FAVORITISM 2: Thanks to all ... More

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2003
FAVORITISM 2: Thanks to all ... More
Fri, 11-14-2003 - 11:17am
Thanks to all your posts. I greatly appreciate it. To answer some of your questions and clarify some points...

Danielle: My BIL is not the oldest. He is the middle child. Also, he has 2 girls and one on the way. He is also the farthest from my MIL. He lives in another state and is 3 hours from my MIL's house. My other SIL/BIL's (also have kids) live in the same town as my MIL and yet MIL bends over backwards for my loser BIL. You are very right when you said that MIL loves to feel needed. It's really a sick, but her actions tell me that she is intentionally doing this to make her independent and self-sufficient children feel bad (because they don't need her). My husband and his other siblings love their mother and father and they visit them often. They just don't make MIL work for them. So, why my MIL does the things she does for needy BIL is beyond me.

EJKdom: Thanks. I've been trying to make peace. But everytime I do, MIL and BIL do stuff that provoke negative feelings.

DNA399: You make a really good point. She loves to feel needed and probably wants to be remembered as a MARTYR. But if I were BIL, I would rather work on my own problems and not ask mother for help. You also make a great point about grandkids. It did cross my mind. Once I have a baby, I'm sure MIL will do things to offend me and my kids.

Hannstout: I'm not jealous. I couldn't care less for my MIL's attention. It's just plain disturbing to see a loser being enabled by his MIL so that he could be more of a loser. I also feel bad for my other BIL/SIL who have kids, live closer and don't get the attention. Just because other SIL/BIL's are self-sufficient, why does my MIL have to punish them for that? I mean, it's sick isn't it? Hubby and I are also pretty stable already. We have just decided to wait and spend time together and travel before having kids. I do think that BIL is jealous of hubby and I because we travel a lot (and cries to mommy so that he and wife can have fun too). So why they keep having kids (when they obviously just want to have fun) is beyond me.

Leslie: I doubt that she favors loser BIL merely because she loves kids. I got other BIL/SIL's who live in the same town as MIL, and MIL doesn't bend backwards for them. In fact, another BIL told me how offended he was that MIL had so many pix of loser BIL's kids and hardly of his. Is that right? I mean, other BIL/SIL's love MIL and pay her visits. They just happen to be self-sufficient and not need MIL to work for them. What's so wrong with that? To me, MIL does the thing with pictures (putting up those she likes and taking down those she doesn't like at the moment) to provoke hard feelings.

Bottomline is: MIL likes to feel needed. Because hubby and I are self-sufficient and independent and hardly calls her for favors, she doesn't like us.

Avatar for leslie2353
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Fri, 11-14-2003 - 4:37pm
Bottomline is: MIL likes to feel needed. Because hubby and I are self-sufficient and independent and hardly calls her for favors, she doesn't like us.

There you go, you just answered your own question. She's a picky woman and she choosed who she likes displayed on her mantle. She's trying to tell those she doesn't LIKE loud and clear. There's the proof.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-14-2002
Sat, 11-15-2003 - 1:46am
Oh, come now. I don't think it's a case of MIL *not liking* the other siblings and their kids - or that she likes the BIL and his kids any better - it's just that BIL makes her feel needed, therefore she feels happy. BIL makes her happy. The other siblings don't *need* her, so in her mind they don't bring her as much happiness. Can you see this from her point of view? MIL thinks the other siblings and kids DON'T LIKE her as much as BIL, because they don't *need* her like he does.

This isn't *sick* behavior. A bit twisted, but definitely not *sick.*



iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2003
Sat, 11-15-2003 - 11:05am
Hi Msfit,

Saw your posts. Thanks.

Indeed it is good to see it from another point of view. Believe me, I have given my MIL the benefit of the doubt many times over. But everytime I try to reach out to her, she pulls away and then gives me a litany about loser BIL. I know exactly what you're saying, e.g., make her feel needed, so we get on her good side.

From my perspective, she has already made up her mind. Loser BIL uses her and abuses her over and over, and she revels in that. It is pathetic. It is a very twisted and unhealthy relationship. So, for me (us) to go after her and make her feel needed would be nurturing this twisted thinking of hers.

I also agree that couples should spend *alone time* together, but not every week. Perhaps I wasn't clear in my previous posts. My loser BIL and wife don't seem to have any plans when it comes to having babies. First of all, they got married because they got pregnant 3 months after they met. They are now having their 3rd baby (in 5 years and had a miscarriage once) AND even with wife all big and pregnant, they still go on dates and vacations (3 days away from kids) and dumps off kids at MIL's (or MIL drives 3 hours to babysit for days at their house). This doesn't happen once in a while -it happens almost every week. That is too much. They keep having babies, but their priority is to date and go on vacations without the kids. I never hear them going away with the kids either. And their actions tell me that they truly don't know the meaning of being parents, and yet they keep having babies. And MIL is behind them 200%. It is twisted and sick.

That's just where I am coming from.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-15-2003
Thu, 11-20-2003 - 8:40pm
Hi Creme,

Here's what I think...

MIL is probably ashamed of her son, so she covers up and bends over backwards to make him look good - despite of. When she sees you and husband (and other self-sufficient kids) so put together, she pities her helpless son. She may also be empathizing with him, so he wouldn't feel more inadequate. He sounds really mixed up. Hence, MIL talks him up or builds him up to other children (even though there's nothing to brag about). She always talks about them no matter how foolish it sounds, so people think that things are going well with them. After all, many in the family are probably thinking the same way you do, i.e., how could things be that great when they barely knew each other and got married because the woman got pregnant. I'm sure other relatives are thinking like you, but are not saying anything to be polite and because your loser BIL's situation is undeniably VERY embarrassing.

Similarly, MIL is peppers her house with loser BIL's pictures to show and PROVE that things are going well.

I wouldn't want to be in their shoes. It's very stressful keeping up appearances like that. Just be glad that you're not in their shoes and focus on your wonderful marriage!

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-21-2003
Fri, 11-21-2003 - 2:36pm
Hi there,

I'm a writer working on an article that deals with exactly what you're going through -- when parents favor one child over the others. Unfortunately, it's a subject that I have personal experience with as well.

I would love to talk to you about your experience. It very often helps to express the emotion involved when you have someone actually going through it telling the story.

Please email me at terri.cullen@wsj.com if you'd like to talk.