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Why do I always mess up when my life goes well?

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New Member

Joined: 23 Oct 2004
Posts: 6
Location: Yorkshire

Post Sat Oct 23, 2004 3:37 pm

Why do I always mess up when my life goes well?    Reply with quote  

Hello all -

Having a better day today, which has emboldened me to write all this.

Quick explanation of my current situation: male late 30's recently prescribed antidepressants after losing job due to depressive behaviour (lack of performance at work, basically). Just bought a house, too - so now there's the mortgage to worry about, but I digress... I live alone. Have gone through depression before without help but this time it's lasting much much longer - hence the visit to the GP.

This current depression was triggered by finding out that the woman I love (and always will) had married the ex-boyfriend just a few months after we had split up.

What's getting me down right now, though, is the fact that I've seemed to throw things away every time things were going well for me throughout my adult life.

And can I apologise in advance if you think "blimey, he's got a house, a car, a good education, IT skills, what's he got to worry about?" I know this is true, and I agree, and it winds me up all the more because I know I COULD have so much going for me if only I didn't screw it up every time.

Some examples:
(you don't have to read them all, they're all pretty much the same story, but it's good to get things down in black and white. Worth a read though, you couldn't make this stuff up! 6,7 and 8 are more relevant to how I am now though)


eg 1). married young(ish) straight after university to the girlfriend I met before going to uni. Waited and waited through Uni to marry her. Then we split up before even reaching the first anniversary, mainly due to overwork and a basic lack of consideration on my part for how she felt sitting at home waiting for me while I drove back from jobs all over the country. Arguments. Divorce.

Opportunities for a happy life, 1; opportunities thrown away, 0

eg 2). Met someone through my sport (motorsport) with whom I had an instant connection. We could have entire conversations with just the beginnings of sentences - we could fill in the rest ourselves. We started a motorsport hospitality company together which didn't work out, but we rode it out together and were happy with each other's company.

Now, her family had a business in Florida, and she wanted to go over there to live - would I like to come with her? Hell yeah! So we moved over to the states and had a couple of years living together, but only after a few months I started picking arguments for the stupidest reasons. Why? I have no idea! So we split up, although we both stayed in Florida.

Opportunities for a happy life, 2; opportunities thrown away, 0

eg 3.) Got a job with a small computer store over there run by a great guy. There were just 3 of us there and had a great time. For a while. Then, just as his business took a downturn I managed to mess up a couple of databases I was writing for him. So he had to let me go.

Opportunities for a happy life, 3; opportunities thrown away, 0

eg 4.) Coincidentally the girl I originally went to Florida with also lost her job, so we got back together to start a website design company. We were only together professionally, not romanitically. I managed to get an apartment overlooking the ocean, right in the middle of the best part of town. However, I managed to mess that up again when my old feelings for her made it impossible to work together. She found someone else, I got jealous and we had a huge bust-up over it (for which I still fell incredibly guilty). So I came back to the UK. So now we're up to July 2000.

Opportunities for a happy life, 4; opportunities thrown away, 0

eg 5.) Landed a contract back here designing a website for a local college. Great money. Rented a flat. Got back into racing. Got an offer of a drive in a national championship for the following year. Which is when I met the woman who I mentioned earlier. Big time thunderbolt thingy. Many common interests. A kindred kind of thought process that made the thing about finishing off each other's sentences seem like two strangers. She's clever, funny (KILLER put-downs!) oh-so beautiful, etc etc ! We had 8 weeks or so of the most intense kind...

She was at that time in the process of separating from a 6-year marriage. Combined with the fact that I had recently returned from the collapse of a lover/friendship, we both took a step back to be sure that this just wasn't a "rebound" thing. So the smart thing for me to do would have been to wait for both of us to get our thoughts together, right? You guessed it - I was too impatient, too pressuring, and so with a heavy heart we parted. Over time she found someone else as did I, and although I came to terms with seeing her in the local, I never really could get her out of my mind.

Opportunities for a happy life, 5; opportunities thrown away, 0

eg 6). So I decided to try to go back to Florida. I had (and continue to do so) stayed in touch with one of my room-mates from some of the time I was living there before. Sure he'd help - he would give me room and board in his house (he was by now married, with a toddler) in return for me running the website and databases for his company. He's a star!

