52-Year-Old Twin Feels Left Out on His Shared Birthday
Dear Amy: I am a 52-year-old guy with a twin sister. Our birthday is arriving soon.
On our 40th birthday, I was informed by her previous husband that he was throwing a surprise birthday party for my sister. My ex-wife and I went to this party to support her. However, I felt really left out, especially when the cake came out that said “Happy Birthday, [her name only].”
There was also a table covered with cards and presents from friends and family for her. Other folks at the party realized very quickly that it was my birthday too, and struggled with the reasoning as to why I wasn’t included.
This happened again on our 50th birthday, where her current husband and my 20-something niece did the same thing. I didn’t go to that party and derided my family for once again not standing up and saying that this was hurtful to me. In fact, I asked them, “Why in the world would I want to go to that?” They told me I was being a jerk.
I have not really spoken to anyone in my family since and don’t plan on it. Am I being oversensitive and shallow? Am I being full of myself for being angry at not being included?
I do love my sister very much; however, my family is another story.
– Second-class Brother
Dear Brother: I agree that it is odd for family members not to acknowledge that you and your sister share a birthday. I can certainly imagine how strange it would be to be so obviously ignored at a family party.
But I’m not sure which came first – you being treated like a second-class brother or you behaving like one. The appropriate reaction is to be honest about your feelings: “Well, it’s awkward for me because I feel so left out.” Refusing to celebrate with your sister (it’s her day, too) makes you seem petty.
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.