Envy for Your Children

Evil Queen
The familiar plot of Cinderella gave me the opportunity to write about shame and narcissism, themes not traditionally addressed by other iterations of this classic fairy tale. Snow White, my current project, allows me to write about the experience of envy and jealousy, usually the most prominent feature of every version of the story: the envy felt by the Wicked Queen for Snow White’s youth and beauty, obviously experienced as a narcissistic injury or threat. As in the original version of the fairy tale, before the Brothers Grimm altered the story to make it more emotionally acceptable to their audience, the Queen in my story will be Snow White’s biological mother. What kind of woman would feel so envious of her own child that she wants to destroy her? Rather than a monochromatic “evil” queen, I’m trying to envision a fully dimensional character and what might drive her.

The envy parents sometimes feel for their children has been on my mind of late, not only because I’m writing about it in Snow White but also because I’m feeling it. This envy is not the poisonous, destructive kind of hatred parents sometimes feel for their kids, but one that mingles with pride and genuine happiness for my children’s success. It’s a wistful kind of regret: I wish I could have had that, too. My oldest graduates this weekend from a top university and, at 22, will step into a fascinating job with an excellent company. My second son, only 19, attends college in London and will be spending his summer as an intern in Paris. Neither one has had to take out student loans or work their way through college — all thanks to the education trust established by their maternal grandparents. Oh my, these are fortunate boys!

When I was in high school, I wanted to attend an Ivy League university on the East Coast. I had the grades and SAT scores to get into Harvard but my father refused to pay even though tuition back then was much more affordable than it is today, well within the means of our family. I went to UCLA instead, a good university but not an Ivy. I worked at least 20 hours per week throughout my four years and have always felt that I missed out on a lot of college. I feel that I didn’t have enough time to devote to my studies. One of my biggest regrets is not having had the kind of immersion experience that my oldest son enjoyed. I envy him, but it’s not a bitter feeling. It doesn’t make me lose sight of my own accomplishments and the very real goodness in my life so far.

I believe my own father envied me, too. Early in high school, he had to drop out and help support his family during the Depression. Although he never said as much, I know he wished he could have finished high school and gone on to higher education. I was the only one of his children to do so. When I earned my doctorate and built a life as a professional, he felt a mixture of pride, vicarious fulfillment and envy.

I graduated first in my high school class. Years later, I learned that for months after, Dad had carried the little slip announcing my class rank in his pocket, showing it to friends and business associates. He was obviously proud, though he never told me so. It strikes me as a narcissistic sort of pride, about him rather than me. Many of you will relate to this experience. In your comments to my posts, you’ve told me about parents who exploited you for narcissistic gain. I don’t think my father was a bad man, or that his experience of pride was particularly unusual. Don’t most parents like to brag about their child’s success because it reflects well upon them? When I speak of my sons’ lives, I feel pride in them as well as myself.

One day when I was in my early 30s — married, a homeowner, in private practice — my sister-in-law Debbie told me the following story concerning Dad. She had been talking to him about troubles with her own son, who was struggling to make his way as an independent adult, borrowing money, often in need of help from his mother and father. Dad said to her, “It never ends, Debbie — I’m still supporting Joe.” In actual fact, I’d been financially independent for years. I was married to a lawyer and we were both earning respectable incomes. Why did Dad lie to her? Why did he want to diminish me and my accomplishments? Envy and narcissism, I’d say. He envied my education and my success; he wanted to make himself look “big” by taking credit for them. Sure, my life seemed to be a success but only because he was subsidizing it.

All of this feels like ancient history, no longer a source of much pain. I’ve spent enough time regretting what Dad couldn’t give me and at this point in my life (with Father’s Day coming up), I’d rather recall his strengths as a man: his powerful work ethic, his perseverance in the face adversity (he nearly went bankrupt more than once but refused to go under), the aura of emotional calm he usually exuded. I don’t think he ever felt sorry for himself. These are qualities I greatly admire. I think I resemble Dad in those first two traits; but as I wrote in my post about self-pity, I’m liable to feel sorry for myself, a trait I do not respect. If I’m careful and heed my own limits, I can manage my emotional life well enough not to inflict my pain and stress on those around me. I don’t always succeed but I try. I’m good in an emergency, becoming extremely calm and clear in a moment of crisis.

