Thursday, March 23, 2023
HomeRelationship AdviceI(21M) think I'm jealous of my sister(18F) being the favourite child

I(21M) think I’m jealous of my sister(18F) being the favourite child

It’s no news that my(21M) mother prefer my sister(18F) “Betty”. It’s always been like this. The reason is that I’m the split copy of my dad, appearance and personality, while my sister is way more like her.

It never bothered me much in the past, but the more I grow up the more I realise that it’s not just tiny differences, but more like if I’m not wanted at all.

My sister 18th birthday is coming by the end of the month and I never felt this upset about the differences our mother make.

She’s throwing Betty two parties, one with her friends and one with our family. The family one is a surprise. She asked me to find out what Betty would like to eat so that she can cook all her favourite foods and she has made a reservation in a really fancy place to hold said party.

The “last straw” was this morning; I went grocery shopping with mom and she asked me if a necklace with a diamond is an appropriate gift. “She’s turning 18 after all, it’s fair to get her something nice”.

The conversation went south quick when she asked for comparison “what did I gifted you for your 18th?”

And it really was nothing. She said that if I wanted a party I had to pay half, but I had no money to spend at the time so I decided not to have one. She said that “my gift for you would’ve been the party but you decided not to have one”. Pretty unfair if you ask me, but I’m not a big party guy anyway so I didn’t think much of it.

I feel kinda bad and confused because it never bothered me and now so suddenly I feel jealous of the way my sister is treated.

I don’t wanna be cold to her or our mother out of nowhere (also because it’s not Betty’s fault), but idk it just keeps popping up in my mind and I can’t stop feeling upset.

I think I’m justified but I still wanna hear some external opinions and maybe if you have some advice on how to get through this it would be appreciated.

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  1. You can 110% be cold to your mom and blame her. Unless Betty actively plays it up and encourages the favoritism, she’s kinda just there. I’m sure she enjoys being the favorite, which can be difficult to be around.

    Your mom is not a good mother. It happens and it sucks. Putting the energy you’re currently putting into that relationship into one that does support you might be a stronger step forward.

  2. I had similar family dynamics as you, and it hurts. Your feelings are completely valid and I’m sorry that you’re going through it.

    This may or may not help, but is something my therapist asked me once and it stuck with me.

    Are you really jealous of your sister or are you just envious of the way she is treated compared to you?

    My therapist told me that she thought I was envious, not jealous. I didn’t want my siblings to not get those things, I just wanted to receive them too. I’m not sure why, but that subtle distinction really helped me. I never wanted my siblings to miss out, I just wanted to be included too. It helped me to stop subconsciously blaming my siblings for it, and helped me to understand that my feelings about it are valid and normal.

  3. Are you my partner??? Seriously, my partner’s mom was exactly like this with him and his few years younger sister for the exact same reason.

    You’re valid, your feelings are valid and your mom is one thousand percent being a shit parent.

    Focus on the people who treat your with kindness and respect.

  4. I’m sorry you are stuck in this terrible family dynamic.

    Your feelings and reactions on reading the situation are valid, and pretty spot on. Sometimes a parent heavily favors one child over another, for a slew of reasons that are NOT your fault.

    I’m going to give you some very hard truth: your mother isn’t going to change. If she’s been this way for years, these are her patterns and behaviors. She sees nothing wrong with her behavior, and even if challenged on it, she’s going to double down on them. The kind of change she would need to make would require major life events/change, or radical self reflection.

    The best thing you can do here is come to terms with who she is, and move on from it. Read up on the “grey rock method”, in short how to slowly take out the emotion in your interactions with your mother. She isn’t going to be the evenly caring mother you want (and deserve), and once you stop have that expectation that she will be, it will be much healthier for you. Instead, invest that time and energy into the more positive relationships within your family (your dad to start with, hopefully) and your friendships. My dad was shit at being a dad, and once I came to terms with that, I was able to find other people in my life to have the kinds of relationships and positive emotional experiences I needed.

    One last note: I’m not letting your sister off the hook for being self-centered, but do try to keep in perspective that when someone dotes on you the way your mother has doted on her, it’s kind of to be expected. Your sister think she’s the center of the universe because your mother has always treated her that way. Your sister doesn’t know any different. Hopefully in time, some maturing and life experience will help bring her down to earth, but similarly to your mom, don’t have any expectation that you are going to get anything from her then what you already do.

