Dear Aunty S

A DNA test I did last year has brought me nothing but misery. 

My mother had an affair with a man in my town and now I find I have siblings I don’t even like.  

I went to school with them so I know them well, we have never been friends.  

My Father didn’t know Mum had an affair with my birth father and nor did his wife. 

My parents divorced years ago and Dad isn’t upset by this news, he says he will always be my Dad and that is an end to it.  He is an amazing father.  

My birth father never liked me when I was a kid and still doesn’t. 

He always called me trouble and told his kids to stay away from me.

My birth siblings think it’s funny that I am their sister and have told everyone on Facebook.

My mother has been a supportive loving mother and has always wanted the best for me. 

She is so embarrassed and upset.  

The fact that I am the image of her meant she never suspected I wasn’t Dad’s child so she never actually tricked Dad or I… she never knew.

Sadness and humiliation surround me.

Any ideas as to how I get my life on track?

Aunty S responds:

My darling girl, hold your head up high…don’t let this situation define you.

You are still the same amazing young woman you were before the DNA results introduced siblings and relatives into your life.

Your Dad says he will still be your Dad. A good man. Nothing has changed.

Your birth father has never liked you and apparently this hasn’t changed.

The fact you have never liked him is a bonus.

Your Mum is still your Mum. 

You have siblings, who have splashed private information about you on Facebook.  

The fact that you never liked them…. you have an actual reason to dislike them now.

Hug your Mum more than ever…a brief encounter many years ago has now changed her world and her suffering is huge so forgive her.  She never set out to hurt you and as you said she is an amazing supportive Mother, nothing has changed.

Hold your head up high and smile graciously to those who dare confront you about this ‘private family issue’ and respond very graciously with, ‘This is a private family matter and I don’t wish to talk about it’. 

This is how you deal with it my dear girl.

There is no place for embarrassment as there is nothing to be embarrassed about. 

Dear Aunty S

My life is so boring as I do the same thing every day and excitement is what I want, my sister lives in Sydney and she says come over and get a job working for her as she is recruiting but now I am scared it may not work out.

My friends are not loyal, they often go out without asking me to come, so I won’t be leaving good friends behind. 


Aunty S responds

You are restless my dear and sometimes a change is all that is required to recharge the batteries so why not take her up on her offer!  It appears you have a fully supportive sister so living with her will give you both job and home security. 

If you don’t like Sydney, you may very well come back with a more positive focus.

You are very young my dear so take the plunge.

Dear Aunty S

My ten year old daughter had always been a great kid but recently she has changed into a little monster.

She now refuses to eat meals with us as she says the food is not good enough.  She will only eat in her room with food she chooses out of the fridge.
This nonsense started when she befriended a girl at school who has wealthy  parents and started spending weekends with her.

How do I make her eat with us?

Aunty S responds

You are her parent my dear.

By allowing her to dictate to you what she eats and where she eats, sets a very dangerous precedent as her teenage years are just around the corner.

Keep calm and tell her she either eats at the table or goes without. 

If she chooses not to eat, she will still sit at the table.

There will be no more foraging from the fridge at mealtimes or between meals.

I would lay off having extra food in the fridge for a while whilst you are sorting her out.

Is your daughter a leader or follower?  

And I would cancel all sleepovers for the time being. 

Do you know anything about her friend and her parents?  

Are they responsible?

If she tantrums more than usual for an immature ten year old, ask her school teacher about her behaviour in class. 

What is her ‘after school’ interests? 

Is she still focused on them?

Do not allow her to dictate to you…the fact that you have allowed her to eat in her room was a huge mistake which I know you are now fully aware of.

You will win my dear…….I am on your side……

Remember, I am only a click away.

Dear Aunty S

I am over my in-laws.   

We only see them once a year, they are drunks, their lives revolve around pubs and parties. 

As my sister in law’s come home from overseas for Christmas and Boxing Day only, they can’t fit in further travel to their siblings’ homes, so it has always been the parents’ house where they all meet up with each other on Boxing Day.

But every Boxing Day is the same, his parents get drunk and abuse all of us.

