Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Twisted sister has identity issues

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DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I shocked my sister by using my key and going into her house to get the sexy purple low-necked sweater I loaned her. I couldn't see her car, so I thought she was at work. We both got a big shock. She was standing in the hallway dressed to look exactly like me, right from my long, curly red hair -- a wig -- to my clothes: she was wearing my sweater and rolled-up tight jeans I wear that she never would (she is very conservative).

I saw her, screamed and pointed at her, and she screamed. I ran out of the house, jumped in my truck and took off. She was imitating me, every inch of me! I didn't look to see if anybody was with her. OMG! Now I'm wondering why she would dress up to be alone looking like me, or if she had a guy over. She is single, but dates on the Internet quite a lot. I was recently married to a great guy she liked too much. What the hell is going on? I am afraid to ask. -- Shocked Sister, West End

Dear Shocked: The only way you're going to know is to ask your sister, and it should be in person. Go over, knock on the door and start with an apology to break the ice. "I am sorry for busting into your house, even though you did give me a key. I know I should have phoned first, but please, you have to tell me tell me why you were dressed like me because it is freaking me out."

If she tries to get out of it by saying, "Anybody can wear a wig if they feel like it, big deal," you say: "But you were also dressed in my style with my sweater on. You looked like an identical-twin sister." That will probably bring the tears, which is why you must do this together in person.

She may say she wishes you were twins, that she envies your life or even, "maybe if I looked like you I could find a man like your husband." This is a moment that needs to happen to help your sister come to terms with the pain of not being you, who she envies, or the lack of love she feels in her life.

This conversation can't be done via email or texting which are emotionless cold typed words with no chance to shift things in mid-sentence if they're having a bad effect. This is a person you love who has a problem with her identity, and you can really help if you do this right and forge a much better and closer bond.

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My grandmother was a mystery to me. She looked aboriginal, but everybody said she was Scottish and shushed me when I was young. Then she died and I had never asked her about it.

I went to Scotland last year. There I got a breakthrough. My Scottish relatives got talking freely after a lot of drinks one night. They spoke of my grandmother's father going to Canada and marrying "an Indian woman." She died in childbirth and left a daughter behind -- my grandmother -- who had darker skin and features that looked kind of aboriginal.

I come home from Scotland and still nobody is telling the truth back here in Canada. I tried to bring up what I found out and they say it's a lie, an untrue old legend. If I am part aboriginal, I want to know and celebrate it. That might be a foreign idea to my prejudiced family, but I like the idea. This weekend I am going to tell my family at a big birthday party that I am going to research the rest of the story of my heritage and they can help me or try to hinder me, but I will not stop. What do you think? -- Searching, Winnipeg

Dear Searching: Good on you! You know what you're doing and I wish you the best. Don't underrate the male children and grandchildren of people who know family secrets. Kids learn a lot by listening quietly in a room where adults are talking and/or partying. They don't have the same prejudice or stock in keeping old secrets their parents and grandparents might have. Ask everybody privately in the whole clan. And anybody reading this who knows how best to research aboriginal parentage, please write in to the address below the column.

Please send your questions or comments c/o lovecoach@hotmail.com or mail letters to Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6

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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 17, 2014 D6

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