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Five (5) Signs That Show Friendship is False

  • 1. Lack of Genuine Interest:
  • True friends take a sincere interest in each others’ lives. If you notice that your friend seems disinterested or indifferent to your joys, struggles, or important events, it could be a sign of a superficial connection.
  • 2. Inconsistency in Communication:
  • A key sign of false friendship is inconsistency. If your friend is only around when he needs something or disappears when you are going through a tough time, it may indicate a fair-weather friendship.
  • 3. Absence in Times of Need:
  • True friends are there to offer support during challenging times. Finding out that your friend is consistently absent or unwilling to help when you need him most might suggest a lack of genuine care.
  • 4. Betrayal of Trust:
  • Trust us the foundation of any friendship. If you discover that your friend has betrayed your trust, whether through gossiping, spreading rumours, or breaking confidences, it clearly indicates that the friendship is not as mutual as you would want it to be.
  • 5. One-sided Effort:
  • A healthy friendship involves efforts from both sides. If you are consistently the one reaching out, making plans, or investing time and energy, and your friend isn’t reciprocating, it might be a sign that the friendship is not as mutual as you would want it to be.

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Health & Lifestyle




Extreme Humiliation

When looking back at our younger years, there is usually a certain memory that makes you cringe with embarrassment. Sometimes those awful memories tend to affect others more and can cause trauma. You try to shake off those bad vibes whenever they come.

By Linda Edwards

The young man at the center of our story here just experienced the worst possible experience he could have in his youth. 

He had become the subject of ridicule by a girl. To make things worse, it occurred in front of many people. He was so frozen in humiliation that he started to feel nauseated. Blood rushed to his cheeks. He knew he looked red like a tomato at that very second. His next response was to quickly run away and escape, thinking nothing could be worse than that in his life. However, he would soon find that he was dead wrong about that…

Too Much Fast Food

This young man, Anthony Bayer, had trouble eating healthily for quite a while now. He loved fast food and ate it every single day. Fries, burgers, pizzas, and hot dogs. The supposed weekend treats had become an everyday menu for this young man.


His family tried to intervene, but Anthony was so sneaky he always got a hold of this unhealthy food every single day. He gained more and more weight, but he never seemed to be bothered by it. He was blinded by these so-called fast foods and never gave proper nutrition a single thought. 

The Mocking and Taunting Started

With his unhealthy weight and obvious lack of effort to control his eating tendencies, he soon became the subject of teasing and taunting in the school. What was sadder was that even his teachers joined in and made subtle comments about his issues without actually helping solve the problem.


Although still affected by the humiliation around him, Anthony learned to build a wall around him and continued with his awful eating habits. His unhealthy coping was slowly dragging him further down. He was not aware of what was about to come.

He Struggled Alone in School

It is now obvious that the cycle of poor food choices and an unhealthy emotional state is locking the young man in a world of harm. Unless some miracle happens (or real help occurs), he will only continue bringing himself down further. Meatballs for breakfast, two pizzas for lunch, and a fried chicken for dinner do sound tasty but not ideal for everyday consumption.


This cycle of mindless eating turned into a method of coping with the ridicule he gets at school. The more he felt alone and rejected, the more he held tight to his poor eating habits. 

Prom Is Coming

As with every high school, prom can be the highlight of the year. Will it be the same for Anthony? When he heard about the news, he was quick to dismiss the idea of attending and thought that was not his thing. He could still feel the exciting vibe in the corridors as everyone was frantic about looking for a partner for the prom.


Again, he told himself he was never going to go. Something unexpected happened a short while later. The high school Ms. Popular, Molly, suddenly approached him during math class. Puzzled, he wondered what she could possibly want from him. 

Beauty That Dazzles

Molly was the typical popular girl in high school. He felt blood rushing to his cheeks when she started to talk to him. Butterflies filled his stomach. When she opened her mouth, everything felt like slow motion for Anthony.

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She just asked him if he would go to prom with her! At a loss for words, he could only utter, “Yeah sure.” Anthony for the first time was filled with excitement and happiness in school. Young Anthony was thrilled to think about what could possibly happen next. 

