Dear Counsellor: I'm a furious outside child
Q: I am an outside child and I was not treated properly and I am angry. My father has four children with his wife and one with my mother. The other four children went to prep school, high school and then university. However, I never went to university and I had to stop school at third form because my mother had to stop working because she was ill. I was doing very well at school. Furthermore, I was the only one to take care of her. My mother was a domestic helper for my father. My mother said it was consensual sex after his many pleadings, and when she became pregnant, she was fired from the job by his wife. My father gave very little financial support towards me and was not a father figure to me. I was told by a teacher who had to deal with all five children that I was the brightest of all. I realise that I could have achieved much more, but I was not given the opportunity. So, at age 25, I am in a hand-to-mouth job because, though I am competent and intelligent, I am not qualified. I do not deal with my father and the other children treat me like an outsider. I live with so many regrets and wonder what my life would have been like if I got the chance that my siblings got. They are prosperous and happy while I am furious. I want to shake this feeling, but do not know how. Do you have any suggestions?
A: It seems that your mother got a raw deal and it could have been a case of sexual harassment even though there was consensual sex. Perhaps you could consult a legal aid clinic and ascertain whether anything can be done at this stage. I wonder if she was even properly compensated before being fired.
Since you are intelligent, you need to go back to school - perhaps evening classes - and complete your high-school examinations. You should not give up on your dream to go to university. Because of your circumstances, it might take you longer to achieve your academic goals but it is possible.
You should have a talk with your father and tell him you did not appreciate how he treated you and your mother, and then move on. If he offers to help you with your education, you should take it.
You should not assume that because your siblings have university degrees that they are happy. Happiness is not determined by education only, but by many other factors including spiritual, intellectual, emotional and physical well-being. You should not envy your siblings, but be happy that they were afforded the opportunity to do further studies. You have no issue with them, but only with your father and his wife.
You should be proud of yourself for having the opportunity to care for your mother when she was sick. That was precious and priceless.