Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Sister Vs. Sister - Favoritism In the Family

My sister has a very passive (yet aggressive) personality. She is very easily influenced, and she can tell a story better than a sinner on judgment day. She has told a many tall tale, that included everything from she was robbed on a subway (lie), that when she was 21 the reason whey she was so broke was she had to pay my mother 800.00 for rent (another lie), as well as her favorite: "I don't know why (fill in the blank) said I took (fill in the blank). I didn't steal anything!"

In all fairness to everyone involved that I'm about to speak on, my sister tells these incredible stories that will pull you in faster than the Titanic sank to the bottom of the Ocean. They are truly believable. The only possible way to not believe a word that she says is to be around her for several years. I'm starting to think, that even she believes them herself, maybe that's why they sound so good! :P

Because of this, my sister has gotten more free passes than a 13 year old girl gets with R. Kelly. Everyone has always made accommodations for her as a child, and excuses, saying "Well, she didn't really mean it", or "She isn't like YOU, she needs more help.

Well, who said that I didn't need any help?

My paternal great aunt was the WORST! She would take my sister shopping and she would come back with a trunkload of items. Wouldn't get me a thing. And.We.Were.CHILDREN! If in fact she HAPPENED to take me, she would always say "Make sure you pick something up for your sister, we don't want to forget her". Granted, I wasn't her warm close personal niece, I didn't like her and she knew it. Hell, what nine year old would like a woman with a million cats in her house, hid my fathers mistress, and told my mother that I was too light to be my dad's daughter, hello. Prolly didn't help I told everyone her house was a mess. :P ! But see, my aunt was manipulative. And so is my sister. So they got along VERY well.

But my father was even a culprit. He would send my sister (a full time WORKER who had enough money and then some to take care of herself), hundreds and hundreds of dollars at any given time, often monthly, and didn't send me a thing. At that time, my sister was 25, and I was 19, going to school full time, and working part time. Again, in all fairness, my sister was calling him telling him tall tales of paying exorbitant rent to whoever she was staying with at the time, so he would send it. He never sent money to me, and would often reference the parable of the prodigal son. Are you kidding me? Who wanted to hear that as a 19 year old broke as a joke child? Not me.

Now, my mom? She didn't really make apparent differences, but she did go out of her way to do things for her, as of course, a parent would do. But as I became an adult, it would get on my nerves. Only now, considering my sister has been M.I.A. for over four years, and only calls to get her birth certificate (Sidebar to new readers- Go into archives and read the birth certificate saga), I think my mother would be firm with her. (I guess).

My sister seems to think I'm the favored child. In fairness, perhaps that is why she acted out, perhaps not, just playing devils advocate. I seem to think that she is. Maybe that's why I tend to get frustrated when things like THIS happen. In fact, if I have gotten into into it with my parents, I have even said in the past "I'm sure if You.Know.Who had this issue, it would be a BIG DEAL!"

Now, I am astute enough to know that parents feel differently about each and every one of their kids, and that's subject to the relationship they have with them. I know there are different feeling for each child, even though the love is there for all of them. I know this. However, things that I witnessed were deliberate, intentional, and obviously (at least according to my interpretation) slanted in her behalf. But that's my eyewitness testimony, and anyone worth their salt knows that eyewitness testimony means nary a THING!

Disclaimer: I was not a traumatized neglected child; not in the slightest. But I DID feel that differences were made with my sister. I DID.

K-PAT FM is going to open up this topic to the readers: I'm going to open it up to the readers:

Do You Notice YOUR behavior with your children? Is it there, but you suppress it? Did you experience this as a child yourself? With any of your friends/family? Teachers - I would be especially interested in your take on this, particularly in a classroom setting and how that affects you on a daily basis.

22 comments:

chele said...

My take on your situation is that you've proven yourself to be stable and independent so no one felt as though you needed anything. What people need to realize is that no matter how self-sufficient I am I still need something from you and that something is LOVE. Hello?

