A mother has revealed her devastation online after discovering her eldest daughter has been seeing a counsellor over fears her mother favours her younger sister over her.
Taking to grandparenting forum Gransnet, the woman insisted she loves both her daughters “equally and unconditionally”, but was shocked recently to discover that hadn’t always been clear to her adult children.
Explaining that her eldest daughter recently got married, the mother described her as “self disciplined, a perfectionist, ambitious and has a good, albeit stressful career”. She said her job keeps her busy so they don’t see as much of each other now as they used to. However, she always believed she didn’t need as much support as her younger daughter.
Meanwhile, her second daughter lives with her partner and their one-year-old child, meaning the mother sees more of them to help out with childcare.
“I suspect that she feels as if she has lived in her sister’s shadow at times although neither myself nor my ex husband have made her feel this way and have always been proud of what they have both achieved,” the mother said. “She qualified in something she enjoys doing and works part time. She is quite anxious and sensitive and I do see her as the more ‘vulnerable’ one.”
Having explained the situation, the woman said she recently had a visit from her eldest daughter, who suddenly burst into tears and confessed to her she had secretly been seeing a counsellor.
“My immediate reaction was to cry with her,” the shocked woman explained. “She sounded so sad and vulnerable. I felt dreadful as I had no idea. It physically shocked me!”
The mother added: “Amongst other issues that she is addressing, she feels that I am far more supportive of [the youngest daughter] and that [the youngest daughter] makes underhand comments to her to suggest she is envious of her sisters success.”
While she insisted she had never seen it happen herself, her eldest now wants to speak to her sibling about it – but is worried it will upset her and bring out her insecurities. The mother admitted she is also worried it could hurt her youngest daughter.
“I am so scared they will fall out. I couldn’t bear that,” she added. “I am totally drained by this especially as I have never experienced anything like this. My parents and siblings have never had a cross word! Should I be there when they meet up? Should I just step back and let them work something out between them (praying that after the tears it might make them closer?)”
Her questions got supportive answers from other grandparents, with many admitting they had experienced similar issues with their own children.
One commented: “Very similar. Sadly they have no contact with each other now at all. I have tried, as a parent to help bring them together, but they seem happier apart. Time will (or will not) change the situation. We love them both and see them both regularly but not at the same time. Sibling rivalry is very common. Sometimes we have to step back from it and not interfere.”
Another agreed it’s best not to get involved and added: “My advice is to step back and let them handle it. This way you won’t be accused of ‘taking sides’. I’ve always maintained that parents can’t manage their adult children’s relationships with each other.”
Meanwhile, one woman shared her own story of sibling rivalry and explained: “I hardly ever see my brother, we were brought up totally different thanks to my mum – she gave him everything he wanted while I was made to earn everything for myself. It has meant we have totally different outlook on life so nothing in common. My Dad has only realised how I feel about it since my mum died.
“On the rare occasion we do meet (wedding/funeral type of thing) we chat, but that’s it. The last time I saw him was my mum’s funeral 11 years ago. I don’t even know his address since he last moved. We have never fallen out but he just isn’t my type of person.”