I have touched on my tendency towards self-isolation in earlier posts but I haven’t really discussed why I isolate myself. There is the obvious answer that I don’t feel good and depression is having its way with me, but it is also something deeper than that for me.
In three days time it will be two years since my injury. At first I was really angry about having to deal with the injury and was even angrier when my year of hardcore physio didn’t produce the expected results and I went in for surgery. When I realized that my fusion wasn’t growing as quickly as my surgeon would like, at first, again, I was angry but now I am just sad. I am sad at all the things I have missed out on over the last two years and I am sad that I haven’t been able to be as personally successful as I would like or had planned before this injury. I am sad that this injury has made those closest to me have to see me like this. I am sad that this injury has cost me two years of my life, two years in which I have watched all those close to me flourish and accomplish amazing goals and feats that I could, and still can, only dream about. I wish all those close to me the absolute best and I am happy for them, really. I am not so petty that I can’t be happy for others successes. But I am envious.
I guess that is the main difference between being envious and being jealous. I never wish that those I have watched flourish didn’t, I don’ t hold any malcontent towards others successes. I just wish I could accomplish some things too. Like having a family. I have always wanted to get married and have a baby, but I have also always known that my relationship and subsequent marriage will have to be strong and very open. I watched my parents, who love each other dearly and have been married for thirty-five years this year, fall into the trap of constricted communication and the resentment that is it’s brother. My mom is a homemaker who has had an ’empty-nest’ for nearly a decade but never reconnected with herself or found hobbies and interests to fill her time. My dad works fifty hours a week as a commissionaire (ex-military security guard) in the city that is about forty-five minutes away from my hometown where they still live. My dad is getting older and stays with a friend in the city when he works twelve-hour shifts. The problem is that this friend and a woman, but she is just a friend. It has wreaked havoc on my parents marriage, but it is still not the root cause. A big part of the problem, as I see it anyway, is that they never had or developed identities outside of Wife/Husband, Mother/Father and now that they are older they have come to that disillusioned place – You can’t be someone’s everything, they have to be their something to themselves.
Anyway, that was a bit off topic, but I was trying to explain the reasons behind my conviction that openness is fundamentally necessarily in order to ensure that both partners have a fertile place to grow into the relationship together and into their ever-changing selves. Which brings me to my disillusionment with my relationship and back to the topic of envy vs jealousy… (Bear with me, this does all connect… eventually.)
I feel a complete breakdown in communication the relationship I am in now. I don’t know if we can re-establish open communication, albeit cautiously to avoid the torrent of pent-up emotions consuming any chance we have, but that is for another post.
What I am trying to say is that between my back issue and depression and my uneasy relationship with my partner, I don’t have anything solid to pin my hopes and dreams on. Like getting married and having a baby. I have managed to put this desire in the back of my mind for a long time. My partner and I have been together for over four years.
[Finally, I am getting to why this well buried desire has risen to the surface and made me evaluate how I view my relationship…]
My best friend Mia*, who moved four hours away a couple of years ago, got married last July and came up for the weekend to visit. Completely unexpectedly she told me she is pregnant. I am super happy for her, really I truly am. It is her happiness that makes me despair of my own. I guess watching her get engaged, married and pregnant has highlighted my lack of meaningful forward momentum in my life.
And that is crux of the difference between jealousy and envy. I envy Mia her happiness and the ease with which she looked forward to her marriage and now her baby. I tend to over reflect and would probably be incredibly worried and stressed out if I was pregnant, not to mention the physical problems from having your lumbar spine hanging on screws. But I also know wholeheartedly that she deserves her happiness. I don’t covet what she has, I want my version of happy.
Even though I am not jealous, I still find it hard to watch all these amazing things happen to others when my life has been dominated by bad things happening lately. Just one good thing would go a long way…
Have any of you been bitten by the envy bug? Does it ever make you question if you are a selfish or un-thoughtful person?