In any event, if Dad envied me, it didn’t play a major part in his experience. A parent’s envy wasn’t a continuous emotional factor in my life, as seems to have been the case for some of the readers who responded to my earlier post about narcissistic mothers. Plus, I think a certain amount of envy for your children is normal. After all, my kids are young and at the beginning of their journey; I’m well past the middle of my own. They haven’t made any major mistakes so far; I have a number of significant, painful regrets about choices I made. Of course I wish I could be young again, with my whole life ahead of me. That doesn’t mean I want to deprive my children of enjoying their own time.

Envy gets a bad rap but there’s nothing unusual about it. Envy, as I’ve said before, can teach you what you want. Problems only arise when it links up with shame, as I’ve written about before. When the success/beauty/youth enjoyed by someone else makes us feel like a loser in comparison, our envy may become poisonous. In the illogical unconscious, we may feel as if it is precisely because the other person has the trait or thing we want that we cannot have it. We may feel that the only possible relief would be to destroy the object of our envy.

A deeply shame-ridden woman with powerful narcissistic defenses — that’s Snow White’s mother in a nutshell. Her psychology seems clear enough, and not particularly ground-breaking. What interests me more is the huntsman. What was his relation to the Queen, and why would he obey her command to kill Snow White?

Most intriguing to me are the dwarfs. After reading Andrew Solomon’s new book, Far From the Tree, I’ve become interested in the way disability groups seek to escape social stigma by intentionally separating themselves from the mainstream. What if those seven dwarfs weren’t cute little fairy tale figures but actual dwarves, born into the “normal” world? How did they come to be living together and what sort of life would that be? How would they feel when a normal-sized person wandered into their world? Would they envy her?

Snow White at the Dwarf Colony. Stay tuned.

Joe is the author and the owner of AfterPsychotherapy.com, one of the leading online mental health resources on the internet. Be sure to connect with him on Google+ and Linkedin.

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41 Responses to Envy for Your Children

  1. L K says:

    Really interesting post Joe. You are making me even more eager to read your depiction of Snow White.

    I have always been confused about the difference between envy and jealousy. I know my own mother felt envy/jealousy towards me – she displayed it in various ways. Putting me down in front of people, showing a favouritism for my friends and brother over me, claiming my achievements to be an extension of her – ‘you’re so artistic, you get your creativity from me…’, belittling my experiences by claiming hers were far superior e.g. when I wanted a pair of flared jeans as a teenager (fifteen years ago) I was bluntly told that she wore flares when they first came out and everything today is just a poor replica of things from her day (this applies to fashion, music, politics (if she can stretch herself to talking about something so intellectual) – she practically claims that LOVE was invented in her day – free love at least! Other more hurtful/disturbing things like being neglectful enough to avoid noticing that I am being assaulted/taken advantage of by men she brought into the house and attempting to seduce my husband (certain he would obviously choose her over me).

    Your comment about your dad claiming he was still supporting you when he wasn’t is exactly what my father has said of both me and my brother even though it is not true. I find it quite hurtful and it makes me angry. I am also baffled by the gushing love and enthusiasm my mother displays towards me on my facebook page and to her friends and the family about me when she says none of it to my face.

    I feel quite painful jealousy for a number of reasons and you are right it tells me a lot of myself. I am jealous of friends who have parents who obviously care about them. Jealous of people who don’t have my issues. Jealous of my therapists children because I want what they have in a dad – that their dad shows me more compassion, validation and empathy in one hour a week than my dad has shown me in the 29 years of my life. It would never make me wish bad things upon the person I am jealous of so I’m not sure if that’s envy or jealousy or neither or both. I am just sad I don’t have the thing they have. It is very painful.

    • Joseph Burgo says:

      The way most psychologists distinguish envy from jealousy is that envy is about two people, jealousy about three:

      I envy you for your wealth or good looks.

      I am jealous of your relationship with Sheryl and feel left out.

      Your mom’s problem sounds like envy to me. And yes, envy and jealousy are both extremely painful. It’s when they’re so painful we can’t bear them that we may become destructive. That doesn’t sound like it’s the case with you.

      • L K says:

        Thank you for this. It’s good to understand the difference between jealousy and envy better and get your take on what I shared about my mother.

