Sage Advice: Newly Discovered Sister

September 5th, 2018

A newly discovered family member changes the way a woman thinks about her late father

Secret_Sister Image

Dear Amy: Last year I was “found” by a biological half-sister. She has spent her life looking for her biological father. Her dad turned out to be my dad.

My parents were so in love, raised five kids and had a wonderful marriage. They have both died, and I’m convinced after talking to family members that no one knew about this sister.

I have done everything I can to integrate her into our family. However, I didn’t ask her into my life. I would be happier if I never knew about her!

I feel good about all I’ve done for her, and I would never tell her, but I am so angry!

This truly rocked my world. My dad was my hero, and she knocked him off my pedestal! Not fair!

She is a wonderful woman, (completely opposite of my sister I never got along with), but I am having an internal fight to accept this person into my head as my sister.

And I don’t know how to get over my resentment of this intrusion into my life.

I want my perfect dad back!

– Upset Daughter

Dear Upset: I have yet to encounter a perfect person, or a perfect parent. And yet it is every parent’s dream to remain perfect in the eyes of their children.

I wonder if you have avenues yet to explore that might provide answers. (For instance, was your father ever a sperm donor?)

If your father had a one-night stand, or even if he was unfaithful to your mother (secretly, or with her knowledge), does this diminish the love they felt for each other – and for you and your siblings?

Does knowing your father might have been flawed make him less of a father to you? Your parents chose to be – and stay – together. That’s a good thing.

This woman’s sudden presence in your life has rocked you, and you have behaved generously and admirably (what a credit to your parents!). But I hope you don’t feel forced to have a relationship you aren’t ready to have. You have every right to take this at your own pace. Talking with a therapist would help you to express, and accept, your “Not fair!” feelings.

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068

© 2018 by Amy Dickinson

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