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

Woman's Weekly (UK) - - News -

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.

Jude, Lin­coln

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.

Louise, Nor­wich

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.

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