My mom shows favoritism

momsfavoriteI am 31 and the oldest of three girls. My sisters and I are all married with young children. My mother shows obvious favoritism to my middle sister and her 7 year old daughter. She spends tons of money on their family, travels to visit them frequently, talks with them on the phone daily, and babysits their children regularly. She has no time for my family or my youngest sister’s.

This has been going on for years and I wrote her a letter once explaining what I perceived and she told me and a counselor about it and it helped for awhile. I trust no one to love me because my mom doesn’t even love me…I have tried to talk to her about it, but my mom doesn’t communicate about heavy topics and there is too much inside of me to casually bring it up. I end up sobbing and yelling and she just walks away thinking I am nuts and too sensitive. I do not think she will ever change so I need to come to terms with this. What should I do?

Advice: She will probably never change. Was she herself was the middle child growing up? Do you live close to Mom? Can you move away and live a life separate from her and your other sister? Maybe have Christmas and Easter together. Pick up the book Dance of Anger by Harriet Lerner and get back to us.

24 Responses to “My mom shows favoritism”

  • Tiffany Marie Haddock says:

    My mom shows the worst favoritism the kind that would piss anybody off me and my Second youngest cousin are the unfavoured ones she does things to intentionally piss us off like my cusion for example my mom favorites her 1st born granddaughter I don’t know why she’s arrogant [expletive removed] and just plain boring also her red hair and her gigantic specs she wears so say her sister asks to go somewhere with her my mom will turn her down but if her eldest granddaughter asks to go my mom will let her so this is the [expletive removed] that I experience in 27 years old and when I was living there she would make me eat and drink at the table couldn’t take my food or drink to my room but her son can another thing that would piss me off talking about some real favoritism I cleaned the bathrooms this is when I still lived with mom and I missed a spot on the sink her son I say her son because I’m adopted sits on his [expletive removed] all day he got to go to subway gets rewarded gets to go and he just sat on his [expletive removed] all day and ate and watched tv another thing that makes me mad even today is mom has him doing the dishes and he doesn’t get in trouble for not getting them done if I didn’t have them done by the time she got home she would ground me [expletive removed] like that never gets into trouble never gets scolded gets by with everything then one year this was when my dog was a puppy my brother was standing on one of her toes so I shoved him into a recliner behind him he gets up starts screaming mom mom mom and I’m like you were standing on my dogs toes and wouldn’t move I said plus I didn’t hurt you I put you in the chair mom told me to go to my room this was thanksgiving she told me I had to stay in there until everyone had finished eating and my family takes forever to eat so she didn’t just make me wait till they finished eating she made me wait until the company left pissed me off I had to wait a good 3 hours smelling that food so yeah that’s the kind of favoritism my mom had the very blatant hurtful kind

  • Sharon says:

    to nana I am sorry your mom favors your brother but I am glad you and your brother is close prayer father God I do pray for this mom open her eyes to see that nana is hurting and would like gifts too on Christmas help this mom to see that she is favoring her brother I pray that forgiveness will happen and this Christmas will be different for nana wrap your loving arms around her and let her feel you near at this time I pray all of this in JESUS name amen— sharon

  • Nana says:

    Favoritism is something I deaL with until now. I dont hate my younger brother because we are close and he is only my sibling. I am the older one and Im a female. As we grew up, I noticed that our mom favors him more. From clothes, food, attention, and gifts on xmas. Its even my bday on xmas but I often dont receive any when he gets a lot. Its not that I want gufts. Its just the thought. Even a cheap one will do and I will be very happy for sure.

