The Narcissus in All of Us

Reflections on the self, personality, and what makes you, "you."

When Parents Play Favorites

A large proportion of parents display consistent favoritism toward one child over another. This favoritism can manifest in different ways: more time spent with one child, more affection given, more privileges, less discipline, or less abuse. We discuss some of the causes and consequences of parental favoritism, which occurs in 1/3 to 2/3 of American families.  Read More

When parents play favourite

Congrats! very persuasive and cathatic aticle.


My parents have always regarded males as better than females. The females are supposed to do the cooking & cleaning and never get a kind word. Infact, most of what I cook is met with hostility. When growing up, the boys were given more money for the work that they did. My parents invalidate most anything I think and say, so I say little or lip off. I have the highest level of education, but my parents frequently cast doubt on that or dismiss it. My husband and I built a new house. My mother was so jealous that she slandered me to all our relatives and her friends.
It is very hurtful and hard to deal with. As an adult now, when I visit, if my brothers are visiting I am expected to find another place to stay. My parents ask very little about my life, and act joyful when something bad happens to me. The more nice things I do for my parents the worse it gets. I do not live close to them, so only see them 4 times a year. But they do not keep me informed of what is going on with my brothers and sister that live near them. My mother seems to want people to be dependent on her, and to stick around for her entertainment or something. And when they do, she rewards them monetarily and with her interest. My brothers do nothing to stop it, just enjoy the spoils.
I really need to deal with this better, not sure how. But favoritism is one of the worse things a parent can do.

You and I have a lot in

You and I have a lot in common. The behaviors your family displays toward you are much of what I have experienced with my own parents and siblings. It hurts so deeply I don't know how to handle it except try and avoid them at this point. I am the middle child and a girl. I have an older brother and younger sister. My brother does not overtly do anything to solicit my parents favoritism but he is very successful in the military and they absolutely love to take part in the glory of a promotion, formal event; etc. I was always an easygoing child and my mother naturally got along with me better personality wise. I have come to find out as an adult our "close" relationship only existed if it was on her terms. When you mentioned your mother was jealous of you, I couldn't believe we shared this in common. I think my mother is jealous of my life and rejoices when I am going through difficulties. She also has created obstacles and sabotages events in my life or during visits. She has broken numerous expensive items in my house or created household damage. If I address these toxic behaviors, my family turns it around on me. My younger sister was the loudmouth and the one to make bad decisions. She is hard to get along with and you have to walk on egg shells with what you say because she questions your motives. Recently because I put boundaries in place with my mother, my sister has moved to "first daughter status." My parents have not visited my children in 5 years yet spend every holiday, or even babysit when they can for my sister who lives 3 hours from them. We live far away and naturally are not able to see them as much but 5 years and nobody mentions this as abnormal? I don't mention it except had occasionally wondered if they wanted to take a trip out. They always complain they can't travel, health problems; etc. Then just recently I found out through a conversation with my sister they were leaving to visit my brother in Hawaii to be present for a promotion- twice the flight time as where I lived. I was utterly dumbfounded. Particularly where I spent my last dollar going to visit them before moving to our next assignment. Lately I've been having heart palpitations because I internalize it so deeply. Rejection from your parents is a mighty thing. I'm trying to emotionally disengage but it is hard when you have to speak with them on a somewhat regular basis on the phone. Thank you for sharing your comments. It helps to know people out there understand and you aren't "crazy."

Parents favoritism never

Parents favoritism never "ages" out. I'm the oldest of 3 & the only girl. My youngest brother died as a baby & I never knew if the fact that my surviving brother was the now the only male, baby of the family or if they actually related to him more, but it was obvious he was the favorite. I was the model child, while my brother was a poor student always in trouble causing problems, yet the way they talked to friends about the two of us was that I was invisible while he was a just a handful. I'm now near 60 & my parents still talk about my brother with smiles on their faces while me & my family feel like we don't exist. But guess who takes care of them & does their running errands?? I'm sure when they're gone I won't have regrets, but right now I don't understand why they love my brother more than me. It just sucks!!!!

That is bull! they deserve a

That is bull! they deserve a smack!

