Child Favors One Parent Over The Other

This is a site dealing with parental issues in a forum setting.  Here are a couple of excerpts, click the link above to get to the site ^

Kids prefer one parent ALL THE TIME

Dec 2009 I hear a lot that it's normal and expected for young kids (1-6) to favor one parent over the other, and that typically this changes over time, having phases of preferring each parent when there are 2 in the house. In our family, both my kids want me most of the time, ask for me, cry for me, and at times refuse my partner. My partner is just as loving and involved as I am, and mostly is able to roll with this and understand it probably has to do with the fact that I work part time and spend more time with them. But occasionally my partner gets hurt and upset and feels like an inferior parent because of it. The preference has never shifted between us -- it's always me. I don't like it either! Do other people have this dynamic and what are your theories about why, if both parents are actually great, loving parents? Thanks for any input.

Here's what we did. On certain nights of the week, one parent would be responsible for a specific duties, like bathing and bedtime, with NO exceptions. No matter how much tears, we'd say sorry, it's Daddy's night, Mommy will do bath tomorrow night, (or the revere.) Very quickly the preferred parent became the one not on duty. And quickly after that, because we NEVER gave in, the tears dried up too.
And for the previously neglected parent, there's nothing better than hearing your child blubbering that she has to have you. anon

6-year-old daughter doesn't want mom around

Does anyone know, can anyone explain to me the concept of an Oedipal Victor and what the dynamics are like? My husband and I have one child, a daughter, who is almost six, who has, for a long time, been a real "daddy's girl." The only problem is that it has been coupled with a very strong rejection of Mommy. Mommy is asked to stay back from family outings, and to generally keep out of the play and interaction between father and daughter. I used to think our daughter just preferred more quality time with Daddy, since she gets me all the time (I'm a stay-at-home-mom). But now I suspect there is much more to it. My husband is very solicitous of our daughter and lavishes lots of affection on her. He makes his love for her a very obvious and constant thing. His affection for me, on the other hand, is extremely rare and almost never demonstrated openly. On the contrary, my husband and I have many rifts and disagreements and, though I try to behave civilly and even warmly towards him, it is much harder for him to do the same. From him I often get a cold shoulder, he won't answer or react to me, gets annoyed when I persist, and now my daughter has taken it one step further and actually treats me like an outcast whenever we all three are together. She attacks me viciously if I try to relate myself to them if they are involved in something together, particularly if she perceives that I am trying to influence or control how they play. But she will also not let me "mother her" or nurture her in his presence. It feels like her rejection of me is an extension of his hostility towards me and quite frankly the situation is untenable.
When my daughter and I are alone, she is usually very cooperative, sweet and loving - which has always been her true nature. But when she gets angry with me, she flies into a rage that includes many hurtful or -attempts to be hurtful- statements, such as, "everyone hates you."
Though my husband has enunciated to her that he loves us both equally (his wife and his daughter) I fear his behavior belies another truth and that is what is creating this extremely painful situation. Any input that can shed light on this matter would be very greatly appreciated.

I extend my deep compassion to you as you seem on the verge of facing some issues for which the outcomes are unknown and pose great risks for you and your family, but hopefully, great opportunities for growth. Even in this anonymous e-mail setting, it is very brave of you to take this step. From your description, I hear you say that your relationship with your husband is being played out through your daughter. Your daughter needs you and needs to have a healthy relationship with you..because you are her mother and regardless of the relationship you have with your husband. It is time to assert yourself and require respect from your family and yourself. Go to a counsellor or a minister or rabbi; go with your husband; go by yourself if he will not go.
After my sister divorced her husband, she said, based on her experience, "The most important thing a husband can do for his children is to love his wife." For her, that wasn't to be and she divorced him. Because of conservative divorce laws in another state she ended up having to move out of the house and not live with her children. She went through several years of her teenaged children rejecting her. With support and patience and unconditional love for her children, she managed to reestablish her relationships with her grown children as they passed into their early 20's. Of course, your personal circumstances and dyanamics are unique and what happens will be different. But at this point is does sound as though something needs to change. If I could bestow gifts upon you it would be courage, truth and compassion for the journey ahead.

Humans Are Jerks?