  • Sharon says:

    to Sheral did you read the topic with a suggestion of the book called the dance of anger by Harriett Lerner. prayer father God I do pray for Sheral I pray open the mom’s eyes to see on what is going on between Sheral and her sister because of her the mom I pray for forgiveness and reconciliation between the sister and the mom and Sheral. I can’t imagine on what you are going through how sad for you I am sorry you are going through this hurt and anger. I am praying for you. I pray for a miracle for you that your mom will see this hurt in your eyes and wonder why you are bad. I am sure you are good.— sharon

  • shetal says:

    My mother hates me. I faced so many problems than my younger sister but she only concentrated on my sister. So I started to hate my sister but she is good. Only because my dirty mother our siblings relationship spoiled. Parents are god but in my situation they are hell. What can I do. I am good girl from bottom of my heart but I turned to be bad because of my mother

  • dfg says:

    My parents show favoritism towards my elder bro just because he is a boy. Since young they deprive me of food, clothes, etc. Looking at my bro now i don’t envy him as he becomes more useless. However, there is this dilemma on being filial. Back in my mind i can still recall how bad they treat me when i was young. Now they are old, how much should i do for them? Monetary, i gave them well. Other aspect i am expecting their son to do more since he receive more love from them since young. But that useless bro, did nothing, not even monetary wise. Should i just don’t care too? Dilemma.

  • dana says:

    I am so sure now that I’m older my mom has favoritism. I can remember being young 7 or 8 yrs old there was a difference in how I was treated. Now I’m older and I know for certain it’s so bad. Having my first child I wanted my mom present during the birth. She couldn’t be mind u you I’m a mother of 8 and 4 births were in a city near her. Like 45 mins away and she could never be there. So I said ok fine but she didn’t visit or have a relationship with my kids. But then my sister gives birth to her first child my mom is there. Takes pictures put them on facebook and today she is very close with that grandchild. All my life it’s been hell from her she put me out at 17 and just bad. So recently she became sicl had a stroke and my grandmother was sick as well. she asked if I’d come home to help. I did and I got there it was crying and love that day. 5 days later she argues with me and I’m out sleeping in my vehicle for 7 months. I moved from one state to her state to help and not be treated like that. Not only that I walk in my mothers house inside all over the walls is a shtine of pictures of my sister and her daughter. I wqs so hurt as if she only had one child. I couldn’t believe it everywhere pictures of my sister and I knew then that what I had experienced all my life was indeed true. there is favoritism!! I’ve just prayed and removed myself out the view it hurts but. since 17 up I raised myself and I come to realize my mom has the problem not me. I did try to make things right but she has to realize what she did and is doing before we can fix it. They call each other everyday anf have a relationship. I can’t do no more than what I’ve done. My grandmother is very ill and she wqs a very strong mother figure in my life. It hurts to know that whatever the reason was she had me pack up to move there. It has hurt the relationship of my closeness with my grandmother. She’s in the hospital and I’m so sad cause i moved to help her. and now I’m away and I’m not going back. I’ve just prayed and asked God to look over her. and my grandmother knows the situation. she knows her daughter and why I’m not there. But it’s sad cause the last time spent with my granny had to be this out come. please pray for me. Thanks

  • Beverley williams says:

    hi, the way you feel is totally natural, re: perceived rejection from your mother!! – and the lord would say, I love you unconditionally, allow the lord to remove the walls that are around your heart. – the enemy has deferred your hope, regarding your mother and your relationship. all things are possible to those who believe, actively declare, as you allow your heart to heal – use wisdom in what you say to your mother, as the lord desires that you guard your heart with all diligence, for out of it springs the issues of life. this may be a test that you actively trust god, and that things will turn around, this is not something that can be rushed – choose to forgive your mother, and that god will give you the grace as you let go and let god. because the lord desires to want unity between family, it is not wise for you to compare yourself to your sister, and their family!!! – I will restore the years that the locust has eaten – the lord would say to you blessings

  • Aldo says:

    Chloe, you are right. We are all worth something: the blood of Jesus, who hung on the cross so that our sins would be forgiven; we are all beautiful: made in the image of God; and we are all loved: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

    I pray that God will grant you the strength and courage that you will not hold animosity toward your sister.