With my kids, I have to be very careful. I can't treat them both the same. How can you treat a 15-year old male the same way you treat an 11-year old female? It can't be done. Unfortunately, the different treatment may be misconstrued as favoritism. I hope it isn't. There are times when I make comparisons and I have to bite my tongue. "Why can't you keep your room clean like your brother?" or "Your sister is a great dancer!" They pick up on stuff like that.

As an adult, I know that my parents favor my younger sister. She is the chosen one for various reasons. My sister and I are best friends and we sometimes joke about her being heir to the throne. She'd gladly give up that position if it meant she wouldn't be subject to daily updates on the bowel activty that goes on in my parent's house.

chele said...

oh yeah .... FIRST in line kiddies!

P said...

@ Chele:

Though I agree with your first paragraph, I'm not so stringent where I would NOT have accepted help. My self imposed stability came FROM the fact that there was so much given to her and I was like Hello, what am I supposed to do.

And even though you take heart to what you say, I do commend you on recognizing it and biting your tongue in certain instances.

As least you and your sister have a good working relationship regarding this, and I guess, sometimes, in being that child, you are subject to all kinds of weird things.

By the way, my parents deny this 100 percent. And to SOME degree, I believe them, but based on everything they DID, that was the ultimate impression that was left on me.

The Phoenix aka ThatGirlTam said...

I agree with Chele...my children (as you know) are at 3 VERY DIFFERENT stages in their lives and all require a certain amount of attention over the others. I can't BL like ML because BL is 12 (going on 30) and should know better. I can't treat ML like LL because ML is 6 and should know better. And LL gets away with all kinds of shit because he's barely 2!!

I know BL thinks I show ML favoritism, because he actually told me so - but I also pointed out (as I do ALL THE TIME) that he is twice ML's age and requires a DIFFERENT kind of attention and guidance.

I don't ever use comparative comments towards the boys because they're all so different and at different stages of their lives - but I DO use their OWN actions and lack of responsibility for them - towards the accused.

And since I was raised as an only child - I was always the whoopin post and when there was shit to talk - it was always towards ME and ME ALONE.

Msnhim said...

I would say my parents treated me and my siblings different at some point in our lives.... I made it a point o ask my mother once why she always catered to my little sisters tyraids her answer was " your alot stronger than she is.. I don't ever really worry about you being ok in life " I don't think it made me feel any better but having My own kids I understand where she is coming from just a tad.

I try my best to treat my kids the same but like the Pheonix said I have different age groups So I go according to what I expect from them at their age.

P said...

@ The Phoenix and Msnhm:

I understand that part. Very.Well, and y'all make good points. Thanks for clarifying.

But I really do think that some parents care for one child more than the other. Not a different relationship.

Care.For. Hell, maybe all of them do and just won't admit it.

I dunno.

T. Cas said...

Chele's first paragraph describes my relationship with my moms. I am the middle child and I think I've always been more independant. My older sister got more attention as the firstborn, then my little brother got more attention as the baby. I am cool with that for the most part. It made me responsible and independant. But on those rare occasions that I need help, I don't think I get the same support.

Mizrepresent said...

I'm the baby of the family, and after witnessing all of my siblings growing up, their do's and don'ts, their wrongs and rights, i learned to adjust and make life a little better for myself and family. Now i know that i am the fav, but it is bc i they all know that i will come thru for them, mom, dad, brothers and sisters, no matter what..but there is often a bit of hate and jealousy wrapped up in all that too! I've learned to dismiss it and move on....no i can't be them, i can't even sometimes deal with all of their drama and circumstances...all i can do is love them and treat them like my brothers and sisters. My children, i love unconditionally. My daughter sometimes complain that i treat my some differently...but i don't see it. I love them both immensely! My son has always been under my wing, since birth. My daughter was the same until my son arrived. I will always love them for their individuality and their sameness, not matter what, but i would never love one more than the other. I can't, but i can love them differently, and show them in my own special way. But to P. I say, i feel ya. My mom, has a special kinship with my oldest brother, no matter how many times he f$%^ks up! It's cool though. And i know the reason i don't get the same pass is, she thinks i know better, and so for the strong, and independent, we get are expected to act a certain way, but the rest are forgiven...just a way of life.

bunny said...

