Feeling invisible to people I love

littlestars

Confident
Relationships are tough on me. There are times when I feel invisible or don’t matter. A prime example is my birthday. I just want to have at least one good one in my thirties. When I turned thirty, I spent the whole day getting a restraining order. After that the day didn’t seem to matter much to anyone and no one wanted to make it up to me. I’ve been through a lot and am finally in a good place. I just want some normalcy. I feel like such a brat but I just want to feel like someone cares about what I would want. I’ve catered to other people and given them everything. I always feel like I get so little in return. For the first time in years, I feel alone. I’m not actually alone but rather feel so isolated and insignificant. My birthday is in May and I graduate a couple of days after my birthday. I wonder what’s going to happen. I wonder if my boyfriend will do anything special. It seems like when it is someone else’s birthday he makes a big deal about it but not about mine. I hate it so much that I feel heartbroken and it’s difficult to breathe. I guess I’m being immature but I always feel like I miss out and that no one cares. I know they do but their actions say otherwise. I don’t know. Maybe I am just being dramatic. I just feel second best when compared to other people, especially when it comes to my boyfriend lately. I don’t feel special at all.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Relationships are hard and birthday's are complicated.
I'm sorry your 30th was such a difficult day.

Have you told your boyfriend what you have written above?

I wonder if you feel able to take control of your birthday and graduation. What would you like to do to celebrate those occasions? And then organise that?
 

littlestars

Confident
What would be a good birthday?
One where I don’t have to tell people what I want and it therefore feels contrived because I asked for it. Idk I just want to feel special for once instead of it being awkward and disappointing.

Relationships are hard and birthday's are complicated.
I'm sorry your 30th was such a difficult day.

Have you told your boyfriend what you have written above?

I wonder if you feel able to take control of your birthday and graduation. What would you like to do to celebrate those occasions? And then organise that?
I don’t know how to talk about it without sounding ungrateful or spoiled. I don’t know how to word it properly.
 

Friday

Moderator
I don’t know how to talk about it without sounding ungrateful or spoiled. I don’t know how to word it properly.
Would it help to know that the vast majority of people -and everyone I’ve ever personally known- organize their own birthdays nearly every year? Sure, they rope others into doing A-Z, but they’re the ones who do 90% of the work and planning.

It might not.

Most of the people I’ve known fall into broad categories for what they want

- Party People
- Gifts People
- Romantic Dinners Out People
- A dozen tête-à-tête lunches and brunches over weeks People
- Getaway People
- Family Meal (and escape home) People
- Family Day / Family Night People
- Girls Night Out / Boys Night Out People (No SigOthers/ Kids / Fam allowed)
- Event people (sports games, theme parks, concerts, etc.)
- Splurgy Solo People
- Plan & execute it for me, or I won’t have it
- I was never born, do not have a birthday, and f*ck off. Seriously.

Each one of those broad categories has a GIANT spectrum in it, for what individuals want.

A party person might want an intimate gathering of close friends, a tailgating bonanza of friends & strangers/sports fans, a family friendly picnic or bbq, a pub crawl, or be paying for a couple hundred strangers to get drunk (that was my ex’s happiest of birthdays, thing; renting out a club & open bar, although he’d settle for 50+ people he actually knew at home ). And all possible variations. For some party people any kind of party is up their alley, for others only a very narrow range of what’s all things wonderful vs everything else ruined miserable awfulness.

Me’self… I’m a getaway person. My own birthday is in May. The way I prefer to celebrate it is by spending a week or 10 days away in the snow or surf. Which means I usually celebrate my birthday in March for snow, or August for sun. Sometimes I invite people along, sometimes I don’t. It’s very very different from my normal group-vacations, in that I just inform people when&where, and they can join me if they like. Group vacations, meanwhile, there’s group decisions (dates, prices/splits, food, etc.). When I’m celebrating my birthday I just book it, pay for it, and invite people along to come enjoy it with me. Or not. Or both. Meaning I might invite fam up for one weekend, take the week just me & TheKiddo, and friends for the following weekend. Or switch it around any whicha way. Because it’s my gig. <<< Whilst I can be talked into other kinds of getaways like a dirty weekend, or even skip categories for the right person/people like active-fun-all-day-long-series of adventures 1:1 (event category); or enjoy the hell out of a bonfire & bbq (party category), and still feel like I’ve “celebrated” my birthday? It doesn’t matter how many birthday lunches/brunches/dinners, parties, events, pubcrawls, or parades down bourbon street I attend. It just doesn’t feel like my “birthday”.