So everything's arranged, I'm all set to go back to Florida, and I throw a leaving party for mates at the local pub. My ex and her boyfriend are there (he had since moved in with her, and they both seemed very happy together, so I had no problem). In fact, my ex and I had quite a good laugh that night playing trying to beat each other at pool. It comes to chucking out time and me ex asks me if I'd like to go back for some wine? Sure. For old time's sake, I thought. After all, I was about 30 hours away from flying to the States, so where's the harm?

The boyfriend had gone to bed, and my ex tells me that she was gutted when she heard I was going back to Florida. She tells me the boyfriend isn't working out, and she wishes I wasn't going. Now bear in mind we were both pretty drunk. But still. Nothing untoward happened. I'm not that kind of guy. But I confess to hugging the hell out of her when my taxi arrived. I confess I told her that I still loved her. She said she still loved me. 30 hours before my flight! I hugged her again and left.

I convinced myself that it was just the drink talking and went to live again in Florida.

Opportunities for a happy life, 5.5; opportunities thrown away, 0.5

eg 7): Got in touch again with the ex after arriving in the states by email. Over the following few months (this was oct 2002 to Feb 2003) we fell in love again. She had asked her boyfriend to leave. We were in contact all the time. She came over to visit and we spent the most INCREDIBLE week in the Florida Keys. Now bear in mind that that week was really the first time I'd spent with her since we'd split up in 2001. Everything felt so right, so real. We talked about her moving over to Florida. She fell in love with the place as much as I had when I first went over there. We kept in touch almost daily.


One weekend I was out on the road for my friend's business (In Chicago, not that it really matters). I wasn't able to reach her online or by phone (home or mobile) all weekend. So I got a little worried. Overmuchly, as it turned out. I had left lots of messages (I dunno, maybe a dozen) on her answerphone over the course of the weekend, each one obviously sounding more concerned.

She apparently had been out for most of the time, and her mobile had a flat battery, or something, and her home phone wasn't ringing audiably, or something. So she eventually hears all my messages late on Sunday, and lays into me on Monday for being too overbearing and controlling. If she wanted to go for Sat and Sun, it was her right so to do, and me chasing her up was not healthy. Yes, I could have let it go. But I didn't . We rowed for days until she finally said enough, and this is not the kind of relationship she wants, so we may as well forget the whole thing. Oh. My. God.

So things calmed down over the following weeks, but it was obvious a line had been crossed. We still exchanged the odd email. The odd chat online. But it was over.

Opportunities for a happy life, 6.5; opportunities thrown away, 0.5

eg 8.) (Good this, innit?)
August last year. My dad calls me up out of the blue and asks if I can come back to give him a hand. He's divorcing his 2nd wife and has to get himself set up in a rented house while he looks for another one to buy. His eyesight is very poor, and needed help settling in. He'd pay for the flights if I could spend a month or so back here. No prob. So I fly back.

So I tell my ex-ex about it and we agree to meet up and say hi. We do so and yes, you've guessed, it's thunderbolt city again. Passion. Love. Ive missed you so much. I was wrong. No, no, I was wrong. Lets work it out. Lets TALK to each other about things before jumping to conclusions. What about Florida? No contest. I take the decision to stay here and let things sort themselves out between us. I can find a job, no prob. We talk of marriage, where we will honeymoon, kids, where to live, the whole gamut.

I did pretty well this time. I lasted a whole four months before I got depressed about all of a sudden NOT being able to find a job. We split for "space" in January. She was back with the ex again in March. She married him in July (I think).

I did get a job (in January). And have thrown it away again by the depression that hit me recently.


What the hell is it about me that causes me to continually throw my life away? Is it diagnosable? Or am I to suffer this way of life forever?

As I sit here in my little terrace (which I bought when I still had a job), taking pills for depression (PILLS??? ME???? I thought I was stonger than that), realising that I have had far more opportunities and priviledges than I deserve, I am finding it VERY difficult to get the motivation to go out there and try again. And I don't just mean love, I mean anything.

Next Thursday is the anniversary of when I first met the woman I still love and I'm worried as to how I will take it. I so want to email her to ask her how things are, but I realise she has made her choice. I hope she's happy. I just hate not knowing.

Well I'm sorry for taking up to much banwidth with this epic, but I had to get things off my chest. Thank you if you got this far!


Joined: 07 Jul 2004
Posts: 9280
Location: East Sussex

Post Sat Oct 23, 2004 3:53 pm

   Reply with quote  

Hi Greebo

Welcome to the forum and thank you for your very open post. I can understand how you could look back over past events and count every single opporunately you think you have missed or every mistake you think you have made. Depression tends to do this to you. I know because I have the same thoughts myself. I have struggled with depression since the age of 13 and I think about every missed opportunity. Going over past mistakes in relationships is also very natural. I do this all the time and blame myself for everything that went wrong.