Black Sheep

It is nice to read and listen to everyones comments. I too have grown up in a family of favortism. I am the youngest of three. 2 older brothers and myself the only daughter. My middle brother is only 15 months older than I am. He was the first planned child with my parents. My mother is a very strong personality. She is very hard to get a long with. She comes from a large family of 13 kids and fell right in the middle. She felt like she was shafted being a female, and a middle child growing up. She was raised to take care of the younger kids, cook and keep a clean house. She never went to university, and was never given the opportunity to do sports or activities. She never had a good relationship with her mom either. Growing up I longed for my moms approval and love. I always got straight A's in school, never rebelled and always did what I was told. I was involved in sports, which my mom attended, however once I hit highschool it was apparent that she supported my brother more. She showed up to every football practice he had which was every day. Yet wouldn't show up to watch me cheerlead. I went to university, got my degree and now have a successful job. I make more money than both of my brothers and my parents. When I told my mom of my last promotion/raise, she asked why I need more money and I should just give some to her. I've always struggled with her. She forces a divide between my dad and I, who have a good relationship. She controls it and never allows us to talk or spend time alone together. I've moved away from my family because I've always felt unwanted and a black sheep. Our calls are only brief about nothing substantial, primarily my favoured brothers kids. She never comes to visit, never supports or is excited for great things like my own wedding in my life. I've had trouble trying to deal with this throughout my life, it has affected me gravely. When trying to confront my mom growing up about it, she refused to address it and denied it entirely. I feel the same as others on this board, that my mom is jealous of me. I never thought that until my husband mentioned it. I don't know if it'll ever get better. I'm thankful to have found a perfect man, and an amazing mother in law that gives me the love and affection that i've always longed for.


Lots of similarities here including jealousy. One time I came home from college after getting an A average at a top school. I was really happy, but was told I was "arrogant."

My mom was also a member of a large family and resented having to do a lot of work at a young age. She gets in the way of the good relationship with my dad as well, and her favoritism is out of control. Youngest brother is clearly #1, #2 brother much more favored than I am but in turn knows #1 is above him, then I'm way at the bottom.

The whole situation really bothered me, until I could see it more clearly as an adult how ridiculous and arbitrary it was. Now I'm just not interested in having a relationship at all. I have a good marriage, plenty of friends, and a good life, why seek out a negative situation? I've just made the choice to be happy and leave it behind.

Favoritism in Families

I am a 48 year old man. There is a 12 year age differencew bethween me and my older sister. For the majority of my life, she was favored. She could do no wrong.
My father early on would help her with her car maintenance. When I wanted to learn how things are done, I was told that I was in the way all the time.
At 23 years of age, I experienced my fathe4r having a stroke. Muy sister lived out of sdtate. My mother told me not to go near him, that my sister was coming home, and would handle everything.
We eventually relocated to RI. All of a sudden, I ceased to exist, and my sister, once again, became the "Princess of our family." She badmouthed me to my mother behind my back, and eventually, after my mother's death in 2002, really turned on me. She accused me of abusing her son, blamed me for my mother's death, andaccused me of neglect when my Dad developed Alzheimers, and I had to put him in a NUrsing Home.
All this has left me psychologically damaged, and regretting ever being born.
DO NOT show favoritism to your children. It may seem cute at the time: The story I have shared is a prime example of it getting out of hand, and causing feelings of self-loathing.

Benjamin H. Heed

How very sad, Benjamin. It is

How very sad, Benjamin. It is true that the feeling never goes away. Maybe once your father passes away you will find some peace, I hope.

I know my sister is looked

I know my sister is looked upon as the favorite and there is no support value on my end. It really does bother me even though I am the oldest I am looked down upon. It really hurts. My boyfriend doesn't understand what I am going through I feel so alone without much of support. I just want relief from pain,

They blame me constantly

They blame me constantly about everything and its taking a toll on me.


I'm the first born son by a few years and my sister has gotten all the extreme favoritism. I'm pretty sure I live in a patriarchal culture/society, and obviously from the article my situation is very much off of the norms.