Very interesting topic. It's only my brother and myself and he is eight years older than me and he is still milking our mom like a cow. On the other hand she says she love us the same, because we have had this convo before. I feel she shouldn't give in to him and that he should stop taking advantage of her but you know the saying, Mothers raise their daughters and love their sons.

Although growing up I got everything I wanted mostly and he swears to this day that I was a spoiled brat. Not true in my eyes, just very deserving :-)

We also had different fathers, his totally absent and mine raised us both.

Miss Ahmad said...

well ironically all four of us thinks that each one is the favorite...

I'm the oldest therefore i have a certain relationship with my mother that no one else haves...I am the one that made her a mother!

My baby sister is the brainiac so she's spoiled because she's excelled academically!

My middle brother was the first born son, so the sun doesn't shine until he rises. I don't think he's ever done a chore in his life. He's 25 just moved back home and I think my parents are gonna buy him a condo~

The baby is the baby...he's so spoiled he's an absolute snob. But since he's the baby he's also and old folks baby, so my parents are tired and they just shell out money!

So all of us have our own spoils....mine just didn't come financially, although I'm 'bout to hit 'em up before I leave home:-)

P said...

@ Miss Ahmad:

LMAO @ "My middle brother was the first born son, so the sun doesn't shine until he rises"

HAHAHA!

Carmell said...

i have a sister like you just not as extreme. she can get whatever out of anybody and make you think you owe it to her or shes doing YOU the favor! my dad caters to her a lot. the thing i rememeber the most was in college when i had my child my senior year out of the city. i couldn't get a job because i had him. she was working and living off campus for no reason in the city and my father gave HER a vehicle. i'm in the middle of nowhere with a child and no money and he gives her a car. that pisses me off to this day!

The Sarccastik Variable Why said...

my single days, i was dating (more like hangin' out) this sista w/2 kids...we worked together, and i would stop by her house....she was an interracial woman..(here's my point) i would notice that she catered more towards her light-skinned son more than her dark-skinned son, the light one looked like kid that US was fighting w/mexico about...and the dark-skinned kid teeth was not kept up, hair uncombed and everything...but the light-skinned was hair was combed and everything...i notice that the light kid get away with everything and the dark kid didn't.....the dark kid at 7 noticed that and said that to the mama..she played it off...i was like nope..i can't deal with this crazy chick...everytime i was see him..i would personally play with him, since we had the same dark complexion...(not my kid, ya'll)

nikki said...

i think alot of parents tend to leave kids who appear to be self-sufficient alone because they appear to be self-sufficient.

it's like they hold us to a higher standard of behavior and therefore, will not be nearly as forgiving because they expect more from us. meanwhile the screw ups get the free passes.

and i co-sign on chele. she states it most eloquently.

my great-grandma showed favoritism in all of her relationships. i was the favorite whereas my brother was ostrasized. i didn't know until i was older that she had been treating him so poorly.

then i found out she did the same thing with my granny and great aunt.

i wonder if it's something that stems from her childhood.

J. G. said...

I have 2 older sisters and as we were growing up I did notice some issues in my home. My oldest sister was more like my mom, my middle sister was very, very skinny so she never got hit, well I have always been on the healthy side so you know how that is. My mom is a crazy lady she doesn't like it when all three of us get a long (trust me that is very rare that we all get along). If we do get along she always finds away for us to get in some kind of argument. If my mom is happy everyone can be happy, if she is in a mood that's it the whole world stops. My dad on the other hand he has always been more like a big brother to us, he didn't hit nor get mad at us.

