Dear 100 Hour Board,
How do you gracefully handle being the not-favorite? My in-laws play favorites with their kids, and one couple in particular is the golden one.
Honestly, it doesn't bother me tremendously, so I guess the better question is how do I support my spouse, who is both baffled and hurt by this behaviour? (It's relatively new, over the past two to three years.)
Like Sunday Night Banter says, I think it's really important to try and refrain from comparing how you and your spouse are treated as opposed to the "golden couple". However, while this is easy advice to dole out from the other side of the internet, it can be a lot harder to actually follow. So, other suggestions I have are to treat yourselves after interacting with your in-laws. Maybe go out for shakes, have a private dance party, read some of your favorite books together, make popcorn, really anything that makes you both happy. Essentially let each other know they're your favorite.
I've been in many recurring situations in my life where I'm very blatantly not the favorite, and I know it can hurt. The best thing I've found for myself is to firmly root my sense of self-worth outside of external validation. Be grateful for any affection you receive, and address it when you begin compare the love and affection shown to you with others.
I believe this is a very common feeling for all of us. I definitely feel this way at different times, but I have realized that I feel it most when I feel like my accomplishments or contributions are going unnoticed. I feed off of words of affirmation, so it can be troubling to me when people don't seem to recognize how amazing I am!
Some of the ways that I deal with it are:
- Bring up some of my accomplishments in a family setting (not too many because I don't want to be a brag)
- Do my best to be proud and happy when others have accomplished something. Usually people are more likely to respond well to you when you respond well to them first!
- Go into family situations with the mindset of non-competing. I find that when I compare myself to my family members that is when I feel like my parents are playing favorites, because in my mind I am ranking each family member.
- Pray. I really find that talking to a loving Heavenly Father about my concerns allows me to have peace in my heart and He can tell me what is really going on. I have found that He is someone that will always tell me how much I am loved.
I hope these tips will help you and your spouse!
-Sunday Night Banter