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  • FIRST POST
    • Cat Loving Lady
    • By Cat Loving Lady 5th Feb 19, 10:43 AM
    • 61Posts
    • 54Thanks
    Cat Loving Lady
    Keeping up with the Joneses
    • #1
    • 5th Feb 19, 10:43 AM
    Keeping up with the Joneses 5th Feb 19 at 10:43 AM
    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.
Page 1
    • pjcox2005
    • By pjcox2005 5th Feb 19, 10:52 AM
    • 647 Posts
    • 732 Thanks
    pjcox2005
    • #2
    • 5th Feb 19, 10:52 AM
    • #2
    • 5th Feb 19, 10:52 AM
    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
    • By tacpot12 5th Feb 19, 12:01 PM
    • 2,900 Posts
    • 2,625 Thanks
    tacpot12
    • #3
    • 5th Feb 19, 12:01 PM
    • #3
    • 5th Feb 19, 12:01 PM
    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 check official information sources before relying on my posts.
    • badmemory
    • By badmemory 5th Feb 19, 5:49 PM
    • 2,692 Posts
    • 4,308 Thanks
    badmemory
    • #4
    • 5th Feb 19, 5:49 PM
    • #4
    • 5th Feb 19, 5:49 PM
    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
    • By fred246 5th Feb 19, 6:21 PM
    • 1,808 Posts
    • 1,120 Thanks
    fred246
    • #5
    • 5th Feb 19, 6:21 PM
    • #5
    • 5th Feb 19, 6:21 PM
    It's only a guess but I wonder whether you are spending too much on cats.
    • fred246
    • By fred246 6th Feb 19, 12:55 PM
    • 1,808 Posts
    • 1,120 Thanks
    fred246
    • #6
    • 6th Feb 19, 12:55 PM
    • #6
    • 6th Feb 19, 12:55 PM
    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
    • By Jox 6th Feb 19, 2:03 PM
    • 1,451 Posts
    • 2,963 Thanks
    Jox
    • #7
    • 6th Feb 19, 2:03 PM
    • #7
    • 6th Feb 19, 2:03 PM
    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!
    Debts June 2019: Barclaycard cc: 2,000, Santander cc: 4,192, Sainsburys cc: 1,709, Mortgage: 221,730
    Emergency fund: 2,120.47
    Aiming to pay off credit cards by April 2020 or sooner!
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 6th Feb 19, 3:01 PM
    • 31,558 Posts
    • 80,901 Thanks
    Mojisola
    • #8
    • 6th Feb 19, 3:01 PM
    • #8
    • 6th Feb 19, 3:01 PM
    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.
    Originally posted by Cat Loving Lady
    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
    • By MovingForwards 6th Feb 19, 3:46 PM
    • 2,350 Posts
    • 2,770 Thanks
    MovingForwards
    • #9
    • 6th Feb 19, 3:46 PM
    • #9
    • 6th Feb 19, 3:46 PM
    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.
    • onomatopoeia99
    • By onomatopoeia99 7th Feb 19, 1:26 PM
    • 5,867 Posts
    • 13,567 Thanks
    onomatopoeia99
    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.
    INTP, nerd, libertarian and scifi geek. Home is where my books are.

    5.2kWp system, SE facing, >1% shading, installed March 2019.
    • -taff
    • By -taff 7th Feb 19, 1:40 PM
    • 10,515 Posts
    • 14,764 Thanks
    -taff
    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.
    • TBagpuss
    • By TBagpuss 11th Feb 19, 8:59 PM
    • 7,598 Posts
    • 9,888 Thanks
    TBagpuss
    Quite apart from the other points made above, neither you nor your mother actually *know* that these others are better off than you.

    It's equally possible that they have far more debt, or other underlying issues, or indeed that they are better off because they have received generous financial gifts, or an inheritance, from their parents.

    It does sound as though your mum is picking particularly successful (in her eyes) to compare you with. Is it possible that she is also judging herself? Feeling that she has to compete with her friends and their children ? Which is hard for you to cope with, but might help you put it into perspective .
    • Elise1912
    • By Elise1912 26th Feb 19, 11:22 AM
    • 53 Posts
    • 86 Thanks
    Elise1912
    I have felt in the same position but not necessarily with my mother more other family members. It sounds like you've done an amazing job! Being a mother is hard work! I bet your kids are happy and know they're loved right? Comparison is the thief of all joy! You should tell her to butt out or explain how it makes you feel. If it doesn't change, personally I would limit my time with that person. That's what I did with this family member, I really don't enjoy spending time with them anymore and leave feeling worse about myself so I stay where I'm happy!
    • Elise1912
    • By Elise1912 26th Feb 19, 11:23 AM
    • 53 Posts
    • 86 Thanks
    Elise1912
    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.
    Originally posted by onomatopoeia99
    I agree with this one!
    • spadoosh
    • By spadoosh 26th Feb 19, 11:33 AM
    • 7,512 Posts
    • 11,001 Thanks
    spadoosh
    Is there not a chance that youre misreading this?

