This post was submitted anonymously.
Intellectually, I realize that favoritism is a fact of life. It's mostly arbitrary, it almost always isn't something personal (just a reflection of the others' particular tastes), and it doesn't mean they don't love you if they don't happen to favor you.
But, I have to admit, it hurts. It hurts partially because I am always hoping to make it "better" somehow, which never works. And it hurts because even though I mentally ascend to the fact that I am not worse than any other sibling in my family, it definitely *feels* that I am worse. In some subjective, slippery, unassailable way.
My mom has always preferred my younger sister to myself. It wasn't always an active favoritism--more an open frustration with me that she didn't seem to have for my sister. Even when we were younger. She would nitpick things I did--from the way I cleaned, to the clothes I liked. She would tell my sister she was beautiful, but would never tell me I was beautiful. Somehow, my accomplishments never seemed to impress her, but she would boast to our neighbors and extended family about my sister's accomplishments.
It also would become more overt, as time went on. There were at times open comparisons, straight-out verbal confirmations of what I thought might be the case in her opinion: "G--- is always this, and you are never this." "G--- is more this than you are."
What's interesting is, I was never a bad kid.
I made better grades than my younger sister. I had a more prestigious job, even as a teen. I never partied, never did anything that my parents said I couldn't. I wasn't a "rebellious" teen in any sense of the word. I tried, very hard, to be someone my parents could be proud of. I had this feeling gnawing at me all the time that there was something inherently unlikeable about me, so I tried very hard to be likable.
It just never seemed to work with my mom. She would shower love on my older brother who often broke the rules, who made poor grades, who was never dependable. She never picked on him, never noted his failings. But with every single one of my near failures, she would harshly chastise me.
As I grew older, as I left for college--I realized it was something that would never change. Yet, I kept trying. Rather, I keep trying. I think it is important to note: my dad always loved me unconditionally. I have always been close to him. He always showed a great sympathy for all my hardships, for all my personal battles, and a great pride in my accomplishments. My dad has always defended me, always showered praise on me, always seems to love me deeply.
Recently, my mom has complained to my dad that I never seem to want to call her from college. He always mentions to me on the phone when I call him that I should really try to call my mom--that she "misses" me. I don't tell my dad this, but I have a strong feeling that she does not miss me. I think she wants to feel that I am not hurt by her favoritism--I think she may feel slightly guilty, and wants to feel that everything is all right.
Truth be told--everything is all right on my end. I don't feel angry at my mom like I used to. I don't feel necessarily sad. I just have a real fear of being vulnerable with her. She has heat-seeking-missiles sort of attitude toward all my weaknesses, and eagerly calls them out--even when I have good news/news that might make her proud. After awhile, it just became emotionally taxing. I thought the fact that I never call her would escape her notice, but it seems she wants me to keep calling her.
The truth is--I want to. I wish I could have a good relationship with my mom. I wish I could love her like my dad. But I have a big wall up, emotionally, when it comes to her. I can't take the favoritism, in an overt way--it simply hurts too much. But, my parents won't drop the fact that I never call her.
Has anyone ever experienced this? I'm not talking about being an outright rebellious kid, and having your parents disfavor. I'm talking about even when you follow the rules and really try, they just don't seem to like you? Is it something I could be that I'm not yet? Is it something just inherent--ie: some people are just not that likable?
How can I let my mom know how I feel, without it making our relationship even worse? She is not the type to just "forget" a potentially hurtful attack on her. I don't know how to present it, though. How do you say in a gentle way that won't make someone mad, "Since I was child, I have felt like I was a burden and that I could never please you?"
I really need help, you guys.