  2. Stephanie says:

    My mom envied me and went out of her way to hurt me. I felt that whatever I became as an adult was my mom’s doing. Problem was she envied me early on and mistreated me. As I grew up she Instilled In me not to argue or fight back. I became kinda weak willed sometimes so much so that I find it hard to defend myself. There is something in me that has a hard time bringing to fight or defense to the surface. I go out of my way to please too often and sometimes I don’t. I hate it when I am Insulted and I regret not speaking up but sometimes I Cannot. Do I need help?

    • Joseph Burgo says:

      It might be a good idea to find someone help you learn how to stand up for yourself more.

      • Stephanie says:

        I know how to defend myself I just have a problem defending myself. Its as if I have been brain washed because something In me halts or shuts down when I should speak up sometime. I feel as though I am tied up and can’t speak. Other times I am outspoken but not enough. Been doing it for long its become kinda normal but I hate it and I want to stop it.

  3. Green Eyes says:

    This was great Joe and very thought provoking.

    My experience as a college student was very dull and unrewarding because my father provided little financial support and had to work hard during the summer to save money for the year ahead and then try and work a bit as well. It meant I barely had enough money for food and could never go out with my friends or buy clothes (with a teenage daughter I’m sure you know what a travesty that is for any girl!). I didn’t get the immersion experience either, I lived in poverty while my dad spent money going to Europe and buying designer clothes.

    Did he envy me? Possibly, though I felt like he never really loved me. In fact he seemed embarrassed to be seen with me in public until I weighed under 130 pounds. Same with my brother. My mother had died by the time I was in college but she smashed my ambitions of being a medical doctor by pronouncing I wasn’t smart enough over and over again. She very much envied my innocence and intellectual capacities and did her best to trash both of them. I’m still dealing with those repercussions in my 30s.

    My son is only 16 months but I already have an enormous amount of pride and envy for him. Pride in that he is developing so beautifully, is so inquisitive and loving and makes me laugh every single day. But envy that he has parents that he feels secure with, who don’t abuse or neglect him, who accept his feelings and the fact that he is still very much a baby and very dependent on us. I (rarely) feel imposed on during a night disturbance or a cranky day and if I do I know its my own stuff playing up. As well as envy there is also incredible relief – knowing that he will have difficult patches in life because we all do, but knowing life won’t be anywere near as painful for him as it has been for me. I guess that’s the legacy of abusive, neglecting narcissistic parents who were born to individuals probably suffering from traumatic stress following surviving World War 2 in Europe and a POW camp in Asia/Pacific.

    • Joseph Burgo says:

      You describe the complexity of your feelings nicely, and what you say also applies to my own experience. BTW, I’m very sorry it has taken me so long to approve and respond to your comment. I’ll explain why in my next post.

      • Green Eyes says:

        Thanks Joe, I presumed you were on a summer break. Would be really interested in your thoughts on how to bear the grief of unmet needs, abuse, trauma and deprivation from childhood, and more specifically, how to stop yourself going completely crazy in the process and how to accept you will never get what you’ve longed for in those young wounded parts of yourself.

        • Joseph Burgo says:

          I wish a had a short answer for that one. It seems like I could write a great many posts trying to cover that issue. I think the answer lies in having a good therapeutic relationship with someone who actually cares about you. It doesn’t make up for what you never got and never can have but it helps ease the pain.

        • L K says:

          Green Eyes I can so relate to your recent comment. ‘How to accept you will never get what you’ve longed for .’

          I am really struggling with this. After making what I would consider to be small steps in potentially big progress with the help of a fantastic therapist I am still feeling so confused and frustrated that this hunger is still within me. It aches even to go to therapy because of the transference attachment I have formed with my therapist. It feels like I love him as if he were my dad. I don’t want to leave after my time is up. The ‘wants’ are childish – to be held by him, to have him tell me what he likes about me, that he’s proud of me etc I can see this is my inner child playing out all the needs that were not met when I needed them most and he provides what he can in an attempt to ‘re-parent’ me in our bounderied therapeutic relationship. But I want to know if I will ever stop wanting? Joe has answered a similar question of mine before.

          Joe’s answer here is reassuring as I take it to mean that therapists actually do care about their clients for real. That means the world to me.

          Joe, I too would love to read a post on this.

      • Y says:

        Were you meeting with a publisher?!

  4. Gordon says:

    “Ooh! when I was your age I had to walk to and from school in waist deep snow uphill both ways.”
    I am a firm believer that nothing comes without a price and a prize in life. Maybe the Joe who is best at his job is the one who had a the dad who would not pay for his education at Harvard.
    Not to say there are no such things as good and bad luck. There are preferable situations to be in, but when it comes to long term decisions, sometimes it’s hard to really know what will work out and what is best.
    “Maybe walking uphill over all that snow was good exercise and it gave you the edge at sports”.

