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The Grass isn’t Always Greener…

We are all guilty of feeling jealous at some point in our lives of someone who seems to have it all – or at least things that we want and can’t afford to buy. It may be someone’s flashy new car, their impeccable landscaping, their perfect spouse and kids, or their 9th trip in one year to an exotic island; it seems inevitable that at one point in our lives we will look at someone else and wish that we lived in their shoes for one day.

It’s one thing to have a jealous moment; a moment of fantasizing about what it would be like to drive around in the car that is worth more than the house you live in or to travel wherever you want whenever you want; it’s another to live every single day of your life hating everyone around you for having things that you think you want and will never have.

One of the things I remember always coming out of my stepfather’s mouth when he was arguing with my mother was “Will you ever be happy? Will anything I do or the kids do ever be good enough for you?”  I would sit in the corner of the living room or listen from my basement bedroom and shake my head, “No”; I would whisper to myself, “Nothing is ever good enough for Mom because she thinks that there is always something better out there for her.”

And that was the absolute truth; my mother thought that by the time she was in her thirties she would be married to a rich man without a care in the world. She thought that she would never have money problems, never live in a home that wasn’t worth at least six figures, and be able to go where she wanted when she wanted.  But thoughts and fantasies weren’t Mom’s reality.  Her reality was that she was married to a man who barely made 30,000/year in a little farmhouse that we rented in the middle of nowhere and on such a tight budget we could barely afford to go to the Yogi Bear Campground let alone jet off to some exotic island.

Mom’s reality made her furious.

“I could have married any man I wanted and lived the life I wanted and I’m stuck with your broke ass”

“I’ll burn this damn house down with all of you in it so I can have the life I want.”

“If it wasn’t for you damn kids holding me down I would be so far away from this place….”

You get the point.

That was Mom; always thinking that there was something better out there for her, that everyone had it better than her, and that if it wasn’t for her pathetic family, she would be the woman she always wanted to be. So what did Mom do to quell her angst over her “terrible” life?

Affairs, stealing, vandalizing neighbor’s property; you name it, Mom did it. If Mom met a man that she thought was better looking than my stepfather or had more money than my stepfather, you could guarantee that it would only be a matter of time before she was in this man’s bed.  If Mom saw a piece of jewelry, furniture, or article of clothing that we couldn’t afford but she wanted, you could guarantee that she would be shoving it into purse or figuring out a way to walk out the front door with the item unnoticed.  And if there were any neighbors that got a new vehicle that Mom liked, you could guarantee that she would sneak over there late one night and scratch it or slash the tires.

And that would make Mom happy; for a little while.

Mom lived her life always thinking that the grass was greener on the other side; always thinking that there was something better out there for her and that things and money would make her happy. She hated her life so much that she beat the hell out of me, cheated time and time again on my stepfather, and committed a felony every single time she went to Walmart.  No matter what her family did for her, it was never good enough because there was someone out there who had it better than she did.

Mom was never able to appreciate her little family and her “mediocre” life because she wasted too much time seeking something better. She was truly convinced that the grass was greener anywhere and it was just a matter of time before she was able to break free and live the life she always wanted.  A life of things and money.

Many of you reading this blog know that just because someone has a new car in their driveway or new clothes on their back doesn’t mean that they are happy. We know that what makes a person truly happy is being around the people that love them most.  Mom spent her life searching for happiness when it was right under her nose the entire time.  She had 2 children and a husband who loved her dearly, regardless of the abuse and the hell she put us all through.  We didn’t care about nice cars and vacations; all we wanted was to have a happy family with a mother who loved us as much as we loved her. Unfortunately, Mom’s pursuit of happiness and her belief of the grass being greener on the other side made her lose the most valuable thing she could have ever owned; us.

The Grass isn’t Always Greener…

Sarah Burleton NY Times bestselling author

Victoria Gigante Writes For Psych CentralSarah Burleton was born in a little town in Illinois to a very emotionally disturbed woman. Her first book, her child abuse memoir "Why Me," spent 26 weeks on the New York Times and the print version is endorsed by David Pelzer, author of "A Child Called It." Sarah is now realizing her goal in becoming an ambassador for abused children and adult survivors and is currently conducting workshops and seminars throughout the state. Her message of strength over adversity and her story will help counselors, teachers, and other professionals identify signs of abuse and learn ways to establish trust with an abused child.

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APA Reference
, . (2017). The Grass isn’t Always Greener…. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 2, 2020, from


Last updated: 22 Mar 2017
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