iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2003
Sat, 11-08-2003 - 11:04am
Can somebody please explain to me the twisted concept of favoritism??? At least this sick relationship that my mother-in-law has with my spineless brother-in-law.

What puzzles me the most is why my MIL bends over backwards for this BIL who sponges off of her and abuses her. My BIL is a loser. Very needy and always gets himself in trouble. And my MIL is always behind him 200%!!! So, what happens? My BIL doesn't learn a thing and keeps getting himself and trouble while my MIL is always there to pick up his mess.

At first I thought that MIl probaly just feels sorry for my BIL. But you know what? I've known them for more than 5 years and my MIL even seems to brag about my BIL - even though there's nothing to brag about.

For example, BIL and then-gf accidentally got pregnant 3 months after they met. Being from an Irish Catholic family (and to save face), they got married. You would think that they'd learn their lesson after that. Instead, after the baby was born, BIL and wife would always dump off the baby at my inlaws' and go on dates and vacation. Meanwhile, MIL would also drive 3 hours each way (and leave my FIL) to go to BIL's house to babysit. Then, they have a 2nd baby. You think, they'd stop the dating the vacations? NO! Same story. MIL would even brag that BIL and wife are leaving their babies behind to go on vacation. I mean, what is there to be proud of? Truly, it is sickening. But, everytime you hope that having babies would knock some sense into them, they seem to get even more stupider. 2nd baby isn't even 1 year old, and BIL and wife announces that they are pregnant again. MIL cheers!!!

What the heck am I missing here? Here I am, my hubby and I still childless (by choice) for 3 years. We want to enjoy our marriage first before we have kids. More importantly, we want to be prepared as much as we can before we have a baby. Meanwhile, these people are having kids even though they obviously don't want to have them as they always dump of their kids to other people so they can go on vacations. And my MIL cheers for them??!! Is it me??

Oh, and by the way, my MIL also has picture of BIL and family's pictures peppered all over her house. Meanwhile she hardly has any of her other childen (and grandchildren's) pictures up.

Why is MIL so blind??

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2003
Sat, 11-08-2003 - 3:24pm
Here is what I got from your post:

I am under the assumption that your BIL is your MIL's son. Is he the oldest son? If so, the oldest son has multiple children, including a grandson, correct? Isn't this what an Irish-Catholic grandmother craves for as soon as her son is old enough to marry? Someone to carry on the family name? Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that she is doing the right thing, I am just saying that she was raised to treat the oldest son, with the grandson's better than the others.

If you start having sons maybe this favortism will change (again I am not saying this is right, or you should start having babies before both of you are ready). I can see why your BIL and wife want to go on dates and vacations since they are very much in a honeymoon period, but after five years it is too much. I agree with you. Perhaps they do it because your MIL makes it possible.

Maybe your mother-in-law is bored at home and needs to feel needed, so she babysits her grandkids. Maybe she never got over her empty nest syndrome, or maybe her son is the closest relative (as far as miles are concerned).

I know the pains of favortism, my grandfather barely recognizes my existence, he is German-Lutheran, but I am the daughter of his daughter. I have seen him 2-3 times in my life. My mother favors her oldest daughter, which is extremely painful for me at times. I went away to college and all of my photographs came down in the house. It was agonizing for me. I think it is because she didn't want to me to go away to college. Who knows, she is very emotional.

I hope I got you thinking some more about why your MIL behaves as she does. Tell us more, maybe we can figure it out better.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2003
Sun, 11-09-2003 - 11:52pm
I don't know why she is so blind. Favoritism is usually based on some concept that the person has internalized. It has no logic. It just is.

Unfortunatly, there is nothing you can do about it.

The best you can do is to make peace with it.

Ejkdmom Come visit my store: www.leorra.com
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2003
Wed, 11-12-2003 - 10:29am
Ok, we have been there in fact we are still there and I'll explain why we think MY mil favors my bil and his children. She is a martyr. She wants to be the savior. You said that she keeps saving him from trouble, and he uses her for too much babysitting etc, well these martyr types LOVE that. They want to feel like their child can't do it on his own and if it wasn't for her helping (taking over) then how would the children survive. You see, you and your husband have your lives under control and you both are successful. She can't take any CREDIT for your success so she is only focused on bil becuase any success he or his children have can only be because MIL did it. I suspect she probably favored BIL while he and you H were groewing up too (my MIL did this) So she basically RAISED him to be dependant on her so she can SAVE him from his irresponsible behavior when he grows up. She basically raised herself up an insurance that she will always be NEEDED by BIL. Pretty sad when you think of the repercussions of the whole thing.

You and H are much better off without all the emotional problems that go along with a relationship like that. Just wait til you have kids, the reall problems come when she deliberately favors one set of grandchildren over the other. The kids notice it at a very young age, and the unfavored children have a lot of bad feelings about themselves whenever they leave grandmas house.
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-03-2003
Wed, 11-12-2003 - 11:04am
I am a bit confused as to why exactly you are jealous? I understand that they are married and have children, and that you do not. Right? And I commend you and your spouse for being responsible about the decision to wait until you are financially stable before you decide to make an addition to your family. But also I do believe that when you have kids it does put a lot of strain on a marriage and anyone who has family willing to help with babysitting their children so that they can still have the time to themselves that is needed in a marriage....You cannot change your mother (in-law) and be happy that you are healthy, safe, have a great marriage, etc...Be proud of your own accomplishments in life.