  • Chloe lawson says:

    @MB ** i totally understand what u are saying because i also have a cousin who is praised by everyone but fortunately i am not called by rude names i am just left in the corner whislt everyone gives her the attention. She is a mean selfish girl who acts innocent in front of everyone but her true colours are the total opposite. She gets te best presents on christmas and gets the most cards. Even my own parents neglect me over her. But you are right we are ALL. Worth something and are ALL beautiful and we are ALL loved by someone

  • Susan says:

    Christina,

    Sorry to hear your struggle my friend. I know, we children, we expect to get love from our parents and if did not get that, then that can be miserable. Christina, God knew all these things and that why he said, your father and mother may leave you but I’ll never leave you. What an awesome promise is this. Christina, please know that, God created you with a great purpose. He loves you so much. Do you know Christina, you are adopted by God; you are a child of God; you are precious to God, you are accepted by God, you are called by Name by God, you are hidden with Christ. you are chosen by God etc…? Christina, you are very precious to God. Get to know this God.

    Dear Father God,

    I commit Christina in Your hand. Lord, fill her with Your peace and joy; draw Christina closer to You. Help her to experience Your love in her life. I pray for her parents. Lord, I pray for their salvation too. Bless this family. Thank You for hearing our prayers. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

    Christina, you can log on to http://powertochange.com/discover/faith/discoverpurpose/

    God bless you!

  • christina says:

    I have suffered through this all my life..my mom and dad belittle me and my son.my neice recently used my credit card without my permission.i was told if i did anything i could leave their home.which we left a domestic violence shelter to come here and be treated with more abuse..i grown quite tired of being treated badly by my family..especially my parents.inside of being supportive all i encountered was more abuse at their hands.my neice who is the one who did wrong..im the bad guy
    I sometimes wish i wasnt born

  • Chris says:

    gaurav…we know sin comes in many shapes and sizes. favoritism is just another. try to see your mother through jesus eyes and not your own. when we understand that anyone being unjust to others has no Access to Gods throne of grace it can cause us to feel pity for that person realizing that even though they are making wrong judgments on earth, God in heaven will not and unless repentance is made and confession of sin to christ, there is Little hope for thats persons eternal destiny. so see the big picture. remember that jesus suffered wrongly for doing right, 1 pet 2.18 to 24, and we our called to follow in his steps. blessings!!

  • Camille says:

    I think favoritism by parents/grandparents is partly something they learned as children themselves… In my own case, I think that my mother (who was always the least loved, as she put it) in her very large family, learned early in life that love is LIMITED or must be earned with honors/achievements, beauty, etc., and that it is impossible for a mother to love every child equally and/or specially. So, she brought that “style” of love to her own childrearing. And, I think some people are able to love more deeply and unconditionally than others. I think there are parents/grandparents who cannot love a child/grandchild who does not mirror their own personalities/preferences/talents, etc. As adults, we must learn to love ourselves and our children unconditionally. Once I stopped denying the existence of favoritism etc, I felt that I finally was being honest with myself. Rejection is a part of life, but it should not stop us from loving and accepting ourselves and others.

  • Gaurav Singh says:

    Hi mate….i font know what to say and what to not…actually before coming to this page i was googling–‘why my mother always show favoritism for her daughters’ so you can easily understand my condition n situation under which am living…my mother shows favoritism in each n every moment if even a glass is broken by my sisters she(mother) directly or indirectly correlates to me and starts alligating me that you are the guy who is responsible for this mishap….consider what i had to face on bigger matter?

  • Sharon says:

    I always thought my mom showed favoritism but I am now realizing that its my point of view I still think that sometimes but I am looking wrong again this article gets me thinking about favoritism and something to think about for sure

  • MB says:

    @ chris…thanks for your kind words. I’ll try to remember that.

    @ Camille…I agree, and I’m sorry you have experienced something similar in your own family.
    I believe that my experiences have definitely shaped who I am today and like you said, I have a great capacity to love others deeply, even when it is seldom returned.
    I think favoritism affects girls/women differently from boys and men. This is not to say that males aren’t also hurt or affected by it, but I think that girls and women are more often trained to please others around them and sometimes that feeling never really goes away.
    When a girl grows up surrounded by overly harsh, critical people always pointing out her “flaws” and then she constantly sees somebody else being treated in a much kinder way for no apparent reason…it makes her feel that something is very wrong with her, like nothing she does will ever be good enough. It leaves a person feeling unworthy.

