Adri asks: If I ask my dad and grandma about how they treat my stepsister better than my sister and me, they will get mad and say, “Ooh shut up you are over-exaggerating,” and everything is going to explode. My grandma has been mad at me for some time, and my dad has always been treating us like we don’t matter — whenever it is night and he is saying good night he gives her a kiss and forgets about us — and I am fed up, but I am tired of it so I stop caring, and just Grrrr!
Hi Adri –
I do have a very high opinion of humans, and so I like to think that you’re somewhat mistaken, that your grandma, and especially your dad, would actually understand what you’re going through – as long as they were given the information in a way they could take. Maybe they’re in too negative a place right now to hear it though.
So if so, what can you do? Well, awful as it sounds, maybe your job is to just care a little less. To realize that they’re the way they are, and do your best to accept them that way (though you certainly have the right to be very annoyed – I’d be Grrrr’ing too!), and do your best in the rest of your life.
You see, the fact is, you’re at a very special time. You’ll never have these years again. And you could spend them watching your stepsister and how she’s treated, and feeling just awful (which, again, you have the right to do!). Or you could decide to ignore that, and instead concentrate on your friends and your schoolwork and your interests and your health and your favorite songs and books and movies and shows… and live a pretty fun life. And sometime later, when your stepsister’s being a royal pain (because of how much they’ve spoiled her), and your dad and grandma start to appreciate you and your independence, maybe you can then tell them how they made it happen. Or maybe it’ll be that you leave home after finishing high school, and they start wondering why you’re not as much in their lives as they’d like, and you get to tell them then.
Have you ever heard a song called “Cats in the Cradle?” It’s been done by lots of people, but the original version was by a guy named Harry Chapin, back in the 1970s. It tells a beautiful and sad story of a parent who isn’t there enough for his kid, and how that works out for him. Well, your situation might end up similarly.
OR… you might find that, given time, you and your sister actually become the favorites, and it’s the stepsister who starts getting ignored and mistreated.
Any of these things can happen. You have no control over what those two adults do.
What you DO have control over, though, is how you live your own life. So, just like me, when Handsome leaves the house for the whole day and I have to amuse myself by walking around, sniffing the yard, barking at passing cars, pedestrians, and dogs, and chasing squirrels – you can make your life bearable. You can actually make it great.
Is it sad that those two adults aren’t also making your life great? Absolutely. It’s tragic. But there’s an old saying, “Living well is the best revenge.” So follow it. Do great. Be better than they are.
And before you know it, you’ll have so many other people in your life who think you’re fantastic, the wrongness of your dad and grandma’s opinions of you won’t matter quite as much.
All my best,