Keeping up with the Joneses

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I am a almost 50 year old, married 2 teenagers. Despite having a good income between the two of is things are alwsys tight. We have a high mortgage, and a few debts. Over the years we've always tried to do the best for our kids and they both have savings in place of about £10k each when they reach 18. Eldest son is about to turn 18.

Life itself is causing me to be depressed. Not because of me but my mother is always comparing us to others. She has friends who are better off than us and buying their kids brand new cars and often makes comments like aren't they lucky. She does the same about people's houses etc comparing them to ours. I'm fed up of it all.

I can't compare to others but feel I've done the best with what I have had available.

I've put up with this for years and it's absolute torture. I feel it puts such a weight on my shoulders.

Would like to know if anyone else has felt in same position.
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  • pjcox2005
    pjcox2005 Posts: 1,015 Forumite
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    I think those comments are reflective of society as a whole. Nice houses, cars etc are lovely to have but it doesn't measure a persons value to me.


    Perhaps an exercise in positive thinking is useful, note down what you think are key traits in a person and how they conduct your life, and how do you try to measure up to them. I expect your list is unlikely to be on material possessions but more personality traits.


    The final bit is, and this doesn't apply to all those with big houses etc, is having an awareness that quite often people sacrifice something to attain them. It may be an improved home life balance to work long hours, so ask yourself, if you could go again would you change those things. Most people I believe are relatively content that they made the right decisions at the time for their circumstances (e.g. delay to a career because of looking after kids).
  • tacpot12
    tacpot12 Posts: 7,968 Forumite
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    I would suggest you tell her that she has been comparing you to other people for too long. Just say that she is no longer welcome to share her thoughts on your life with you. If she does it again, just walk away or go home, and keep doing this until she gets the message.

    She has plenty of freinds she can discuss your life with if she wants to, she doesn't need to discuss it with you.
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • badmemory
    badmemory Posts: 7,791 Forumite
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    I suggest you treat her as you would a 3 year old who has started an inappropriate conversation in a checkout queue (we have all been there haven't we?). You visit with diversionary tactics already in mind & as soon as she starts you deploy them.


    You could always start on the offensive. eg I can't believe your neighbours are still buying those gas guzzling, ozone layer ruining & totally unnecessarily large car, just for the bragging rights, they should be ashamed of themselves, what are they teaching their children about the planets resources.
  • fred246
    fred246 Posts: 3,620 Forumite
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    It's only a guess but I wonder whether you are spending too much on cats.
  • fred246
    fred246 Posts: 3,620 Forumite
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    My mum used to be a bit like that. Then we moved into a much bigger house than her and her friends and then she was REALLY nasty. Obviously very jealous. So you might find whatever you do will be wrong. Giving children lots of money has been shown to make them poorer in the long term. Children don't learn how to earn money and look after it if they are given everything without any effort.
  • Jox
    Jox Posts: 1,651 Forumite
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    There will always be someone to compare to, try to feel grateful for all you have and not let other people make you feel bad, you are very lucky to have all the things and people in your life and many others would love to have what you have!
  • Mojisola
    Mojisola Posts: 35,557 Forumite
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    Life itself is causing me to be depressed. Not because of me but my mother is always comparing us to others.

    She has friends who are better off than us and buying their kids brand new cars and often makes comments like aren't they lucky. She does the same about people's houses etc comparing them to ours.

    I'm fed up of it all.

    It's a very nasty way to behave with you - you don't really think that everyone she knows is financially better off than you, do you? She's just being selective with the people she compares you to in order to make you feel bad yourself.

    Follow the advice from tacpot12 and badmemory - take back control of your interactions with her.
  • MovingForwards
    MovingForwards Posts: 16,921 Forumite
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    My mom is like that! Always comparing me to others and also critical of anything I wore, weight going up / down / up, my car's (til she was getting a lift), she rearranged my house once when I went away with my then husband!

    In the end I snapped, told her I am *name* and not *neighbour* *sister* or anyone else.

    Hasn't done it since.
    Mortgage started 2020, aiming to clear it in 2026.
  • onomatopoeia99
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    Why is your mother even in your life that much when you have children approaching being adults?

    For me seeing my parents is a distinct activity that is usually planned weeks in advance. It sounds like she's in your life way more than that.

    Tell her that she's not welcome in your home until she adjusts her attitude.
    Proud member of the wokerati, though I don't eat tofu.Home is where my books are.Solar PV 5.2kWp system, SE facing, >1% shading, installed March 2019.Mortgage free July 2023
  • -taff
    -taff Posts: 14,501 Forumite
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    It' not life causing you to be depressed, it's your reaction to your mothers inappropriate comments.
    Change you reaction to them, your mother is no more or no less worth listening to than you choose. You can decide that her opinions are as valid or not as you like. If you don't think they are helpful, ignore them,deflect them, say thank you but I'm not your friends etc and tell her you will be doing that from on or whatever other reaction you think will work to get your opinion across to her.


    I'd be asking though, if her friends are doing this for their children, why is she not doing it for you? I expect that'll shut her up.
    Shampoo? No thanks, I'll have real poo...
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