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Can PWD lean towards one child more than another?

Metalpetal

Registered User
May 10, 2020
114
Today’s curious question... It does seem that mum is currently ‘favouring’ contact with my brother over me. As some of you will already know, she’s been in hospital for 5 weeks now, and without her phone for most of that time. She does occasionally get permission to use the Ward phone - but she’ll always call my brother, not me. She has to ask them to look up the number - and they have mine too! So I suspect she must be clearly asking to call him, not me.

Now that we’ve got a cheap mobile phone to her, again she’s only calling him! I’ve sent texts, left voicemails (it rang out, then went to message service when I tried to call her). It really has felt for these past weeks that she’d rather talk to him than me.

Now, I’m not asking because I’m feeling all miserable and left out - to be honest, the times she calls my poor brother it’s all quite high maintenance and I should probably be happy that I’m not having to deal with that! I’m more curious as to why it’s happening. When I DO manage to talk to her on the rare occasion the hospital sets up a facetime, she’s always thrilled to see me and we have lengthy catch-ups. So I’m hoping it’s not that she doesn’t WANT to talk to me, it’s just not sort of occurring to her?

The other possible theory is that I’ve always been the one who gives her more of a tough time! Before her hospital visit (and before we knew she had dementia) I’d be the one giving her a bit of a lecture when she said she hadn’t been taking her medication properly or whatever. Whereas my brother was always a bit softer with her I think. So maybe she’s remembering that?! (To reassure you - I’m far from a horrid person! It’s just that I can bring myself to be firm with her when needed, more than him :) ).

Have any of you experienced similar with your PWD and siblings etc?
 

Helly68

Registered User
Mar 12, 2018
744
Hard to say, as I am definitely closer to Mummy (late stage mixed dementia) but that is because my sister lives abroad, and understandably can only visit every couple of months, in better times.
I think now, Mummy just doesn't know who my sister is any more, though before lockdown I think she did know me. Do you think perhaps on the phone she is not sure who it is and with facetime she can see you and is aware who it is?
 

Louise7

Registered User
Mar 25, 2016
2,460
Mum used to always ring me rather than my two sisters. We didn't see it as 'favouritism', more a case of me living the nearest to her so I was the person that she always saw more of and relied on so had more of a 'connection' with. Like @Helly68 mum doesn't seem to know who my sister is now but always seems to know me as she is seeing me more frequently. Whether that connection is still there after not seeing me for over 2 months remains to be seen. You mentioned in an earlier thread that your brother lives near to your mum and you are 400 miles away so it could be just that she is simply ringing the person that she thinks of first.
 

Metalpetal

Registered User
May 10, 2020
114
Mum used to always ring me rather than my two sisters. We didn't see it as 'favouritism', more a case of me living the nearest to her so I was the person that she always saw more of and relied on so had more of a 'connection' with. Like @Helly68 mum doesn't seem to know who my sister is now but always seems to know me as she is seeing me more frequently. Whether that connection is still there after not seeing me for over 2 months remains to be seen. You mentioned in an earlier thread that your brother lives near to your mum and you are 400 miles away so it could be just that she is simply ringing the person that she thinks of first.
Thanks both - and yes @Louise7 that’s another thing that occurred to me. She rarely saw my brother as he has such a busy life, but she obviously knows he’s more ‘handy’ from a distance respect. She’d talk to me on the phone far more than she’d see him before she was in hospital, which is why this feels so odd. But I do think you might be right - in her head, he’s the one who can ‘go and rescue her’ etc.
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
71,929
Kent
There might be something about the relationship between mothers and sons @Metalpetal or towards the nearest who does the lion`s share of caring.

When my mother was trying to care for my grandmother, all my grandmother could talk about was her wonderful son who incidentally was abroad but just wrote wonderful letters.
 

Metalpetal

Registered User
May 10, 2020
114
There might be something about the relationship between mothers and sons @Metalpetal or towards the nearest who does the lion`s share of caring.

When my mother was trying to care for my grandmother, all my grandmother could talk about was her wonderful son who incidentally was abroad but just wrote wonderful letters.
Yep, true :) And, as I said, I’m not really feeling too disgruntled about this - he’s got the high maintenance element of talking to her more than me!

