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Ready to freak out on my family

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My brother has a girlfriend. They've been dating for a few years. They did two years long distance and this past year she moved in with him, moving across the country to be with him near our family. 

She sort of left her family, but not really. Her one sibling got married and moved away. She didn't have any friends back home. And her parents retired and now jet set abroad all the time and barely ever come home. So she was alone anyway. 

Ever since she got here, my mother has been extra catering to her. It's honestly weirding me out and it's causing a lot of aggrevation in our family, particularly between me and my mother. 

My mom made sure she got all Christmas presents for her just like she gave my brother and I. She put so much effort into it, I was a bit shocked. It kind of hurts my feelings, because I am really close to my mom, care deeply about her, and do for her selflessly and feel I deserve better treatment as her daughter and as a good daughter. 

My mom has always taken me out for my birthday to buy me a new outfit. It's sort of our special thing. This year, my mom took her out to buy her a new outfit. It really hurt my feelings. Because I'm her daughter. She is new to our family and isn't even married into it. It dismissed our special thing. It's not our thing anymore. 

My mom is always overthinking and wanting to over-impress her. 

My mom wants her to feel welcome. To feel like she wants to stay here living and doesn't want her dragging my brother away. 

But everything we do is constantly catering to her. 

The holidays have become a battle ground.  We used to just do our thing as a family. Now my mom is overly worried about catering to her. It drives me nuts.

My mom caters to her schedule for work on when we can have our holiday meal now. The girl works weird hours and it's really frustrating. When I express that I have a preference,  she says I'm being difficult. 

My mom and I have always done all the cooking for holidays. I do half, she does half. 

But now, my mom and brother have a certain dietary restriction and his girlfriend has another dietary restriction. My father and I have none and we like regular food.  It's like pulling teeth to agree on a menu and my mother is over catering, making sure the girlfriend can eat every dish and feel welcome. When I complain that it's really hard to cater to everyone, she calls me selfish. If I say I don't like a dish, I'm treated like I'm difficult.  I ran around town and bought extra ingredients catering to everyone. Thinking maybe I was selfish. But I don't hear anyone asking what I'd like to eat or how I'd like it prepared to cater to me. My mom now has to alter all our dishes to fit the girlfriend and I don't like some of the alterations. I want regular food. When I expressed this to my mom, she says I am difficult and why can't I just eat modified to make it easy. But I don't have a dietary issue. It doesn't make any sense to me. 

I also don't see my brothers girlfriend offering to make anything that caters to herself or asking us or even caring if we have things she can eat. My mom insists we make all food she can eat. And how it's stinks to go somewhere and not be able to eat anything.  I've never been to a holiday or a party where I liked and could eat every single dish there. But there was still plenty of dishes I did like. In the past, my mom made dishes I liked, but occasionally one or two side dishes I didn't like. I never complained. There was food I did eat. She is insistent we make every dish to be eaten by the girlfriend. It's ridiculous. 

My mom defends her saying how she doesn't cook and is a bad cook. 

She's 25 years old, with dietary restrictions. So maybe she should try learning to cook. My mom acts like she is a kid. 

My mom and I even got into an argument over dinner rolls. My mom said she only wanted to make modified rolls to meet the dietary restrictions of those with them. I nicely asked for regular rolls to be present too for me and my father. My mom got all annoyed and said- "why can't you just eat the modified ones? You make things more difficult for me."

In my head, I'm the normal one. The ones with restrictions are the difficult ones. 

My mom doesn't see the strain this is putting on me. I'm trying hard to please everyone. I finally told her how I can't do this anymore and next holiday, I'm simply bringing something I can eat and only caring about myself. She says I'm selfish.  It's too much money and stress on me. She doesn't see or get what I am saying at all. 

I'm literally so frustrated and she won't try and change. I'm her daughter. They could breakup and she did so much for the girlfriend for nothing. I get along great with his girlfriend and like her. It isn't about that. It's about my mom's behavior. 

We literally plan family dinners around this girls work schedule. It's inconvenient. One time, we couldn't have a family dinner on a Saturday night because she works late. But Saturday is way better for me. My mom didn't care.  My mom pushed it to Sunday. We went out, ate, and it got late and it was super hard on me and my schedule. And his girlfriend ended up bailing on the dinner anyway, because she was tired from working and felt unwell. So we did it all for nothing. I feel like no one cares about me, but I care about them. I always have to be the one who changes, who concedes, who just makes things easy. 