Every human has traits that can be considered narcissistic. If we didn't, we would have died as babies. We act like jerks, we hurt others, we ignore and dismiss others, we look down on others, we forget about the needs of others. The difference is whether we can accept these human faults in ourselves, how we feel about them, what we do about them, and whether we blame others for them or take responsibility for them. Any human being will make mistake after mistake, after mistake... but not feeling guilt or remorse for those mistakes, refusing to admit them, refusing to admit something we did was hurtful, trying to justify the things we have done by blaming the other person... taking joy in hurting, demeaning, or putting down another person, trying to dominate others, having no care for their well-being while trying to get our needs and wants met, that's the difference. It's not just our behavior, it's how we feel about our behavior, the mistakes or the things we have purposely done, and how we feel about the impact of our behavior. A human being might be absent-minded or overwhelmed and keep forgetting appointments or agreements or to get in touch, but how they feel about their forgetting, and how they feel about the impact they're forgetting makes on others defines whether they're narcissistic or not. I forgot to call my friend all week, but I just realized it and I feel crappy about it, and I hope they aren't thinking I blew them off on purpose or that I don't care. I just realized it, so I'm going to call them now. If they're upset that I didn't call, so be it, it's TRUE, I didn't call. I DID screw up and it may have hurt their feelings. They have done the same thing to me in the past, quite a few times, and it hurt my feelings, but I didn't hate them for it or retaliate, and I now know they can be forgetful too, just like me. I did ask them why, and they answered "Didn't mean to, just overwhelmed with work, very sorry." They did not become angry when I called and said "What's up, you were supposed to call?" They just apologized genuinely, and that was the end of it. There was no anger at ME for being upset at THEM for not calling when they said they would, they knew they made a mistake, they didn't try to justify it or turn it around and try to make it all my fault in order to get out of admitting their own fault. And I will not do that to them either; I was supposed to call them in the beginning of the week, and it's Thursday. If they're upset, then they have a right to be, but I trust they won't attack me personally, verbally or otherwise, in expressing their dismay at me. And I will just listen and apologize, I won't try to justify why I didn't call. I might explain my forgetfulness to ensure them that I didn't do it purposely, but I won't try to make it sound like I have every RIGHT to forget to call because I am so busy or overwhelmed, and I won't turn it back on them. Of course if they're abusive when I call, then that's a different story, but I don't think they will be, they might just be upset, and that's of course completely "okay".

Annoyance At "Victims": Rejection and Blame

It is the common thing for people to reject and shun a person who has been traumatized. Most people don't understand the effects trauma has on the brain, and often don't want to understand it because it can take some effort. Humans do this with other things too, all the time; they don't know how to fix their own car because they would have to learn how, and that seems difficult, so they reject learning it and doing it. They pay someone else to do it. They do this with home repairs and remodeling. They buy clothes someone else made instead of learning how to make their own clothes. It's difficult for me, so I don't want to know about it. They do it with their accounting, investments, and taxes. Pay someone else to figure this out, I don't want to. It's too hard. We don't program our own software, we buy it, someone else coded the programs on our computer. This is HUMAN, it's one of our traits. When something seems hard to understand, we reject it, and don't want to learn about it, don't want to know about it. We want someone else to deal with it. It seems like it's self-centered, because it is self-centered, but it's also not possible to learn every single thing in the world, and then carry out each task. We learn what we learn, and we pay others to do what they learned. But the negative face of that coin is when we reject what we don't want to learn because it's too hard, and when we judge something to be "stupid" or "unnecessary" just because WE don't understand it ourselves or because it makes us feel uncomfortable.

Most people do this very thing with trauma, crime, and abuse victims.

It's too much to comprehend, the cause and effect of trauma on someone else, so we reject trying to understand it.

It's too hard, we're not strong enough or patient enough to stop and actually try to understand the cause and effect on another person, so we act like the PERSON is the problem.  Like they are MAKING themselves an obstacle to OUR progress and happiness. We don't stop and think for a minute about how that person has been blocked from THEIR progress and happiness, and that we are doing nothing but making it worse when we reject them and put them down. We are adding our own weight to the load they already carry, and we don't even seem to care at all. We want a person who has been through whatever kind of trauma to CARRY OUR LOAD for US by PRETENDING that nothing happened to them, and that they aren't dealing with any kind of actual and REAL side effects from what they've gone through.
To make it even more ridiculous, we often blame the person who was traumatized or abused, and take the blame RIGHT OFF of the actual event or the abuser/attacker. We lay blame on the target of the crime instead of the perpetrator. Why do we do this? Because we don't want to DEAL WITH learning about the effects of trauma, and we don't want to have to DEAL WITH caring, even a little, for the person. What if we have to CHANGE something... what if we have to DO something ... it might INTERFERE with my plans...

Funny though, when anything happens to US, we want others to listen to us vent, complain, even whine. We want others to automatically help us, even if we didn't help them much at all. We want others to CUT US SLACK, have the understanding of a Sufi or an ancient Prophet, and give us all the assistance and help WE WANT and we think we need.

So why are we so self-centered as a species?
Why do we seem so oblivious to the fact that most of us expect a lot more than we give and do?
Why do we hold others to very high standards, but we hold ourselves to minimal responsibility toward others?