  5. I agree. In some ways I envy my children because they are making the most of their lives and doing things I wish I had done when I was their age. But there is pride in what they are doing because it means I did my job well – helping them to become the young adults that they have matured into. It means I broke the negative patterns of the past so they can soar.

  6. Tammy Kacmarynski says:

    A detail in your blog has caught my attention and I am hopeful that you will write about this in greater detail: Far from the tree by Andrew Solomon.

    I was officially diagnosed last year with Aspergers and with all of the inaccurate research and beliefs from the mental health community, in which I am also employed, I sought out my ‘people’. I had never considered this was a method in which to avoid the stigma but rather the place where I could discover my identity.

    I must say I am quite intrigued with your outlook in therapy and many of your beliefs align with my own. I only wish this was more of a widespread belief system within mental health.

  7. bobdick says:

    I’m not sure pride is ever not about significant narcissism, and I’m fine with that. I’m sure , tho I brag only modestly[Ha-ha], that my pride in my son’s doing well is about both pleasure in his pleasure and pleasure in how I imagine that reflect well about me. People are gonna, and have gotta do/frame some things to feel good/even better about ourselves. It seems no matter how happy & successful we are, we still want more, and wish we coulda’ had more. Tho’ if we’d had whatever we imagine we’d have liked to do or have or get, it’s unlikely we’d have the particular good lives we have now. Then we might be wishing we had gotten what we actually have had and have now.
    I remind myself that Perfect doesn’t have to be the enemy of the good-enough.
    Dr Bob

  8. Gayle says:

    Thanks for another interesting post Jo. Again it seems to go hand in hand with what I am experiencing at the moment. Sometimes I feel like my best friends are ” Envy” and “Jealousy”. They have been with me my entire life and at times I find them completely overwhelming. I am a pretty outgoing, friendly person and yet often feel mortified by how possessed I feel by them both, they seem to me, to be living entities. I shudder at the thought of what my friends would think if they could see the inner workings of my mind. These ‘its’ that take over, and that are so filled with anger, resentment and self pity. It is indeed fuelled by absolute shame. My biggest and all time envy is that I just turned 38 I’m still single. I can’t help but wonder if I will ever have a chance to be loved by someone or to have my own children. Sometimes I feel so filled with rage and envy I can’t even bear being around my happily married friends. When they talk about their children with so much love and pride its like there is a screaming match in my head. “Don’t you know how much I want my own child!” Me. Me. Me. Relate to the evil queen? ..Sometimes I feel like I am her. It literally makes me sick to my stomach that I have spent almost 40 years alone, unable to have a healthy loving relationship. It absolutely breaks my heart that I feel like I have missed out on so much. My sense of entitlement is immense and all consuming. I can’t help but feel like I’m being punished for some unnamed sin and I can’t quite figure out what it is. A good friend asked me to babysit for her on Saturday while her husband and another couple all went to a show. Of course I said yes. But I arrived at the house fuming. I still feel like this little girl being left behind while all the adults go out and have fun, and I’m left watching “their” children. I don’t want to watch other people’s children. I want my own. Out of the goodness of my heart I wanted to help and yet I became unrecognisable to myself.
    I know jealousy is something that my mum struggled with her whole life. Its a pattern I have learnt well. Logically I love my life, I have travelled the world alone had
    amazing experiences that so many of my married friends envy. I work with children and I absolutely love my job. I have recently decided to start studying psychology and I have great ambitions for my future. I feel a magnitude of excitement and awe for what’s around the next corner. I honestly don’t regret a single thing in my life. It all got me to this point. I am also so grateful that I have had these last 5 years to work on myself and my issues. I am proud of all my growth and the fact that I have “saved” myself so to speak. And yet with all this positivity and pride in myself these old, illogical , outdated, unwanted emotions still seem to grab me by the throat every time. Its exhausting. It seems foreign to me that some people have actually grown up without this millstone around their neck. What must that feel like? Oh the envy! ;-)
    So I think I’ll keep unpacking with my therapist and hope that one day my two best friends will be relegated to the back of the line (I have come to appreciate that they will never fully disappear) and in their place will be a stable amount of “Hope” and an abundance “Acceptance” for me, as I am.
    Thanks for listening, as always.

