Advanced psychotherapist and clinical hypnotherapist CLAIRE GASKIN sees clients in Essex and in London’s Harley Street. She is now bringing her expertise to the problems of our readers as our agony aunt. If you have a problem you’d like Claire’s advice with, email For more details on Claire’s work, visit

DEAR CLAIRE I AM very close to my mum and sister.

We’ve always had a pretty good relationship - sort of.

But the last couple of years I’ve put on a bit of weight – not loads- but I’ve gone up two dress sizes.

The problem is both my mum and my sister keep making digs about my size.

It’s not always nasty but it feels like it’s intentional sometimes.

For example for my birthday my mum bought me a size 20 dress – it was hideous.

She said to me ‘it should fit you but if it doesn’t then we can take it back.’ I’m a size 14!

It’s starting to really bug me now and I feel like I’m going to lose it with one or both of them pretty soon if they don’t stop.

A few weeks ago they made a sly comment about me being able to audition for the Roly Polys and I just snapped ‘you think I’m fat, I get it!’

But the penny still hasn’t dropped with them.

The problem is I can’t work out whether they are trying to hurt my feelings deliberately or not – and if they are doing it on purpose then I’d be incredibly upset.


AT best, their behaviour is thoughtless.

Don’t wait until you ‘lose it’ and say things you might regret. Calmly spell it out. Tell them their comments hurt your feelings and it has to stop.

Don’t be drawn into a long conversation, simply state your case and change the subject.

If they genuinely do not realise how upset you are this will be enough.

Sometimes, people put others down to feel better about themselves.

But, continually making fun of someone is unkind and can indicate a more serious problem. I wonder if you have been on the receiving end of similar behaviour before and your sister plays along, grateful she is not the target?

It’s natural for siblings to be different and a loving parent will never set children against each other.

Lacking empathy, competitive jealousy and belittling others are classic traits of a narcissist, a personality type who will always lay the blame at someone else’s feet, such as complaining that you’re too sensitive - or you misunderstand them - when they upset you.

Having a narcissist in the family is tough and if the comments continue you may need to think about being around them less.

It’s time to stand up for yourself and step into your own spotlight