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To be hurt by MIL's favouritism

(28 Posts)
Sendo Fri 26-Dec-14 19:39:31

We have just got home from having spent a few days with our respective families. There are 4 GC altogether of comparable ages so why does MIL spend three times as much on 2 of her GC. O.K, the kids didn't notice in all the excitement of opening everyone's presents en masse but due to past form, I was sad to discover that my suspicions were right.

I have to admit that it does colour my feelings towards her and I definitely feel less generous in thought and action over the years and I have known her for 20+ yrs. However, I am very much saddened by it. Not sure whether to mention it to DH (again) who is more oblivious about these things but then he's accustomed to being not thought about over his siblings.

runawaysimba Fri 26-Dec-14 20:02:02

It sucks, doesn't it? It's the same with my MIL. Kids don't notice now, as they're so young, but I'm sure they will. DP feels it more strongly than me but it's just not a battle worth picking, we feel. Long term I think it (and other behaviour) will damage MIL's relationship with DD, but it won't be for a lack of trying in our part.

AryaUnderfoot Fri 26-Dec-14 20:20:25

YANBU. MIL favours DH over SIL. She also favours DS over DD.

Then again, FIL didn't want children around at weekends when DH was growing up so DH and SIL were farmed off every weekend to grandparents. DH's grandfather was very emotionally abusive to DH but adored SIL. MIL 'makes up' for it by doting on DH.

Families can be so fucked up.

I try to steer clear of PIL so my kids don't pick up on the fact that one is treated far nicer than the other.

AryaUnderfoot Fri 26-Dec-14 20:23:03

.....and I'm sure lots of posters will say it's not about money....

MIL bought DS a bike (not a cheap one) for his birthday. They gave us a cheque for about 1/6th of that amount for DD's.

simbacatlivesagain Fri 26-Dec-14 20:26:37

Is it because their parents ask for more expensive gifts? My mother gets what people ask for £60 toy or £10 toy. 1 item each

LadyLuck10 Fri 26-Dec-14 20:30:06

You've known her for 20 years yet can't say something about it to her? Why sit quiet and be sad when you can do something about it?

Sendo Fri 26-Dec-14 22:10:16

I have confronted her in the past - she utterly denies it and we have been called materialistic! So, I seethe in silence (well, not completely - I basically upset DH by mentioning it yet again). I'm not a complete walk over but neither am I a complete bitch. It should be the thought that counts - it's just that she always seem to give a lot less thought to it as always.

Every year, I think to myself that it should not matter but every year, I do mind! Yes, we are more distant as a result since there is no way I can pretend to be happy families over an extended period of time.

The fact that I notice it at all makes me feel like the villainess! It makes me feel angry that she feels it is ok to treat us with so far less thought and consideration than she does to others. It has caused umpteen rows between Dh & myself in the last 20 years. I do realise that you cannot control how someone act towards you but you can control your own reactions (Relate therapy for 3 months!). I am not vindictive enough to cut ties - that's too extreme and punishes us as a family as well. Not sure what I'm seeking tbh since we have had words a few times over the years about what I perceive to be her favouritism amongst her children and it has never garnered any long lasting results let alone any goodwill (unsurprisingly). She reverts to type as if she cannot help herself - I'm just mad that the gc seem to be subject to her behaviour too. I think that I just needed to vent and get over the latest slight.

anotherdayanothersquabble Fri 26-Dec-14 22:26:51

Any chance of raising it with the other adults involved? Surely they have noticed..

homeappliance Fri 26-Dec-14 22:31:53

I've found over the years that it hurts less to have no expectations. PIL show favouritism to DH's sisters and respective grandchildren in the time they spend with them, their gifts, praise etc... DH is also bothered by it but doesn't want to talk about it ever. It's sad but we don't spend as much time with them and our thoughts and actions towards them has changed over the years too.

It's only since having children that I've been most upset by it. I don't want my dc to know or feel less special.

tilder Fri 26-Dec-14 22:44:33

Yanbu. It's sad and upsetting to see. I have no idea to deal with it though. Mil favours sil and her children over my children, although dh is favoured over all. I have spoken to dh about it and he gets very upset but also has no idea how to deal with it. Mil is, in dh's words, a very selfish woman and states frequently that she treats all her gc equally. Value of gifts are equal, time and attention are not.

