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Question
Posted by: RhythemBlues | 2013-08-28

Q.

Will I ever be truely happy?

Hi doc, is it possible for some people to just never be truely happy in their lives? I can't ever remember being really, really happy for long periods. Obviously birthdays and such were happy, but I never remember being really, truely and happy as a child. I remember lots of crying, my family never quite understood me. I don't have any cousins my own age (but my older and younger sister do) so my childhood was lonely. I was very introverted, would prefer to play with my barbies than with my cousins. At least my best friend was an only child so she understood me. My parents had a super messy divorce (it was soooo bad, we missed a month of school because my mom had a nervous breakdown and we had to go stay with my dad and he lived too far to take us to school everyday). My mother ran away several times, we had to move, there were money issues, my family still didn't understand me and I was being treated differently (worse) to my sisters (I was locked out the house in winter once by my younger sister and granny for trying to borrow a tshirt belonging my older sister, never mind the fact that she left the house that day wearing one of my shirts, my uncle threatened to lay a charge of vandalism against me because I accidently spilt some paint on his bricks (we rented a property from them) when I was repainting a bookshelf, my aunt once called me a piece of s$#% when I came home later than I said, then she drove me to my dads house the next day and dumped me there)... I was an extremely unhappy teenager. I was ugly and was teased, my mother took me to a counsellor once and complained after one session that it wasn't helping and was just a waste of money... Let's just say my teen years involved a lot of drinking and self harming. I'm proud of my scars today because I haven't cut myself in years (stopped in my early 20's) but I'm sad for myself that I went through that. When I met my husband during my rebel years it helped, but even to this day I can't say I am really happy. Especially these last few weeks, I've been very blue and my husband is getting angry at me for being such a b%$%h. We can't afford counselling... we've had major financial setbacks and have nearly R100k debt... Should I just accept that I'll never be really happy?

Expert's Reply

A.

Expert ImageCyberShrink
- 2013-08-29

Interesting question, R.  I wonder whether you are comparing your normal life with an ideal probably nobody actually lives ?  Nobody is "truly" continuingly happy all the time, every day.  And days that didn't seem so happy at the time, later, when you look back, turn out to have been rather happy after all.
An important factor is whether one works through life with realistic explanations.  One might feel awful because you think your family doesn't really understand you ; or you might not actually expect them, or anyone else, to "really understand you", and feel no disappointment at all.
Some of us spend much time alone as a child, and enjoy it ; some of us don't enjoy or use the opportunity of time alone, and feel bad about it. We can get mixed up between how we DO feel, and how we feel sure we're SUPPOSED to feel.
Sometimes we're challenged by some truly frightening and hurtful experiences in childhood,  as clearly happened to you. And you're faced with ugly experiences with no guide to how usefully to deal with them.  Many people try drink ( which may slightly and temporarily let you feel less aware of it, though it almost always eventually makes things worse . And some try cutting,  which may also for a time bring its own odd temporary sense of relief, but is never really useful.
Congratulations on having managed to stop the cutting, which isn't easy to achieve.  SOme folks I know look at their scars as a form of diary of previous distress.  But do remember that they are a reminder of times when one was not coping with that distress,  and that there are better ways to handle these situations, even if at that time you didn't think of them.
Don't accept "that you'll never be happy".  Accept that things will get better than this, and that you can learn to be happier than this. That there will again be some good times you can remember as happy, and some not so good times you will be able to work your way through

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

13
user comments

C.

Posted by: Anonymous | 2013-09-02

My darling hon. You and you alone can make yourself happy. You don't say how old you are... I'm 35 and life still slaps me around and knocks me for a 6 every day. I survived death twice due to a doctor that screwed up, people have hurt me, backstabed me, broke my trust, etc. I have lost everything in my life and if I had to be brutally honest, I have no genuine friends. Happiness is a choice you make every moment of every day. And it is not easy, trust me. You can take people's attitudes, verbal, emotional, financial and sometimes physical abuse, or you can leave. You can take religion, meditation, etc. and find the strength WITHIN YOU and find TRUE happiness - because it all starts with YOU. Life is the best teacher of them all - lessons that cannot be taught in any school or university. Use these lessons to grow stronger, not bitter. Take what you can LEARN, and leave the rest. I am so sorry to read about what you are going through and went though - I so wish everyone can be happy. I just went through 8 months of hell. I owe R200 000 to my parents and my income is minimal - but I am staying true to myself, I know I have it in me to turn this around. My childhood was a mess - I was teased at school, bullied, I was the outcast. When I started to work I was never pretty enough, tall enough, good enough, etc. I still don't have the best self image there is, but I know I am better than those people, because I do not break down others. Beauty comes from within and if people cannot see that, they are not worth being in your life. Remove them from your life and surround you with positive people - people you WANT to be around. Regarding your husband, I am sorry, I do not know what to say. The fact that he is not supporting you is disturbing and the verbal abuse is something you do not need. Think carefully about that. You are beautiful and you need to start telling yourself that. Be proud of yourself - you came through all of those things in your life - you stopped hurting yourself - well done! That is huge! Tell yourself you are brave, you are beautiful and you are a winner - because that is what you are! I can only say a prayer for you and wish you the best. You have it in you to rise above this and if you need help, there is NOTHING wrong with anti-depressants. Take 30 min a day, if you have, and just be quiet, with yourself, and see the beauty within you. With lots and lots of love and hugs

