Sibling rivalry. Is it present in every family? Is it more prevalent in families with gay and straight siblings?
What about favoritism shown by the parents for one sibling over another in regard to financial assistance? I've had multiple conversations with a very good single gay friend of mine about his view of his parents' uneven generosity / financial favoritism in regard to him and his straight married sister and mother of his two nieces. His scenario is very similar to a recent Q and A in the ASK AMY section of the Washington Post.
Here's a letter from HURT describing her side of the uneven parental support / generosity.
DEAR AMY: All our lives my parents have made sure my sister and I were treated equally when it came to gifts and money. That continued into our post-college early adulthood — sometimes Mom would give me money because she went shopping with my sister and bought her clothes or things for the house.
I find myself feeling hurt because my parents are now lavishing money on my sister’s family and no longer treat us equally. My folks help them with household expenses (my sister and her husband decided to work part time when the kids were born), pay for private school tuition, the kids’ clothes, lessons, after-school activities and vacations.
Mom and Dad have bought two new cars for them and have set aside money for the kids’ college expenses. In the meantime, my partner and I work more than 60 hours every week in demanding careers and live on the money we make.
I know that my parents’ hard-earned money is theirs to do with as they please, but I feel hurt that my partner and I do not benefit from their generosity.
I find it hard to believe that it’s because I’m gay, since they have always been supportive of me, but I am beginning to wonder.
I hate that this is beginning to affect how I feel about my parents and my sister. But I cannot seem to talk myself out of feeling that my sister and her husband have no reason to support themselves because Mom and Dad take care of all their expenses.
How can I have a conversation with my parents about this? I love them but hate this growing feeling of resentment. Or am I totally off base with my feelings? — Hurt – washingtonpost.com
Is HURT being selfish or does she have a point?
DEAR HURT: Your feelings are your feelings, and you get to have them.
I agree with your instinct to communicate with your parents about this. They might assume that their largesse is directed toward the grandchildren and so they might not see this as affecting you. This inequity isn’t because you are gay, but because you are childless.
Start by thanking them. Tell them you are aware that they have worked hard for their money and it is their right to spend it any way they want, but that their lopsided generosity has started to affect your relationship with your sister.
Don’t ask them to do anything differently — but do tell them how you feel. They may respond that they don’t give you more because you are simply more capable and less needy/greedy than your sibling. However, you should also prepare yourself for the possibility that this may create stress, pressure or resentment from them. – washingtonpost.com
Do you agree with AMY that HURT should speak up or would it just muddle the family dynamics?
Have you had something similar occur in your family?
If so, how did you handle your feelings?