My brother and his wife dated, traveled the world, and lived together for 8 years before marriage while doing their studies, all unknown to my parents. At the same time they got married, I got into my first relationship, which remains to this day, a long distance one, with us occasionally meeting once in a few months under parental supervision. It has been the most difficult 3 years, I cannot even begin to explain the frustration in words. We don’t have the luxury of sneaking off on trips because neither of us has the financial ability to or emotional support from our parents to do so.
In the few times that we have had a chance to meet discreetly, we tried, but were unable to have intercourse. Probably because we were so desperate, not knowing when we would meet again, and given the short period of time, we wanted to seal the deal. My sense of self-worth and my emotional state took a massive beating. I visited a OB/GYN to get checked and ensure something wasn’t wrong with me.
I have since degenerated very quickly. For months now I have been deeply jealous of my brother and sister-in-law. I am resentful that they had the chance to live together and travel the world before marriage, and that I never will. I once heard them have sex, and went into a panic attack. I am resentful I cannot have this or any human pleasure in my life for a long time.
On top of that, my brother’s relationship with me has drastically changed. He shares everything with his wife which I’m not comfortable about. So I am increasingly afraid, and even mistrustful of him. I feel constantly judged by them. As a result, I avoid and keep my conversations with him and his wife to the bare minimum.
I want to regain control of my emotions. I value all these relationships that I have. But I am not able to look beyond my resentments and be positive that things will turn around, because 3 years, I have felt this way, and resentment is the only emotion I know. What can I do to help myself?
Everything available to your brother was and is available to you. You are pointing to his successful relationship as if it were a roadblock in yours. When we are jealous of something someone else has that is good — it points toward our own limitation — not their success.
You state your age as 26, so it is time to reclaim your individuation. Rather than focus on what you brother is or isn’t doing, it is time to turn the attention inward. Resentment is an insidious emotion. In fact, such organizations like Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) have specifically identified as the “number one” offender. Yet, researchers are just learning more about its mechanics. What we do know is that when there is resentment someone, in some situation, has seemingly taken away our freedom.
The key word here is seemingly. In their book, The Resilience Factor: 7 Keys to Finding Your Inner Strength and Overcoming Life’s Hurdles, Karen Reivich and Andrew Shatte, apply the best of todays work on how to manage our negative emotions by offering techniques to deal with them. One particularly important section is on thinking traps — common patterns of thoughts that prevent us from seeing a situation accurately.
I would first get a copy of this book, and then look for a therapist to help you sort thought this difficult feeling and help transform it. Check out the find help tab at the top of the page for a therapist near you.
Wishing you patience and peace,