I don't want to blame other people for my situation in life, because I know plenty of people overcome things. But as a child, I was constantly beaten at the whim of my sister (she would always pick a fight with me, then immediately run to my mother who'd beat the crap out of me, and then she'd tell my father who'd then beat me some more when he got home from work, meanwhile my sister would laugh about it, and this pattern would repeat often). My sister also received plenty of other benefits, and I was generally treated like a criminal, even though I was a top student and had never been in any trouble. If friends ever called or came by my parents would yell at them, and if I stayed at home I'd get yelled at but if I went out I'd get yelled at when I got home as well.

Well eventually I pretty much gave up on school, and my grades went from top marks to mediocre ones. My friends, probably afraid of calling me or stopping by drifted away from me, and I had trouble in forming new ones. Socially I'm pretty much a recluse and don't have any real, serious friendships and have a lot of difficulty forming strong relationships either in terms of friends or with members of the opposite sex. I've had a lot of difficulty succeeding in life, and struggle with depression as well as thoughts of suicide. I had trouble in school because my parents would only give me very cheap clothing and then very little money for food or otherwise, meanwhile my sister would always get expensive clothing and my parents would buy her anything she wanted. Of course she was allowed to have people over whenever she wanted, and they could even sleep over, usually forcing me to sleep somewhere else (I usually slept on the floor anyway).

I don't know how much is due to favoritism. I know that I have very little attachment to either of my parents, and only think of them as tools I could possibly use for myself, although they have never tried to help me at all, while still supporting my sister at all times. My parents constantly demand to be treated with respect because they say God demands it, while constantly abusing me. I generally won't even talk to them unless they send me money.

I would urge parents not to show favoritism, or if you must, at least don't go to ridiculous extremes. There is pretty much no way to ever repair the harm you can do. I will almost definitely never have children of my own, but if I did I would make sure not to show favoritism. I don't speak to my sister, if we are ever in the same place for a family gathering, even if I do, she pretends I'm not there and just sits there ignoring me. My mother has repeatedly told me that it's my fault and I should make an effort, but I don't see how I can do anything.

I'm in my 30s now, there's no way anything repairs itself. Incidentally, I do keep in contact with my younger siblings, who generally tell me everything that happens that my parents hide from me (my sister crashing cars or causing other problems that my parents sweep under the rug).

I know exactly where use are

I know exactly where use are comming from. I have a sister and she has been the favourite one in the family for many years. The effect it has had on our family is huge. I no longer really talk to my mother or sister unless they call (very rarely). It tore our (already damaged)family apart in a big way.I had low self-esteem, always looked at myself as being 'the ugly one' , thought I was dumb, never thought I was ever good-enough for anything. I moved far away from my mum & family because I never really felt i belonged around them. It has taken many years for me to rise above all those feelings and move on with MY life. The positive thing about it is that I have become a much stronger person, all my successes i have achieved alone, and the experience I believe has made me a better parent to my own child. I am also in my 30's, your right things dont reapir themselves. But the things that happen in your past make you the person you are today and you can only look ahead.I now have my own family, my husband, son, live in a beautiful house, have a great job, and no longer search for that feeling of 'acceptance'. My mother , sister , father have a choice to be in my life, and I now see it as a prevledge for THEM. Its there loss if they choose not to be!

The Favored One

I am the supposed "favorite" of my folks. It has caused a very painful, very uncomfortable situation with my family. My siblings do not like me in the least.

I love my parents, and love our closeness. We share many things in common and live on the same street. I won't apologize for having this wonderful relationship with my folks; as I've had to work at it.

I have never rubbed this in my siblings face. In fact, I wasn't even aware of why my sisters and brother did not like me until recently. One of my sisters told me that I am the favored one and she has extreme issues with it. I confronted my parents and they know that for years my siblings have hated me and treated me with no respect.

It's not easy being the favored one. You have closeness with your folks, but no closeness whatsoever with your siblings. There is no bond with any of my siblings (and I have 8 siblings); only jealousy and resentment. There are many times where I wish I was just one of the other siblings and not the "special" one.

