“She adores my son, and mainly ignores my daughter,” the woman explains. “It’s soul-destroying to see my little girl sitting there in the corner and watching her brother get all the attention from my mother-in-law.”
The woman lists off the things that her mother-in-law does.
“Sometimes when she comes to the house and my daughter is standing at the door she will walk past my daughter to go find my son.
“She will sit on the sofa with my son, arms around him, and ask him what toys he wants while my daughter is sitting on the other side of the sofa and just staring at them.”
The woman says her mother-in-law gets on better with men than women, and puts in no effort when it comes to her relationship with her daughters or other granddaughters.
She says her mother-in-law’s treatment of her daughter is “killing” her. The little girl no longer wants to be around the mother-in-law when she visits.
“I get that you can’t help who you love most,” the woman writes, “but does it have to be so obvious? Please tell me this is not normal and I’m not overreacting.”
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The replies were almost unanimous: it’s not normal. Most people felt it was emotional abuse.
“You need to step up and stop this,” wrote one. “DO YOUR JOB AS A PARENT! It is your job to protect your children. By allowing this to continue you are standing by and letting your children be emotionally abused.”
“I am horrified that the woman is allowed into your house at all,” added another. “You call to her house without the kids and have it out with her, both of you. Pull no punches."
Others questioned why the woman’s husband wasn’t doing anything about it.
“I'm interested in your husband’s thoughts on this and how he allows his mother to treat his daughter that way.”
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People shared their stories of family members showing favouritism.
“My mum did this to my second son,” wrote one woman. “This is one of the reasons we don't see her anymore. It is just as horrible for the favoured child. Don't let her carry on abusing your children.”
“My mum did this to my brothers,” added another. “They could never do anything wrong in her eyes, unlike me and my sisters. End result? My brothers grew up to be nasty, selfish individuals who put themselves first in any situation.”
“I had a granny who played favourites,” wrote another. “I was the favourite. Didn't stop me seeing and despising her behaviour and ending up thoroughly disliking her.”
Eventually, the original woman posted again, explaining more about her situation and her husband.
“We are currently separating and this is one of the reasons why our marriage broke down,” she said.
“He is a mummy’s boy and he is one of those men who cannot stand up to their mothers, who would rather bury their head in the sand than to confront her. He always undermines things and tells me I’m overreacting whenever I bring it up to him, which is why I’m posting here.”
She said her children’s contact with the mother-in-law would decrease, and she couldn’t wait for the day when her daughter was old enough to refuse to see her.
“Honestly, I cannot fathom how you can be so indifferent to a four-year-old girl, YOUR OWN FLESH AND BLOOD, that she doesn’t even want to be around you. I just can’t get my head around it. When I have grandchildren in 25-30 years time I will love them unconditionally.”