How Dare You


We all know that human friendships are complicated and fragile at the best of times, but when one person in the friendship suddenly moves away, gets that job they’ve always wanted, buys that nicer house or even a bigger TV, friendships seem to become ever more shaky.

It is funny how I find myself returning to the same question; why is it that people can’t seem to accept or in fact be happy for one another when something good happens? Why is it that something which might in fact be life changing for one person, is belittled and brushed off by those people who claim to be your friends.

I have come to believe that the positive and life changing things are topics of conversation that don’t correspond to what people want to hear, it doesn’t tally with what people want to know is happening to you. It seems we are tuned into thriving off the doom and gloom in other peoples lives, and not the good.

It seems to me that people block out of their minds that which they cannot fully grasp, and good news stories are these very concepts. Good news is just too alien for people to really deal with, they just ignore it, pretend it doesn’t exist. Its as though those good things that can happen in life create a conflict within people’s own sense of security, I.E, they are no longer the centre of their small universe. They realise there is something more going on outside of their trivia, and to be blunt, they don’t like it.

To be blunt there will come a time when that people who claimed to be a friend, won’t be your friend any longer. Why, well you are no longer ‘on their wave length’ or their perceived wave length, and all because something good has happened to you.

It is a universally well known fact that most ‘friends’ can’t hack it when your life has moved on, improved, gotten good and changed direction from the old trajectory that they continue to move upon. Why? Well, could it be that these people believe that some how you are leaving them behind, becoming too big for your proverbial boots?

For me it is almost as though these ‘friends’ are saying through clenched teeth; ‘How dare you get a better life’.

It might be upsetting, and it can leave you wondering if their reaction towards you is warranted; is it something you have actually done or said? You ask yourself over and over, have I changed? Is it your reaction, attitude, opinion and behaviour that has changed towards your friends, or is it in fact your friends who have changed?

I always think that a persons reaction towards you says more about them and their own insecurities, than it does in any way about you. It isn’t you that has changed at all, it is them. I know this might all sound harsh, even paranoid, but I have experienced this treatment at the hands of ‘friends’.

Since moving to Madrid I have realised just how difficult it is for people to accept that my life has changed. I’m not sure what offends them so much about this fact, whether they think I’ve suddenly become richer, happier, or that life has become somehow easier for me. Yet, obviously they don’t know anything about me or my life, even though they are supposed to friends.

People may ‘move on’ to seemingly better things, but that doesn’t mean they or their lives have become miraculously transformed into some sort of utopian perfection. Everyone has something to contend with. The grass isn’t automatically greener for anyone, just because they may have a change in their life for the better.

Regardless of anyone’s altered circumstances in life, it doesn’t mean that suddenly you are no longer essentially who you always were, their friend. For me, it doesn’t matter what happens in my life; if a friend is a friend, they will always remain so. I don’t change how I feel, it is they who change.

Perhaps as friends we should all just be a little more gracious, kind, loving and affable instead of ignorant, angry, jealous and spiteful. Friends after all are not enemies. Then maybe for once we would actually be able to happy for those we call friends and for their good fortune, and not disappointed that their lives aren’t collapsing around them.

Just a thought.

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Not My Cup Of Tea


It was a friend of a friends Birthday, and I got invited out for afternoon tea, odd you might think, afternoon tea in Madrid, it’s hardly a place renowned for such little quirks, and you’d be right.

Besides the slim slices of cake and tea offered in a mug, with not even a little teapot to keep it company, it wasn’t exactly The Savoy! Yet, it was a nice change, meeting people over tea and cake rather than beer and tapas.

I must admit, I love alcohol and food. Its practically in my blood; my family are thorough bred foodies and of course I have a strong Irish connection to boot (bad combination)! The only problem is both of these fine things, food and alcohol, don’t necessarily like me very much.

A few years ago I decided to scrap my old ways, in short, junk food was banned and so to was the vodka (et al). This, actually helped me. Physically, mentally and emotionally I felt relieved, it was like a breath of fresh air! I hadn’t realised how good it could be to be free of the shackles of, for want of a better expression, bad living.

Now, I’m no paragon of virtue, I still like to eat burgers and love a good cake and still enjoy a tipple, but since moving to Madrid I’ve noticed how easy it has been for me to slip back into my bad habits. Temptation is everywhere.