I don't even know what to do anymore. I feel undervalued, underappreciated, and I'm frustrated. I've never been catered to as a girlfriend by a guys family the way my mom caters to this girl. 

Any advice? 

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If she's going to be your sister in law, you'll have to stop the jealousy and hating. Everyone else in your family seems to accept her kindly and you're seething in hate. How's that making you happy? You feel chronically underappreciated and Undervalued. It's not her fault. 

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3 minutes ago, Wiseman2 said:

If she's going to be your sister in law, you'll have to stop the jealousy and hating. Everyone else in your family seems to accept her kindly and you're seething in hate. How's that making you happy? 

When you literally live for your family. Do everything for them. Are 1000% there for them. I've literally not lived my fullest life to be there for my family. And for someone to walk in, do nothing, and get treated the same or better, is extremely hurtful. 

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I'm fairly certain many people have advised you to have some degree of detachment from your extremely enmeshed relationship with your mother. 

Also, many people have advised you that you cannot change other people. You can only change how you choose to react to others.

Instead of fussing over wanting to have a "normal" dish, just make one for yourself and your dad. And don't announce it to your mom! Just do it and don't make a big production out of it.

I am tasked each year to bring desserts to our extended family Christmas gathering. I cannot eat sugar. I don't seethe or complain that I'm being told to bring the ONE THING I can't eat, and I don't say anything when my cousins consistently give me candy as gifts. I just bring regular desserts for everyone else and one sugar free dessert for myself. And I give the candy gifts away to shut ins. Win-win for everyone. 

You expend a lot of energy being upset about things you can do nothing about, yet you describe yourself as positive and nice. So, practice what you preach! Spend less time seething and feeling jealous and decide instead to celebrate and enjoy this new addition to your family. And don't be jealous that your brother found someone. Just regard her as someone who can become a new friend. And be happy for your brother.

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That was actually so embarassing and uncomfortable to read.  Alex - your envy, jealousy and sense of being given the "short end of the stick" is really out of control.   

Your mother is viewing this young woman as a sort of daughter.  It's normal.  That's why we have a term for it:  "Daughter In Law."  

Her buying Christmas presents or cooking food that is ok for this person to eat is not taking a single freaking thing away from you.

If you can't start to function as an adult and let other people, including those who are related to you, live their lives the way they please and even be HAPPY FOR THEM that they are doing so ... you are going to be so bitter and miserable in a few years that I can't even imagine how you'll cope.

Please please take this seriously.  This is no way to live.

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If you can take a step back with some compassion, you might appreciate that your Mom wants to keep this woman close to avoid what she would view as 'losing' her son to her. She views this woman as a potential threat. You know, "...keep your friends close, and your enemies closer..."

I would just regard this as a preview of the wonderful treatment your future fiancé will receive.

Meanwhile, just calling you out for the martyr routine. You haven't 'given up' so much of your life for your family, you simply aren't interested enough in developing a happy social life beyond them--to the degree that your over-investment in them is unhealthy and stunting. But it's been your choice.

You've said you love to cook. So? Make yourself and your Dad some 'real food' and bring it to family dinners as a generous contribution. Let Mom do what makes her happy, you do what makes you happy, and stop whining about your sister-in-law-ish. Your jealousy is unbecoming, and is serves no other purpose than to make you petty and miserable.

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My advice is grow up & stop being a self centered princess.  

Your mother is a kind compassionate woman who wants to make her son's GF feel welcome.  Your mom is treating this woman like a member of the family.  You are treating her like an intruder who is taking away from you.   You'd do better by embracing the fact that you have a new "sister" & learning to be kinder to others.  

If you think GF needs to be a better cook, help her to learn to cook.   If you want a particular dish at a family dinner, make it.  

Seriously the world doesn't revolve around you.  As soon as you get that message & stop being annoyed, you will be happier.  Right now you are raging because you fear this woman is taking your place.  That is the true heart of your problem & jealousy.   Her existence is your new reality.  

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10 hours ago, Alex39 said:

When you literally live for your family. Do everything for them. Are 1000% there for them. I've literally not lived my fullest life to be there for my family. 

Alex, this is your problem right here ^^.

You live for your family, particularly for your mother's approval.

So when your mother shows compassion for someone else, you feel it takes away the "specialness" of her love for you.  This is not the case.

It sounds like your mother is working hard to include her.  If you would open your heart to include her too, you would be much happier.

We have told you in hundreds of pages now, that you need to develop and live your own life, detach from your enmeshment with your mother.  It's been said on this very thread.  Do it.

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I see what you all are saying. I do think I should be kinder. I am taking this hard. 

