People thinking that you think that you are better than them

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For me, life is about happiness. I can have a better job, a wife, own my home, children and drive a better car but if I am not happy with my life and you are happy with yours, then you are more successful in my eyes.

I am always talked about among my parents, uncles, aunts and grandparents as the example of the family (out of my cousins). I am the first to get married, buy my own home, always had a good job and seen as the smart one. Because of my definition of success, I brush these praises off but am happy to use what successes I have had to help people out, whether that be financial advice, helping with CV's, job hunting etc.

Our family don't meet up as much as we used to, now probably once a year or so, and for the past few years and occasions we have met I have felt a bit like an outcast. First time I took note of it was when someone noticed a watch I was wearing and asked how much it was. It's a Hugo Boss watch and cost me £200. There was a bit of an awe that I was in a position to spend that much on a watch (which I don't even consider that expensive). From that day there was this odd vibe I would constantly get with little digs about my wealth (I am really not wealthy) and spending. You know, "we're all not as rich as you Andy" when I suggest a day out at a restaurant where we all will just split the bill instead of fussing around who ate what (which never adds up as people forget drinks and service charge!).

A few weeks ago it blew up into a massive argument. We were at my uncles birthday party at his house where he asked me how things were going with the house. I mentioned how we settled in well and still have a few things here and there to do. He then mentions how proud he is of me and how I am a great example then out of no where, 2 of my cousins just start attacking me saying how I am "not that great" and how I am a "sell out" because I think I am too good for the family (I apparently don't attend family dinners and such because they are not to my standards).

I didn't fight back, or even say anything. After my aunts and uncles calmed them down one of my other cousins came and said "you do come across very arrogant". This is when I responded. I am quite a meek person and keep myself to myself. I don't have many friends and spend most of my free time watching TV and playing video games. I reflected on that comment and realised every time something like this has come to the surface, I have never been the instigator. I would wear a watch and get called a snob. Asked how much my car is (A bloody Golf!) and get all these rich boy comments. Show up to a family event from work still in my suit and get funny looks.

The sad thing is, I expect that behavior from certain family members as they have no class but it's sad to see the ones who you thing you are friends with take the other side. Sorry for the long rant, had to get it off my chest.
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  • moneyistooshorttomention
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    Ignore them.

    A £200 watch and £19,000 (?? or thereabouts) car is "normal". It's not "rich kid".

    Sounds like they're trying to drag you down to their level - and the probable reason is jealousy.

    Why be jealous of someone that just has "normal" standard? But I guess it's because they don't come across anyone rich or even wealthy - so even "normal" standard is a "step up the ladder" from where they are and hence the green-eyed monster.
  • cats2012
    cats2012 Posts: 1,182 Forumite
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    To be fair I'm not sure it's quite accurate to just say that's "normal"...me & OH earn a very comfortable income for our age, own our home, are married etc with no debts and a nice savings pot - however I'd never spend £200 on a watch (I spent £150 for OH's 30th as a "special" present) and we always buy second hand cars for definitely less than 10k. HOWEVER it's each to their own and if you can afford/justify it then great for you - we probably could but prefer more savings/holidays.

    I think it's natural for people to be jealous - but do also remind yourself how lucky you are and maybe just try not to flaunt it at all. For example, there are certain groups where we always just split the bill but also other groups where I wouldn't dream of it as I know it would be hard for some lower earners to cover even £5 they didn't spend. It's about knowing your audience, and if your audience are lower income perhaps just tone things down a little and be mindful of that.

    Equally, you should be able to just be yourself :) jealousy is very hard for some people, all you can do is try to find the balance between being yourself and not antagonising the situation.
    Officially Mrs B as of March 2013
    TTC since Apr 2015, baby B born March 2017
  • London50
    London50 Posts: 1,850 Forumite
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    IMO total jealousy, some people just cannot stand when anyone {family or not} is doing "better" in their minds than they are.
    I have never been in the position to own my own home or buy what some would say are "dear items"unlike most of my family or friends {including my own children} but I am happy with what I have and just as important to me happy for them.
    From my long life I have understood that families can be far worse than others over that type of thing and love to "dig" over another getting on better than they are. It is just a fact of life, I understand it is hard on you but try to ignore them, they chose their way and you chose yours :0)
  • Hermia
    Hermia Posts: 4,473 Forumite
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    cats2012 wrote: »
    I think it's natural for people to be jealous - but do also remind yourself how lucky you are and maybe just try not to flaunt it at all. For example, there are certain groups where we always just split the bill but also other groups where I wouldn't dream of it as I know it would be hard for some lower earners to cover even £5 they didn't spend. It's about knowing your audience, and if your audience are lower income perhaps just tone things down a little and be mindful of that.

    Equally, you should be able to just be yourself :) jealousy is very hard for some people, all you can do is try to find the balance between being yourself and not antagonising the situation.