Prom Night

Days went by so quickly that it was already prom night. Anthony went all out, trying to look and feel his best. He rented a very fancy suit and even went another level by renting a limousine to impress beautiful Molly. He still could not believe that he was asked out by the prettiest girl in school.


All prepped up, he kissed his parents goodbye for the night and hopped into the fancy vehicle to pick up Molly. He had no idea what was in store for him.

Ready to Pick Up His Prom Date

The dashing Anthony ticked off all the boxes to complete the perfect prom date checklist. Confident but still with a racing heartbeat, he walked towards Molly’s porch and rang the doorbell. He could still feel his shaking hands as he released the doorbell button.


The only thing he could do was take a very deep breath while waiting for Molly to open the door. What the supposed high school sweetheart did next would leave young Anthony traumatized for the rest of his life. 

He Became a Laughingstock

Young Anthony had no premonition at all on what was about to happen. Molly soon appeared and as expected, she looked stunning in her prom gown. However, her reaction upon seeing Anthony was rather bizarre. She started to laugh at him. A split second later, a group of people behind Molly joined in and laughed all together.


Confused, Anthony wondered if he had cookie crumbs on him or even a shaving cream on his face. It soon dawned on him that the reason for the laughter with reasons that were worse than what he initially thought. 


Molly uttered the meanest words towards Anthony while pointing a finger straight to his face. “You’re just a big joke,” Molly cruelly said. Upon hearing that line, he suddenly felt pale in disbelief. His whole being was crushed in the blink of an eye. Tears went gushing into his cheeks.


He instantly ran towards the limousine and hurried to get home. He felt shattered and so wronged. In his young life, never did he receive such a cruel act. All the hurtful comments at school became so little compared to what Molly did that night. 

Trying to Feel Safe at Home

Anthony rushed home and the very first thing he went for was the fridge. The young man suffered so much inner turmoil and confusion. He immediately went for the only thing that had been giving him comfort—food. He tried to eat everything that he could more in the hopes of calming his nerves down than actually filling his stomach.


Nobody was able to stop him as his parents went out that night too. While swallowing all the food, he could not help but think about the next day’s bigger mockery in school. He was sure that news of the prank would spread, and he would be the talk of the town.

The Embarrassment Keeps Building Up

He knew he still needed to go back to school and face his bullying schoolmates. The next Monday morning, he could see everyone was laughing at him in school and the news of the awful prank just kept spreading on the campus. His public rejection appeared to be a source of humor for his cruel schoolmates.


Despite being swallowed up in embarrassment and still using his unhealthy coping mechanisms, Anthony was blessed to have the awareness that high school was just about to finish and that his life would go on. All these cruel people would soon get what was coming to them…

Still Using Unhealthy Eating Habits 

Trying to ease down the emotional effects of his recent nightmare, he continued with his bad eating. He was now finding it more and more difficult to slow down and actually feel full. Large pizzas, chocolate cake, meatball subs, KFC burger meals, a bottle of coke, and a packet of Magnum ice-creams continued to be his daily munchies.

File:Junk Food.JPG - Wikimedia Commons

All in all, he consumed around 10,000 calories per day which is an extreme caloric intake. Anthony still did not see the downside of his ways. 

Heavier and Heavier

It was not long before his weight doubled and tripled. His relentless poor eating habits were now taking a toll on his body. He even reached almost 300 pounds on the scale. He grew more obese and attracted more hurtful remarks around him. More than the bullying, his deteriorating health was tapping him on the back for some real attention.


All the scornful looks and rumors are now slowly fading in the background as he becomes more and more aware of what is actually happening in his body. 

Health Issues on the Rise

Teenagers are not typically bombarded with health issues. Overall health is usually good for a young person. Anthony, although young, is in an atypical situation. Being overweight, he is at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, gallstones, high cholesterol, stroke, coronary artery disease, and sleep apnea.


These are major health issues that are not normally present in one’s teenage years. He might potentially develop liver issues and bone issues. Anthony took a while to wake up and realize his situation. 

Out of Control

Anthony confessed he fell into a deep depression after that incident in high school. He was extremely affected that it went on for a couple of years after graduating. His self-esteem was at its lowest and he thought he could never be with someone else. The cycle of seeking comfort in food continued on together with his depression.