I am in my 40's now and am extremely uncomfortable around my siblings. If there are parents out there that think they are doing their kid a favor by loving him/her more; you're not doing them any favors. You are setting them up to be hated by their siblings and mistreated. You will eventually make this one "special" child isolated and alone in a room full of his/her siblings. It sucks so bad and it is so unfair to the "privileged" child.

parental favoritism

I will be 50 this year and my parents still play favorites with the oldest. The rest of the siblings think its a joke, I think my parents are ignorant. I no longer talk to my mother and I fully understood why my father left her. I am glad that they are both unhappy and I think that it is karma and they should be unhappy. The horible way they treated me my entire life, they deserve it. The stories I could about tell about them would break a heart because they also treated my children bad. I would let them sit in a nursing home and I wouldn't even care, I have no guilt, you reap what you sow.

The Disfavoured Child

My life story reflects that of Anonymous, with the exception that I overcame some of the disadvantages caused by parental favouritism and successfully completed university. I presently hold several undergraduate and post-graduate degrees, and a range of professional qualifications.

There is absolutely no doubt that my mother has always favoured my younger sister. She has the more "pleasant" disposition - resembling my mother in temperament - and, importantly, is married to a rich man who has promised to look after her forever, and both my parents in their golden years. She has also given my parents 2 grandchildren. I, on the other hand, remain a single professional woman with the typical "executive" or Type A personality. I have no present intention to get married and, given my mother's treatment of me, have decided to never have children.

In recent years, I have chosen to deal with my mother's constant criticism by disengaging from her and establishing firm interactive boundaries. I also make certain to reveal very little about my personal and professional life to my parents and sister, and rarely catch up with them.

I am better now than in my twenties or early thirties; I have developed coping mechanisms. Nevertheless I am being entirely truthful when I say that I bear severe mental and emotional scars from having been viewed as being "less than" or "not as good as" my sister since my formative years.

So, a word from the wise to all impending parents: it is quite clear that favouritism can have a long-lasting and terribly adverse impact on the family dynamic. In my opinion, unless you are fully prepared to treat all your children fairly and equally, you should either limit yourselves to one child, or refrain from procreating altogether.

I am a non-favored eldest

I am a non-favored eldest child. I do have severe mental and emotional scars, but mostly emotional.

At times my mother has known absolutely nothing about me and even into my 50's I was and am on the receiving end of criticism, emotional and verbal abuse. Lately it has been better because mom is dying. I was closer to my father but he recently died. I have worked hard my entire life and taken care of my son to the best of my ability. I have never gotten into trouble, never gotten into debt, have a good career, and work very hard, drink very little, don't gamble, etc.
I did figure out to a certain extend why this has happened in my family. My sister never disagrees or argues with my mom and mom is very controlling. Sister's thought process and emotions are similar to mom's. She always told my mom yes to everything, but then went ahead and did exactly what she pleased. I remember as a child thinking that if I could just do everything "right" that my mother would love me. I remember as an adult the same thoughts. Nothing was ever good enough, but I spoke my mind and that was the problem. Quite frankly I think both my mom and sister are nuts.

Anyway, now my mom is dying. I am a better person and I treat her with kindness, love, and respect.

For all of you favored children, please stop pretending that you do not contribute to the situation. You put bad ideas about your sibling or siblings into the parent's head so that you will be mommy's or daddy's favorite. Also you might move into adulthood and live exactly according to your parent's wishes--for example have 2 children, be a stay at home mom, live in a big house, or marry someone wealthy. You also say things to try to exclude the non-favored sibling or you adopt the personality and mannorisms of the parent. I told my sister inaccurate information to see exactly how long it would take for my mom to make a comment--not long at all. Then I said where did you hear that information from and she wouldn't say. You do it and we know it and in the end, when your parent dies, you will be left with siblings that don't trust you or hate you or don't want you around.

You hit the nail right on the

You hit the nail right on the head!!!! Reading what you have written was as though I was reading my own personal story. I am 63 yrs old and have struggled most of my life with this situation. My parents sent me away to boarding school but kept my younger sister and spoiled her rotten. Even now that she is in her mid-fifties, she is a selfish, manipulative, egotist. She pulls the wool over my mother's eyes and her word is the gospel as far as mom is concerned. She is a patholigical liar and a sly, self-serving woman who has always done what she wants and gotten away with it. I have been taking care of my now 85 year old mother who has been ill and needs constant care. I live with her and provided for her needs but my sister doesn't lift a finger to do a thing for our mother. My mother still puts me down, critisizes, manipulates and controls me.She has always pitted us against each other and overlooked all of my sister's sins and mistakes. I have never married and have no kids while my sister has married twice already.