    I agree. The problem is that everything you do can antagonise people who have a chip on their shoulder alas. I remember I once had my family round for dinner and my uncle asked for the salt and pepper. I put my salt and pepper mills on the table and then had to listen to several minutes of, "oooh, look at the la-di-dah peppercorns and sea salt, oooh I bet that cost you, Saxa is good enough for the likes of us" etc etc. All this was accompanied by sniggering and eye-rolling. I hate talking about what I do in my spare time because saying I went to the theatre will get comments even if I went to a cheap matinee. I think as long as the OP feels confident they he has never been arrogant about his relative wealth than there is nothing more he can do. If his family give him funny looks for wearing a suit when he has come straight from work I imagine everything he does will be wrong.
  • Lioness_Twinkletoes
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    They could be jealous. Or you could be an arrogant tw@t who makes people feel inferior. We don't know you so can't comment one way or the other really.
  • moneyistooshorttomention
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    That's the thing.

    I've found that someone I know will tell me I'm wrong - whatever my opinion is about something. We seem to have different opinions on virtually everything under the sun. I just leave them to it when they start getting that way and say things like "Each to their own"/"We'll have to agree to differ" and similar phrases.

    But it does get very wearing to be told my opinions are wrong - when they arent at all. They're just different opinions to theirs.

    I guess you'll just have to think up equivalent phrases any time they "have a go" - just because of different circumstances/opinions.

    A whole other topic is working out how to deal with being told you're wrong/bad/delete as applicable one way or another - when you aren't - you're just "different to them". That's one I'm working on myself - as I'd just love to reply and "have a go" back.....instead of politely saying "We have different opinions" like I do...:cool: and biting my tongue.
  • Hermia
    Hermia Posts: 4,473 Forumite
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    A whole other topic is working out how to deal with being told you're wrong/bad/delete as applicable one way or another - when you aren't - you're just "different to them". That's one I'm working on myself - as I'd just love to reply and "have a go" back.....instead of politely saying "We have different opinions" like I do...:cool: and biting my tongue.

    I honestly am not sure there is anything you can do. I am different in every way possible to my family. Everything from political opinions to hobbies. One thing I have realised is that if someone has that attitude of 'I am right/normal and you are wrong/weird" nothing will change them, even rational arguments and examples. I think the best thing you can do is limit your time spent with them and become selectively deaf.
  • FBaby
    FBaby Posts: 18,367 Forumite
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    Unfortunately, there seem to be more and more a culture of resentment towards those who have 'some' money. It reminds of the attitude towards academic pupils who are the ones who feels ashamed because they are being put down for being clever.

    I think it is a mix of envy that is better hidden behind contempt but also the fact that there is a often a correlation between financial success and self confidence and it is that confidence that is interpreted as arrogance.

    There is a line between confidence and arrogance, but for some people, it is a blurred one. That seems to be the case with your cousins. It's a pity especially as from reading your OP, it would seem that you would do anything to help them, but yet are going to ruin all of it through their attitude.
  • Hermia
    Hermia Posts: 4,473 Forumite
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    FBaby wrote: »
    Unfortunately, there seem to be more and more a culture of resentment towards those who have 'some' money. It reminds of the attitude towards academic pupils who are the ones who feels ashamed because they are being put down for being clever.

    I think it is a mix of envy that is better hidden behind contempt but also the fact that there is a often a correlation between financial success and self confidence and it is that confidence that is interpreted as arrogance.

    There is a line between confidence and arrogance, but for some people, it is a blurred one. That seems to be the case with your cousins. It's a pity especially as from reading your OP, it would seem that you would do anything to help them, but yet are going to ruin all of it through their attitude.

    The OP's desire to help may actually be making things worse because that can be seen as being patronising. One of my cousins is very successful and he sincerely wants to help the young people in our family who are stuck in dead-end jobs. He has offered to help and really tried to encourage one of our bright, but unmotivated, cousins to go to evening classes. This has just resulted in him being seen as a snob who thinks he knows best. Other members of the family give their advice and opinions to everyone, but aren't judged in the same way.
  • moneyistooshorttomention
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    Hermia wrote: »
    The OP's desire to help may actually be making things worse because that can be seen as being patronising. One of my cousins is very successful and he sincerely wants to help the young people in our family who are stuck in dead-end jobs. He has offered to help and really tried to encourage one of our bright, but unmotivated, cousins to go to evening classes. This has just resulted in him being seen as a snob who thinks he knows best. Other members of the family give their advice and opinions to everyone, but aren't judged in the same way.

    Which just goes to show what different ways people can see the same thing. If I were that "bright but unmotivated" cousin (or a close relative of theirs) I'd appreciate the offer of help being made - even if I didnt take it. I would certainly evaluate whether it was a good idea to take the offer in that position.

    The successful cousin is only trying to help after all.
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