She’s Better Than Me, So I Am Nothing

I have a family member, by marriage, who was really rude to me when we were younger. I watched her do vindictive things to her brother’s girlfriends and used this to justify that my feelings about how she treated me were true.

I distanced myself from her, then tried being close to her a few years later when the family was together often, but she continued to do things behind my back that made me feel betrayed. I finally distanced myself from her for good and my husband agreed with the distance and distanced himself as well.

I was bullied when I was younger, so my coping method was to distance myself and remind myself of all the ways I was better than her whenever I felt guilty or sad about pushing away from her side of the family. I was kind, I didn’t live with my boyfriend, I didn’t have a kid out of wedlock, I had a lot of friends, I had a career that paid well and was very respectable, I was religious and a rule follower. I was better than her in everyway (according to my standards at the time)- but I still felt somewhat bad for not hanging around her.

Fast forward a couple years later, I left my church because I wanted to go my own way. I didn’t join another because I didn’t feel worthy. I got engaged, but wasn’t sure I wanted to get married. I bought a house with my fiancé but didn’t move in because we weren’t married. I had my career, but didn’t feel fulfilled. I sat in uncertainty for 2 years while the pandemic hit and took its course. I finally moved in with him, still unmarried, breaking one of my own rules.

Meanwhile, she got married. Her husband started a business. They had another kid. They all of a sudden had more friends and constant parties- making it seem like everyone wanted to be around them- something I couldn’t imagine. She got a job in the same field as me, without the degree so the pay is less, but she still made it to my similar field through her own way. She started going to church with her family and seems involved.

She tried reaching out to me throughout the years, but I never trusted her enough to join anything she invited me to. When I finally did attend something, she treated me the same as she had in the past. Now, whenever I’m down about something or feeling mildly indecisive, I think about her being better than me and instead of that driving me, it cripples me to the core. I get this weakening sensation that makes me feel lethargic and like I can’t move. I feel like she’s better than me because her and her family ended up doing all the things I felt I was supposed to do: stay in church, get married, have kids, have a career, and start a side hustle. Her having a lot of friends now just takes me back to when a mean girl bullied me and for a while she had friends, but I didn’t.

I know these thoughts are juvenile, but when they creep in, I believe them because there are still things I have not taken action on and instead of lifting myself up, I kick myself down with this thought because I think how did such an “awful” person end up getting “ahead” of me?

I know I’m giving my power away with this thinking. I know she is not awful- but my brain wants to label her as such because of the way I felt, and still feel, mistreated by her. I know these thoughts are a waste of time and not productive. But why do they feel so true?