“Wow, your parents are really into your brother for some reason,” my husband commented on a drive home from a family event … probably Christmas, I don’t remember. In my family, my parents show so much favoritism to my younger brother that I am often treated like an invited guest rather than family at our gatherings. And I have to admit it really stings even now as an adult and it’s easy to blame my brother but it’s really not him, it’s my parents.
I bring this up because it’s something that shows up in my office at least once a week and it destroys family relationships and with the holidays coming up this will be even more of an issue. Often called “sibling rivalry” it’s usually actually about the parent not treating their children with equal love and respect.
The victim, meaning the child who is treated less than, is mocked and told to “get over it” when they protest the lack of fair treatment. The favorite child often does not even see what’s going on and may see the parents as saints when the other child sees them as something else. The favorite will often side with mom and dad when the other protests and complains.
In the cat world, this would be called displaced aggression. One cat sees an enemy cat then takes a swipe at her sister because she is mad.
So how do we heal this wounding? I would love to say there is an easy fix, but there isn’t. To some extent it’s acknowledgment and acceptance. I know my parents will never praise any of my accomplishments (yet fawn over my brother’s) so I don’t expect this. And when they die I accept that there is a decent chance I either won’t get any inheritance or nowhere near half. I don’t like it but I refuse to spend my entire life feeling bad about it. I know there are people in my life who do get and support me. I spend more of my free time with them.
A healer once told me sometimes it’s bad in our family of origin because if it were too good we would stay too close and not go out and accomplish our own things. If there is something that goes against the grain of the family don’t question whether you should do it or not, just do it. Live your life. Be your own person. They likely won’t get you anyway.
Jill Thomas CHT
Soul Connect Hypnotherapy
Encinitas, CA 92024