In the UK, I would choose not to go to bars, clubs and restaurants. I would meet friends in my home or theirs, we’d go walking, meet for coffee, go to the movies, shop, visit the beach, museums, National Trust properties and so on and so on. I seemed to have the opportunity to do more than merely meet people and friends in bars and restaurants to then eat and drink.

I had friends who were my party pals, they only wanted to get drunk and eat too much junk, consequently we soon parted ways as I didn’t want that lifestyle any more. I’d lived that lifestyle for too long, and frankly I was bored of wasting my money and time on a useless pursuit of what always was unhappiness the day after (hangover, arguments, tired, sick and so on).

Now, you may think, what a boring mare – no, actually I’m not. I enjoy diversity, I enjoy not having to do what other people expect I should do, because they are happy doing it. Yet, here in Madrid, everyone meets for beers and tapas, even a day of pottery making ends up in one of thousands of different bars open until the small hours.

WHY???!!!!!!

I am once again being forced to apply the breaks on this ‘lets have a drink and lets eat all the fat infused food we can find’ ethos, and I’m discovering just how difficult it is to keep up with friends.

Not all of my friends, as some of them get where I’m coming from, but there are those who don’t.

I have friends who just because they are happy to while away their weekends over bottles of booze and then the bathroom sink, they think I should want this too. If I don’t, then the invites to do things just suddenly don’t arrive any more. 

They think, I’m sure, that I’m miserable or purposefully avoiding their company. Well, I’m not, I just can’t physically or mentally do this drinking fest every weekend or weekday. 

If I accepted every offer to go out during the week:

A) I’d be flat broke

B) I’d have an inflated liver the size to envy any poor force fed goose

C) I’d be thoroughly miserable

D) I’d be the size of the Titanic before it sunk.        

What is it about these points that people find so hard to grasp and take seriously?!

Also, my life here isn’t necessarily like their lives.

I don’t work full time, I have a boyfriend I enjoy spending time with (which usually consists of mainly weekends as he works so much), and I also have a life which still exists in the UK too. In fact, I have one foot here in Madrid and one in the UK.  I suppose, in a way, I have more responsibilities than they do too.

No, I’m not taking about kids, but about bills, mortgages, a career I’m once again trying to revive, I’m learning Spanish (still) and they’re fluent already, plus I didn’t move to Madrid to extend my student years (as some of my friends seem to have done).

I suppose I’ve lost the thread here, or the initial thread in any case. I begun with afternoon tea. Well, the people I had afternoon tea with are these friends I’m taking about, and they are somewhat one dimensional in their offer of friendship.

The reason is I’m the outsider. They are 3 friends who know each other through teaching together, and I came to know them through one of the Madrid meet-ups.

Don’t get me wrong, they are lovely in many ways; they are very complimentary, kind and I have fun with them, but, I notice too that they only talk and don’t really listen. I don’t like that, it really is a sign that people aren’t really friends. I don’t enjoy being ignored, or cut short or spoken over as though I’m not important, and they were doing that quite a bit. Of course, they also were eager to depart as they had a drinking fest planned – which of course, I hadn’t been told about or invited to. So, I know, well now know, from our last meeting, that I am an outsider to them. I don’t fit into their type of friendship. I can dip in and out of it, but because I’m not a party animal, I’m not really their cup of tea (well, we all like coffee from time to time don’t we).

So, have I told them any of this – no, I didn’t see the point in really going over the ground with them. I know I can’t sacrifice my lifestyle choices to meet their own, and I know they wouldn’t stop going out or drinking the volume of beer that they do for me. So, it is what it is.

I suppose I feel a bit peeved. I mean I have lost one friend over this already. I couldn’t afford to do what she wanted to do every other weekend. Yet again though, our ideals of friendship clashed. She was looking for more friendship than I could give. I couldn’t be there for her and her alone – I have a life when I don’t see her and I have to maintain that! So, I don’t see her any more and that actually upsets me.         

I think too, I have sacrificed what I really wanted – not having to get drunk and eat junk and be out till the small hours, just to gain friends. How pathetic is that?! I’m too old for that crap! Either people like me for me, or they don’t. If they like the fact I can drink them under the table and stay up all night dancing, then what type of friendship is that? Hardly a firm foundation for me to rely upon.