He let his food addiction run the show for many years. He claimed he never knew how to eat properly and that he could not even bother to care about it. 

Lost Self Conviction

At some point years later, he thought of trying the gym, However, he was too weight conscious that he could not bear walking inside the gym and be looked at and possibly be ridiculed again. Deep inside, he knew he should go.


Similar to a hungry person, they have every right to be inside a restaurant to eat. A little help from the doctor was about to give him the nudge he needed to change his life for the better.

Hello Doctor

A supposed regular visit to the doctor turned out to be the best thing that had happened to him in the last couple of years. It became the wake-up call that he badly needed. His doctor performed some tests, and the results were causing a loud bell in his ears that made him wake up to his reality.


He was on the verge of developing diabetes. The result scared him, and he panicked.  He knew he needed to make some changes right away or he would be on the losing end very soon. 

Changes Must Be Made Right Away

The trip to the doctor pushed him to do better for his own welfare. He felt that he could die if he did not make any necessary changes in his lifestyle soon. His very first step inside the gym soon happened, and also, he made some much-needed alterations in his eating habits.


Eating healthy became his priority. Young Anthony did struggle at first. After all, greatness does not always happen in one’s comfort zone. He knew he was on the right track and giving up was not in his vision at all. 

Lifestyle Makeover

Anthony eventually learned to cut down on unhealthy foodstuffs and stick only with nutritious ones. Gone are the pizza days for Anthony. He was becoming more aware of food variety and moderation. Whole grains, fruits, carbohydrates, proteins, and vegetables filled his daily routine.


With dietary changes, he was able to boost his metabolism. His cravings were greatly cut down due to his high-protein meals. He also learned to cut down on sugar to minimize his predisposition towards diabetes. Fast foods are now gone with the wind for the new and improved Anthony!

Positive Transformations 

When he was extremely overweight, Anthony recalled how poor his self-esteem was. He was full of hate for himself and even thought nobody could ever love him. Finding the right help came at just the right time, and his desire for a life partner and family of his own helped him create a healthier future.


He could already feel the difference physically and emotionally. He liked the changes that were happening and stopping now was not an option.

New Life

Going to the gym and eating healthy became his new coping mechanism for stress. His motivation to become a better version of himself only became stronger every day. The scales are slowly showing his progress. His path towards fitness was long and exhausting, but his motivation was greater than anything else.


His confidence kept rising. He soon realized he had become so much happier. In the midst of all these positive changes, little did he know that someone from his ugly past was about to show up. 

In Better Shape Inside and Out

Five long years have now passed since that unfortunate prom night happened. Anthony was nowhere near the 17-year-old Anthony physically, mentally, and emotionally. He is in his best shape so far. He even started a YouTube channel with the sole purpose of inspiring people to be better.


He knew he had a lot to share and he could relate to the dilemmas of young people with health issues. Being more physically fit, it was not long before he started to get attention from girls. Dating applications got him over 1000 matches. Things were now so much better for him. However, he still had no idea what or who he had to face again. 

An Unexpected Message

After a routine session in the local gym one afternoon, Anthony was ready to go home and call it a day. As he parked his car in the driveway, his phone suddenly made a little beeping noise. Who could it be? As he reached out for his mobile phone, he saw the message notification.


He opened it and when he saw who the sender was, he felt nothing but disgust. His initial hyped vibe after a gym workout was suddenly replaced with repulsion. 

From Molly

He was trembling when he saw her name on the screen. Molly. That cruel girl from five years ago is now texting Anthony. Aside from disgust, he was also filled with questions. He could not figure out how she got his number, nor what she was up to now.

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The hurtful past is coming back in flashbacks in his mind. Why is she reaching out to him now? With what she had done before, Anthony could not believe how she got the nerve to even text him. 


The message gave Anthony a great sense of disbelief and disgust. Although she expressed her apology for the act she had done years ago, the remaining part of the message was just out of this world and totally unbelievable. With the pain she has caused young Anthony, will one simple apology through text and a date invitation be enough to erase everything?


Anthony could not believe what he just read. Was she up to her same cruel shenanigans from all those years ago? Could it be that she was really into him now?

