Hello everyone, I'm in somewhat of a dilemma. I hope you guys can help me, it's a long story but please bear with me.
I'm 27 and recently lost my job, and separated from my wife of 5 years. We are in the process of finalizing a divorce that I filed about 2 years ago. We have two daughters 5 & 6 respectively.
Back then we proceeded with our custody arrangement and the judge granted us joint-legal-physical custody. Now I am currently living with my mother and 4 siblings. This is only temporary while I find a job and get back on my feet ( I had nowhere else to go and my estranged wife kept most of our belongings including the apartment).
There are two other children in my mothers home - my young brother 7 and niece 4. The issue is that feel that my mother and my brothers excessively favor my niece. My younger brother (7) always defends my niece against my daughters in any type of quarrels that children often find themselves involved in. Now that is somewhat understandable because he has been raised with her more so than my daughters and he's just a child. But he hits my daughters and my mother defends his actions and justifies them at any cost. Same with my niece, anything she does is excusable but my daughters do anything and they are horrible kids.
My mother has pictures of my niece, always takes my niece anywhere and calls her names like princess and the like. She has no pictures of my daughters around the home and when my daughters want to go anywhere with her, my mother never wants to take them. My daughters are gone for 5 days and she never asks about them nor asks to talk to them. My niece is gone for 2 days and she is saying how much she misses her and calls her.
One Day that i will never forget is when coincidentally my daughters arrived from their mom's and my niece from her dads at the same time, my mother ran past my daughters and said to my niece " how much i missed you" and gave her a big hug yet ignored my daughters. It hurt me deep inside because i know my daughters notice and they are going through a rough time. My eldest is very sentimental and I'm noticing an emotional detachment from everyone and rebellious behavior. She has been acting out lately at home. At school she is doing very good and I have never had any problems as of yet regarding her social behavior with other children. At home it's different, I believe there is a lot of resentment built up and resentment is also building up inside of me.
When I confront my mother she says that my niece was raised with her yet when i lived with my wife we would visit on a consistent basis, 3 or 4 times a weeks since we lived about a mile away. She tells me that if I don't like it to leave and that this is their home and since I already married, I'm somewhat of an outcast.
Onto my siblings, my brother (20) loves my niece with a Passion and is always hugging her, loving her, kissing her and inviting her places for example to our pool. While he is doing that my daughters are saying "i want to go" without being invited. He never once hugs them and barely acknowledges them. He has my niece's picture as a wallpaper in his phone and so does my mom but none of my daughters. My sister( nieces mother) 20 year old brother and another younger brother(18) are from the same father but different from mine, can that play a role in their preference of my niece?
Today, another brother who is older and from the same father as I, called from out of state and every time he calls he asks to speak to my little brother and my niece but very seldom to speak to my daughters. He has always acknowledged them but I have overheard my mother speaking ill of my daughters and I, she may be negatively influencing the way he perceives my daughters and I. My brother has a stepdaughter which my mother just adores, she buys her things like coloring books and clothes and other than birthdays my mother has very rarely bought my daughters anything.
I know I have to leave, I'm aggressively seeking employment with no success as of yet. What can i do meanwhile? Should i isolate my daughters from my family? Am I overreacting or am I right to feel concerned? I really don't understand where this behavior stems from, I try to make sense of it to no avail. My daughters are very emotional and I don't know what to tell them when all the attention is directed onto my nieces yet not to my daughters, they look at me with a saddened face, what can i tell them? I want to reassure them and explain to them why they act that way but I don't even know why myself. I understand my niece is smaller and has lived here longer but is that reason enough? I'm not asking them to stop being loving and affectionate towards my niece but only that they show the same to my daughters. What can i tell my daughters in the meantime while we find our own place? My family cannot reason and we have nowhere else to go.
Thank you guys.