I was born when my birth mother was very young. From the beginning, I was told that my grandparents were my biological parents. It’s just that when my biological mother got married, I stayed with my grandparents and have always called them Mom and Dad.

However, sometimes I feel like my grandmother treats me and my sister (who is biologically my aunt) differently. My grandmother encourages her to further her education, but not me.

These are little things that keep me from being happy, yet I can’t imagine a life with them out of the picture.

Dear Friend,

We are very sorry that you are feeling unhappy, and we think that we can help. However, there is a concept that we need to explain first. It is called confirmation bias, and it happens to all of us.

For example, if we believe that our children are better behaved than others, then on every occasion we will tend to notice when our children are behaving well, and we will likewise tend to notice when other children are behaving badly. We may even criticize other parents for the behavior of their children, while completely ignoring that our children are behaving badly also. Or if we do notice, we will tend to explain, if only to ourselves, that our children were just tired and couldn’t be expected to do better.

As we can see from this example, confirmation bias can cause us to notice only what we expect and believe to be true, and to ignore what we see that is different. On the one hand, we are constantly gathering “evidence” for our own beliefs, while on the other, we are ignoring any evidence that leads to a different conclusion.

When you compare the treatment that you receive to the treatment that your sister, that is, your aunt, receives, you feel like it is not equal. We have five children, and we do not treat them equally. One of our children is physically handicapped, so he got physical therapy, whereas the others didn’t. Another one had learning difficulties, so we didn’t encourage him to further his formal education right after high school. Two played soccer, so they got sports equipment that the others didn’t get. We definitely didn’t treat them all equally, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t fair.

You probably feel rejected by your biological mother, even though you don’t blame her. That feeling of rejection may have led you to believe that your adoptive mother, that is, your grandmother, is also rejecting you by not treating you the same as your aunt. So it is likely that you have a confirmation bias that causes you to look for differences in the way you are treated. And just because you are treated unequally, you perceive it as being unfair.

We suggest that you see a professional counselor to help you sort out these feelings. We also strongly suggest that you pray and ask God to help you overcome your confirmation bias.

We wish you well,