Why Is She Their Favourite?

Some parents treat siblings in very different ways, and favour one against another - leading to jealousy and resentment, sadness and a weakened self concept for the out-of-favour child.

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Q - My sister has always been my mum and dad’s ‘Golden Child’ – as I’ve recently heard it called. This title fits her to a tee. She’s prettier and smarter than me and she’s definitely their favourite. No doubt about that. But why? It’s not my fault that I don’t look better, or that I wasn’t that good at school. They paid for her to have extra classes after school, and they made sure she went to college and university. I left school at 16 and had to get a job in the local supermarket, where I still work.

What makes things worse is that she takes credit for my stuff and says it’s hers. I created a recipe and she made it and then said it was her own recipe. When I said she was lying they all turned on me and made out I was some kind of nut case who makes things up. She’s also stolen things of mine and said that I’d given them to her. I’m always seen as the bad one.

They put me down about my body, my personality, my job, my friends – there’s not one good thing they comment on. They talk to me as if I’m beneath them and they’re ashamed of me. Why is she their favourite and what can I do to make them like me too?

A - You can’t make them like you. You have to like yourself in opposition to them. It’s their loss. In fact everyone loses.

Your sister is being given an inflated view of herself. She has become toxic in her own way. Life may well change that for her, but it will be a hard lesson.

Your parents have ‘split’ good from bad and projected one onto each of you - and not done either of you any favours. 

That’s something only they can stop doing - but first they’d need to acknowledge that they are doing this, and then figure out why.

They are not only neglecting your emotional needs, they also seem to lack any empathy for how all this feels for you – which makes me wonder if their own childhood experiences were similar. 

Instead of feeling that old pain themselves, they pass it over to you, for you to feel it instead – and they then focus upon the perfect one, or ‘golden child’ as you rightly call it. 

By doing this, your parents are - perhaps without full awarneness - trying to hide away from some inner pain of their own, and you happen to be the casualty in the re-enactment of their own sad childhood. 

It is crazy-making to have different sets of rules for each child. At least you can now see and feel just how dysfunctional this all is. Sadly, it may never change. 

Please have a look at the many free resources - about overcoming a troubled childhood - on my website (see below), and my articles about the inner child published on this LifeLabs platform.

It’s never too late to heal and transcend the emotional wounds of the past - and to stop them bleeding over the present and future.

When you learn how to re-parent and take loving care of yourself and your 'inner child' (the vulnerable younger 'you' who has for many years felt those painful feelings of rejection and comparison) - then you can soothe and heal those emotional wounds inflicted by parents who should have known better.

This will then enhance the relationship you have with yourself, and as a consequence the other relationships in your life too - which might include your relationship with your sister, if she can acknowledge your pain at having been treated as of lesser value than her by your parents.

Maxine Harley (MSc Psychotherapy) MIND HEALER & MENTOR

www.maxineharley.com - Helping you to overcome a troubled childhood and difficult or toxic parents – to heal and re-parent your inner child and make peace with the past. You will find here a page of FREE RESOURCES HERE to get you started.

On this website you will also find a self-help guide/course (called '3 Steps To Sort Yourself Out - without therapy!which is only £37) to help you to understand and heal from your childhood and parents.

www.maxineharleymentoring.com - Helping women to understand and manage their emotions, boundaries and behaviours, and to stop the past from interfering with the present and future in their home and working lives.

www.the-ripple-effect.co.uk - Ten online self-help workshops (only £27 each) – helping you to help yourself with Psycho-Emotional-Education.

The ten online workshops are entitled:-

'Understanding Yourself'

'Understanding Relationships'

'How To Be Happier'

'How To Be More Confident'

'How To Calm Down & Think Straight'

'How To Balance Your Mind Body & Weight'

'How To De-Stress Your Life'

'Understanding Anxiety',

'Understanding Depression'

'Understanding Anger'

www.qpp.uk.com - The 'new paradigm in therapy' which reveals, reviews and revises the sub-conscious beliefs which have been getting in the way of your happiness and well-being.

You can change your life in 24 hours when you change your S.C.R.I.PT. (c)! (Sub-Conscious-Rules-Influencing-Present-Time)


Maxine Harley



Go to the profile of Diane Priestley
over 3 years ago

As always, this is an insightful article from Maxine, such a skilful therapist. I know because I've had sessions with her! I like the way Maxine has of seeing through the layers  to the parents' unresolved pain and showing compassion for their bizarre and unfair treatment of their two daughters. And I like her empathy and nurturing of the tormented woman who has written this letter. Thanks Maxine for getting to the heart of issues so quickly and clearly!