It is natural to see how you would feel depressed after the recent split from your ex, and that you might wonder if things could have been different if you had done things differently. It takes time to grieve for and get over a lost relationship.

Have a look at the Depression Learning Path which has useful information on the causes and treatments for depression.

I don't think there is any weakness in seeing your doctor for help, or from taking antidepressants. Depression is an illness like any other, and I am sure you would not feel this way if you were taking medication for any other illness. Are you getting any other help, from a therapist, for example?

This is a very supportive forum and I hope you find it helpful being here.


Joined: 17 Aug 2004
Posts: 823
Location: UK

Post Sat Oct 23, 2004 8:25 pm

Self-sabotage    Reply with quote  

Hi Greebo,

Have you heard of the term ‘self-sabotage’? This could be one explanation as to why you always tend to go into some sort of self-destruct mode. It can occur when people reach a certain level of success or happiness or wealth or whatever, which at some level they don’t feel worthy of. Sometimes they’re aware of why that is, but other times their self-doubts are buried so deeply in the sub-conscious that even they are no longer aware of them.

Often at the root of the problem is some aspect of your self-image – the person that you ‘believe’ you are. Most of us carry around a very negative self-image containing all our fears and doubts and weaknesses that have built up probably since childhood. That’s the way we see ourselves and that’s the image by which we live our lives.

Our behaviour never deviates far from that image that we believe to be true. So if things are getting too good and we (often sub-consciously) feel that we don’t deserve them, we tend to do something to cause it to all come crashing back down again.

I tried to explain this here a while ago – you may find it useful. Or you might care to look up self-sabotage yourself and see what you find. You might find this isn’t the case with you at all, but it’s something worth considering.

New Member

Joined: 25 Oct 2004
Posts: 3

Post Sat Oct 30, 2004 2:39 am

   Reply with quote  

I partlyagree w/ the posts above but partly not.

Why do you do the things you do?I dont know.
I would consider, however, not just saying "Im depressed so this is depression & it will just make me regret things (by the nature of it) & medication would help me get over it."Not htat i think briary is wrong, but when we make mistakes we will be depressed (theyre mistakes after all & they do have consequences)but we will naturally feel regret--so we can remember suffering & learn ho to avoid it. I dont know about the self sabotage thing,but if that describes you then thats good.First identify your problem.I thinkmaybe you should learn how to dealw/relationships more harmoniously instead of arguing.pain can sometimes be the most effective teacher Sad not that that makes any sense im sorry.
i dont know what advise to tell you.Anything i think of sounds too presumptious.Perhaps being very fair and agreable no matter how long it takes to settle things would be what will work if you both really are right for each other.If you havent had any serious,unforgiveable dispute then things can still work out--you sound like you care very much & i guess that determines if it is right for you or not.But I dont really know at all. . .im just rambling.
Best wishes
New Member

Joined: 23 Oct 2004
Posts: 6
Location: Yorkshire

Post Mon Nov 15, 2004 6:10 am

   Reply with quote  

Hi folks.

very rude of me not to have said thank you before now - but not really been up to communicating much. Sorry about that.

Thank you for the welcome, briary, and for pointing me to the Learning Path. Very interesting reading - especially relevant is the fact that I've recently been having terrible nightmares every 90 mins or so! I am sure I'll be able to make use of the techniques and concepts therein.. when the time comes.

Nigel - the "self-sabotage" theory is an interesting one. The symptoms seem to match, but for the life of me I can't relate it to a reason why I should be like that...

cverdera - I think the main problem I have is that I don't seem to be able to learn from mistakes made in the past - hence the similar mistakes repeated! Thank you for your optimism in hoping we can get together again - but I have to think that as she's married, I must assume it's not going to happen. Shocked Then at least I can concentrate on grieving for a relationship rather than continuing to screw my head up over missing her. (which sounds like the thing I should be doing - it's just that I can't bring myself to do it just yet...i still think about her constantly)

I'd like to thank you all for replying - may I repeat the sentiments of others on this forum; it feels good to be listened to - I think my original post was probably just a good venting - and it gave me a little heart that someone had listened and bothered to reply!