You are absolutely right..the favored child always contributes to the situation and "milks" it as much as he or she can. They love to be the center of attraction and the "boss"....they cry "wolf" whenever it suits their agenda and underhanded purpose.

I'm the oldest and get treatted like crap

I'M Victor 21 year old im the oldest and in my family my brothers and sisters get anything they want and everything they want and when i was born i got called all kinds of names while my sisters and brother where getting spoiled along with the rest of my family and everytime something went wrong or broken i get blamed for it.. and i could never have friends over because i got told all my friends do is steal and they don't but when my little sisters friends would come over and spend the nite they have no problem but when i asked i get cursedout for no reason and when i asked for for money i get told i don't have it then when someone like my lilttle siter or my big sistter would ask they jump up and give them money and not say anything and when i asked they say its for something else and i allways got exspensive and put down and i had problems in school they didn't care they just laughed at me and called me dumb or stupid or lazy and they never cared to lift a finger to help me but anybody else in the family they allways help

I am treated like a stranger

I am treated like a stranger in my family despite being the eldest sibling and the only daughter among three brothers. The oldest brother gets away with everything. He keep physically abusing me and my parents always turned a blind eye to him. When I got married, my husband became his victim. I tried to stand up to protect my husband and when I did, I started to get the silent treatment, lead by my Mom. She told everyone not to tell me anything.

When this oldest brother was getting married, he sent me and my husband a cold, short email informing that he was getting married. I came to know that the whole family knows about it and I was the last one to know with the minimal information. Next, he filed a restraining order against us to make sure we would be nowhere near his event.

My parents turn a blind eye on me. They interact with me as if I am a stranger. And my Mom go around mud-slinging me to everyone.

I know how you feel your

I know how you feel your story is very close to mines I'm going through the same thing right now I'm 15 my mom does this with my older brother who is 16 and it hurts when I try to be happy my mom comes around just to turn it right back to anger I'm just ready to be old enough to get a place of my own.


It's sadly comforting to know someone in a similar situation. As 3rd of 4 children, I began at an extreme disadvantage. Unfortunately being neglected was combined with both physical and mentalnabuse from parents and siblings. I have spent my whole life with self-esteem issues. I coped by striving for success/approval. Other siblings always try to undermine or trivialize me or my kids achievements. I feel worse for them, but fortunately they are more removed from the discourse and cope much better. I have had business success and done great things but always seek some level of recognition which I know will never come. I feel often like sysiphous, always pushing the boulder up the hill. Even when my daughter had a life threatening illness there was no serious concern or even an offer of help from any family member. Though I have moved on from the physical abuse, I am the target for mental abuse both overt and indirect. I only engage for the sake of the kids, but really I still have an irrational hope for approval, which the rational side of me knows will never come. Wish I had the courage to dissngage completely; get in the covered wagon and head to the frontier.

I feel your pain...

...I am 33 and my sister is the younger, emotionally unstable screw-up that is mean and nasty, but because she is constantly in "need" my mother puts her even before my dad. I hate it.
My favoritism story is more on the money side. My sister gets everything while we can all go to hell. :(
I can't get into everything on your comment box, but It makes me crazy that the stronger, more capable sibling gets the boot while the hot messes of the world get all the love and focus.
WHY? I thought the weaker gets shoved out, not the stronger.
And the sick thing is? The needy sibling is needy because the parent made them that way, and kept them that way...all the way up into adulthood.
I'm sorry. *hug*