For me, friends are people you can share everything with. I don’t want a one sided party fest, I’m not 20 any more, I want something connected, deeper and diverse. I won’t settle for superficial.

In saying all this on Saturday I return to the UK again, and this time it will be for two months (a very long time for me). I will then see which friends are left standing when I’m not in the picture for this length of time, and which forget I even existed.

I think the way I have been feeling of late the change of scene will do me well, as I am getting a little narky here (I think this post reflects that well enough), I seem to get ‘itchy feet’ after a few months in one place! God knows how I’ll cope when I don’t have another country to escape to, and am stuck in one on a permanent basis! I always thought I had some gypsy blood in me somewhere!

 

Anyway thanks for reading my rant!! I appreciate it as always.

Hasta luego!!!

The Bored Blogger


I have been absent from WordPress for a little while, and for good reasons, may I add.

I am thoroughly bored!!!!!!!

Blogging has begun to feel as though it serves as no use or ornament in my life; in short, it serves NO purpose for me any more.

I guess I am frustrated. I’m not sure whether my frustrations lie with the confines of WordPress or the fact I have little enthusiasm for the topics being written about. Who can tell!

 

I think I have realised that the more followers I have, the less connected I feel. I assumed followers/following would guarantee interaction, because there would be more people to ‘converse’ with, but I fear I have been wrong in that assumption.

The amount of times I have left comments on blogs, and so on and so forth, and received nothing in return is disheartening. Realising that the comments I take time to contribute mean so little to the person who is blogging just like I am, is harsh! I mean really, why blog if you don’t wish to even acknowledge your readers!

 

It seems everyone is so wrapped up with self promotion, selling something, writing, gaining followers and following blogs (they never visit). Hardly anyone seems to make the effort to really connect, to engage, to really enjoy what is being written any more. This for me is truly sad.

I know there are bloggers out there who do engage, respond and connect – I am lucky that those of you who DO read The Savvy Senorita are such bloggers, and have given my writing great support (which I thank you all for)! I hope that I have done the same for you all too (or maybe you think not)?

Anyway, its just that when I first begun blogging at WordPress, I felt there was more of a sense of real community. I spoke to fellow bloggers regularly, we interacted via trading thought provoking comments and there were so many different topics out there to debate. Now it seems to me that these ‘old school’ bloggers have become out-numbered by more disinterested and aloof types. Consequently, I feel the words have run dry.

 

I can’t help but wonder, why in the Hell do I blog???!!! AND no, I’m not expecting anyone to run the defence of my writing skills, or wise crack over my lack of skills, I am just asking; what is the point in blogging to an absent audience?????

I know I’m not the only blogger feeling disillusioned, deflated, disheartened and fed-up. Other bloggers have confessed to me that they are having similar feelings regarding their own blogs and efforts. Maybe these people choose not to make their feelings public, because they are afraid to broach this subject as they wish to avoid remonstrations, well, I’m not one for holding my tongue!

I know I want to see more of the bloggers who want to write and read and comment and respond and engage. All of that interaction IS blogging; sitting on the side-lines playing a ‘how many likes can I get in an hour’ while ignoring my readers ISN’T blogging!

It makes me question; has blogging become nothing more than a popularity contest gone wrong?????????????

 

Anyway, regardless of the fact I feel most of this blogging malarkey has become pretty vacuous and glib (sorry, but it is how I feel), I do really want to hold out a hope that WordPress will change. I hope it will revert to how I felt it was when I first begun this pointless blog of mine – interesting and connected; a place where bloggers want to be involved with other peoples writing and their readership.

So, if you too are feeling the frustrations let me know!!

If you don’t understand where in the Hell I’m coming from, well, lucky you!

If you think I’m being a malicious mare, just double check the meaning before you make any accusations!!

 

 

 

 

A Very Spanish Christmas and New Year


This Christmas, my boyfriend and I chose to remain in Madrid. We had considered returning to the UK but the prospect of confronting; the packing of many suitcases, the crazy airports and masses of people, delayed flights, bad weather, the hustle and bustle of the usual Christmas shopping frenzy (in ALL stores, but especially supermarkets, where food hoarders fight over the last Turkey!), the lack of personal transport and general malaise of UK Christmas cheer – in short, this bedlam really didn’t hold its usual appeal! So, we decided, sensibly, to stay put and experience a Spanish Christmas.