My kids are now of the age where they are being affected by their behaviour and spend all day frightened and upset.

My husband says it is only one day a year so the kids will be okay.

I know he misses his siblings but surely he should put us first.  

What do you think?

Aunty S responds

Of course, your children shouldn’t be exposed to drunken abusive behaviour. 

If your husband still wants to go this year, suggest he goes on his own. This would be an excellent compromise. 

Pack up a hamper with yummy food, party hats and balloons and have a wonderful Boxing Day at the beach.  

Calmly tell your kids how their Dad really loves his siblings and only has one day a year to see them all and how very lucky they are to have their Dad all of the time!

Your husband, like his siblings, has not followed in his parents’ footsteps.

You have a good marriage and lovely children, something many strive for but never attain. 

Dear Aunty S,

A year ago, I found my birth father through a DNA test.  He denied he was my father even after his children born to his marriage assured him I couldn’t have faked the test.  My mother was rejected by him when she found herself to be pregnant. She had told me he was an arrogant man but I thought I would find out for myself.

His kids, my siblings, want a relationship with me but I am concerned this may hinder any possible relationship I could have with him.  They are nice people.

Any advice?

Aunty S responds:

Focus on the positive…….you have found siblings who want a chance to get to know you.  How wonderful!

Your father rejected your mother and has now done the same to you……probably only a very slim chance he will change his mind.

Yes you would like a Dad……try very hard to not let this affect your relationship with your siblings….and don’t feel bitter when they say positive things about their Dad……

Keep in touch.

Dear Aunty S

I have found my Birth Mother after searching for her over a two-year period. 

Now that I’ve found her, I really don’t like her.

When I found her, I flew over to her and then proceeded to spend a couple of horrendous days with her.  She was more interested in where I was taking her for meals and never once asked me how I was and what was my life like?

It was all about her and how broke she was.  She has many children and it was obvious there are a few different fathers and only two actually live with her.   She hasn’t a man at present and kept telling me if she had better clothes, she could get a different class of man.  I did buy her some clothes as I felt obligated.

How I wish I never went looking for her.

She now wants me to pay her airfare so she can come to visit and meet my family. 

As I hadn’t contacted her since arriving home, I had hoped she would have caught on that I didn’t want contact. 

I am so disappointed I was talked into finding her by a friend who seems to be now delighting in the fact that it has all gone so wrong!   

My Mum and Dad are the most amazing parents as are my siblings.

They all feel my pain and will support whatever I do. 

How do I disentangle her from my life?

Aunty S responds

Do not buy the ticket!! It is that simple.

Tell her, via email, how you are glad you have met her but feel there is no way a relationship could develop as you are total opposites.

Wish her well.

Short and sweet.

Or you could fob her off for now by saying you need time to digest your meeting with her but will be in contact sometime in the future.

You are only young my dear and I am sure your parents would step in and tell her to back off if you simply cannot. 

On a brighter note, if your birth mother hadn’t adopted you out, your life would have been hell on earth! 

Furthermore, how about re-evaluating the friendship you have with this silly girlfriend of yours!  Cutting her loose could be a very healthy option.

I am only a click away my dear.

Dear Aunty S

My husband died a few months ago and one of his friends visits me often.

I never thought anything of it until now; the other night he told me how he was so lonely in a real creepy way as he leaned into me.  I backed away and said I must show him the door as I needed a good night’s sleep and he went. 

What should I do as he has a lovely wife and family and I don’t want them to think I am enticing him for more than a friendship.

My husband often told me he wouldn’t trust him as far as he could kick him.

Aunty S responds: 

My dear girl, he is not after your sparkling company as you have already ascertained.

When he turns up again, the first topic of discussion must go like this…

“I was thinking about how lonely you are, and I think you must open up to your wife about your depression…if you like I could talk to her for you…”

This will do the trick my dear…..Get back in touch should this not work.

Us widows must stick together.

Ask Aunty S

Dear Aunty S

My parents sold me their house many years ago when their son, my brother came back into their lives after a thirty-year break, looking for money.

My Dad has since died and my Mum is getting on now but still healthy and active and living in her own home, the house I actually own.  I pay all upkeep, so as to make her comfortable and happy. 

