Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Carolyn: Is there anything that I can tell my boyfriend to comfort him about the fact that his parents have always treated him and his brother differently? Their reasoning is that the other brother has a health problem, so theyve always tried to make the path easier for him. This health problem obviously makes his life a little harder but not enough to necessitate the level of hand-holding he has received for 15 years.
It was in my boyfriends best interest that his parents didnt do this to him; hes much more independent than his brother and has a much better relationship with them. In any case, he still feels like they love his brother more than they love him.
Seems to me the source of comfort has been available to him all along, and he has refused it; he doesnt want to believe health explains his parents choices, or that your boyfriend is better for it. He wants to believe they love his brother more. Whether the facts point to that or his feelings do is almost irrelevant. He believes what he believes.
So, I would take it down that road for him. As in: OK, you have a good explanation for your parents behavior, and youve rejected it. Youre certain your parents loved your brother more.
What now? What if we stipulated that, yes, they loved him more what do you want to do/say/hear/accomplish now that you have this information? Does it change the way you see yourself, or do your work, or pursue your hobbies?
Do you think all this makes you the better person, the lesser person or neither because it ultimately wasnt about anything you did? Does it change the way you see your parents? Would it matter if they did it on purpose or unwittingly?
Finally, what do you want from them, from yourself or from the universe do you want an apology? Justice? License to grieve?
More combative than some people want to be, perhaps, but theres no peace for him till he reckons with this, so why not throw some breadcrumbs along the path?
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