Our eldest is aware. I told him how loved he is, that mil loves them all. I explained that she stays with sil so frequently as she uses it as a base when visiting her friends. Which is kind of true. Kids aren't stupid though. I knew my grandparents played favorites.

Sendo Sat 27-Dec-14 11:39:33

I have learnt to have extremely low expectations but nevertheless, it still rankles and hurts me/us.

The most favoured sibling thinks it is childishly jealous of DH. The other sibling empathises to a degree but no-one can change her behaviour. If everyone was in accord, we could at least laugh about it but unfortunately, people are in denial so it is the elephant in the room so to speak.

Even when she is told to her face (in the past) how hurtful her actions are, her response is that she doesn't love him any less and that he should not equate money with love. We KNOW that but....it is hard to accept when there is such a huge gap/distinction between her gifts of time/attention/money.

Now we have young children, I'm really pissed off that it seems to have crossed over to the next generation. Generally, MIL is a nice person and we get along on the whole. Yes, we have consciously decided to distance ourselves in the last year but it is not without much heartache.

She does not realise that her behaviour also damages the relationship between her children since they, in effect, fight for her attention even though they are in their 30's/40's. It is hard to witness and no, I'm aware that she won't change her behaviour.

Thanks for listening to my vent.

MistletoeforMissAnnersley Sat 27-Dec-14 11:43:54

My granny favoured me above all her GC, it was really obvious even when I was a small child (frequently got twice as many gifts as siblings and cousins etc) I think it was ironically because my DDad, her son, adopted me and then had more kids with my DM so my granny felt she needed to show she loved me as a GC and ended up overcompensating.

Wishfulmakeupping Sat 27-Dec-14 11:47:38

Vent away I think it happens a lot I know a few people in a similar situation its very sad, it seems to be (massive generalisation here but from people I know!) that mums are closer to their dayghter's children than their son's children not sure if that's what others have found?

FlipFlippingFlippers Sat 27-Dec-14 11:49:33

Yanbu although the money aspect doesn't bother me. My MIL favours her eldest 2gc and spends all her time with sil's dc. To the point of taking them on holidays and letting them sleepover all the time. Me and dh haven't had a baby sitter from his side of the family since 2012 sad none of them like me which is fine tbh but I feel really sad for dh and our dc. We got an hours visit the day before Christmas eve. First visit since the summer. I don't have a big family and with poor health they won't be around for long. I get scared that my dc's are going to have us and nobody else.

DaisyFlowerChain Sat 27-Dec-14 11:50:36

It's unfair and everyone should get roughly the same amount.

However, I've noticed on MN that it seems perfectly ok to treat your own children differently with regards to spending, younger ones having second hand etc but not for others to do it.

Bambamb Sat 27-Dec-14 11:52:08

My MIL also has clear favourites - my children are the favoured ones, and it makes me very uncomfortable. YANBU to be upset by it but in my experience it's unlikely to change so you have to learn to let it go as you're the only one suffering by letting it get to you,it' s not worth your energy.
We are able to laugh about it with my bil and sil - can you? It's a relief for all if you can.

Wishfulmakeupping Sat 27-Dec-14 11:56:04

flipflipping I agree its more time thats an issue mil is very careful to spend the same amount of money but that's not important to me

mysteryfairy Sat 27-Dec-14 11:57:25

Is there a discrepancy in incomes? My PIL did very little for my children, but we're pretty fortunate in life and my children have grown up with nice house, cars, school fees, holidays, possessions etc. A lot more was done and bought for other grandchildren who for various reasons were less materially blessed than mine. I think that's exactly how it should be.

GlitzAndGigglesx Sat 27-Dec-14 12:02:32

My nan used to do this with 2 of my younger cousins. They'd get 2 presents off santa and a few off her so she'd spend about £100 each on them and the rest of us would get £15 worth of presents. The thing is it didn't bother us because we knew them 2 were favoured from a young age

Sendo Sat 27-Dec-14 12:20:07

Everyone lives approx. the same distance away from her - in different directions. We only ask her to babysit literally once or twice a year since she makes it abundantly clear that she considers it a burden (so we take the hint!).

Income wise, the elder siblings are probably on par asset/income wise whereas the younger favoured one is on a lower income. It's a lifestyle choice to deliberately want to work PT though (and still subsidised by MIL even though they live with a long term partner).

