Dear Coleen

My twin sister and I are 32, and we both have families. We’ve always had a close relationship, unlike the non-existent one we have with our sister who is eight years older than us.

She has never married and always lived with our father. She treated us as if we don’t exist.

Fortunately, we had a good relationship with our father and live-in nanny.

He once told us he and mother didn’t think they could have more children, so our sister was expected to be an only child and was spoilt.

But then we came along and, sadly, mother died giving birth. It had a bad effect on our sister and she blamed us.

We tried and failed to build a relationship with her over the years. Then six months ago our father fell seriously ill and she failed to let us know. When he found out, he was very upset.

He passed away three months ago and we found he’d changed his will, selling the house and sharing the profits between my twin and me.

Our older sister got a bungalow he owned on the coast. Now she’s contacted us, via our aunt, wanting a relationship. We’re in two minds whether she genuinely wants to make up for the past.

Coleen says

Part of me feels so heartbroken for your sister because you’ve always had each other. She had eight years of being with your mum and dad, and feeling cherished, and then you come along and her mum dies. At eight, that’s very damaging.

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I imagine when you were born there were a lot of people helping with you and your twin, and she might have felt pushed out while coming to terms with the fact her mum had gone. She may have felt pushed out and very alone all her life.

I’m not agreeing with the way she’s behaved towards you two, but I can see there’s a reason for it. She must have had a very strong bond with your dad and, now he’s gone, she wants to connect to her family.

I’m sure she realises what happened to your mum isn’t your fault, but I imagine she has lots of resentment she’s never dealt with.

So if you can find empathy to meet her and start a dialogue, accepting she’s had a difficult life, it would be a good thing.

She is going to be damaged by what happened – that little lost eight-year-old is still in there. You and your twin will always have each other, so find forgiveness and kindness in your hearts and reach out to her. She hasn’t made this about your dad’s will – she wants a relationship with you.

If you can do this, down the line it might be best for you all to have family counselling where you can hopefully understand each other better.





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