I admit, I was pleased and relieved to be staying in Madrid for Christmas, so too was my boyfriend. It saved us a lot of angst and hassle, plus, it has been great just having time to ourselves. We don’t seem to have enough quality ‘us’ time, and being here meant not having the usual obligations to please anyone, but ourselves!!! Selfish, it might be, but true!

In all, Christmas here hasn’t been such a culture shock. We have managed to buy the food we needed without hassle, without pushing and shoving and fighting in the aisles for the Brussel Sprouts or pigs in blankets! I did feel slightly peeved; I couldn’t buy any Mince Pies, Cranberry Sauce or my beloved Bread Sauce (the Spanish don’t know quite what they are missing out on!), and my home made gravy lacked its usual pizazz due to me forgetting to buy in extra stock cubes. Yet, regardless of this and the fact Spanish Christmas cakes and sweets just aren’t all that, we managed to survive!!!

We listened to Christmas songs and carols from King’s College Cambridge (the best Christmas carol choir service). We opened our presents, even though the Spanish wait until the Three Kings (6th January). We didn’t have a tree or any decorations, but then I knew we wouldn’t be buying those this year. We celebrated Boxing Day (26th December) by going out for a fabulous dinner and indulging in some lovely cocktails, although the Spanish don’t celebrate Boxing Day.

So, we didn’t miss out on anything really. However, I did think that it would be a quiet Christmas, as it was going to be just the two of us, but I couldn’t have been more wrong!

Nearly every night we have been out and about, far more actually than we would have been in the UK. On our doorstep are cafes, bars, clubs and restaurants. It has been easier to have fun and celebrate the holidays just because we are in the heart of the city. We can, on a whim, just go where we want, when we want and don’t need to rely on anyone else or fit into anyone else’s schedule. It has been great!

Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and friends to bits!! I also enjoy spending time with them, and miss them dearly!!! Yet, Christmas in the UK can sometimes become, well, a little bit claustrophobic. Let me explain; I think people get stuck in a Christmas rut, a routine whereby every Christmas ends up becoming the same, without any real changes. Most importantly, the fun factor is often left out of the equation for one reason or another. This Christmas though, hasn’t been in anyway ‘rutified’ (Definition: to be put into the mould of a rut – I know it isn’t a genuine word!).

This Christmas has been a change of scene, it has been something different, we have come and gone as we pleased and we’ve had fun. This is why for me, in many ways, this Christmas has been one of the best. I always wanted to go away for Christmas, but hadn’t felt I could before, because of not wanting to upset my family and make them think I didn’t want to be with them. It is considered to be somewhat selfish, doing your own thing at Christmas; it is after all fundamentally about being with family and friends.

Yet, by living in Madrid we had a legitimate reason for not being there with them at Christmas time, even though for the previous two Christmases we returned to the UK to be with them. This time, we wanted a change though, we wanted to make the most being in Madrid. We haven’t got that long a time remaining here, this time next year we will in fact have already moved back to the UK. So, understandably we wanted to maximise every opportunity that being here affords us, which includes, a Spanish Christmas.

Hopefully then, we haven’t been deemed too selfish, as I do know our family and friends have enjoyed their Christmases too (even without us there with them)!

So, now Christmas time is over (very nearly over), I have, as most people do, been remembering all that has happened in 2013. More specifically, the life I have lived here in Madrid during this time. Although being out here for these few years hasn’t been all plain sailing, I feel that this year has been a year for positive changes. I feel quite good about things. I am also feeling quite saddened by the prospect of not being here in Madrid for next Christmas. It does seem as though this chapter of my life will soon enough come to an abrupt close, and without any fanfare I will be back where I was, as though these few years in Madrid never happened. How weird!

So, for my boyfriend and I it is even more important than ever before to enjoy the time we have left living in Spain!!! This Christmas sort of encapsulates that momentum we feel, the fact that we want to have fun and experience life to the fullest without feeling bad about about doing so!!

Anyway, before I become maudlin, and I don’t even have New Years Eve as an excuse, let me say I have thoroughly enjoyed the ups and downs of my time in Madrid (and hopefully will enjoy the year to come)! When the time comes and we depart for the UK, I can take back with me a whole new perspective and life experiences. As someone, at sometime once said; “nothing good can last forever”; maybe not, but I can of course treasure the memories forever!