No-one has any illnesses, disability or differences in education. I suspect the sibling who has a house in central London to be the wealthiest but they 'needed' a substantial loan from MIL in the last year so who knows. I suspect that we have similar amounts of disposable incomes but everyone has different priorities. The sibling who required the 'loan' also seemed to have splashed out on fairly generous presents to his spouse and DC.

TiggerLillies Sat 27-Dec-14 12:36:01

I wae wondering about income and also about other ways they've given money. Siblings in my family received presents with several hundred pounds difference, however sibling with the cheapest pressie was given a significant amount of money earlier in the year. It all evened out.

Sendo Sat 27-Dec-14 12:36:44

Sorry, the younger sibling has no children. The other sibling whom DH is closer to has 2 DC and owns a central London house. It's just as well that we get along with him and that the GC/cousins love each other's company - there is no resentment there at all.

It's purely how MIL favours one child above all (doesn't have DC yet) and then favours 2GC out of the 4GC. The only discord amongst the siblings is that MIL favours her youngest child to the huge detriment of the other 2 and we are talking time and emotional/moral support - not just financial support!

At the end of the day, it's not just about money - it's about feeling that someone cares about you and have put some thought into doing something for you as they obviously have fro other people. There are not 'more deserving' people - no-one has a disability of any kind, nor are they down on their luck. MIL may say that she loves all her children equally - her behaviour demonstrates otherwise to 2 of her 3 children. DH definitely knows where he stands - right at the bottom and it colours even minor things from who gets a pancake at breakfast and who gets a mince pie!

Sometimes, when I feel less charitable (like now!), I think low expectations breeds further disappointment whereas high expectations breeds entitlement.

MissHJ Sat 27-Dec-14 12:44:38

YANBU I am the grandchild in this scenario. My grandmother on my father's side has always been more distant. She never fully liked my mother and my dad had me at 19 so she disagreed with me being born. My parents split when I was 1 and I saw her every weekend and yet when my younger cousin was born it was a different story. Her house is like a shine to my cousin and now I have younger cousins who get a lot of attention. I have my own son now(15 months) and went round there a couple of days a go. My dad is no longer here having died when I was 10. She did not give me a present but gave my son £10. Come Christmas Day I find out she bought one cousin a iPad mini and the others gold braclets. I don't expect the same as them, I am now a adult where as they are children. But she has never gone to so much effort for me and my son is the same age as my 2 younger cousins so it would have been nice if he at least had something bought for him instead of money in the card. So for those saying children will not notice, they will. And it will sting why one child is deemed better than the other. The only reason I still see her is because my dad is dead and in a weird way I keep telling myself her and that side of the family is my only link to dad but after seeing all the fuss on my cousins and now my son being involved, I think it will take a while to get over the lack of effort as always for me and my son.

LL12 Sat 27-Dec-14 14:07:12

My MIL favours her other 3 grandchildren (1 ours) over our youngest child, it is very obvious to me but not to my husband as he chooses to ignore it and most things are done when he is not around.
My DD as she is getting older is become more aware of it and it makes me so angry but if I ever try and talk to my husband about it he turns it into an argument and won't speak to them about it.
The main problem is that she won't ever spend time with my dd alone, it always has to be with her cousin the same age yet will happily have her cousin over to stay on her own. I have long since given up telling her about anything my dd had done as she turns it straight onto her cousin all the time.
I said that for Christmas what my dd would really love is to spend some 121 time with them, a trip to the cinema or go for a walk, just something little, but the response was "Well we can do that anytime", problem is she has never and will never do anything like that with her.
Even my own mother has said that she wonders if it is because my dd is more my side of the family instead of theirs.
Sad thing is it is probably true. My husband will always side with them rather than speak up for his own child. or wife come to that.

Custardo Sat 27-Dec-14 14:14:44

My mil has done this all my kids lives. Now mine are grown up and they have no Time for her. If she visits they say hello and go to their rooms or go out. They don't like her because he blatant favouratism was appalling.

It all came to. Head three years ago. They cam to my house can day with 2 boxes of roses for the grown up twins. That would b ok but I have an older son. Who turn up to someone's house on Xmas day to eat Xmas dinner with presents for 2 out of three grandvhildren?? So I left it and went over boxing day and in between lots of crying told them it wasn't on. It was all awkward. We left and they didn't speak to us for 2 years. Those years were bliss.

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