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Dr. Keane
Dr. Keane, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1379
Experience:  Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
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I've spent almost all of my life living up to and beyond

Customer Question

I've spent almost all of my life living up to and beyond anyone's expectations...straight A's kindergarten to saluditorian in hs...attended one of the top schools in the country, played 3 sports, an instrument, and was physically active/healthy from kindergarten to adult life. After college graduation, I obtained a high paying job, paid off my student loans and sent my parents a little bit of money to offset the portion of student loans they took out for me (we agreed to each pay half). Despite all of this, my parents have never displayed any form of acceptance of me. When I diverge off onto my own interests, they say "oh that's not like you" or whenever any emotion beyond happiness is displayed they say "oh don't be like that". My brother, who has 2 illegitimate children, a divorce, works random odd jobs and lives w/ my parents, get all of their attention and appreciation for any little thing he does. My contributions go unnoticed as "expected". Now, they shower my husband w/ praise and gifts, but do not include me in the praise or gifting! The worst part is, I've become incredibly put off of my in-laws, especially my SIL, because they don't do this to her. (At least from what I can see). My husband and his sister are treated equally in the family and I'm so jealous of her because of it. It tears me apart because I'm not accepted/appreciated by my own family and now struggle to be accepted/appreciated by my husband's family.
JA: The Psychologist will need to help you with this. Is there anything else the Psychologist should be aware of?
Customer: no
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Psychologist about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr-A-Greene replied 1 year ago.

Hi - my name is***** and I'd be happy to chat with you.

First of all, I'm very sorry to hear that you're experiencing this lack of acceptance and differential treatment between yourself and your brother. It's always best if parents can figure out how to treat both children fairly and equally, but it sounds like that just isn't the case here. In fact, it sounds like a rather classic example of parents being inexplicably hard on the overachiever while letting the underachiever get away with murder! While some families have had success in family therapy (yes, that means every family member!), that isn't usually realistic (or desirable) in most situations. So, in your situation it will be all about changing your own expectations/behaviors and trying to fulfill your needs in a different way.

One thing that usually makes the unappreciated overachiever miserable is that they try so darn hard - and keep trying - to gain the acceptance that they feel is lacking. However, if it hasn't brought positive results in the past, is it likely to now? Is there anything you could do that would open their eyes to the gem that you are - or will they just continue to take you for granted.

If your answer is the latter, it might be time to drastically change your expectations. Why not focus on doing what makes you happy (your own interests), rather than trying to please them?

Additionally, where does your husband stand on this? A united front (with him strongly supporting you at all times) could change the situation regarding the gifting - and with his family as well. How does he respond to your concerns about these issues?