So, here’s to a fabulous New Year – for me, you and everyone out there in the world!!!

I shall be celebrating my New Years Eve in Puerta del Sol, drinking some alcohol and some eating grapes (not as strange as it might sound – it is a Spanish tradition to eat grapes as the clock strikes to signal the new year).

Where-ever YOU are and what-ever YOU do, have fun and enjoy every last minute of 2013!!!!!!

What? Leaving Again?


Oh dear, off I traipse again – back to the UK.

I am not necessarily as thrilled as I thought I would be. In fact, I am thoroughly mixed up about whether I am happy to be returning or not; these mixed up feelings are nothing new!

I felt initially it was a good thing for me. Time alone, get my head back where it should be, break away from certain ‘stress’ factors. Also, there are still things I have to attend to, things I didn’t manage to fully complete on my last visit. Plus, the summer here has really been taking its toll on me, this year I am SUFFERING!!!!

Yet, I feel a little frustrated by the interruption a return visit to the UK will create.

Today I received an invite to go somewhere from a really good friend here, a good friend that I don’t get to see as often as I’d like to. Going back means I will miss this opportunity, yet again, just like last time I had to return to the UK.

In a way it seems like time out makes everything suffer. Recently there has been lots of new things that I am just beginning to really get involved with, and now I have to leave it all behind for a six week stay in the UK!!!

I begin hitting my stride here in Madrid and BAM!!!!! Back to the UK I have to go.

So, not only are plans to progress being thwarted, but plans with friends too. I can’t live a life, a full and rich life with either foot in two different camps. This year I have spent more time in the UK than actually in Madrid – or at least it feels that way.

I know most people desert the city during August, so there won’t be much to actually miss out on, but I feel somehow I WILL be missing out. The issue is, once I return to Madrid it takes me a bit of time to re-adjust, to really get back into living here again. Being in Madrid is a whole different ball game to being in the UK. The more often I return to the UK, the more I can clearly see the differences between here and there;

AND I DON’T WANT TO SEE THE DIFFERENCES!!!!!

I also like hiding away from certain B.S that lurks in the UK. Yes, hiding away!!!

I just want to feel fully immersed in this life, this life here in Madrid.

I know I have another year here, well, until December 2014, but so far getting moving and actually accomplishing anything concrete has been a nightmare.

At the moment feeling I am settling and making steps to move forward is crucial for me. For once, which is unusual for me – I am actually valuing staying put, making plans and not flitting from one thing to another. I am enjoying knowing that I have some stability, something to build up upon socially and ‘career’ wise. All this back and forth just seems to undermine that stability!!!!!!!

 

Anyway, I apologise for how dumb this may ‘sound’ upon reading. I feel these issues really are THE most stupid of things to ‘moan’ about. After all, NONE of these ‘issues’ constitute as the end of the world!!!!!!!! I hear you all say – Bex, WHAT THE HELL?! OK, noted and I am currently shaking myself, and ceasing to be so self absorbed!!!!!!!!

 

A Helping Hand


Recently I have been speaking to people about what is takes to help them help themselves through certain situations, which are impacting upon their lives and well-being.

This is a personal issue really, one that involves not just other people, but also myself. I have realised, for some time actually, that this notion of ‘helping yourself’, is something of a hurdle for me at the moment too.

Now I know I am really good at lending helping hands to other people, it had been part and parcel of my many job descriptions over the years, and I did it without question. Providing advice, options, sign posting, information, listening and even comforting others; yet, helping myself to progress, to move on, to find direction, right now I seem unable to, I am beginning to fail myself.

We all find there are times when we have lost ourselves, some control and direction. How do we regain focus and find what we have misplaced????? Is it a case of actions speaking louder than words, or is it that once we find ourselves stuck – we remain so???

Do we all need a helping hand, a sign to show us the way sometimes?? Or is all that help and direction laying dormant within us, and waiting for us to actually see and hear it – rather than insisting upon searching beyond ourselves for answers???

Taking some time out to do what you want, or to think about what it is you want from your life – has to be a good thing, we all need time out. Time out can help us to regain our life’s compass settings. Time out takes you out of you, and the situation you find yourself in – it can help us to see things clearer – to then perhaps progress.

