I can’t get past my strained relationship with my mother | Dear Mariella

The Guardian - Feb 17, 06:00 GMT

It’s time to leave the past behind and forge a new bond, and the first step should be yours, says Mariella FrostrupThe dilemma I don’t have a very good relationship with my mum most of the time

It’s time to leave the past behind and forge a new bond, and the first step should be yours, says Mariella Frostrup

The dilemma I don’t have a very good relationship with my mum most of the time. It looks fine from the outside and she would probably disagree with me, but I often feel unhappy about it. I’m in my 30s and have always felt like my brother is treated very differently to me. I can see that she really loves him, but I don’t think she feels the same way about me, even though it might look it to people who don’t know us too well. I got into a bit of trouble when I was 14 and I don’t think she has ever felt the same way about me since. I feel like I am constantly trying to please her, but that it is never quite good enough. I realise I probably sound petty, but there is a lot more to it than that and it is something that genuinely upsets me.

Mariella replies I don’t doubt it. It’s never pleasant to feel excluded and when it comes to family pecking order it can be particularly painful. Nevertheless, let me assure you that in every family there’s a sibling who feels just like you. That probably won’t make you feel any less excluded. Knowing you’re not alone at least offers a sliver of reassurance. Feeling as though you’re the less worthy, less favoured child, on whom the spotlight never falls, is common enough.

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