Anyway...I’m delighted to say she just called me!! She’d called my brother and he pushed her to give me a call. She started off with a bit of an impatient tone and even said ‘I can’t stay on but your brother told me to call you’!! But once we chatted she relaxed a bit and we had a nice conversation. She said she doesn’t like talking to me when she’s not feeling happy - she’s very disgruntled at the moment, something to do with not agreeing with the new pills they’re giving her. But I reassured her that I’m always happy to talk to her, and that maybe in fact I can help cheer her up! So let’s see if that helps...

Thanks as ever, folks. I’ve actually just encouraged my brother to join this forum so he might be around later! :-D
 

love.dad.but..

Registered User
Jan 16, 2014
4,573
Kent
Yes...as dad declined and he needed total assistance with simple functions he responded more to me than my sister. I felt at the time that he was starting to think that I was mum, his wife who had died suddenly...perhaps my voice or something was similar and that sparked a compliance...not always though, sometimes it could flip on a coin and verbally aggressive dad would surface. I began to notice a different kindly look, little boy lost look that started around the same time...perhaps he sometimes thought of me as mum or his mum...definitely not his daughter
 

RosettaT

Registered User
Sep 9, 2018
511
Mid Lincs
If my mum just wanted a nice chat it was my brother - sister - me, in order of preference. If she wanted something I was her one and only contact. I think she called me as she saw me as more capable or more organised and as I could get 5 or more calls a day she rang the other 2 for a chat. I don't think there was any favouritism, it was just her way of spreading the load.
 

Jale

Registered User
Jul 9, 2018
498
In our case - definately. My brother has always lived at home and has always been my mum's favourite he was waited on hand and foot- I was a dad's girl. Since Mum has had dementia (vascular) she has been very open about it - telling people that her son did everything for her when he didn;t, in fact it was me and my hubby who went daily to help with washing her/changing beds doing the general cleaning and gardening - the list is endless whilst her son couldn't get out of the house quick enough. Mum told the occupational therapist that the only person who loved her and cared for her was her son and that was with me helping her into her chair. The list is endless and if she ever lashes out either verbally or physically it is always me that gets it. It does hurt and I try to remember that it is the dementia that is causing this, but somewhere in the back of my mind I do wonder if it is just the dementia showing her true self.
 

marionq

Registered User
Apr 24, 2013
6,151
Scotland
@Jale she probably needs the love from your brother so deceives herself whereas she gets it for free from you. Her true self without the dementia would know the difference.
 

imthedaughter

Registered User
Apr 3, 2019
506
Oh it's always me who gets the calls. I'm not closest but I was the one who was able to step up, both mentally and in terms of time. The brothers are able to support in some ways but I'm the organiser, and I suspect as the only girl dad's always had a particular fondness for me, even if he did always say I was bossy. :rolleyes: Well, someone has to get things done!

Curiously I always thought my younger brother was the favourite but in fact, he was a lot of hard work for my parents so although he gets the baby treatment, I think I am secretly the favourite, as I'm less emotional labour, as they say these days 😆

I'm glad your mum gave you a ring just for a chat, that's the best kind...
 

Sarasa

Registered User
Apr 13, 2018
1,804
Mum always wanted me to do the serious stuff, sort out any problems. But preferred my brother for the fun things. She once stood me for Christmas when she got a last minute invite from him. Mum is a romantic and I'm Ms Practical. She therefore is (or was she seems to have forgotten my brother exists) drawn to my brother who is a musician married to someone in the film industry rather than me who spent her career as a librarian.
 

Dimpsy

Registered User
Sep 2, 2019
1,494
Where are you in the pecking order of siblings? Eldest, middle / youngest.

I have always had a close relationship with my mum (I'm eldest of three), and even when I lived a couple of hundred miles away from mum and dad and they were living around the corner from my sister, it was still me that mum confided in; we think the same way.
I've never been sure if it's because I'm first born or because we have similar characters and interests and get on well together.

I suppose it was inevitable that when dad died, mum would choose to move closer to me and OH, in fact she couldn't be any closer, she lives with us!
 

Metalpetal

Registered User
May 10, 2020
114
Thanks everyone for your replies! It’s been interesting to see that this does seem to happen fairly often. Whatever the reason, mum does seem to call on my brother more - but I can live with that :) And at least she has a way of contacting us now - whoever she chooses to call! (Although not so much at this very moment - see my latest post for more on that!)