  5. On my mom’s side of the family, my sister is favored over me as well.

    I always felt it, but just let it slide, until a few years ago:

    I couldn’t afford the health insurance at my job, so I didn’t have any. Then, I had a serious injury that required an ambulance ride and emergency room visit – it put me out of the last week at the job I was working, immediately before starting my first job in my field for a significant pay cut.

    Anyway, I couldn’t afford the bill, so I asked family for help. I asked my mom’s parents for $300, and said I’d pay them back once I got on my feet. They told me they didn’t have it.

    3 days later, I was on the phone with my sister, and she was talking about building a machine shed on her property, and she and her fiancé were planning to get married in it. I hadn’t told her about my conversation with my mom’s parents yet. She said she had talked to them the day prior, and they offered to gift her $1,800 to build it. Two days after they told me they couldn’t loan me $300 for medical bills.

    I just don’t really talk to my mom’s side of the family much anymore. They’ve made their position relating to me crystal clear, so I’m just gonna go with it.

  6. >The reason is that I’m the split copy of my dad, appearance and personality, while my sister is way more like her.

    What’s the family dynamic here? Are your parents divorced?

  7. Not the best moment to talk about this, but be prepared to very unfair treatment when it comes to money / inherited property. You are likely to receive close to nothing while your sister is gonna have most of it. Also whatever unfair treatment you’ll receive, your mother will always have it justified in that very way she justified not gifting you anything on your 18th birthday, that means she’ll find a bullshit excuse that’ll be hard to argue against.

    Don’t focus on the upcoming birthday and emotions attached. Focus on your future so you can stand on your own two feet regardless your mother’s decisions.

  8. I’m 56, male, and I’ve lived 35years more than you in this position.

    Took me until I was 50 to realise it.
    (Honesty time, said this on here before)
    I’m sure my mum loves me, she just doesn’t like me. Puts me down. Always has. Never hugged me, never told me she loves me, never came to anything at school, never helped me at school, and and and … my dad was the same, even though I wiped his backside until the day he died, and he spent his last day telling his sister how much he loved her. I remember telling my mum I was retiring (early 40s) she lambasted me and said I was wasting my life; I explained it was the contrary, I was living my best life. She still snaps and snarls at me now.

    …… I’ve taken the approach of living my best life and putting my love and energy into my wonderful family. That worked for me.

    My 21 year old son said to me recently “thank you for working so hard before we were born, I will not let you down
    And I’ll be the best human I can be with the privilege you have given me”.

    He’s an amazing man and he champions change in all that’s wrong in this world.

    Go live your best life, be a wonderful human and you’ll be ok.

  9. Talk to Betty about it. And stop talking to your mother.

    If they ask why. Here’s the perfect example. You were told that your 18th bday party would only happen if you paid half. Now she has 2 parties and an expensive gift. Both your parents are allowing this to happen.

  10. There is another option, that I don’t see mentioned here.

    I am a professional psychotherapist. I have dealt with situations like this.
    The reality is that you cannot change your mother or your father or your sister, or anybody else. The only person you can change is you.

    You are entitled to feel hurt and jealous and resentful. You have been treated badly. Your mother’s behavior has had an impact on your emotional state, how you feel about yourself.

    This impact is permanent, and will keep getting triggered by your mother’s behavior. But worse than that, as you get older the feeling of resent/anger/frustration, or whatever it is, will then be triggered by similar events outside your family. You will react to the boss treating you unfairly with the same feelings. It will poison social relationships for years.

    The only way you can win in this situation is to remove the emotional response. Your mother and sister will do what they do, but you can come to see it for what it is. Two damaged people endlessly repeating their chosen roles.

    You need to be able to ‘step out’ of the family dynamics. They are not going to stop. But you don’t have to get hooked by what they do.

    You need to find a therapist who will work on your emotional response. There are several therapy approaches that should remove your feelings about this.

    You need to be able reframe matters to recognize that it actually had nothing to do with you. You are just collateral damage. It is a by-product of other people’s needs and psychological drives.

    You need to get to the point where you can say “Yeah, my mother always favored my sister, she still does, but it doesn’t bother me. She is how she is.”

  11. My parents did this with my sister (golden child) and me (scapegoat). I’m in my 30s now, and things are much better.

    You need to not live with your parents if possible. Go low to no contact for a while if you can.