I too have experienced jealousy and a lot of resentment towards my mother regarding my other siblings. My mother has babied my youngest brother since he was 16. They divorced and the two us lived the majority of our youth with our father. She is not my "real" mother, so she had no rights to where I was concerned. So I was always told that she left my brother with me so that I would not grow up alone. After I left my father's house, my brother moved in with her. He was allowed to do anything he wanted at her house....stay out late....almost quit high school....I came back when I was 18 for her help and support bc I was going to have a baby on my own. Very embarrassed to say this, but I did get on welfare....during the time that I was pregnant. My brother was only 16 at the time (she did his laundry, ironed his clothes, catered to him, when he would come in late, she would make him something eat). While I was there, I did grocery shopping, I helped with the household chores, laundry, etc. And I had to pay 200 for rent. Yes, I was on welfare and received a cash grant of about 300 a month along with food stamps. Anyway, I got out of her house the minute that I could....Married now with two beautiful girls and my H has adopted my oldest (keep in touch with the "real" father only for her bc in the future I know she will want to know about him)....we have a lot of ups and downs but are working to better our lives....Anyway, my brother is now 22 years old and has lived with my mother the entire time (he moved out once, to live with a girlfriend but that only lasted a few months and then he was back in her house)....He worked, took two college classes, made way more money than she did working as a car salesman...but that didn't last....and now he is in Australia for a year....with friends.....and all this time she did the same thing as she did when he was 16 (his laundry, drop off/pick up his dry cleaning, pick up after him, made his dinner, bought his groceries, paid for his phone calls) all this time she has strugggled with financial difficulty and would b***h to me about how she is tired of him leaving his crap around, not taking out the trash, having to buy sodas when she doesn't even drink them.....And all this time not once did have to pay any rent. He is just a late bloomer she says. Yea, I am jealous....he bought a jeep, got tired of that....bought a fancy sports car....yep the jealousy was always there.....while I would occasionally ask her to watch the girls if my H wanted to go to a movie....or if he was working and couldn't be off in time....this was not very often ever.....that I would ask her for this.........I have since told her my feelings...told her that she is not doing him any good and have moved away for the last time.....I miss her terribly, she is the only mother I have....and I wish that we could have a better relationship but I can't allow my self esteem and the jealousy control my life anymore....

I'm sorry I went into so much detail but it really felt good to get this out.....

Jealousy can be an overpowering emotion...don't let it take control of your life.

Good Luck and thank you thank you thank you so much for letting me vent some here!

Avatar for leslie2353
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 11-12-2003 - 7:47pm
Obviously this MIL woman LOVES KIDS. She needs to get out of the house, so she can be with kids and more kids. That's what she's doing here. She loves them period. No matter how bad they've treated her, she's very loving to them, and cares for them, and gives her plenty of reason to REMAIN ACTIVE. Good for her. I won't be that kind of MIL when it's my turn. Not that I don't love children, I do! And yes, I've brought my kids over to my parents so WE CAN GO ON VACATION.

It sounds that, even though you LIKE TO REMAIN CHILDLESS BY CHOICE, it's bothering you that YOU'RE JEALOUS and the MIL is focused on those kids, rather than YOU or your husband.

Get a dog. Who knows maybe she will plaster the dogs photos all over her wall.

Just be happy that she's doing something that she loves, instead of getting out of the house to play BINGO! There's no harm done, just easy on her.

Avatar for leslie2353
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 11-12-2003 - 7:50pm
Reasons why she has pictures of some of the children and not ALL of the children, maybe she wasn't close to them, and they're not as respectful to her than the other children.

I DON'T HAVE PICTURES of people in my house that aren't nice to me? My MIL for instance, but I have photos of MY parents. DH never complained because he knows HOW I FEEL ABOUT HIS MOTHER. I have photos of some of the kids' cousins, but not all cousins are dislayed.
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-14-2002
Sat, 11-15-2003 - 1:40am
She's blinded by a mother's love. Forgive me for being patronizing, but you will understand this concept once you have children of your own.

I don't understand why you think it's *sickening* that BIL and his wife dump their kids with MIL to go on dates and vacations. What's so awful about that? Being a parent doesn't mean that you must spend 24/7 with your kids - my God, that would drive any parent to the nuthouse. No, when you have your own kids, you will want some time away from them, too. Trust me.

One key to a healthy marriage is to spend one-on-one time with your honey away from the kids and pressures of parenthood. Marriage counselors, priests, parents, child and family specialists (the list goes on...) ALL recommend that parents find a sitter for the kids at least once or twice a month and GET AWAY to spend time alone. It's healthy for the parents and their marriage, and healthy for the kids to spend time away from their parents - learning flexibility, independence, adjustment to different kinds of discipline, etc.

I think your MIL enjoys feeling needed and wanted - she revels in it. Your BIL needs her to pick up his messes - BIL, wife and kids need her for babysitting. This is her happiness: making a difference, feeling needed and wanted. So, she posts pictures all over her house of the things/people who make her feel happiest. You may interpret this as favoritism, but I doubt she sees it that way.

A little advice: If you hope someday to have MIL babysit your own children while you go on vacation or a date (and you WILL), best do it soon - before she's got so many grandchildren that she's burned out babysitting. I can see it now: a few years from now, a post from you that protests how MIL always babysits for BIL's kids, but can't find time to babysit yours....

So find something or someway NOW to make her feel you need her. Right now, it probably seems like favoritism because you and DH don't *need* her for anything. You've got your lives together, so she doesn't have to worry about you. Hence, no "happy" feelings for her (and no pictures on the wall, no bragging, etc.) because she's not doing things to *help* you. Get the picture?