    I know two sisters, both of whom have different fathers. The older one has always been treated poorly by their mother while the younger sister is treated as if she can do no wrong. The younger of the two is considered to be the “pretty” one and she is extremely shallow toward anyone who doesn’t wear expensive clothing, because their mother indulges her every whim and gives her anything she wants. The older one is a beautiful girl in her own way but it is so sad to see her struggling because of the favoritism and childhood abuse.
    She is now in her early 20’s. It broke my heart to see her recently.

  • Chris Landwerlen says:

    mb….what i have found in 40 years walking with jesus is to always see people through jesus eyes. we must remember what jesus said, what is highly esteemed among people is detestable in Gods eyes. that is to say, what people applaud, God most of the time doesnt. as we rest in that fact we can be happy to know that to please jesus ourselves is the only goal we should have. blessings!

  • Camille says:

    I’m so glad to have run into this on my google search. I am now in my 40s, and through the years, have been dealing with facing the truth about favoritism from my mother. I was 6 or 7 when I first noticed it – and even wrote a pretend letter that was addressed but never sent off, about this. My parents discovered the letter and circulated it to friends and family. Imagine how that felt! My parents heavily invested in my sibling’s education, achievements, recognition. I was the sibling who had to listen everyday to my mom’s thoughts on my sister’s struggles, challenges, petty or not, even bear the brunt of my sister’s mood swings. And it continues to this day. Before I had children, I starting forgetting about these early slights, but once I had children, the favoritism reared its head again. It is more hurtful now, because my mom will not spend time with my children – makes no effort to visit, while doting on my sibling’s much older and independent kids. The differences are stark and I find myself comparing “treatment” again and seeing favoritism amongst the grandkids. But now, I am an adult: I’ve accomplished alot on my own, and I refuse to let my child grow up sensing that she is not important to her grandparents. But I am convinced of one thing, and that is, I suppose, the light in all this. I truly believe that everyone, even those who were un- or less loved as children, have a great capacity to love deeply as adults. I know it because I have seen this in myself when I am with my own children. And that kind of love, no one can ever take away.

  • Edmund says:

    Dear MB,
    My name is Edmund, also a mentor with PowerToChange.
    When I read your post it shocks me a bit how familiar the feelings you express are in my own personal life in my own family relationships. In my case, I’m a brother who has a younger sister who has felt very neglected since she was a young adolescent. She was unintentionally neglected by pretty well everyone in the family and her response has almost destroyed her life. So, as I read your post, I’m doing a lot of self-reflection.
    You mention Jacob and Esau in the Bible. Actually, both of them suffered from favoritism. Esau was favored by Isaac and Jacob was favored by Rebekah. Surely both of them bore resentment. Jacob ended up having to flee for his life and didn’t come home again for about 14 years. Humanly speaking neither of the men were very savory characters. But Jacob look up to God and was able to transcend his human character and situation. There were other Biblical characters that were treated very badly by their relatives but they rose above their misfortunes and became great. Such a man was Joseph who was sold into slavery by his brothers but later became their savior. How could he avoid bitterness in his life? He trusted in God’s goodness and love for him. Because of his willingness to submit to God’s good purpose for him in spite of circumstances God transformed his being “sold” to being “sent”.
    In the novel you mention, “Jacob I have loved,” the character in the end finds peace and love and a sense of belonging. I hope this will be the case for you. Bitterness is a sin because it destroys both ourselves and others. Allow the Spirit of the Lord Jesus to change things around by trusting in His good purpose for your life.

    God’s Word says: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Eph. 4:31-5:2).

    Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

    Proverbs 3:5,6. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will direct your paths.

    MB, This link is to a good article that might be helpful to you.

    http://geoffpengilly.wordpress.com/2008/01/23/how-to-trust-god-when-going-through-difficult-times/

    Remember that God in Jesus loves and came to save those who are cast down.
    Blessings in Him,
    Edmund

  • MB says:

    Thanks, Kate…sorry it took me a while to respond. I guess what I’m trying to say is that sometimes people don’t understand how hurtful it can be.