My grandparents use to always say, "Why can't you be like your cousin". I use to get so pissed shit cause I don't want to be like him, I had fun growing up. While I was out and about he was being forced to play the piano etc shit I was way to busy chilling.

Now that I'm married, I try to be equal with my two (step) boys. The little one has issue, I mean he has issues he stabbed a lil girl with a pencil crazy I know. He is a good kid but I don't think he knows how to get his anger out, he sure does cry a lot. My oldest well he is more the neglected one, he is neglected by pretty much everyone. His mother prefers the lil one, my in laws tell him he is the ugly one and the lil is the cute one. Well since I've been in the picture the oldest one is REALLY attached to me. I stopped a lot of the name calling that was being thrown at him, so I guess you can say I'm his protection blanket.

Don't get me twisted when punishment needs to be handled that is all me, my husband is a softy when it comes down to things.

Lāā said...

Oooh Sarccastik opened up a whole 'nother can of worms with the light/dark skinned thing.

I'm a middle child that was more independent than my older sister and younger brother. To this day I think that my mom favored my sister more because she talks to her more, even now. My mom favored my brother because he was the only boy and the youngest.

I felt I needed validation from my mom, because nothing ever seemed to be good enough for her. I would get all A's and one B and she would tell me that I can do better. Meanwhile my brother and sister would get all C's and a couple of B's and she would congratulate them.

I've never talked with my mom about the favortism subject because I know she would deny it and this would truly hurt my feelings.

P said...

@ Laa & Sarcastik:

I will be addressing this in another post.

It was already on the agenda.

TRUST!

NegroPino™ said...

My sister used to think I was my favorite and til this day she still does..its a running joke we had......but at the current moment me nad her aint on speaking terms cuz she refuses to grow up and do irresponsible ish......but I can see why even if its true, why i was the "favorite" I didnt get pregnant, i finished shcool, i didnt cause any problems, i never been arrested. But my mother didnt know what to do with her, and she still doesnt and my sister is damn near 33.

P said...

@ Missy:

Well, the inverse is my sister:

She is drama incarnate. But I didn't do ANYTHING (well, you know what I mean).

She kept it going.

jelli said...

I'm new to your blog, this is an interesting topic. I don't have any kids but I do have to half sisters. I am the oldest and for all intensive purposes I have made good choices for my life. I have one sister that we have the same dad and she is 25 and have made all the wrong choices in her life, she is a high school drop out and she had a baby at 18. I can see that my dad makes a difference between us favoring me more. My other sister and I share the same mom and she is 15 years younger than me and my mom let her do a whole lot more than I was ever able to do at her age. So yes I think parents show difference with their kids.

Eviania said...

I am the only girl (middle kid) in a latin/native american family of 6 and I was the scapegoat, abused mentally and physically. Would probably be dead had my brothers not stuck up for me and try to keep my mother from me. I am now the most successful of these children with the youngest being a crack dealer who my mother thinks can do no wrong. After years of therapy, I no longer allow her in my life. On a posistive note, I am the mother of three and I love them all equally and treat them as the gifts of God that they are. By the way, I really enjoy your commentary. Peace, Girl.

Jaimie said...

Your sister sounds very much like the ex. But the ex has narcissitic personality disorder...not responsible for anything, yet feels entitled to consume your spirit. And then will lie about it.

Also, like your sister, if you heard his stories you would think,"oh, poor thing! Oh my God! That happened to you? Here, here let me take care of you." Its all lies! They get you into your web, then kick you, kiss you, kick you.

The best decision of my life (besides going to college and having my daughter) was leaving that mess the way I found it.

As far as a being a teacher, I haven't seen it too much. I do have one student in my class who's brother is gifted. She herself is very smart (gifted, I don't know). Well, her mom is convinced that there is something wrong with her, she can't really read, etc. She must be comparing her to brother. I feel for her. Her mom rides her for no good reason. No, she's probably not gifted, but she is very bright. It will be hard for her to make her mom happy.