    This isn’t your fault. Parents are flawed humans too. This is your mom’s fault.

    One day when your sister is older, she’ll realize how unhealthy this dynamic was, assuming she grows into any sense of self-awareness.

  12. I’m very sorry. I understand completely. My older sister is the favorite. She was the first girl after two boys and I was an accident (also a girl)! Apparently they thought 1 girl was perfect and I wasn’t in the budget.

  13. Not too long ago my mom literally told me my oldest brother is her favorite. I don’t know why she felt I needed to hear that, or what she expected me to say in response. I already knew, but hearing it sure stung regardless.

    I don’t have any advice to give, other than I’ve made peace with it by making it clear that since he’s the favorite, he can be the one who gets to take care of her in older years. She’ll have fun with that. He’s easily the least responsible one who’s always asking for money/help because he can’t keep his own ducks in a row. Maybe cause he’s been babied while me and my other sibling got told to figure it all out ourselves lol.

  14. Sorry OP. Your mother super sucks and you tolerated it for a very long time. Maybe it’s time to stop. I am not saying NC, but if all a person does is make you feel like shit then whats the point? “Family” isn’t supposed to shit on other family. Toxic is toxic doesn’t matter if its your mom or not.

  15. Your feelings are valid. She resents you because of your father. I don’t think you are jealous of your sister, I think you are misplacing your feelings about your mom to your sister. When you realize as an adult that you weren’t treated good as a child in any way, years of resentment rise to the surface and you notice things more and more.

    Do you still live with your mom and contribute to her household? Did she pay for college for you? Did she do anything for your 21st birthday?

    She literally like gaslit you about your 18th birthday. If I were you I would move on with my life without her in it. She has shown you who she is, and she won’t change. She will only bring you down and you deserve better. Your sister can still be your sister. She may be your mom, but guess what anyone can provide the basic necessities in order to raise a child, she did the bare minimum and resented you for it and made you feel unloved.

    If you are living with her and contributing then you need to realize you ARENT NOTHING to her, because you are providing something.

  16. Brother, sounds like your sister is a golden child, and youre in some form of a scapegoat role. Check out the reddit r/Raisedbynarcisists and read up a bit on narc family dyanomics. It might help you alot with figuring this weird mirror reality you are living in. I am sorry for the pain and anger your must be feeling. Dunno if its a narc situation or not, but its sounding a bit like it. Wishing you the best.

  17. I don’t know what to say to help. I am in the same boat as you. Out of three I am the middle child. My dad legitimately does not like me at all and I think he has a personality disorder, but it’s far more hurtful to see that I am the least favorite with my mother. Like you this has begun to bother me more and more as I age. I think we have maybe developed delayed reactions to things that we can’t handle in the moment, especially as children. I have been trying to communicate these things to my own mother, and the fix is so temporary it hurts more.

  18. Therapy please. And yes you can blame your mom for this. Imagine this level of disparity. Usually it ends with the black sheep leaving the family for their own sanity. And who can blame them?

    Your mom is due for a wake up call

  19. I see that you’re asking if you’re valid but my question to you sir is what are you going to do about it? Are you going to continue to just lie there and let your feelings and emotions and desires to feel part of the family go unheard? It’s nothing we can do here on this platform to help you unless you truly feel that you deserve better, do you feel you deserve better? What is it going to take for you to say that’s enough I guarantee you I don’t know your living situation but I guarantee you if you just stop talking to them stop entertaining their bullshit stop giving them your time it will open up a couple of those doors that have been shut on you. Me personally I wouldn’t give two fucks about it that’s just me I have grown into that type of person that if you are taking more from me than what I want you to I can’t have no dealings with you and my 40 years of living on this Earth I can truly and honestly say I don’t need those type of people in my life. And I guarantee you anybody on this platform will tell you you don’t either why do you need somebody who sucks Joy from you!

  20. Your feelings are valid. Unfortunately, it’s not a given to be born to a decent parent. I would spend more time investing in other familial relationships or friendships with people that celebrate you.

  21. I live a similar life with one of my sisters and it only bothers me when I really think about it, so I just live my life and when my sister tells me how my mom did something for her, I am just “happy” for her. If I compared I could write a list super long of why, but I just do my own thing and don’t ask my mom for very much. As long as my mom is a good grandma to my kids and I keep a boundary with my sister where I don’t hang out with her too much, I am great.