My brother has started talking about what the house is worth and looking forward to her ‘popping her clogs’ and is sick of waiting.  He is a not a very nice man.

How do I tell him that I own the house and have done for many years?

My Mum wants me to tell him now as she knows he will scarper again which she says will be a relief.  I had no idea she was fed up with his lies, I assumed she was enjoying his infrequent visits.

Mum has no savings so he will not be getting a cent so will not be happy.

Aunty S responds

First off is he capable of violence?

If he is, you should tell him in the company of your husband and children.

You could soften the blow by saying how you had assumed your father had told him fifteen years ago and say how it was only recently when you became aware that he didn’t know. Explain how your parents got into financial difficulty and selling the house to you meant they could live rent free with no rates etc.

This may soften the blow, not that it matters though.

Ask Aunty S

Dear Aunty S

My brother and his girlfriend are bullying my Mum. He always has a plan to make easy money but as he isn’t too fond of work, his plans tend to go nowhere.

His latest scheme is to convince Mum that she has Dementia and he and his girlfriend should move in with her and also become her Power of Attorney.

I knew nothing of this until when Mum told me yesterday after he arrived

with the Power of Attorney documents. 

Mum told him he wasn’t moving in and then pretended she had a meeting to go to. 

She is now really angry and wants me to tell him to back off as he isn’t getting any more money and cannot move into her home. She knows that this will probably cause a rift, but she is past caring.

My brother doesn’t know I already have the Power of Attorney and she wants me to tell him that as well.

What should I do as I know it is not going to end well and have always hated conflict.   Should Mum be with me as she wants to be or my husband or will that look like we are ganging up on him?

Aunty S responds:

Please have your Mum and husband with you when you have this meeting with your brother. 

Sadly, there are and always will be unscrupulous family members who try to divvy up the spoils before their parents or remaining parent dies. 

Your Mum is very fortunate to have such a kind caring daughter as many have to cope alone with dreadful devious family members. 

Just politely tell your brother how your Mum is not happy with him wanting to move into her home so it won’t be happening and how your Dad arranged for you to have your Mum’s ‘Enduring Power of Attorney’ long before he died. 

This takes the heat off both you and your Mum should he turn nasty. 

And I would add that your Mum is finding it hard living on a single pension but there is no worry as you can afford to help her financially should the need ever arise. He will probably breathe a sigh of relief over this. 

But most of all tell him very firmly that your mother suffers from arthritis, not dementia, and should any early signs of dementia arise way in the future you would be the first to notice them as you have catch up with your Mum every day.

Ask Aunty S

Dear Aunty S

My mother-in-law caught her son, my husband, in bed with my best friend, when I asked her to pick up my toddler from Day-Care when I couldn’t reach my husband and I couldn’t get away from work as I was in a meeting.

To cut a very long story short, my mother-in-law is devastated as he was her favourite and could do no wrong.  

Yes, I am devastated as well but not as much as her as I had always suspected he was cheating, just not with my now ex-best friend.

He walked out the minute he was caught and moved in with his girlfriend.

My husband is now furious at me as he has always used his Mother as a Bank and she has cut off all funds to him so blames me.   He is now game playing and refusing to see our kids as he says he is too busy with his girlfriend’s children who actually call me Aunty. It’s been five months without any contact to the kids and he only lives a five minute drive away so it appears he is determined to erase them.

My kids are not too worried, he has always been a distant father choosing his interests above them. My toddler is the most upset, but my oldest son is distracting him on a continual basis. I am so proud of my kids.

Okay, how do I help my mother-in-law cope with her devastation?

Aunty S responds

She is grieving for a son who she thought she knew. 

Only time will heal the dreadful pain she is feeling so just be there for her and continue involving her in your lives. 

And remember she caught him in bed with his girlfriend, not a pretty sight!

That is going to take a while to get that out of her head!

The fact that she has decided not to fork out more money on her silly son is her business and nothing to do with you so when the spineless ‘useless father of the year’ makes contact again and brings it up, click the off button.

Keep on being a wonderful caring mother and daughter-in-law.