Reply to Anonymous
Posted by: Tholeng | 2013-09-01

Not everyone's unhappiness is about debt or money. Some people always struggle for everything. You can only believe that your solution to find happiness lies in what you don't have. I grew up poor, and thought if I had money I'll be happy. That is not the case, being debt free only brings peace and comfort. The unhappiness referred to by the author who started the discussion, is more on things/events you can't control, e.g. The loss of loved ones, the emptiness, loneliness. People can can only be supportive to a point and very impatient (like her husband) with your healing and recovery process. So the definition of unhappiness, lies deeper than material things. It's more of the intangible experiences one go through in life. .debt is a result of the bad choices you make. Things like betrayal, death, illness are hardly a choice. Unfortunately the author will have to deal with the past in order to find solutions, not happiness as yet, separate her bad decisions i.e. debt from what was done to her growing up. . All the best, only she can change/improve her situation.

Reply to Tholeng
Posted by: Spartacus | 2013-08-31

Happiness needs sadness. Success needs failure. Benevolence needs evil. Love needs hatred. Victory needs defeat. Pleasure needs pain. You must experience and accept the extremes. ....Because if the contrast is lost, you lose appreciation; and when you lose appreciation, you lose the value of everything. There will always be a life worse than yours and it is important to remember the half full glass than the half empty one.

Reply to Spartacus
Posted by: Kiara Hopetohelp | 2013-08-30

I had a really crappy life too. My parent’s marriage was not working. So they were thinking a child could change the whole thing…. 9 months later I was born. Meaningless to say, a third person (my stepmom) was involved and before my eyes could see the light of day, my dad was gone. My mom blamed me for the breakup; I was abused, severely abused. A few years later when my Mom drank herself into hospital I was removed by child services and placed under my dad supervision. Although I was the tender age of 6, my stepmom used me to do all her dirty work, cleaning, washing windows, doing chores her two children (1 and 4 years older than me) did not needed to do. She would wake me up half an hour earlier so I could set the table. In the evenings she would find a reason to shout at me so she could send me to bed without food. Her kids got the world, I had to work for everything. She treated me like dirt, so did her kids. I wanted to become a pilot, no money for me to study. My younger half-sister became a pilot, was paid in full. They all got a new car as a present; I had to use an old bicycle that was stored in the garage. Then I met my man of my dreams. He helped me pay my studies and apartment. He was a pilot and after I had known him for 5 years we got engaged. 15 days later, he died in an aircraft accident. My world was shattered. I had to move back home. She terrorized me, she would scold me and would make my life a living hell. I tried to commit suicide. I my letter I told her that my death would be on her hands. For a strange reason I survived. A month later, she called me and said: “ you accused me of murder, get off my property (she is a housewife, so it was theoretically my dad’s property). While I was studying I took 2 jobs and moved out. I invited my dad to my wedding, pleaded not to bring my stepmom, he never pitched. The only thing I got was an email from her. “You are a dumb, backstabbing, b’*$&h….(and 16 lines of more horror)… That day I made the decision never to speak to them again. Move away from all negative people, things and environments. Sometimes it is still hard, as I miss my dad, but he never had the backbone to stand up to her. I never felt part of a family, I never felt loved. Even after the death of my Fiancé, four year later I found the love of my life. He is supporting, loving and my best friend. After all these years I can really say I’m happy for the first time in my life. So I understand what you feel. Everything that makes you unhappy put them on paper. Try and find a solution on how to change the unhappy things.

