Ask Amy: Half-sister wants the full-sister treatment

FresnoOctober 7, 2013 

Dear Amy: I have three older half-brothers (we share a father but I have a different mother).

About a year ago one brother threatened to expose something personal about me on Facebook. The thing that he threatened to expose wouldn't really have bothered me, but he clearly thought it would. After that I had no contact with that brother.

Recently our father had a heart attack. I was the only one of my siblings who did anything for my parents during this time. I live two hours away and I'm a full-time college student; I had to drop everything so I could be at the hospital and drive my mother back and forth.

I realize that my mother is not their mother and it's my job to see to her needs, but I was infuriated that my brothers hardly did anything for our dad at that time.

I feel a lot of resentment. They don't treat me like a sister. I hate that I'm the only one who really takes care of our dad and that I'm left out of other family events. I want to pretend that it doesn't bother me, but I do feel bad.

I would like to just let it go, even though I feel like I've been punched in the stomach.

— Invisible sister

Dear Sister: If your half-brothers are substantially older than you and were raised in one household as a unit, then this would definitely have an impact on how they view the sibling relationship with you.

Your gender also makes a difference — especially when it comes to caretaking. Obviously there are exceptions, but parental caretaking duties tend to fall to women. In leaving you to take care of your father, they are treating you exactly like a sister.

Nothing will change without you at least trying to communicate about it. Don't pretend this doesn't bother you. Your father can also have an impact. He should model inclusive treatment, fairness and gratitude — and expect his sons to do the same.

Dear Amy: "Grateful for the Gift" was wondering how to go about returning a hand-knit sweater to his long-ago ex-girlfriend.

I think you should have counseled him to have basic manners. He received a meaningful gift from someone. Returning it to that person is simply a way of repudiating the spirit in which it was given. It doesn't sound like a sincere act on his part, and I think it's in poor taste.

— Regular reader

Dear Reader: This effort was obviously manipulative. You make a great point. Thank you.


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