    • Joseph Burgo says:

      Most of all, I hope you’ll develop the relationship and family you want because, in my experience, getting what you want is often a huge salve for envy and jealousy.

  9. Andrea u.k says:

    Is it about envy or is it about not having the emotional ability to praise someone? Maybe it’s both? I personally think that to be able to praise and give recognition to another person and mean it requires and creates emotional intimacy. If a parent has never had that themselves or been to therapy I think they are unable to grasp the meaning of it or why it’s even important to the child. Appearing powerful is the name of the game! Great post btw joe!

  10. klem says:

    As I was reading about your ideas on Snow White, I began wondering about the mirror and what it might mean, how it it impacted the story and how it was used. Could some of Kohut’s ideas and theories could be entwined with this?
    I have written about mirrors, how they reflect when they are backed with a precious material, . . .if the silvering is missing, they are not reflective. Instead, they are clear and are transformed into windows.
    And the frame. . .how is the mirror framed? Is it large, small, decorative, heavy, or layered?
    Oh, how I love this idea! Keep working at it, can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  11. Y says:

    This is an extremely painful post, Dr. Burgo (that may explain the lack of comments). It took me at least a week to gain the courage to formulate a response. Your honesty often overwhelms me.

    My childhood was chock full of abuse/neglect and, yes, sometimes I envy my sweet kiddo who is thriving and gaining such a strong sense of self. I envy her the love that I dish out as a mother, but still can’t give to the child trapped inside of me.

    Thank you for the opportunity to express these feelings. Maybe in the future you could write about the sorrows and beauty involved with adult survivors of abuse and parenthood?

  12. marquis says:

    Hello, someone on dailystrength.org gave me this site to your blog. I loved it! Everything I have said about my parents is the downright truth. My therapist would find your blog just “another perception” that I shouldn’t take so quickly – I doubt she has narcissistic parents. My parents never gave me a voice, I am 27 year old woman, and still looking for my voice.

    I still live at home seeking employment and it’s still chaos in my house. My parents always take credit for things they didn’t do/say yet these naive people believe them over me! They tell me I am the ungrateful and unappreciative child that we should love our abusive families no matter what! I told my therapist that is something I don’t agree with at all and won’t agree end of sentence – she just looked at me.

    I feel my therapist seems to think abusive parents can still love their kids, it’s just that they don’t know how. That seems like to me it’s pushing it under the rug and I told her you don’t love and abuse together they are polar opposites.

    • Beth says:

      Marquis,
      When I entered into therapy, my experience was opposite of yours. I was very concerned about one of my kids, could not figure out what had happened in my family of origin, marriage, in a very odd and destructive internship, nor could I fathom why I was so susceptible to certain problems of relationship. The therapist blurted out “The narcissistic mother!” And I said “The what?…”. There are therapists who are very adept at understanding the impact of these experiences, but it is up to you to find a therapist who experienced with your concerns and is a good fit. It is worth it.

  13. Beth says:

    Hi Joe – When your father said he was “still supporting Joe”, perhaps he did not mean literal support, but rather how he feels about the figurative supportive role. There are a couple of valedictorians in my own and extended families, with lots of attendant family dynamics and roles. It is quite the mantle and mantle -piece. In each valedictory “case”, there was a merged parent, an enabling parent, and splitting dynamics in the families – complete with both adaptive and maladaptive behaviors on everyone’s part (scapegoat bleatings). Then, there is the Illinois Valedictorian Study and researcher Karen Arnold’s related book, “Lives of promise: What becomes of high school valedictorians:…”, looking longitudinally at the lives of valedictorians. So, what do schools measure, and what did being valedictorian mean to you? Beyond love, envy and jealousy, I think perhaps your father understood at gut level that there were entitlement risks, and as commentator Gordon noted, challenged you by introducing the aspect of self reliance on other than intellectual levels. Those strengths of your father’s that you admire and have incorporated, that kept your family strong – why you know you will always love and be supportive of your own kids. Fathers.

    • Joseph Burgo says:

      As for my Dad, he was most definitely referring to the money and was by large unsupportive of me in virtually every way. He was a distant, uninvolved father who offered no guidance or encourage.

