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feel like an outsider



My dad and stepmother have been married for over 15 years. While I have a good relationship with my dad, my stepmother and I have a very strained relationship but we are able to be polite to one another. I've always felt like she didn't want me in my dad's life. I felt like she wanted a dad for her daughter and wanted me out of the picture so they could be a "normal" family. I lived with my mom growing up, so with me they couldn't pretend to be a nuclear family that my stepmom pretends to be cause I had a mom whereas my stepsister didn't have a dad so they could pretend more easily when I wasn't around. My stepmom is always so embarrassed when anyone finds out my dad isn't my stepsister's real father. My stepsister's dad abandoned her as a baby. My stepmother even told a neighbor once that she and my dad had ONE daughter. Then one day I was visiting and the neighbor stopped by. Boy was my stepmother embarrassed and sure had a lot of explaining to do as to why she said they only had ONE daughter. My stepsister and I now are both in our 20's.

I was over at my dad's house this past weekend and my stepmother said "its okay with me if you want to join OUR family for easter". First, the "our" family made me feel like an outsider. Why not just ask me if I wanted to come to Easter? It was nice of her to ask, but I felt like she was just asking so she could say that she asked me and wasn't excluding me. Easter is at my stepmom's parents house and very seldom does my stepmom ask me to join HER family in anything. Its probably been more than 4 years since my stepmother has asked me to join HER family for a holiday. My stepsister is always included in my dad's family but I am rarely included in my stepmom's. I know my stepsister grew up in my dad's home so its different and that I have 2 biological families whereas my stepsister only has 1, but by my stepmother excluding me so much it has made me feel like an outsider. Last time I was invited over to my stepmom's family it had been several years since I had seen them and some of her nieces actually asked me who I was. I was so embarrassed, and felt like I didn't fit in at all. I always felt like I wasn't family cause I could never bring myself to call my stepmom's parents Grandma and Grandpa. I have all 4 of my biological grandparents still living, and I never developed a bond with my stepgrandparents since I was hardly around them. However my stepsister is very comfortable calling my grandparents(dad's parents) Grandma and Grandpa. So at times it feels like my stepsister is just as much of my dad's daughter as I am, and that really hurts. It doesn't help that my dad has ONE picture of me up in his home and countless pictures of my stepsister. I know that shouldn't matter, but it makes me feel not as important as her. My stepmother is the one that arranges the pictures.

My stepmother will always favor her daughter. I know I can't change her. I just hate feeling like an outsider. I guess the important thing is at least I have a good relationship with my dad, and thats what really counts. As I've gotten older he's acted more like a dad. My dad paid for my college, helped me with first condo and fixed it up a lot, he calls me all the time, so I know I'm important at least to him. My dad even gets along GREAT with my mom and even attended my maternal aunt's funeral, which I thought was very nice. So I am lucky in that I am close to both my parents and that they get along together. But in reality, when my dad is gone I doubt I will ever have contact with my stepmother and stepsister with the way they've treated me as an outsider. I guess I always had such unrealistic expectations of my stepfamily. I expected my stepsister to be like a sister to me, but she doesn't even aknowledge my existence except at Christmas. I expected to be treated as an equal to my stepsister, and I expected my stepmother to have included me in her family just like my dad included my stepsister in his family. I guess I was just had too high expectations and was just asking for too much out of this family. I guess when you didn't grow up in a parent's home, you're bound to feel like an outsider.