I think thinking is great, but doing something is too. Yet, how do you know what to do and when to do it – how can we know how if we are lost??? Is it just finding a reason to want to do something, and begin the ball rolling, which will help us to then move on and find what is missing in us and our lives? Can we then escape the pit that our lives have fallen into??

What if you don’t want to help yourself though, or more poignantly, can’t help yourself – how can you then progress and move on???

If there is help available for you to help yourself then take it! Yet, help isn’t always there – so what do you do then??

If you don’t know your direction in life; I empathise, as neither do I!!! Nothing I do or think changes this either – it seems complex, unless I am over thinking it all!!!!!!

I am stuck with uncertainties regarding my future, just as anyone could be. Only difference is I know about it in advance, and others might not have this insight so early on. Can I change anything about what might happen to me, well, I have tried.  Have I tried hard enough though, no not really – I have been lazy too long a time.

I now find myself wondering if I have the ability to take back my life and direction. So, what happens – depends on IF
I want to help myself or whether I just continue to sit back, and let MY life slide out of view (well, eventually, perhaps).

Sorry to be angst ridden and depressive, no one likes negative moaners right? Yet, sometimes, I feel like airing my laundry publicly and admitting – I have issues too!!!!! I am stuck, lost and confounded. I require a sign post, a helping hand. I don’t have all the answers I might need. I don’t have all the strength I might need to find my way either.

I admit that, so what??? Turn your back and think pathetic fool? Or, just maybe you get what I feel, and can lend that helping hand as I know I have, and would time and time again.

Yet, you are not me……………….

…………………………………………..and I am not you.

The Golden Child


I recently had a conversation with a good friend of mine who complained that her Brother was her Mother’s favourite.  For me this conversation echoed my own families experiences; it was too close for comfort.

My own Mother had issues with her Mother, as she favoured my Mother’s Brother to the point of isolating my own Mother. This ongoing nepotism caused vast rifts in our family, the repercussions of which are still visible today.

My friend, like my Mother has experienced Motherly spite, withheld love and trust and also head games. Whatever was done or said it has never been good enough; never feeling like they belong to the family they were born into because their Mother won’t accept them. Both my friend and my Mother have been left feeling like the underdog or the black sheep in their family for no good reason, other than they are not the favourite.

A result of this unwarranted treatment, years of continual stress, strain, upset, turmoil and anger. Years of wondering in vain, why?? My Mother always felt inadequate somehow, and this was the result of that faulty Mother / Daughter relationship, which my friend is now suffering at the hands of now.

I have heard similar stories related to me time and time again; the golden child scenario and the ensuing faulty parental and child relationship of the one left in the shadows.

The golden child; how much destruction does this effigy of shinning ‘perfection’ in human form cause to families all over the world?? To what extent has this parental favourtism ruined the lives of the siblings not in favour? The fractured self esteem, dampened confidence and even altered functionality of the child who then becomes an adult, feeling somehow as though they have missed out on a necessary piece of their childhood – unconditional love. How can the adult ever then gain any of this missed time, missed life back to become whole??

Why would a parent deny a child unconditional love? Why would they hold onto their favourite child to the detriment of another? Why would they want to hurt their own child in such a profound way?

Do parents do this consciously? It seems to me that often they do. Is it because the parents themselves have witnessed or been the brunt of such behaviour themselves growing up? Does something innate compel them to do this to their own child, something they can’t even understand??

What can any parent gain from ripping the world out from under their own flesh and blood? For me it is a self defeating prospect, that only creates and stores up trouble for the future. It seems to me that once these golden child sides have been drawn up, they cannot be changed or undone; it remains this way, a private family war, forever. The ripple of bad feeling surrounds that golden child, and alienates the child outside of this ‘halo’. It has a massive impact, and effects consequent generations – I know as I have grown up with such things surrounding my own life. The effect on my own Mother from her childhood impacted even when she no longer lived with her parents, and still does.

I empathise with my friend and what she is going through. I hope for her and her families sake (her own children and partner), that she can find a resolution to gain peace of mind, and sooner rather than later.

I hope she doesn’t allow the golden child rot to infiltrate, and mar her life as my own Mother did (to some extent). I hope my friend realises life is too short to measure herself against what her Mother thinks or doesn’t think about her; as she will never gain her approval with whatever she does or says. It is a losing game trying to please someone who cannot be pleased, because you are not their favourite.