I think my struggle is that I work so immensely hard for my mothers approval and attention and to see this girl come in and just get it without doing anything confuses and upsets me. To see us get treated the same confuses me. 

I really don't think she cares about my mother all that much or what my mother does for her. She's nice but indifferent. She's in it for my brother only. I like the GF. I get along with her. Sometimes, I think she likes me more than my mom, because I'm younger and connects with her more. We aren't enemies. I don't hate her or anything. 

I think because I find my mother's love conditional. It hurts me to see the GF get it for free. I only get it when I act in a way that my mother deems right. 

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Youre completely jealous that you have to share your family and your brother's partner is treated like family.  

Think about that. What do you think that means/says about you? 

You created the dynamic where you are contributing 1000%. 

you says she's done nothing.  but the truth is, that's what family is.  You were born.  that's all you did to be in this family. It's not like a job you have to qualify for. 

It is normal that a daughter and a daughter in law (or serious partner that lives in) to be treated similarly. of course you and your mom have  different relationship than the gf and your mom have.  but your not a little girl. 

You should be working toward building your own life. and then when you have a partner, they would be treated as kindly. Isn't that what you want? 


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12 minutes ago, Alex39 said:

think because I find my mother's love conditional. It hurts me to see the GF get it for free. I only get it when I act in a way that my mother deems right. 

Well, if it helps, your mom's love for her will be conditional too. No one is exempt.

Your mom and the new girlfriend are in the honey moon phase. The gf is new. Your mom is welcoming her and trying to leave a good impression in the interest of keeping your brother around and pleasing him. Once that honey moon period fades (6-18 months), she won't be going out of her way to please her as much as she does now.

Plus, your mom is your mom. That's never changed and won't change. Your mom fed you when you were a child, changed your diapers, paid for your school fees, took you out to places, and so on. That person didn't get any of that and won't get the most of it. That jealousy is for nothing. Your mom is yours. The gf has her own parents to worry about.

Exercise, dance, or do anything to shake this off. Your mom is yours. And if this is so triggering to you, then please consider therapy cause there are obviously childhood issues going on here that most of us strangers on the internet can't solve for you.

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10 minutes ago, Alex39 said:

I think because I find my mother's love conditional. It hurts me to see the GF get it for free. I only get it when I act in a way that my mother deems right

This is the part you need to work on.  It's messed up that you're beating yourself up over this dynamic with your mom. 

Family dynamics are tough.  We get into these roles and resentment can set in.  I have gone through that myself. 

It's hard work and I work on it everyday to remind myself, I can't change them, but I can change me. I can say no. I can have boundaries. I can decide my family member is nuts and they don't handle things the way I do.  

Work on yourself to improve your own self image.  you don't need your mom's approval. and I say that in kindness with the knowledge it's not easy and it won't happen over night. 

As adults we all realize at some point our parents are flawed, just like all of us. 

You're not perfect and you don't have to be. 

You're dying for mom's approval,  she's dying for the gf's. 

You see how unnecessary her acts are, transfer that to your view of yourself. 

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45 minutes ago, Alex39 said:

I really don't think she cares about my mother all that much or what my mother does for her. She's nice but indifferent. She's in it for my brother only.

There you go again, allowing your jealousy to assign evil intent to your brother's girlfriend just because she isn't fawning the way you do. She isn't tripping all over herself to gain your mother's approval. And why should she? What's she supposed to do, fall to her knees thanking your mom profusely for making gluten free dinner rolls or whatever? She doesn't live or die on  whether or not your mom says "good girl" to her. You do.

You never respond when people have advised you over and over to do something about your unhealthy enmeshed relationship with your mother. I presume you'll quote this response and reply with a "but" that ignores the content.

If you change nothing, nothing changes. Your choice if you want to live the next 30 years like this. 

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My mom treats her DILs like family.  My MIL treats me like family.  It still doesn't change that my mom loves me, and that my MIL loves her daughters.

Your feelings are your feelings, and you are on a jealous tirade.  Jealous that your brother has someone.  

If you can find room to love others outside of your immediate family, like your brother's GF, who moved across the country to be with him, you will find you have made room for the one to be found.

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2 hours ago, Alex39 said:

 I think because I find my mother's love conditional. It hurts me to see the GF get it for free. I only get it when I act in a way that my mother deems right. 

That's insightful.

Alex - are you 37 years old now?  It's crucially important that you make it a strong priority to get your identity separated from what your mother (or your other family members, friends, your friends' friends, your friends' husbands, your boss, some guy you are  dating, etc.) are up to.