As you can probably surmise from the time of this post, things are still not going too well. It was terribly difficult not to try and contact my ex when it was our "anniversary". I have to be strong though, and not disturb her in her new life. I'd love to know how she is, but knowing her she wouldn't appreciate my contacting her. She'd see it as an attempt on my part to try get together again. Which in all honesty would be partly true. So no contact then. God it's difficult though!

I've been trying to get to see a therapist through my gp - in the meantime I'm on 140mg Lofepramine (having already tried Diazepam). It's been over a month now, and no change in me. I have been having very black thoughts - sometimes suicidal - and during my last visit with my gp I had enough common sense to tell him this. Still not been given any appointment with a therapist yet though. What I'm worried about is that although at the moment I don't think i'll actually go through with anything, I know that I have to be strong enough every time to stay alive. I only have to succomb once... It's very hard for me to think about the future being anything good.

I'm fighting three things at the minute, then - the fact that I've been responsible for losing my love, the fact that I never learn (so is the rest of my life going to follow the same pattern?) - and another little problem in that I've got sciatica! Probably made worse by how I'm feeling, too!

God, I must seem like such a whinger! However, it is doing me good to get things out in the open again! So please forgive the self-absorption I am displaying.

take care all.

Joined: 07 Jul 2004
Posts: 9280
Location: East Sussex

Post Mon Nov 15, 2004 12:20 pm

   Reply with quote  

Hi Greebo

It's good to hear that you are taking practical steps to change the aspects of your life which are making you unhappy.

I think you are right not to hold on to false hopes of a reconciliation with this woman. As you rightly say, she is now married and has built a new life for herself and you need to respect that.

I can understand how difficult it was not to contact her on your anniversary, so well done for staying strong. I do realise how difficult that must have been.

Did your doctor give you any idea as to how long you will have to wait to see the counsellor?

You do not sound like a whinger to me Wink . We all have problems that crop up in our lives and have the need for someone to listen and know that others understand what we are going through. We are here for you when you feel the need to talk.

New Member

Joined: 23 Oct 2004
Posts: 6
Location: Yorkshire

Post Tue Nov 16, 2004 7:03 am

   Reply with quote  

Hi Briary

Thank you for your reply again! For some reason I feel better today. Maybe seeing it written down by someone else that I'm right in giving up hope for her has confirmed something inside me? Maybe the pills are finally starting to have an effect? Whatever the reason, I actually feel like doing something today - and I mean more than going to the corner shop for fags and coke!

I'm going to try go see a friend of mine and let her know what's been going on with me. I can see how posting here and receiving replies has made me feel, and that I obviously need to share more than I have been doing.

Also - this particular friend has stopped me going through with the suicide - even though she has no idea! To explain - another friend of hers (who I didn't know) killed himself last year, and one of the last people he spoke to was my friend. Well, she was distraught, blaming herself somehow. Everyone told her that she had no influence over his decision, and it wasn't her fault, and in time she came to accept it.

However, I was thinking what would happen to her if I went and did the same thing? So I decided I couldn't put her through that. Those thoughts, along with thinking how my mum & dad would feel, basically stopped me at the eleventh hour.

So then, I think that talking here, and listening to what is written, has helped me! I'm definitely going to try and get out today - even though it means hobbling to the car (you should see the sight! lol). At least it's an automatic!

I hope I still feel ok later on! I know I'll feel better talking to someone. And no, I know I'm not "fixed", but it's definitely a start!

Thanks again Briary for your time!

New Member

Joined: 23 Oct 2004
Posts: 6
Location: Yorkshire

Post Tue Nov 16, 2004 7:14 am

PM explanation...    Reply with quote  

This is a post for the person who PM'd me earlier - I won't say your name, but as I have only had one PM - you know who you are! lol

Sorry, I can't reply yet until I've posted here a bit more - but I will do so when I can. I'm not ignoring you!

Thanks for the message,


Joined: 07 Jul 2004
Posts: 9280
Location: East Sussex

Post Tue Nov 16, 2004 12:39 pm

   Reply with quote  

Hi Greebo

It's good to hear that you are feeling better today. I think it's great that you are getting out to see your friend today, and I am sure talking will do you the world of good.

I understand what you mean by your friend helping to prevent you from committing suicide. It is the same kind of thoughts and feelings which stopped me this time round too. I couldn't inflict that pain on my friend, or on my family. So no matter how bad I felt, I had to find another way through.

The sciatica must be horrible to put up with. Are you having any treatment. Having medical worries does not help at times of depression.


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