Anxious and confused over a needy stepsister | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Dear Emily,

My father died seven years ago and my mother remarried last year, with our family’s blessing. The man is an old friend whose successful business he has since sold. He’s been long divorced, a kind and generous man who gifted my mother with a well-appointed comfortable condo after their marriage.

The fly in the ointment is my new stepfather’s only child—a pretty and very spoiled daughter who lives with her mother abroad. She recently came home to stay indefinitely with her father and my saintly mother in their new condo.

She suddenly wants to be with her father everywhere he goes with my mother—trips here and abroad, dinners, parties, even watching TV. This never-ending bonding is driving my very patient mother confused and wondering what this daughter’s motives are.

When she asked me and my boyfriend to bring this step-daughter to my own gigs, I consented to give her a breather. After four outings with her, I found out she has been texting my boyfriend and asking him to meet her—without me. Now, he doesn’t want to go out anymore if she’d be around.

This is causing anxiety in my mother’s household as well as mine. Is this behavior normal for a 35-year-old woman? — Confused Step Sis


A regular mature person would want to run her own life. Clearly her father is trying to make amends for not being there while she was growing up. Her issues are spelled n-e-e-d-y and screaming for help. She sees her father’s loving relationship with your mother and wants in. She sees you and your boyfriend enjoying yourselves, and wants that, too.

There is such a yawning void in her life which she desperately wants to fill up, but repels those around her who cannot understand that need—you included.

She must start to learn that not everything is about her and not everybody is willing to fulfill her needs. She must find some solid meaning to define her life. Being an only child, it must have been carved in her psyche that the sun rose and set solely for her. That’s quite telling of what and how she’s now.

She can’t replicate the warmth of a family that was denied her in her youth. She also cannot start snatching the straws of kinship she sees in others to wrap around her. She has to mend her battered emotional past herself, or with kindhearted people who understand her.

It’ll be a laborious and intense mending process. But it’s never too late to right the course of her mangled perspective.

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