If you’re a plan & execute it for me, or I won’t have it, Person? You’re clearly NOT on the side of he spectrum that simply doesn’t care one way or another if they celebrate it, nor how; but has very clear ideas on both how it should be done / what you want, and what getting it “right” means to you.

Which means knowing most people plan their own celebration would be pretty meaningless EXCEPT THAT most of the people you date, are friends with, etc.? Won’t have a clue what you want, how you want it, or what it means to you… unless you tell them. Just because most people take an active role in their own celebrations.
 

Renly

MyPTSD Pro
Relationships are tough on me. There are times when I feel invisible or don’t matter.
I am super sorry you feel this way. It absolutely sucks to feel like you are invisible and don’t matter.
When I turned thirty, I spent the whole day getting a restraining order. After that the day didn’t seem to matter much to anyone and no one wanted to make it up to me.
I got a restraining order to end an abusive relationship and it was an absolutely agonizing and scary process. I’m sorry this happened to you on your birthday. There’s a lot tied up in this event in the sense of how the restraining order affected you and the significance of it happening on your birthday.
I’ve catered to other people and given them everything. I always feel like I get so little in return. For the first time in years, I feel alone. I’m not actually alone but rather feel so isolated and insignificant.
It sounds like you are experiencing big emotions. This is not a bad thing, but just something to take note of. Sometimes it’s really about a deeper issues. I’m often experiencing huge emotions and it’s been difficult to manage. I also try to take note of any “always” and “never” statements. Often these statements tie to negative cognitions and unhealthy core beliefs that we need to address within ourselves in therapy.
It seems like when it is someone else’s birthday he makes a big deal about it but not about mine. I hate it so much that I feel heartbroken and it’s difficult to breathe. I guess I’m being immature but I always feel like I miss out and that no one cares. I know they do but their actions say otherwise.
I’m sorry you feel heartbroken and that no one cares. I also feel like I can’t breathe a when I am having big emotions. It sucks.
Maybe I am just being dramatic. I just feel second best when compared to other people, especially when it comes to my boyfriend lately. I don’t feel special at all.
If you are being dramatic, it’s okay. And if you aren’t, that’s okay too. Sometimes I expect my SO to be a mind reader and he’s not. I have to ask him in a straightforward way for the things I need because he thinks so differently than I do. It’s not because he doesn’t care, even though I feel that way sometimes. I’m not sure if this is the case for you, or maybe it’s a signal that your relationship is not healthy. Either way, I’m sorry you aren’t feeling special right now. It really sucks to feel that way.

I hope that things turn around for you and you have a wonderful birthday.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
One where I don’t have to tell people what I want
It sounds as though it's very hard to express your needs?

But if you don't tell people what you want or need, they won't know. And it may not be that they don't care, but simply that they have no clue at all about how you feel or what you want..

Maybe try something different this year? Maybe say to your boyfriend you would love a celebration this year.


As an aside, I just left my work and another person was leaving at the same time. I organised my leaving do. The other person expected their manager to organise it. Their manager didn't. They were upset. They didn't then have a leaving do. I was happy because I had the leaving do I wanted and it was lovely. It sparked a debate between me and a couple of work friends, as people were divided about who should organise leaving do:s. Some people felt it should be the manager. I said it never entered my head to expect someone else to organise something for me.
I felt people's care and love by their attendance and giving me their time on a Wednesday evening.

So maybe you can reframe it or do something different this year to help you feel cared for by your friends and boyfriend.
 

littlestars

Confident
I spoke to my boyfriend about it and he said he’s taking me out to dinner. He’s also told me recently that he wants to propose to me… I’m not going to get my hopes up but I think he might propose on my birthday. If not that’s okay. I’d hate to assume and be wrong, but I’m excited either way. And I spoke with my family and they are planning something special too. I feel better now. It sounds like it will be better than the last four birthdays that I had.
 

Songbird29

New Here
I often suffer with these types of feelings. My trauma is linked more to friendship/receipt/luring so it is difficult for me to believe my friends care about me at times. I get paranoid that their love, attention, affection isn't real...that they are using me for what their needs are. This takes a toll on my relationship with my bestie and birthdays, holidays, and gifts seem to be a source of sadness for me as well. I go out of my way to make those things special for her but when my days come, I always feel as if the attention is forced or not genuine (if I get it at all). I'm often disappointed in the things she and my husband do for me. I wonder if this is just the PTSD or if I'm justifiably annoyed at the lack of effort. So friend, I feel you! Hugs!!
 
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