My father chooses his step-children over me

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New Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 8/27/2008 6:43 PM (GMT -6)   
For the last 20 years, my dad has always sided with my step-mother and her children over my siblings and I.  This week I finally lost it and told him to stay out of my life.  I regret doing that but I don't want to be second best anymore.  Why doesn't he side with us for once.  It makes me so sad.  What's worse is that my sister doesn't even care anymore.  She's given up on him.

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 363
   Posted 8/28/2008 4:07 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Sstupi,
Thats sad that your Dad doesn't put you first, I'm not sure what the situation is that there has to be sides, but it must be a hard position for him to be in though.
I don't think there is really anything you can do other than just accept the way things are as we can't change people, and If you want him in your life I think thats the way it will have to be as hard as it is!
"The Optimist sees the rose and not its thorns; the pessimist stares at the thorns, oblivious of the rose."
"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, its about learning to dance in the rain"

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Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 2408
   Posted 8/28/2008 7:06 AM (GMT -6)   
It must be tough for both of you. Since I'm not a parent its difficult for me to imagine how your dad feels but I can sympathise with how you feel. Have you tried sitting down and talking with him on his own? It might be that he doesnt realise he is doing it. He needs to be aware and leaving things as they are might cause problems with regret later on.

Everyone has a guardian angel. They help pick you up when you fall, comfort you through your times of need and help you appreciate the times when things are going well.
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New Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 8/29/2008 3:16 AM (GMT -6)   
I made a similar 'decision' as you about fifteen years ago -- my own father constantly chose his other child (now children) over my mother and I. For five years, I became isolated and turned to drugs and anti-social behaviour... then I just repressed the feelings. In the last three months, I've come to see how that situation came to dominate life and especially relationships with family, partners and friends.

Slowly working through the perspective developed to cope with the 'loss' of a parent, it's come to awareness that 1) left unresolved, these kinds of issues continually manifest is different ways and 2) it's possible to resolve personal feelings internally, without other people changing.

To the best of my understanding, left unresolved, the natural tendency of our behaviours is to replicate the environments in which we were raised. For me, that's resulted in a life up until now lined with shame, guilt and anger. Anger that my father did not adopt the role he 'should' have. However, I've come to see that the most upsetting and saddest thoughts and feelings that come up are not related to the real individual but rather a conception in mind of 'what should be' versus 'what is'.

We all have mental models of who are parents should be -- models we've learnt from parents, family, television, friends, society, etc. When reality doesn't match those models, we start to believe "there is something wrong here". Often, when that belief arrives, we tend to self identify. "There is something wrong with me because parents should love their children" or "There is something wrong with him because he should not be choosing sides".

The reality is that life is messy and your father is making the best decisions that he can for himself. It behooves you to do the same and that starts with accepting the situation exactly as it is. Really accepting it -- and that may require a kind of empathy which means putting your own feelings aside for a short while. If you can speak with him about his view of the situation and the stressors present in his own life, perhaps there will be learnings. As you listen, if you can drop the 'shoulds' and realize 'this man is my father and he is doing the best he is capable of'. If there are any following thoughts -- 'he could do better' or 'what a ******' or anything similar, that is your own mental model applying a template to the situation. Try to stay grounded in what exists before you and set your own emotions aside during the conversation and listen empathetically.

I also suggest counseling specifically around this issue. In my own situation, the 'shoulds' have wrecked multiple partner and friend relationships due to the worldview developed from the beliefs formed in from my relationship with my father. It can be a long process but there is also a wonderful side. As the 'shoulds' fall away, my memories change and instead of seeing a man who never quite gave enough, I am coming to relish the great times and appreciate them for exactly what they were. In my case, this is all happening without contacting my father at all. Because it's not about him. And the inverse of that is all the decisions that he made weren't about me.

I truly hope you find peace in this matter and free yourself from the sadness. We cannot change the past or the decisions of other people however we can prevent ourselves from repeating patterns and choose new directions.

getting by
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Date Joined Sep 2007
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   Posted 8/29/2008 8:58 AM (GMT -6)   

That was so well put. I couldn't have said it better myself. And the 'shoulds' is a good example. I have had to take that word out of my vocabulary. It can be hard at times. We feel we should do this or we should have done that. Well we can't live with the 'shoulds'. It makes life so hard when we compare ourselves to what we should be instead of accepting ourselves for who we actually are.

Keep up the good work.

hugs, ...Karen
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New Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 8/29/2008 9:19 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you Feeling Good,

You have given me a lot to think about. It definately isn't going to be easy to let this go but I have no choice because I don't want to be sad all the time. I think I'm going to let your advice swirl in my head for a bit and take it all in. I never thought that I was comparing my dad to " a model" but I must be. It's going to be hard for me to empathize with him because I still feel like he's been making decisions based on protecting "them" because he thought we could handle ourselved. An episode lately was one to many for me and I snapped. I think I have a lot of work ahead of me.

Thank you everyone for your thougths. They really are helping. I can't talk to my husband about this because he has an urge to fix things and he can't fix this.

getting by
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 42499
   Posted 8/29/2008 9:29 AM (GMT -6)   

I hope that you can realize that your father really does love you. And I think that FeelinGood had some very good advice. Think about it when your mind settles.

Keep us posted on how things are going.

Luv and hugs, ...Karen
  Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 8/29/2008 5:11 PM (GMT -6)   


Hello, this is Kitt and I am so sorry for your pain.  You have received some great advice here.  Please remember that you are a kind and caring person and it is normal to feel hurt when you sense your parent cares for stepchildren more then he does his own.

I am sorry it all came to a blow up but perhaps your Father now knows how you feel he will understand and make amends with you.

We support you here so keep posting.



Kitt, Moderator: Anxiety/Panic & Depression
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