My sister had a great talent, lying, in a sweet caring way

Mothers first child dies at 16 months old, and when my sister came along she was pampered for fear she might die also. when i was born almost 4 years later, It appears my sister may have felt she no longer had all the attention. As years passed, when i was in my 70's...Something happened i was shocked, my sister was not who i had made her out to be all my life. Looking back remembering at age three my sister would try to get me to do things i knew Mom and Dad would be mad about, and i would say "No" she would say, "Now Snow you are just being mean" I did not want to be mean, so i would do what she ask. i remember telling Mom and Dad i did not do certain things that it was what my sister led me into ..on our way to school she would want to roll her winter stockings below her knee, and insist i do it also, if Mom found out, she would say, Snow wanted to. I did not dare go against what Mom said, yet when my sister would say, You are just being mean, i would do what she said.. I would get whipped a lot of the time, and not even know what i was getting whipped for, now finding out it was from lies my sister told on me. I would get in more trouble when i tried to explain how my sister started it, they said, i was just blaming my sister to get out of trouble, my sister would reverse it on me, and tell them she would go along with what i wanted to please me. so i learned to keep my mouth shut and just take it.. i developed an attitude of being mad all the time. Mom and Dad helt up for my sister. so i grew up thinking and believing i was the mean one. my sister kept up a constant flow of lies on me to get me in trouble till i got to where i would stay out side all i could, and as far away from the house that i could, (We lived on a family farm.) when we left the farm and each went our own way, i let all that slip far into the back of my mind. Then as years passed, her husband died, years later my husband died, she came back into a close relationship with me, many things she said to me from day to day,that was hurtfull, i fluffed off telling my self, she did not realize how it sounded. I tried to tell her a few times how it sounded, and she would cry and get upset, i did not want her unhappy, we were now old and in our 70's. so over and over i allowed her to have her way in my life when she was around, than as she came more and more to stay a week or more at a time, it became more diffacult to fluff her controling ways off. After about three days of her stay each time, i would start feeling sick inside. One time she was treating me like i did not even know how to take care of my little dog, and was telling me how, when, and what to feed him, even when to let him out side and how long before bringing him back in, i was letting it all slid, till i needed to correct him, which i did with an instruction pamplet on how to plant trees, which came with some tree plants i had ordered, i folded it over a couple of times and was smaking him with it. My sisters favorite words was, (Well Snow with a condemning tone.) She said, Well Snow beating your dog with a book. I thought she believed what she said, because she was not looking at me, so i showed her what i had swated him with. Then she stands up, and takes the pamplet out of my hands and rolled it up tight and stuck it at my nose and said, This is what you beat him with". I stood there shocked with my mouth open. Then said, lets just forget it, and went and sit down at the computer.. but she would not shut up, she went on and on, and said, "At least i was not mean to my dog." I turned and said, "Yes you was, the vet said, because of her rash not to bathe her, you went to do it any way, that was being mean to her," That caused her not to have anything to defend her self with, than she started crying and went to the bed room. i went in and told her, "I was sorry, I should have handled it different." She told me to get out, she did not want to talk about it...I said, Sister,I said the same thing to you a while ago, and you kept talking any way. She said, well you hurt me, you hurt my head, I said, I did not, now you know better than that.. she said , well, maybe you gon't remember..
From there on, she had did nothing wrong, it was all my fault...
It tuck me two years remembering things from age three and writing down each time i remembered something, than as i reread it all, I could see my sister as her true self for the first time.
I seen where she had been undermining me to all our family all these years.. I now see she still had a great talent to lie and people believe it, I knew she still spoke a lot of times to my brother, telling him, she had always protected him. From what ? i did not ask her. I now talked to our brother, he still believed things about me that was not true, I reminded him of certain things concerning myself, and our sister, concerning our childhood, and ask him to think, and put it together for himself. I found my sister is still yet today, almost a daily liar. keeping me looking bad so she could look so much better in others eyes. Why i did not see it before, i do not know, I had to be SHOCKED before i could see. She was, and is, so talented in putting me down continually in a loving, sweet, caring way, it was hard to see what she is doing. And every one seames to still feel she is a great person, i will not tell them other wise, unless she steps on me again and i hear about it. In working to understand Why my sister has did me this way all these years, I found the only thing that made any sence at all was that she is a Narcissus in the worse way.
She always comes across calm, sweet, loving, concerned. So others felt, NO WAY, my sister could do anything wrong. To Mom and dad she was the good one. although when i had my own family and i would say something about me being mean when i was a child, Mom, would say, Oh, Snow you was not mean. I guess because i tuck and swollowed everything they dished out to me, with out having a knock down drag out about it, they realised i was not actually mean.
I am now 80 years old...I guess i have went through all the emotions concerning it, and now feel my sister has hurt her self more than me. even though she caused a seperation of close family feeling against me to Mom, Dad, and Brother. Mom and Dad a long time gone, yet i can help my brother see, if he is willing. seeing with still a love for her, because i do love her, i just do not love her ways.
I hope seeing how my sister worked can help some one else, and know in her eyes she is never wrong,it is always the other person who is wrong, and she finds a way to make it so..