    Some people, both relatives and also friends of my family, believe that I’m jealous of my cousin. What I’ve tried to explain to them is that it isn’t about jealousy or envy…it is about fairness. Not only does the favoritism affect me, it also hurts our other female cousins to see this particular cousin being put on a pedestal.
    I mean, sure, she has her own good qualities…but so do the rest of us. It was OK if people thought she was prettier or whatever, but like I said, the problem is that the favoritism was extremely obvious.

    People would talk about what a beauty she supposedly was and then they would rip me to shreds. I just find that to be cruel and unnecessary. The rest of the world doesn’t care, but family should be different…but I guess that’s expecting too much.
    There is a book called “Jacob Have I Loved” by Katherine Paterson that deals with this subject. The main character feels unloved because of the favoritism shown to her sister. I can relate, except that it’s my cousin.

    What has helped me just a little bit is putting some distance between myself and certain people who bring me down. You can’t weed “undesirable” people out all the time, especially if they are part of your family, but you can distance yourself and try to surround yourself with positive, uplifting people. This is what I’ve had to do in my own life after numerous bad experiences.

    It is one thing if the “golden child” (the favorite) is kind and caring…it would be very difficult to dislike a person who is genuinely nice.
    But as in the case of people like my cousin, sometimes being the favorite creates a sense of entitlement…which then breeds resentment and low self-esteem in the ones who aren’t treated as well, like me.

    I believe that maybe if my cousin hadn’t been the favorite and we both were treated fairly, we might be on more friendly terms. I always feel bad when I see young girls struggling with low self-esteem and it can be tough when a person is unfairly compared to her sister, cousin, friend, or some other female.

  • Kate says:

    Dear MB thank you so much for sharing here. What a compelling story you have, which lends great weight to your encouraging words. You seem to have come a long way, and sure we always have a long road ahead of us still, but you seem to have light for your path and that is a blessing.

  • MB says:

    My heart goes out to Sharon, and to the person that wrote this.

    I am an only child so my experiences aren’t quite the same, but there are some similarities. I was raised by a single mother who loved me dearly but she often devoted all her time and attention to others…I grew up feeling very insecure and sometimes unwanted.

    In my family, the favoritism is given to a particular cousin of mine. We are about the same age (she is 31, I am 30). She has always been treated like a princess and it is completely undeserved. All throughout the years, I had to listen to people talking about how “gorgeous” she was and how special she was…which would’ve been fine, but some of these same people would belittle me and call me ugly or worthless. The truth is that she is not as wonderful as they make her out to be, but I was an impressionable young girl and it damaged my self-confidence severely.

    Favoritism is not fair, it is not right, and parents/relatives must realize that it is hurtful. I understand that maybe some children seem to be more “exceptional” than others but kids should not be treated differently because of this. All people have their own talents and gifts…we should try to accept the individual strengths of each person, rather than creating unhealthy competition and low self-esteem. We all need love and kindness, not just the ones deemed “special” in some way.

    Growing up was very painful for me because of the emotional/verbal abuse I often experienced from my family and from others. It was even more difficult because no one ever said a kind word to me. My cousin was often praised for her looks and she was quite conceited. I was called ugly by nearly everyone…I know today that it wasn’t true, I was far from ugly, but words can have a lasting effect. I was cute and I was much thinner than my cousin but everyone had me convinced that I was fat and unattractive. When I would wear lipstick my aunt and cousins would say the most cruel things to me. I grew up feeling that I was ugly, I had no business trying to wear makeup or nice clothes because only “pretty” girls were allowed to do that and no one would laugh at them.

    I have no advice because I’m still dealing with my own issues. All I can say is, continue working on yourself as much as possible. It is true…some people will never change. I’ve given up on trying to make anyone love and accept me for who I am. All we can do is work on self-love and see ourselves for the wonderful people we are. You are beautiful, you are worthy of love, and you don’t deserve to be treated this way.

  • Sharon says:

    good article this sounds like me and my family.

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