Here To Help
Coach, counsellor and writer Keren Smedley has worked for more than 20 years helping people to make positive changes to their lives
Tell your sister how she made you feel
Q I went to visit my sister in Canada recently. I hadn’t seen her for over 10 years. I’ve lost four stone in that period and become very fit. I was always the ‘fat’ sister! This time, the tables were turned and she didn’t like it. She was rude to me on several occasions and introduced me to her friends as her fat sister who isn’t at the minute. I felt really hurt and lost. She’s my only sister, so I want a relationship with her, but I also want her to apologise before we carry on as before.
A It sounds like she was envious of you and that her nose was out of joint because she couldn’t any longer see herself as the fit, thin one. That doesn’t excuse her behaviour, but does put it into context. I don’t think you can demand an apology, as that’s up to her, although I agree, it sounds like she should give you one. What you can do is phone or Skype her and tell her how you felt and why she upset you. You can also ask that she no longer refers to you in a way that no longer fits, and that she respects the fact you’ve worked hard to change your body image. If she apologises, that will be a bonus.
Try to look at it from their perspective
Q I split up with my husband 20 years ago and we both remarried. I want my children to like their stepfather and his children and to see them as part of the family. But I can’t bear them seeing his wife and her children as family. I pulled my daughter up on this recently and she got cross, saying this wouldn’t have happened if we’d stayed together and they wanted to make it as good as they could by embracing their new relations.
A It sounds like you want your cake and to eat it! Your daughter is right: they didn’t ask for this situation and they’re making the best of it. And think of the alternative: would you really want them to dislike their step-siblings? That
wouldn’t be helpful for anyone. The fact that your children have adapted so well is a credit to you and your ex-husband. From where I sit, I think you should be pleased about this, rather than complaining.