'I love all my children equally' is what most parents keep repeating. The ones who would agree with this are the favorite children! Parents are human and its unfair to judge them. But the bond between a parent and a child is so much valued that it really hurts to be told that your parenting is biased. Most of the parents do their best to raise their children. They do love all their children but over a period of time as the children grow up, they also become a means of competition between parents about 'whose child is more successful, beautiful, smart or popular.'
We live in a competitive world and our parents are of-course humans and so are our siblings. It gets really tough while growing up when you are not the favoured one. When you are the reason of disappointment and letting them down each time on the parameters of success that they value the most. It feels unfair. You lose self confidence. Some children turn out rebels and end up proving their parents wrong while others turn doormats, suffering from low self confidence and self belief and going into their shell. When these children grow up, they grow up believing that life is unfair and accept the fact that they will always be on other side of favoritism.
In such circumstances if you find yourself in the latter situation, you really need to fight hard to come out of the loop. Though difficult, once you do, your life will be lot better. We all live in some prejudices. Growing up in a house where you are already considered second and lagging behind, it is difficult to stay and prove yourself because, no matter what you do, you will be ignored.
When does all this start? favoritism starts very early on. Your neighbours, relatives etc also give in and to impress your parents or be in line with their thoughts on whatever occasions they visit you, they will tend to focus more on your other sibling. This will become a norm in your home. You will be deeply hurt each time. Jealousy will fill you. Even your act of rebel will be condemned instead of being understood. You will be termed as the 'difficult child' and situation will move on to be worst from then on. Everyone knows why break ups hurt. Because your love is not returned. You cannot love anyone more than your parents. So imagine how much it will hurt when they do not understand you and do not believe in you.
Want to know what is the root cause of favoritism? Even while growing up, your parents have seen favoritism in their homes. If your parents have been the older sibling, they will favor their older child and if they have been younger sibling, they will favor the younger child. If there are multiple siblings, they will favor the one who gets most approval by their friends and relatives. i.e. the most liked child. Even though no parent will admit to this because they will not spare anything in any child's upbringing. But what most parents fail to understand is: love and acceptance is what the child needs the most in the growing up years.
Tips to deal with favoritism start from dealing with the situation at home. Now these tips are to make impact on your life and not let your emotional baggage hinder your growth. You cannot change anyone but surely you can change your thoughts and actions. Here are few tips:
1. Start with detachment- it simply means emotional detachment.
2. Start seeing them as individuals- before your parents, they are individual human beings
3. Stop accepting their definition about you- Not necessarily fight but start rejecting their opinions in your mind and heart
4. Make your own self image- list down all your good traits that are better than your other siblings
5. Know that love does not mean compatibility sometimes- accept the fact that you are different and hence there is no compatibility between you and your parents
6. Develop a special talent- do something that your other siblings are not doing. See where you can prove yourself
7. Live separately if possible- you can stay away and care for your parents rather than staying in the same house and hating them
8. Change your friend circle- there are chances you have formed bonds with people who treat you as unimportant or a failure because you have natural tendency to show people how you are supposed to be treated and you are non voluntarily behaving as you do at home. So change your circle.
9. Carefully first change yourself- you are teaching people how you should be treated so to impact it rightly for you, start with practicing self importance. Only when you master the art of self love do make any attachments.
10. Listen to your heart- when a family considers someone as weak, they tend to over protect you and as a result limit you from being the person you can be. Because they do not believe in you. So whenever you are making any growth decision in your heart, know that they will never approve. So don't ask. Make it work first. This way you have only yourself to blame but at-least you will not have any regrets and suppose if you succeed, you will manage to change your perception at home.
Years of belief cannot change in a day. But conscious efforts need to be made yo change it. Otherwise you will have the same pain point for all your life! And a lifetime of bearing the same pain gets too much. Know this and resolve to heal first. Make a resolve to make amends to your self confidence and self worth. Make resolve to not tolerate being ignored or considered less important. Make a resolve to believe everyday that you are worth it. It does get very difficult to break a pattern. But you need to make sure you are doing something to u your self confidence everyday. But even before doing that forgive them and emotionally distance yourself. Whatever they say or do should not hurt you. Maybe even move out and come back only after you have set up a life worth having self confidence and self love.