Unknown sister just surfaced, do I have to be happy?(146 Posts)
I just learned that I have a half sister. My mum gave up a child for adoption before she met my dad and this woman has found her. She never even told my dad who she married 52 years ago until last month. My brothers and parents think this is great news, my world is rocked. I don’t want a new sister. I want my previously really normal family to remain as it was. Now my mom is pursuing a relationship with her, they are both going over the top as the newness of it all is so exciting. What do I do? At 48 I feel like an insecure child again. I’m jealous and angry. It makes me look back on my who,e childhood and think that our what I though was a typical challenging mother daughter relationship is because she always pined for her first daughter.
What a complicated situation OP. It's no wonder you're struggling with your emotions. Honestly, I think if you can afford it you should seek some professional help to allow you to work this out in a safe and supportive environment.
You don’t have to be happy, OP. You will have complicated emotions and that’s fine and normal. It’s ok for you to assert your boundaries over what you’re happy with.
You have had a shock, it isn't easy for any of you.
The newness of the relationship will eventually settle into a norm that might even result in contact a few times a year.
Please be happy for them both, they both deserve to know one another and your poor mum will have lived with what was deemed "A dirty Secret" all her life.
No, you don't have to be bosom buddies with your half sister although you may in time form a bond. But please just don't deny her, she deserves to know her mum
It is what it is. There’s no winning for anyone being jealous. Don’t blame your childhood on a complete stranger? By your reaction to this you do sound like you could have been hard work without any pining involved on your mums part! I can understand you are hurt that this has come out of the blue but your mum wants a relationship with her daughter and that means that giving her up for adoption was really hard for her. Try to be more empathetic. Imagine your sisters pov? She was given up by her mother but her mother decided to keep you and your brothers? That must be hard too.
Take advantage of the situation. You might find that a sister is the best thing that could have happened to you, but it won’t be if you fight it from the start over petty jealously and hurt feelings. Pp was right that perhaps you need to find someone to talk to to resolve your feelings before they eat at you. Good luck.
I think it's hard to not to be shocked, however, I do think talking about your feelings with a Councillor might help.
I don't think you should view her as a threat, she grew up knowing her mother gave her away and I think both your mother and her have a lot of emotions to go through. It might end well or equally bad.
You don't have to be happy for them both but by working through your emotions you may feel very differently and be able to accept the difficult reality of the situation. Have you seen the movie "Secrets and Lies" by Mike Leigh with an almost identical situation except the women involved are all younger.
This is a lot.
Accept that you need to process it and then do so with a counsellor or in a forum away from your family that allows you to discuss how you are feeling.
Wow. That must have been a huge shock and a lot to process, I can understand the mixed feelings.
Maybe let the dust settle before you agree to meet her, if you’re not ready yet. I can almost guarantee that contacting your mum will not have been an easy decision for her and she may well have put the decision off for years in the fear of being rejected.
My friend is adopted and used to study the face of every stranger who vaguely looked like her, wondering if they were related. She was desperate to meet a person who was related to her biologically (she was actually keener to meet siblings than parents) but equally terrified they wouldn’t want to know. She did reach out after a decade of agonising over it and has a lovely relationship with them now. It’s more like cousins - she doesn’t see her bio mum as her mum. Her ‘real’ parents are and will always be the people who brought her up. Just wanted to find the piece of the jigsaw that has always been missing.
You might discover you like her and have stuff in common. X
from someone who was given up for adoption and only made contact with birth mother at the age of 37.
Just take it easy, you have years of mother-daughter relationship, the 'new' older sister does not have your shared memories.
You may find you like her! However don't let anyone put pressure on you, do things at your own pace.
The 'lost' sister will be feeling more insecure than you.
It's understandable that you feel shocked and unsure. However, I'm sure you can also understand how it might be to be in your sister's position. She deserves an opportunity to get to know her mum, to spend time with her and to bond with her.
Imagine if it was you. How would you feel. What would you want from your mum and her family. She is not taking anything from you.
I think the suggestions that you have counselling are good. You don't seem to acknowledge at all the hideous trauma that your DM must have gone through giving up a child and keeping the secret all those years. I don't mean to sound trite but have you ever watched Long Lost Families and seen the pain and guilt that mothers who had to give up children for adoption are still going through?