the special one

I am currently going through something similar. I am a parent. I have 3 boys two of which were from a previous marriage. My husband over the last year has been playing favorites to our youngest son. No matter what this kid does it is never wrong or never his fault. He is always blaming my other son and punishing him. My youngest son lies about things just to get his dad mad. My husband does not even believe me over our son. I am at my witts end. I do not know how to handle this. Any suggestions?

I don't speak to my sister at

I don't speak to my sister at all anymore and probably won't. I seldom talk to mother. She never calls me or inquires about my life. I am 61 years old and as far back as I can remember, it's been all about her and my sister. After we both had our first children, of course my sister's child was always more important and the favortism was passed on to her too. My mother could care less if I ever visit (they live 900 miles away) and has been more critical than supportive of me my entire life. They have planned Christmas's together over the years and never called me to see if the times, dates, etc. were okay for my schedule - and I drive 900 miles to be there. The message was loud and clear. It took me long enough to figure it out. I wasn't there last Christmas and won't be there this one either. At first it was painful to sever the ties with them. And for a long time I felt guilty. But once my eyes were opened to the reality, I couldn't do anything else except cut them off. My sister finally got what she wanted her entire life: to be the only child. I'm not interested in acting like everything is just a-okay anymore. It isn't - and I'm not okay about it. The good news: I also don't care anymore.

Thanks for sharing your

Thanks for sharing your story. It it strikingly similar to my own. My sister too has always been my mother's favorite and finally after 40 plus years of everything always being about her, her kids, her
"woes" etc. I have had enough of it and enough of feeling bad about myself because of her twist on things to my mother. My eyes too are finally opened to the reality that no matter what I say or do, she will always be her favorite and I am essentially done beating my head against the wall. They can have each other because I have had enough! This will be my first Christmas without either one of them, and I know it will be hard, but I simply can't stand to be around them together anymore. It's too painful. Any tips on how to get through the holidays?


Spend your time with people who appreciate you and treat you well!

Getting through the holidays

I am in the same place you are. It's not just my sister, but her son and granchildren too. I am sick of all of them. My mom has driven a wedge between all of us. If I say anything, she runs back and repeats it to my sister, thus making it worse.
She stirs the pot and sits back to watch. It makes no sense to me as I am the one out of 3 children that is always there.
Everytime she or my dad was in the hospital, I was there.
When my dad was laying on his deathbed, I was there 24/7. Neither one helped. Nor did their children. My son however was there to help out. When my dad died, I got nothing to remember him.
My mom gave all his stuff to the people who didn't do a thing.
One grandchild was in jail. I will never forgive my mom. She has broke the family apart. I am not going to Christmas dinner either. I am just going to make new traditions this Christmas and spend it with people who like me and I want to be around.

Getting through the holidays

I am in the same place you are. It's not just my sister, but her son and granchildren too. I am sick of all of them. My mom has driven a wedge between all of us. If I say anything, she runs back and repeats it to my sister, thus making it worse.
She stirs the pot and sits back to watch. It makes no sense to me as I am the one out of 3 children that is always there.
Everytime she or my dad was in the hospital, I was there.
When my dad was laying on his deathbed, I was there 24/7. Neither one helped. Nor did their children. My son however was there to help out. When my dad died, I got nothing to remember him.
My mom gave all his stuff to the people who didn't do a thing.
One grandchild was in jail. I will never forgive my mom. She has broke the family apart. I am not going to Christmas dinner either. I am just going to make new traditions this Christmas and spend it with people who like me and I want to be around.

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Ilan Shrira is a social psychologist at the Loyola University in Chicago.


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