    If not i can only assume your mother was particularly helpful to you when you left home? If she wasnt, it sounds like genuine 'arent they lucky'?
    Don't be angry!
    • supersaver1000
    • By supersaver1000 2nd Mar 19, 8:13 AM
    • 2,169 Posts
    • 13,508 Thanks
    supersaver1000
    I know exactly where you are coming from Cat Loving Lady.

    I have some lovely friends who, no matter what my mood or situation, always lift my mood after seeing them - and we always say that its a two-way thing.

    In contrast I find some people are like the Dementors in Harry Potter. According to Wiki - Dementors gradually drain human minds of happiness.... consume the emotions and good memories of human beings, forcing the victim to relive its worst memories alone.

    They can't help it, so just try to avoid the 'Dementors', and if you can't fully avoid them, make sure you're scheduled to meet up with one of your lovely friends or do an activity you like afterwards, to boost you up again.

    Completely Debt-free by April 2019 Jan 2019
    Flylady & Grocery Challenge Lurker
    Millionaire, Fashionista and Career Woman wannabe
    • katsu
    • By katsu 2nd Mar 19, 10:55 PM
    • 4,546 Posts
    • 14,128 Thanks
    katsu
    Would your mum understand if you said you find it depressing to talk about all these other people in this way? Do you think she is unaware of how it makes you feel?

    If you think it is not accidental then maybe just tell your mum that you do not want to discuss the neighbours/whomever and change the topic of conversation. If that doesn't work, leave the room briefly (you can just say "excuse me a mo..." then go - no need to say more) and then start a new conversation when you come back in. She can't affect you if she is talking to the air!

    Good luck and remember there's no reason to compare yourself to other people.
    Debt at highest: 8k Debt Free 31/12/2009 (nine years and counting ) Original MFD: May 2036. MF Dec 2018
    • Leothecat
    • By Leothecat 2nd Mar 19, 11:26 PM
    • 1,463 Posts
    • 11,315 Thanks
    Leothecat
    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.
    Originally posted by onomatopoeia99
    Seriously? I find that very sad.
    • LondonLiz
    • By LondonLiz 29th Apr 19, 2:58 PM
    • 25 Posts
    • 117 Thanks
    LondonLiz
    CCL, reading between the lines I think you saying that you have internalised a belief that your Mum is not proud of you. It feels like the comments about houses & cars etc are but one example of how over the years she has judged you and your life choices in lots of other ways and somehow found you 'wanting' in comparison to these friends & their kids. Are YOU proud of yourself and your family and what you have achieved given all the circumstances? If so then what your Mum (or anyone else) thinks is simply not that important.

    And also that she measures success in life by the display of material wealth and that extends to a 'competition' in her social circle about how "well" their offspring are doing, which is her issue not yours to share. Essentially the two of you don't share the same values. It's understandable that even as an adult you want her approval but some of us have to accept that we simply won't get it from our parents, no matter what we do.

    But that doesn't mean just accepting her comments and put downs. One of the most important things I've had to learn is that I cannot change the behaviour and thinking of my family & other people in my life, all I can do is adjust my own behaviour & control my reactions. Funnily enough, in changing my own responses, I found it wrong footed them and changed the whole dynamic. It has not changed their opinions necessarily but it has changed what & how they say things to me. It's also helped me let it go when they do revert to type. You'll need to experiment to find what works for you in this interaction with your Mum (my most successful tactic with older siblings was actually shutting up rather than arguing back or defending myself - cue some awkward silences!). - in other words what Katsu suggested - !

    Sorry for all the cod psychology but this approach has really helped me over the years.
    Last edited by LondonLiz; 29-04-2019 at 3:00 PM.
    • Samac
    • By Samac 1st May 19, 9:12 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Samac
    Can I just say WELL DONE to you for having savings in place worth that much to them for when they turn 18, that itself is no mean fete so you have done better than the majority of most families for a start, do these 'Jones' have the same worth for their kids? I bet not. Like other posters have said nobody knows what debt another family has, a lot of these people you see that have 2/3 holidays a year, new cars etcetc are in so much debt or get a loan yearly and as soon as they have paid that off with extortionate interest rates they get another and the cycle continues for the rest of their lives, you say you have no debt but a big mortgage, I imagine that is better than these Jones and bet they wish that was all they had to worry about is the mortgage, so take no notice of your mother and say the same to her too, next time she says something say yeh but the interest rate on that car or loan is what I save for my kids so whos the winner here ;-)
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