Adoption and Long-Standing Jealousy Issues
I recall when our children came home from Russia as preteens. Some had constant jealousy issues: I had doled out more peas to one than another. Literally counting them on their plate, they were sure that I had planned on slighting them….
Years later, the same issues resurface repeatedly. No one is counting tiny bits of food, yet the jealousy crops up in different areas. Some of the kids had no such problems and were secure in their sense of self, making me wonder if this is a black-hole issue of adoption or of self-worth in general.
So the family was going out to enjoy a very special dinner. This was not an establishment where we would normally take young people, but we were celebrating. The food was a stretch for young palates and would be a new experience. We prepped them on the menu and what to expect.
The appointed date arrived and everyone made it through a high-energy day. We took some effort to appear well-dressed for a night out. Our youngest daughter, who often finds it challenging to put on chapstick, much less any makeup, was encouraged to freshen-up after a long day. Turning 16 in a few weeks, I wondered if she might want me to style her bangs differently, apply a bit of lip gloss after my shower? She reluctantly acquiesced and I did a 5-minute makeover. She looked great.
Now, mind you, her older sister (18), wears makeup on a daily basis. She does not need my help. But just to be nice, and to cover my bases, I inquired if anyone else needed any last-minute fashion advice, makeovers, or touch-ups. I did this in a light-hearted way, not singling anyone out, as both of our sons were consulting with me and changing shirts before heading out.
About 15 minutes prior to leaving the house, Sashenka-the-younger shows her father the new look, barely discernable, with her oh-so-subtle lipgloss and nice hair… and Mashenka-the-elder makes a face, as though she has suddenly been overshadowed by some beauty queen. All this comes straight on the heels of me listening attentively for 30 minutes while Mashenka recounts the events of the day, while Sashenka barely receives 5 minutes of attention. But Mashenka is the miffed one.
I try again.
As we count down toward departure time, I again ask if anyone needs any help, my salon and advice department are open for business. Mashenka ignores me and goes on to be sullen for the rest of the evening. All. because. I. put. lipgloss. on. fashion. challenged. Sashenka.
In the car, at the dinner, the elder who is acting much younger than the younger, behaves in an obnoxious fashion. She alternates between refusing to talk at all and enter into conversation, or speaking loudly in Russian to one of her brothers who is absentmindedly stuffing piece after piece of bread into his mouth until we have to tell him to stop. I refuse to become involved in Mashenka’s drama as she sits there with bright-bright lipstick in an effort to prove that she can outdo her sister, which is no news to anyone, but so sad that she feels it even has to be a contest.
The pettiness of the pea-counting gets so old at times….
—————Tags: adoptees' need for non-stop attention, adoption or self-worth issues?, fashion advice from a mother, fashion help from a mom, jealousy issues and adopted children, petty childhood jealousy, sisters trying to outdo each other