Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The ugly side of favoritism

The Taboo Carnival
Welcome to the Taboo Carnival. Our topic this summer is PLAYING FAVORITES! This guest post was written for inclusion in the quarterly Taboo Carnival hosted by Momma Jorje and Hybrid Rasta Mama. This month our participants reflect on favoritism in relationships with children, parents, siblings, and more. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


I had a whole thing I wanted to write for this carnival, but lack of time got the best of me, so I offered to host this anonymous post. For obvious reasons the author didn't want this attached to her name. I do hope she can find some peace about how she was treated moving forward in her life.

The Ugly Side of Favoritism

I will start this post saying, do not favor one child(ren) over the other(s). The ugly side of favoritism is, well... ugly.
I come from a family of 7 children, with me being the second oldest; my step brother is 1 month older than me. He is an "outcast" and always has been. Although I love him dearly and have tried to mend our relationship, he is too far gone in a sea of sadness to ever recover.
My mom had me when she was 14 years old, met the only father I know and married him when I was 2. Before she met and married him I was raised by my deeply missed grandmother and my honorable grandfather. Honestly, I think my mother never really put forth the effort to gain a bond between us.
I have always loved my mother, and I still do.. she is my Mom. But over the years, things have happened. Some say that family is family and everyone should forgive family. I say that family or not, eventually, all small things are just that.. small things. Small grains of sand, that pile and pile until all you can see are grains of sand, buried to your throat in choking sand.
Children are not stupid. I knew for the longest time that my father was not my real father, but it was hidden from me until I was 18, and I did not find out from my parents, but from a stranger. My parents had many arguments that were about me, even though to this day my mother will deny it. The most memorable argument was that I didn't have enough discipline.
I was a good kid, I never complained about the crummy clothes I had to wear or what dinner was on the table and went to bed on my own at 8. Never got in trouble and brought home great report cards. The discipline I "needed" stemmed from a lazy mother who didn't want to do anything. She didn't even want to raise her youngest daughter at the time, so I was taken out of school in the 6th grade. I had had "enough schooling". Which is funny because I have two other sisters who have went to college and are in the medical field. Anyways, so at 12, I came home and for 3 years I ran an entire house, took care of my siblings, cooked dinner every night, did all the laundry. It was an odd sight to wake up in the morning and see my mother awake.. and if she cleaned anything it meant that people were coming over. "Discipline" really meant, I need somebody to do everything for me. At 15 I got a job and moved out.
I know I am kind of trailing, but it is important for you to know the kind of person my mom is. This woman tried to hit me when I was 2 weeks from delivering my son and still denies it. She claims she paid for my wedding (32k). She would hit me with belts, but none of my other siblings got hit. I wasn't allowed to go anywhere, but everybody else got to go visit friends. I was called a liar, and my siblings word was taken over mine. My siblings were encouraged to finish school, but I was taken out in 6th grade.
It might seem like something trivial, but that was life. The first time I was truly hurt is when I was talking to my sister about finding a positive pregnancy test. I said, "Sister! I found a positive test!" She said, "Yeah it's moms, she told me but I am not supposed to tell anyone." That hurt. I am my mothers oldest daughter, and my little sister and her were keeping a secret together about her pregnancy. Why wasn't I invited? I asked my mom the next day what was up with the test and she flipped out. Angry with me for finding out.
This long story ends with, do not favor one child over the other. It will ultimately lead to pain for the child through their entire life. I haven't talked to my mother in a very long time. I let her back into my life and immediately I was hurt. Secret dinners with her "golden children", zoo trips, ice skating, engagement parties. I would see posts on social networks and find out about events later. They have no reason to not invite me except for the fact I am me, and they treat me the way she has always treated me. When you are little you treat people the way you see your parents treat them, so it becomes normal to make somebody an outcast, which is why I was trying to mend my relationship with my stepbrother. He was also an outcast and to this day I feel bad about it and try to make it better, but I can't. I was so mean to him and called him many names (stupid, retarded) because it was normal in our house to do that sort of thing, so that is what I learned.
Favoritism sticks with people their entire lives. Even if they seem fine now, I promise you they think about it daily. It is not about you and now, It is about them and the future.

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Visit Momma Jorje and Hybrid Rasta Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Taboo Carnival! Enjoy the posts from this month’s Carnival participants!

  • Playing Favourites — Lyndsay at ourfeminist{play}school looks at how her intense parenting style has created what 'looks' like favourites but is more causal than reality.

  • Taking Longer to Fall in Love with My Second Baby — Dionna at Code Name: Mama fell helplessly, powerlessly in love with her first-born. Love with her second-born has not been as easy, but does that mean #1 is her favorite?

  • Yes, Parents Have A Favorite Child — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares her thoughts on parents having a favorite child and how this may have long term effects on both the favored and unfavored child.

  • Money and Equality: Should All Your Kids Get the Same? — At Authentic Parenting, Laura investigates whether or not we should provide exactly the same for our children financially.

  • My Kids Totally Play Favourites — Amber at Strocel.com tries hard not to play favourites with her kids - but they make no secret of which parent they prefer.

  • What makes a favorite? — Jorje of Momma Jorje ponders what caused her grandparents and parents to choose favorites. She also considers possible causes for her own favoritism.

  • There Are No Favorites (I Hate You All The Same) — Amy at Anktangle guest hosts about it being easy to see how a cycle of conditional love can make a mother keep her children at arms reach.

  • Mommy Dearest or Darling Daddy? — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro guest hosts about every parent having faults. Jorje of Momma Jorje ponders why she would prefer one parent over the other and whether this applies to every situation or can it vary?

  • On having two kids & not playing fair — Lauren at Hobo Mama learned from her mother that you don't raise children based on what's fair but on what's right for each child.

  • More Than the Kid Sister — Amy of Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work always felt that she lived in the shadow of her older brother's accomplishments, until her parents made her aware that her personality and passion have always brought them joy and pride.

  • The Ugly Side of Favoritism — Shannon of Pineapples and Artichokes shares a guest post with a warning: Don't favor one child over the other.


  1. Thanks for hosting this post, Shannon.

    I'm so sorry that your family has treated you so negatively. I can really feel the pain in reading your words, and I hope that you can find some healing through being able to share your story. I'm not going to give up yet that you'll be able to reconcile with your step-brother. Sending you love, and hoping for the best. <3

  2. My heart aches for the writer of this post. No child should ever be made to feel this way.

  3. Wow, that is really terrible. I'm so sorry you experienced this, and I hope that you are able to find some kind of peace, knowing that you did not deserve the treatment you received.

  4. This post breaks my heart. This isn't just about favoritism. This is abuse. You were treated like a servant and no child should have to be made to feel that way. I know that you are healing still...this is certainly something that will take a lifetime to process. But the beautiful thing is that you are an excellent mother. Your heartbreaking childhood has strengthened who you became as a mother. XO

    Thank you for sharing this post as part of the Taboo Carnival. It is an important piece.

  5. What a craptastic family. You deserve(d) better. I know what it is like to be left out, even (or perhaps especially) as an adult and it just sucks.

    Thank you for sharing your story with us, though. Thank you for hosting this anonymous post for the carnival, Shannon.