  22. Hi! Family afterthought here. I don’t take out my issues with mom out on my sister because of the age gap between us and because she’s not to blame for my mom’s actions but I am pissed at my mom for her treatment of me at times.

    That’s why I live thousands of miles away in another country. I don’t have to deal with it

  23. I’m you in 7 years, and my parents have now disowned me because I held my brother’s (younger sister if you ask my parents, as im the only family member that respects his pronouns) $150 computer as collateral because I insisted he pay me $300 out of 20 months of rent he refused to pay me. It doesn’t get better, the favoritism just becomes more and more obvious.

  24. I always resent my parents for having my brother as the favorite child, and that made as grew apart.

    Just to find out today that we both in our 30’s have the same trauma for having shitty parents and now we’re trying to become closer again.

    Not saying this is your situation or what you should or shouldn’t do, just bringing some perspective.

  25. She’s not exactly favoring your sister per se. She’s actually using your sister to recreate/relive her own youth. It’s not about Betty, it’s all about your mom likely feeling that her childhood wasn’t ‘perfect’.

  26. I was in a similar situation when I was your age. My parents much prefer my brother. It was the same for birthdays. I would get nothing my brother gets hundreds of dollars in gifts. I’m quite a bit older now and I don’t have much of a relationship with my parents. They are both narcissistic and still much prefer my brother so I’ve built my own life and family. My mental health is much better when I contact my parents less. They don’t even notice. I used to be jealous of my brother but I’ve built my own great family which means everything to me.

  27. My parents have always favored other siblings over me too. In my moms family I was kicked off our family insurance, phone plan, etc. at a way younger age than any of my other siblings. Her and my step dad also never tell me literally anything important that goes on in our family. I have to hear everything through my step sister. In my dads family, it’s a similar story. My dad has bought my step sister (different one than my moms family) 3 cars and possibly a 4th recently as she mysteriously damaged hers under weird and unbelievable circumstances and her and her husband just bought a new Ford Escape somehow. He also helped her out a shitload (aka pretty much all of it) with the downpayment on her house and while I had money from my moms side of the family (as well as my own) to help pay for mine, I was shocked that he didn’t help to pay for mine at all. I feel like such a little bitch complaining about this stuff because I realize I’m way luckier than most, but that still doesn’t mean I’m treated equally as my other siblings

  28. I’m surprised all comments are agreeing your mom is in the wrong. I always had the same problem with my mom. And my mom and my sister always told me I am just a baby or immature and got extremely mad at me whenever I pointed out my moms favoritism toward my sister. It always made me feel guilty and even worse. Maybe now I know I wasn’t in the wrong too.

  29. First off let me tell you I am sorry for what you are experiencing. This is has nothing to do with you and you have not done anything to deserve this type of treatment. I honestly understand as my mother literally did not want me and up until the day I cut her from my life she was demeaning, disrespectful and down right soul sucking, my brothers were fantastic while I was always less than mediocre, my children too. Your feelings are totally justified, and your sister is what her mother made her.

    As you are becoming an adult you will realize that life is just not fair. There are parents who connect, love, prefer, and spoil their children very unevenly, and even if they try it can never be completely fair and even. How is your relationship to your father? I hope it is good.

    What I have learned from my own experience is that you can’t control people and their actions, what you can control is how you deal with it and your actions. So you have the choice to disengage from your mother if you feel it will be better for you, your mental health and how you feel about yourself. You have the right to one day protect your children from that same grandparent. Not in a revenge way, but in a this is what is better for them and their self esteem.

    This is about you and your feelings, if she can see or accept how her behavior affects you then you need to decide what is best for you. You can do it with respect no need to be nasty and be toxic.

  30. Ok; so you’re 21. Do you have a job? If so, the best thing for you to do is move into your own place, where your mother’s preference for your sis isn’t constantly being thrown in your face. The facts are that you are deeply bothered by the constant display of your mom’s preference, and not being there to witness it will give your feelings some space to heal somewhat. Not knowing what country you’re from, I can’t know cultural norms for when adult children typically leave their childhood homes in your locale, but here in the US, most adult kids have moved out or gone to college by the age of 21.

    If/when you move out, you will have to determine whether to limit contact with your mom to some extent. Decisions have consequences, and it would be understandable if you chose to go low contact with her.

    I wish you well.

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