late mother but the relationship with my grown up daughter is no where near as close. My daughter lives nearby but we only speak on the phone once a week. She is always busy, with friends, her boyfriend, work etc etc and doesnt really choose to spend time with my husband and I. It is hurtful especially as we love each other, its just we are incredibly different and have no shared interests unfortunately. I hope things might change if she has children one day. My relationship with my sons is good, but again not close. I think what we are suffering from is empty nest syndrome. I guess for the time being we just have to be happy that they are happy in their own lives and just get on with our own as best we can.

Enidd Sun 09-Apr-23 22:23:58

Thank you for taking the time to reply to me.

@Skydancer; I think a part of us does expect them to be like us, but of course they are not, but hurts nonetheless that we spend so little time together. I too have always wanted a sister and I have looked in awe when I see sisters out together. I think we are sensitive people aren’t we. You’ve helped more than you know.

LRavenscroft; I’ve recently started to journal online and find getting my thoughts and feelings out in black and white helps. I’m pleased it does for you too.

DamaskRose; Good point about counselling. I have my first session next week. It will be a good opportunity to get a few things off my chest. My son is more like me too but I never worry about him as he’s so self sufficient and has good friends.
I understand your concerns around your daughter. You sound a very caring mum.

Ellie Ann; I do work so limited with any new interactions but pleased to hear you have good friends.

Hithere; I currently volunteer online but am considering something else that brings me more into face to face contact.
Yes, baby steps is needed.

Palmtree; Yes we do need to be happy they are happy. This is important and so will remind myself of this, thank you.

I’m sorry for those that can relate but thank you so much for your kind words and support 💐

Redhead56 Mon 10-Apr-23 10:43:36

How are you feeling today I was wondering if you have given thought to the advice given here. I hope you do sometimes it’s best to push yourself whether you want to or not just a little push might be all you need. My relationship with my mum was ok I did love her but she had obvious favourites. I got on brilliant with my dad. It was a personality clash with my mum it’s often the case with families don’t take it to heart.

Get in touch with family and friends and be assertive enough to make arrangements much more than twice a year it’s something to look forward too.

Regarding your job maybe you are being sensitive about your boss. Have a quiet word with her/him and see what the outcome is it might benefit clearing the air.

Make arrangements to see a doctor if you can where you are. Sometimes just getting something off your chest can help. Where you live are there knit and natter groups or walking/ litter picking groups or volunteer locally. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but it’s getting out the house and your mind off your worries.

Shelflife Mon 10-Apr-23 11:36:10

Enidd, so sorry to know how low you are feeling.
Perhaps your longing for a sister is why you feel you would like a greater friendship with your daughters. Remember some sisters are not close. I have adult daughters, all very different. I see myself as their mother not their friend - they have their own friends. I am fortunate in having a lovely relationship with a much loved sister. I do hope your medication is helping your sadness and I wish you well 💐💐💐💐

NotSpaghetti Mon 10-Apr-23 11:45:07

Dear Enidd I just needed to say first-off how much I loved my mother dearly but that I would still never have chosen to go for coffee or out shopping with her. In that respect I'm a bit like your daughter.

I'm sure my mother would have enjoyed doing these things with her mother (as you did with yours). She often asked her mum over for a coffee and a chat though did have to go to collect her as she grew older.

I'm also aware how much fun my mum had when we did meet up once I had children she was always delighted to treat our little ones to afternoon tea. Whilst I wouldn't have chosen to meet mum alone for tea, my children and my mum got a lot from these get-togethers so I facilitated this for them.
I think if grandchildren come along you have more to talk about that is of interest to both of you - and as they get older they also want to chat to granny and provide another level of interest.

When I visited my parents it was generally both of them at once as your daughter does... It worked best with mum if we did things together such as pruning the roses, preparing dinner, or knitting or sewing (which mum was a marvel at) where I knew she had some "special knowledge" and could help set me right (when I was probably making a mess!).

