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Dr. Steve
Dr. Steve, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 370
Experience:  19 years conducting therapy; book author; newspaper columnist; former co-host of radio show
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I wonder if you can offer an opinion. My youngest half

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Hi there,
I wonder if you can offer an opinion. My youngest half sister who is almost 14 and lives with her mum (my step mum) in our home town is having a hard time. Since our Dad died 4 years ago (just after I moved to New Zealand with my husband and family, Im 40). When Dad died my sisters and step mum ceased contact with us, apart from last year I visited and they wanted me to meet stepmoms new boyfiend, it was hard to do as Id not been home since funeral. Since this meeting (awkward but uneventful) my young half sister has stated taking drugs, and overdosed, Step Mum and both sisters both adamantly blame me. They want to have family therapy in the UK. What do I do?
Hi superhero:

Well, I honestly don't know what you can do at this point. Obviously, unless there was some egregious piece of information you left out of your question, this is light years away from being your fault. Your stepmum must need somebody else to blame because it is too difficult for her to point the finger at "her" family. Especially now that you are a half a world away, you are the easy scapegoat.

I hope they do have family therapy. A good therapist will be able to unveil the process of drug abuse, identify the family systemic issues inherent in such a development, and help her/them accept the reality at her/their own pace. You should be exonerated by the end of this scenario, unless stepmum has far deeper issues.

Again, I preface this by assuming you were not involved in any nefarious way (abuse, modeling drug behavior, etc.). Otherwise, give them their therapy and allow them some time to recover from whatever "secrets" they are trying to protect by blaming you.

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