A healthy approach to the way your mom appears to be trying to win this young woman over is more along the lines of eye rolling than devastation.   Sure, maybe she really is going overboard.  Who am I to say.  But it's not a big deal.  The most important part is that, by getting into this aggrieved, self pitying, victimized role (where you are in most of your threads) you are throwing YOURSELF under the bus way more than your mom is just because she caters to her son's girlfriend.

If you keep this up you will end up like a white bread, suburban, cookie cutter, sitcom version of "Little Edie" and "Big Edie" of "Grey Gardens."   At least those two are amazingly interesting.  You are on track to a peak that includes sitting with your mom in a church basement criticizing the low neckline or sub-par jello casserole of the other church ladies.

Is this your future plan?




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All the others said it well.  I agree.  Wanted to add another suggestion - with all this focus on food - yes for sure bring something you and your dad can enjoy -or -seriously -I've done this - eat before.  Be full.  Quietly sip some water or a beverage and simply say "oh thanks I'm just not so hungry today I guess!"  Then have some dessert with them or coffee -shift this inordinate focus on food.  Dinner rolls -really??  Buy or make them for yourself if you're craving them.

Also she might someday be the momma of the grandkids/your nieces/nephews.  So play nicely in the sandbox.

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You’ve catalogued past disapprovals of your Mom, and you still don’t get that most of them wouldn’t have occurred had you not been all up in her face with your business. People tend to find fault with one who suffocates them. She’s equally at fault for the enmeshment, yet you allow her too much access to you because it’s easier than launching yourself out into the world to find fulfilling interests and friends and a lover on your own.

You’re doing the same thing with your second job. You’ve lived years without one, but now that you can hold it up as your excuse not to broaden your social life, you cling to it and complain about it, exactly as you do with your family.

Yet you want us to believe that it’s everyone else who victimizes you, even while you hold the keys to your own liberation. You just won’t take the steps to climb out of the hole you’ve dug for yourself by expanding your own life.

And if Mom’s approval is what you’re after, then acting like a jealous infant is not exactly pleasing her, is it? Use this as a wake up call to decathect from your mother and minimize the importance of what she serves at her own table. Go out and teach young people how to cook or garden, go tend to animals in a shelter, go work in a soup kitchen, go do something useful and beneficial to feel proud instead of holing up in the habit of making yourself feel like a worm.

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Please google "mother - daughter enmeshment."  

If you ever get to a place where you would realistically like to change this path of your life, focus on "mother - daughter enmeshment" when you are with your therapist.  If you still have a therapist.

At this point I question whether you would EVER choose to free yourself from this dynamic.

Can you even imagine functioning if you were no longer giving yourself free rein to blame all of your misery on other people?

This is what you are providing for YOURSELF now, and you are pretty stuck.  

It's up to you to change.  Not your mom, your boss, your friends, ex friends, guys you date, etc.  


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No one ever said life was fair.  I say keep the peace.  I don't exactly like my in-laws and some relatives either but for the sake of the whole,  I've since learned to be peaceful,  detached,  don't engage yet I'm polite and well mannered.  I am respectful.  I suggest you do the same.  There is a way to be a peaceful person without overly investing yourself into people whom you're not fond of.  It's called showing class and grace despite uncomfortable situations and family dynamics.

Rise above it and take the high road.  Practice good diplomacy.  Love nor hate.  Adapt.  However, it doesn't mean chumminess.  Carry yourself with aplomb and you will be fine.  Don't allow your emotions to cloud your judgement. 

Exercise self control.  Don't get mad.  Be smart.

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My sister-in-law( hubby’s sister ) has been a princess all her life. She was daddy‘s princess from the second she was born. She was TOTALLY AND UTTERLY enmeshed  with her parents . She always felt no man was good enough for her. So where she is now is 53 with no partner never had a partner no children and a 90 year old mother, she has to cater to because she was a princess as well. She is dripped with hate and resentment that her brother has a life . Literally dripping with it and sometimes yells and screams at him and treats him like dirt . Well soon mama won’t be around and she will have alienated the only other family she has. Don’t end up like her.

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I think I mentioned this before that you have an unhealthy perspective about how things are, and how things should be.

You're doing it again and this time putting your relationship with your mom in jeopardy. Hopefully your SIL is clueless to how you really feel about her because if she found out, you bet your brother will cut ties with you. Then you really will be left out.

Learn to let things be and let things go.

Also you really need to ask your new friends to go dancing or go to the batting cage. 

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