      • L K says:

        Interestingly I presumed this commenter knew you personally, the way she speaks with authority about your dad – ‘ your father understood at gut level that there were entitlement risks’ – I personally find it frustrating when people presume to know our selves and our family members better than we do. It’s one thing offering an outsiders perspective but quite another to imply that your judgement on your fathers statement about ‘support’ is incorrect.

          • Beth says:

            LK
            Oh, I think I see what you mean. I have no personal knowledge of Dr. Joe Burgo or anyone on this post. I was trying to use Joe’s article to illustrate my own thoughts, and I did not do a very good job. I did not want to write more directly about my own experience because it includes other types of abuse that would complicate the topic.
            Your criticism is noted.

      • Beth says:

        Thanks for sharing so clearly, Joe – now I understand better your reasoning. You stand firm in your truth; it reminds me of the brave (and controversial) clarity expressed by the late Alice Miller. Hard-won, such truths. And, somehow, when you call it like it is, I don’t feel quite so alone in my own experiences.

  14. Sterling says:

    Great post. I envied my significant other’s half-sister, who grew up in a stable home with every possible privilege. I thought such a perfect upbringing would give her all the advantages I lacked, with my narcissistic mother and alcoholic father. Now that she is nearly 21, I see that there is no such thing as a perfect upbringing. All of her advantages have served only to sap her motivation and give her a strong sense of entitlement. She has never worked, struggles to stay in interested in school, and manipulates her parents into giving her what she wants financially and emotionally. They seem almost incapable of saying no to her. While I wouldn’t wish my nightmare childhood on anyone, it forced me to be resourceful and work hard. There can be benefits to that kind of path, difficult as it may seem at the time.

  15. Barbara says:

    This is another great post that I can really relate to. I, too, dreamed of going to an Ivy, got into my first choice, got a great financial aid offer which would have required a small amount from my parents in addition to what I was able to earn and borrow, but they refused to pay anything, so I “had to” go to a different school that offered me a full scholarship, room, and board.

    Looking back, it, too, was a fine opportunity at a very good school, but it felt as if they had deliberately messed up my chances, and/or absolutely didn’t care about what I wanted or what going to my first-choice school meant to me. And of course, that was a completely predictable way for them to behave.

    Bio-dad’s son later got into his first-choice Ivy, by the way, and Bio-dad and his wife paid for that. I’m in my 40s, and still feel envy when I think of that. I think, “Gosh, I wish I’d get over that!” but it’s still there. It just brings up loads of questions and issues, for example, about how I could have been — quite literally — nothing to Bio-dad. He will talk with pride about his son to me, knowing full well that he never provided me with any emotional/material help with …anything, and he seems oblivious to the thought that I might have any feelings about that. On the few occasions I’ve tried to raise that subject, all his shortcomings get blamed on my mother who did such-and-such and didn’t allow him to see me — so it’s perfectly fine that he never made an effort for me. It was all her fault. Apparently, too, he never lost any sleep over leaving me completely in the hands of someone who was very mentally ill.

    But anyway. Back to envy. My own son is now in his first-choice program at his first-choice school, and his dad and I are paying for that. Once in a while I feel a twinge of envy — of the sort “Wow, you don’t even know what a good thing it is, to have parents who are happy for you and who put you through school gladly.”

    It’s almost like, I wish he understood what it was like to be me, so he would have more appreciation for what he has. But my wish doesn’t really make sense to me. It’s not even like he’s unappreciative — he’s actually very appreciative, and knows that sending him to school is a stretch for us, and he expresses his appreciation in various ways and he asks for very little. He’s appreciative in the way that a kid who’s always had his parents on his side — to care for him and look out for him and support his choices — is appreciative, which is as it should be. So why do I sometimes wish for “more appreciation than that”? True, if someone had swooped in and helped me out at his age — with kindness, money, or anything in between — I would have been super-uber-appreciative, but only because I’d been so deprived.

    Anyway, most of the time I’m just happy for him, that he’s had a better start in life than me and is going to the school of his choice and thriving, and generally seeming to have a good time. But sometimes that envy does crop up: I think, “You just don’t know how good you’ve got it, and by the way I wish I’d had some of that good stuff too!” :)

    • Joseph Burgo says:

      I don’t think there’s anything wrong or even unusual about that feeling. It’s the occasional kind of envy that doesn’t destroy everything else you feel for your son. It doesn’t change the love you feel for him or your happiness in his success. It’s just a painful twinge that comes and goes. I say that’s normal!

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