Your childhood might have been perfectly normal, you might have been challenging - I certainly was - but I would bet that your DM absolutely treasured you after what she went through. And you can't blame your new found half sister for circumstances totally out of her control. None of this is her fault. Neither is it your DM's fault. It was the way things were back then and it was cruel and brutal.
Maybe the first step should be talking to your Mum about what happened and how it made her feel about having her other children. A much older friend of mine was in the same situation. She always said that her 'legitimate' children were the ones that nobody could steal from her but she always hoped that the boy she had to give away would find her and know it wasn't her choice. He hasn't yet.
My love your sister will be eager to learn lots about the family, and your mum will be just as happy to tell her.
The newness and excitement will calm down and you'll all go back to normal but with contact with a sister if you want to in your own time.
I'm not surprised your Dad didn't know, it could have been hugely embarrassing to her family if it got out. Not always, but often was the case.
Your sister will have questions for your mum and your mum will want to be secure in the knowledge she had a good upbringing.
I know it is an emotional time for you and you must be in huge shock and have questions yourself, but your mum and sister will need all the emotional support their families can muster.
They lost 48 yrs & you're jealous? It's not about you.
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It's not easy at all.
Something similar happened to a friend of mine and it made her reassess her relationship with her mother.
You don't have to be overjoyed and you don't have to play happy families, although it's probably helpful (eventually) to find ways to accept that things were very different in the 1950s and people didn't have the same choices - and the impact of that is very far-reaching.
OP, you’ll get some harsh responses on here from people who expect us all to be totally rational and selfless under any circumstances. In addition to never wanting to celebrate your birthday or expecting anything but the minimum from your family.
In your shoes I think I would feel the same. No doubt your mum and half sister are revelling in the newness of it all and my nose would firmly be put out of joint if that happened, too.
Extended families are a tricky field to navigate and I don’t think there’s any right or wrong answers in how to deal with it all. That said, your half sister is here and clearly not going anywhere and you have to accept that in a way that suits you best. I think counselling would definitely be beneficial, even if it’s to vent that teen petulance I would feel in your situation.
My DM had another child when I was an adult and the childlike part of me wanted to stamp my feet and make her tell me how I was her best daughter etc etc but I clearly never did and my dsis is now my third child so I’ve experienced your emotions in another way, I suppose.
You may have had a challenging relationship with your Mum, lots of DC do, I do with one of mine, my mam with one of hers, it happens.
I highly doubt your DMs secret was the reason.
There has been some very direct responses and I have to agree, this is not about you at all.
I actually feel deep sad emotion for your DM right now, she was one of the many women treated so badly. Please don't make this harder than it is, you say everyone else is happy, let it go.
Just think that for some adopted people rejection can be debilitating mentally, think how you would feel if you were your sister, and it happened again. Your sister not wanting to know you. It takes a lot to come through that I can tell you.
If you don't put your own feelings to one side and welcome her then you lack sympathy and I pity you.
You shouldn't feel pushed into anything too soon and take your time, there's no shame in needing more time than the rest of your family
I think at any age that is bound to come as a shock. You need time to absorb this. It's a reaction. It's your reaction. Your mum and half sister have to get to know each other and it may feel they are going over the top, maybe they are, but it is their reaction.
I think you're all going to need to respect there is going to be a different perspective for each one of you. You may get on with her. I hope you come to terms with this. You don't have to be immediately happy but you need to find a way to accept this. That alone is hard.
In time it could feel good.
OP, you don't have to do anything you don't want too. If you're not interested in meeting her then don't agree to do so, but you won't be able to make those decisions for anyone else in the family.
God I hate this place sometimes.
Who are these arseholes that get off on abusing someone who asks for help?
I found out I had an older sister when I was in my early twenties. My poor mother got pregnant very young, was abandoned by the guy and was sent to a home run by nuns here in Ireland (and we all know how bad they were....). Honestly, you need to have some kindness and sympathy here. They will have both suffered because of this in different ways. I have nothing but sympathy for my lovely mum. I have often imagined what it was like for her having me after being forced to give up her first daughter. All of us, my brothers, dad and I have supported them both as much as we can.
Obviously its easy for me because I have a close relationship with my mother and its always been a very positive relationship - if yours is different then I can see why you may have issues.
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