From this I have realised that we were best "side-by-side" with an activity going on.
Maybe we weren't so good face-to-face (as over a coffee) as we were SO very different, and more than that we had different expectations and ideas about life.
Side-by-side on some task or other I felt close to her but not interrogated about my life and she felt supportive but not challenged by me.
Would your daughter join you in an activity for a morning? Could you pick something you fancy (Candle-making, floristry, a cookery class, ceramics or jewellery day) and ask her if she'd come with you. Tell her you'd like to go but don't want to feel uncomfortable and would welcome the company (and will treat her). I think she may do that "for you" and who knows you may even both enjoy it. I did a leaded glass workshop with my daughter years ago and we enjoyed it. We both went on do do a course (once a week for 2 terms). Don't expect anything- just enjoy the activity if she comes. And maybe just go alone if she won't go with you.

My mother was a fantastic, strong, kind and generous woman. She was really really lovely but didn't think the way I do at all. I loved her for the way she loved me. For her warmth and commitment to our little family, her concern for the weak and needy in her community and for her energy and compassion.

I believe we have all got something good to offer. You will do, certainly but it sounds like this is hard to believe just now. If work is miserable can you consider a career change?

I hope your counselling is helpful.
Admitting to the problem means you are at least ready to make changes! First steps.
Thinking of you. flowers

Enidd Tue 11-Apr-23 17:30:10

Hi again,

Thanks so much for asking how I’ve been getting on and also sharing bits about yourselves. So very kind of you all.

I’m still not sure what type of face to face volunteering I’m interested in yet but as I work part time, it will have to be something that fits around that. I’m determined to find something. It’s like you say Redhead, just getting out of the house that helps!

Counselling/therapy starts Thursday. I’ve never done this before but who knows it may help.

Work has been ok but that’s only because the Manager is off. I’ve seen another role I’m interested in and will be applying.

Thanks again 💐

Tgran Wed 12-Apr-23 20:56:29

Hi OP..I could’ve written this post myself. My daughter favours her husbands family/mother over me (this is what I feel) and it is very upsetting. I feel very sidelined, and like I’m constantly doing things ‘wrong’ I’m sure she’s constantly comparing me with other mothers, I just don’t measure up in her eyes, a very very different relationship than that I had with my own Mum.

I feel your pain OP

NotSpaghetti Thu 13-Apr-23 09:59:30

Tgran - I don't know how long your daughter has been married but if not very long you may find her "honeymoon" period with them is soon over and a balance comes back.

I know my son's "in-laws" are more present in his life than we are as his wife is there a lot when not working and they looking after the grandchildren twice a week too.
We are happy that the other "side" of the family can help out with the children as we are still very busy and I'm working too.

I do know where my son would rather be as he has told us so.
I think sometimes things need to find their own balance which can take time.


Enidd Thu 13-Apr-23 16:13:36

Hi Tgran; Oh I’m sorry to hear this ..such an awful feeling to have. Having such a different relationship with your own mother, can make it so much more hard to bear. 💐

Tgran Fri 14-Apr-23 07:51:13

@notspaghetti they have been together around 8 years, they have one child who is just over a year old. I don’t think it will ever change if I’m honest, the MIL works very hard to ‘be the best’ whereas I’m just ‘ordinary’, don’t have much to offer apart from myself. The in laws have money, so throw that around, probably have more time than me too, as they don’t have to work, I work FT and financially I’m very average, and though I have a partner, it’s a relatively new relationship.

I feel the divide more and more, they are currently on holiday with them, and will be holidaying with them again later in the year. It will only get worse (for me) sad

Pianokey Tue 18-Apr-23 23:17:31

This has been such a thought provoking but also distressing topic to read. I have a very fragile relationship with my daughter. She has mental health issues and I am usually walking on eggshells. I've learned to keep quiet and expect little but notice I always give so much time and energy to the relationship. She has shut me out for 5 days since a horrible whatsapp disagreement.
I really feel for you Enidd. I'm so heartened to know you are taking steps. Counselling is so worthwhile so I hope very much you find comfort from it and can face the future with more positivity.
Do try to avoid comparing yourself with others. It's so destructive when you're feeling down. What others say may not be the whole picture. Focus on yourself and making yourself happy,surrounded by people who value you.

Enidd Thu 20-Apr-23 19:16:43

@Pianokey; This sounds difficult for you. Trying to keep the peace can be very difficult, something I know only too well. I’m still on the look out for a volunteering role I can fit around my work and have recently started a fitness class. Keeping busy will help me keep grounded and focussed.
Thank you for your kind words and I wish you well.