It's a combination of biology and our environment, but we can answer that question only for our own selves. Were there people in my youth who were self-centered, snotty, dismissive, or controlling? Is it common for the people I grew up around to have a "look out for number one" attitude? Who did I emulate? What did I want people to see me as, really? Was there someone who was very needy? Was I a bully as a kid, and if I was, why didn't I get in trouble for it, and who did I bully? Who did I look up to, who was around me every day even if we didn't get along? What were they like?
Does it annoy me when other people are expressing sadness, pain, confusion, or loneliness? Do I actually believe that I am not a person who expresses any complaints?  Do I seriously believe that whatever a person goes through, it doesn't change their brain or their processing?

Have I ever actually studied the brain, or the effects of trauma or abuse? Or have I just heard hearsay, other people talking about it, or skimmed through a couple of articles? Or do I just formulate opinions based on nothing but my own annoyance levels, without actually reading, listening, and learning about it like I would learn about how to change my fuel filter, or how to make a certain meal, or how to fly a plane, how to play a certain song, or how to build a deck?

Do I think I have learned all there is to know about the effects of trauma, and do I believe that others can't know as much or more than I do? Especially if they didn't have the exact same life as I did, or if they're a different "kind" of person than I am?

Most people spend more time learning about how to fix their hair or pick up the opposite sex than they do about human beings, others or themselves, and yet they are full of opinions about it, and full of rejections toward people who really do learn about it.

When we are full of animosity or annoyance toward a trauma, abuse, or crime victim, we are showing that we don't like that we might have to deal with something that makes us uncomfortable, and we don't want to learn something that seems difficult, and we don't want to CARE for another person outside our regular comfort zone. Basically, we don't want to expend any energy. We're also afraid that it could happen to us, or we could even be jealous that the person has been through something that might get them "special attention." So if you identify with that, then yes, that's self-centered, selfish, childish, and even narcissistic. Victim-blame is one of the signs of Narcissism. If you've read all the way to here, though, you probably don't have the disorder, you just didn't realize you were doing that. Or, you might have it, I don't know, I can't see you from here~ :)

Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline is not the same as Narcissism, it's often developed because of (Narc.) abuse in childhood. It's extremely common for any female who is in or has been in an abusive relationship, or had abusive (N) parents, to be diagnosed with BPD if she voluntarily goes "inpatient", or has suicidal ideation. It is more common for a female in an abusive relationship or family to be diagnosed with BPD than for the treating psychiatrist or psychologist to focus at all on the partner's behavior or the family's behavior.
And since BPD is not like sociopath or bipolar, and is only a cluster of behaviors that are usually developed because of a lack of safety and guidance, it is quite treatable and curable.
People who display extreme and violent behaviors have other things going on besides BPD, such as addiction or Bipolar, but the mental health system is not very good at diagnosing or treating "comorbidity", and tend to throw medication at the person, which does very little to help actual BPD patients.
BPD can be "unlearned" if the person can surround themselves with very stable and healthy people who are mature enough to understand, and using guided therapy that untangles their emotional knots and skewed coping skills such as DBT and CBT. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy has shown to be very effective in untangling and even curing BPD symptoms.
A very large number of people who have been through abuse would be diagnosed with BPD if they went to see a psychiatrist today and described themselves, especially if they have ever blamed their depression on the abusive behavior of someone else. Let's stop demonizing BPD, it's counterproductive.

From a reader:

"I'm impressed with this, to whomever the author is. I have BPD, and it is waning, now that I am inching into my thirties. And I did grow up with a Narc mother - though she's a psychological dream compared to the Narc that is my husband's ex-wife. BPD,
if left unrecognized and untreated, can be a nightmare! It's a nightmare for the loved ones of the BPD person, but multiply the size of the nightmare times 10, and it's that much for the BPD themselves, usually. I have had to work through DBT by myself, as I have no insurance and very little therapy...the mental health profession is *just now* catching on to just HOW treatable it really is - at least for the BPD who has the heart and the willingness to take responsibility - that is the key. It's the hardest thing I've ever done. BPD is a heavy filter through which EVERYTHING goes - from tiny things like inconveniences in life to the big things like interpersonal relationships. I have to work almost every moment of every day to keep mental HEALTH on top, and not let the filtered "truths" run things. It takes incredible self-vigilance, intense self-awareness, and endless ability to assess things objectively - a lot of humility and strength to know who you are. I am not my disease - as much as my disease would love to make me believe otherwise. My husband is my greatest support system, creating incredible safety and stability for me, which has taken the work I've already done for years and revved it up to super levels! Sometimes I can hide in him when my brain leaves me wide open for the emotional storms...I love being able to just say to him "This is being filtered and I'm not thinking straight and I can't see my way out right now. Please proceed with caution." :) We have a lot of happiness and calmness in our marriage - I never dreamed I would be able to have the wealth of spirit that I do. I am not abusive to him at all, and it's hard to see so much misunderstanding about BPD...frankly, when I get to the other side of it completely, I will have considered it an incredible blessing which has allowed me to be compassionate, intuitive, and observant to near-savant levels! /novel!" ~Denise Husted