Reply to Kiara Hopetohelp
Posted by: Kiara Hopetohelp | 2013-08-30

I had a really crappy life too. My parent’s marriage was not working. So they were thinking a child could change the whole thing…. 9 months later I was born. Meaningless to say, a third person (my stepmom) was involved and before my eyes could see the light of day, my dad was gone. My mom blamed me for the breakup; I was abused, severely abused. A few years later when my Mom drank herself into hospital I was removed by child services and placed under my dad supervision. Although I was the tender age of 6, my stepmom used me to do all her dirty work, cleaning, washing windows, doing chores her two children (1 and 4 years older than me) did not needed to do. She would wake me up half an hour earlier so I could set the table. In the evenings she would find a reason to shout at me so she could send me to bed without food. Her kids got the world, I had to work for everything. She treated me like dirt, so did her kids. I wanted to become a pilot, no money for me to study. My younger half-sister became a pilot, was paid in full. They all got a new car as a present; I had to use an old bicycle that was stored in the garage. Then I met my man of my dreams. He helped me pay my studies and apartment. He was a pilot and after I had known him for 5 years we got engaged. 15 days later, he died in an aircraft accident. My world was shattered. I had to move back home. She terrorized me, she would scold me and would make my life a living hell. I tried to commit suicide. I my letter I told her that my death would be on her hands. For a strange reason I survived. A month later, she called me and said: “ you accused me of murder, get off my property (she is a housewife, so it was theoretically my dad’s property). While I was studying I took 2 jobs and moved out. I invited my dad to my wedding, pleaded not to bring my stepmom, he never pitched. The only thing I got was an email from her. “You are a dumb, backstabbing, b’*$&h….(and 16 lines of more horror)… That day I made the decision never to speak to them again. Move away from all negative people, things and environments. Sometimes it is still hard, as I miss my dad, but he never had the backbone to stand up to her. I never felt part of a family, I never felt loved. Even after the death of my fiance, four year later I found the love of my life. He is supporting, loving and my best friend. After all these years I can really say I’m happy for the first time in my life. So I understand what you feel. Everything that makes you unhappy put them on paper. Try and find a solution on how to change the unhappy things.

Reply to Kiara Hopetohelp
Posted by: Anonymous | 2013-08-30

I found true meaning and happiness 5 years after my divorce, being a single mom. Through all the @#@# I went through I realised how strong I am and what I am made of. I started road running as it was about the only hobbie/entertainment I could afford and there I learnt what I can do and not what others say I cant. Running marathons have made me strong, mentaly & physically and I have met so many good strong, loving kind people. I have also met my soulmate. ITs taken me 40 years to be truly happy even in times when things go wrong, I go run and all is ok in my world. I might add that before my divorce I did the counselling, cost me a fortune and actually depressed me more. My suggestion to anyone is find the one thing in life that brings you happiness, not drinking or drugs, something that has long term benefits, it can help to change your outlook on life. Its a tough world out there

Reply to Anonymous
Posted by: Nicky | 2013-08-30

Hi, I haven't had such a hard life, but with a kid, a house, and a husband I was wondering the same thing "Will I ever be happy?". It just felt like all the excitement of my younger years had drained out of my life. I read a book, called "Mind your happiness", and it explained a very important factor of happiness, and that is that nothing can come from outside and make you happy (money, husband, child, job etc), it's a choice you have to make, and keep on making every day. I really would recommend the book ... it's much cheaper than counselling. Hope it helps!

Reply to Nicky
Posted by: SADmom | 2013-08-30

I have resigned myself to the fact that I will never be happy and I am scared of it as every time I think I am, something comes along and utterly destroys it.

Reply to SADmom
Posted by: Anonymous | 2013-08-30

Counselling is needed for you to heal from all the hurt you have experienced. There is no way around that option.

Reply to Anonymous
Posted by: Anonymous | 2013-08-30

There is only one cause of unhappiness: the false beliefs you have in your head, beliefs so widespread, so commonly held, that it never occurs to you to question them.” Friedrich Schiller “When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.” Something for you to ponder on...

Reply to Anonymous
Posted by: Majozi | 2013-08-30

@ Oprah...so you still believe that true happiness is brought about by money?

Reply to Majozi
Posted by: Kelly | 2013-08-29

Yeah I think debt really gets one down, ask me I know. Once its all steeled its like this huge rock lifted off you shoulders and you can breath and then think about other things in your life. You've had a hard life yet, truely I cannot imagine what it must have felt like but you have to learn to move on from it. Seems like lots of counselling is needed here but I hope you get the help that you need and yes it is possible to be happy BUT you've got to want it badly enough.

Reply to Kelly
Posted by: oprah | 2013-08-28

what i know for sure is that with so much debt you will never be truly happy. clear yr debt and you may be one day.................

Reply to oprah

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