From the time I was old enough to think, I knew two things. One was that we were very rich and the second was that my parents didn’t get along. Though I was just a child, I understood that they quarrelled all the time and that it was best to keep away from them when they were shouting at each other. I did that and would sit and listen to their screams and shouts. It wasn’t surprising that in these circumstances, I grew up to be an introvert and kept mostly to myself.

Again, it wasn’t surprising that both my parents found solace in other people and when I was 15 years old, they decided to split up. The question of who would take me was a difficult one for both of them – because neither of them wanted me. Finally, my mother had to take me because my father was remarrying right away and the woman he was marrying already had two daughters.

I spent a year with my mother – a year about which I only remember the silence that surrounded the house. After that my mother too remarried and my father – whom I hadn’t seen during that year – had to agree to take me. “But it’s only till she is 18!” my father said sternly. And my mother replied that it was only till then. “After that she’ll be on her own!” she told my father.

Now I am living with my father in a home with his new wife and her two twin daughters who are 11. My father is as distant as he has always been with me, but he is a doting husband with his new wife and a loving dad for his step-children. And the woman he has married, his new wife, is everything a wife and mother is supposed to be – warm, loving, good-humoured and all-accepting.

And miraculously, without making a fuss, she has accepted me as her eldest daughter – and at her prodding, her daughters have accepted me as their elder sister.

For the first time in my life, I now know what a home is. My father too is a new man – laughing, talking and always in a good mood with his new family, though not with me. I am doing better at my studies now, but I am also growing very bitter. What did I do to deserve the kind of life I have had? Do I not deser­­­ve to be loved?

And what will happen to me when I turn 18?

You have really had a very sad life and this appears to totally be the fault of your parents. Many couples are very unhappy in their marriages, but they invariably love their children. Many married couples break up, but they still try to provide well for their children.

In your case however, your parents appear to be totally self-involved, abnormal people who do not have any feelings for the child who is their flesh and blood and whom they brought into this world.

You are lucky that your stepmother is a good woman who gives you love. But this is not enough for you to grow up without any complexes and fears. You need to come to terms with the loveless existence you have had almost all your life and, for this, you need to go to a psychiatrist who will help you come to terms with your past.

As part of the process of doing this, you should also confront your parents and tell them how they hurt you and are responsible for the fact that at this young age, you need psychiatric treatment. Let your step-mother be there when you talk to your father.

Tell your parents that you will not agree to leave your home as soon as you are 18 years old. Say that you have all the rights that your step-sisters and step-mother now have. Tell your father that you will expose him and your mother for the kind of people they are, if they do not give you all that they are giving your step-sisters. Shame them for they deserve to be shamed.

But it is your treatment that will help you face the world with confidence. And all your problems will disappear when you marry a man who loves you.

I  am a 27-year-old working woman. I am the only child of my parents and I am not married even though all my friends who are my age are now married and a few even have children. But my parents do not seem interested in getting me married. In fact they talk as it I will never get married and as if I will always be with them, providing for them and looking after them. They have told me from the time that I was a child, that I am not their daughter but their son. But I do not want to be their son! I want to be their daughter and to get married and have a family of my own!

Why don’t they understand this? Isn’t this how women usually live?

Your parents seem to be afraid of their own old age and that is why they seem to be determined to make you the son that you are not. You should feel sorry for them and not get upset with them – but you should of course also have the life that you want.

What you have to do is to make it clear to your parents that you want to get married and have a home and family of your own. You may find it embarrassing to tell them this, but this is what you must do. But at the same time assure then that you will never leave them in the lurch.

And do not sit and wait for them to arrange your marriage – find a man for yourself! If you do not meet anyone, there are many marriage sites on which couples can meet. But be careful to check out people you meet on such sites carefully. You can take the help of your parents for this. And tell the man you marry about your duty towards your parents.