Turning the Tables

The unexpected message from Molly allowed Anthony to relive all those awful memories on prom night. She was an extreme bully and caused him pain that lasted for years. He knew he would not give her any portion of time at all. Anthony, later on, thought of something to turn the tables, or at least make everything fair and square at least.


What he did afterward was something Molly never expected him to do. This time she was the one who was clueless and about to get a taste of her own medicine.

To Forgive Is One Thing, to Forget Is Another Thing

If you thought Anthony was going to prank Molly after how she humiliated him, you got it wrong. Anthony actually thought of completely ignoring her text. She would be left hanging in the process and eventually will feel rejected by the man she mocked before. But would that be enough?


Anthony was keen to move forward and let go of all the bad things in his life. He does not need to do low acts to get even. With his head up high, he knew he already got the last laugh. 


In a later interview, Anthony recalling how she humiliated him, revealed that realizations in life take time, and for him it took years. It also took a dip in his health before he woke to the reality that his health was already in danger. Being told that he was pre-diabetic made him so scared and afraid for his life. The need to change for the better should come from within. Being wide aware of the situation and what you should do helps pull out a person from the depths of possible harm.


Anthony claimed he eventually stopped going for fast food and relied on his own home cooking skills. The gym has been his second home since 2014. Perhaps his struggles in life did play a big role in helping him change for the better, but no one should have to experience such cruel behavior. Anthony took the opportunity to be a better version of himself, despite the ridicule he endured all those years ago.


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Jewelers sent out an alarm earlier this month that people are not buying engagement rings. Sales at Signet, the U.S. jewelry giant that owns Zales, Kay, Jared, and Diamonds Direct, were down almost 10% compared to this time last year.

By Belinda Luscombe

De Beers, the biggest diamond seller in the world, says sales of rough diamonds, the starting point for 85% of U.S. engagement rings, continue to be “soft,” and Pandora also noted “heightened consumer hesitancy” in the U.S. for its products.

Some jewelry executives put this dip down to a lower level of engagement with engagement, because people did not do as much dating during the pandemic. Others put it down the inevitable readjustment after bumper years in 2021 and 2022.

I put it down to people coming to their senses. Diamond engagement rings are corny.

“Marriage no longer requires a man telling a woman that he has the wherewithal to look after her, and offering her proof by giving her a completely useless thing that cost him two months’ salary.”

The tradition of accompanying the decision to marry with a big shiny crystal, given by a guy, to a girl, with all its overtones of ownership and status and the transfer of family wealth, is, to be generous, antiquated, and also, let’s be honest, icky. We don’t “pin” our intended mates anymore. We don’t proclaim the banns. Wives have stopped calling themselves Mrs. Arnold Walker; lots of them aren’t even taking their husband’s last name at all. Nobody, in the Western democracies at least, pays a dowry.

Marriage no longer requires a man telling a woman that he has the wherewithal to look after her, and offering her proof by giving her a completely useless thing that cost him two months’ salary. Marriage requires, ideally, that two people decide that they’re nuts enough about each other that they intend to look after each other for as long as they are able.

A couple of decades years ago, a man I liked gave me an emerald engagement earring. (I had only one ear pierced at the time.) I didn’t care for diamonds or rings. They made me anxious about protecting my fingers and got in the way of working with my hands. I couldn’t throw a ball or use a spade or wash up without worrying. They were limiting and pointless, like lace mittens.

At the time I figured that—along with thrifting, sharing chores, recycling, and living in inner cities—skipping engagement rings would become one of those sensible things modern people do. And yet the big twinkly sign of ownership has survived, even thrived. This is a mystery.

“Ideally, it’s going to be an equal partnership, so why is only one person buying a ring? And why is only one person wearing one?”

To be clear, this is not an anti-engagement essay. I’m not unromantic or a marriage-miserablist; I wrote a guidebook about how couples could stay together. But engagement rings, as currently manufactured and marketed, are about as romantic and special as those tear-apart valentines kids give out in first grade. They’re wasteful and counterproductive to starting a lifetime union off on the right foot.

Marriage, even since my day, has changed. About three-quarters of people getting married in the next few years will have lived together first. They will probably be in their late 20s or early 30s. They will likely both have jobs or be trying to get them, and will both contribute financially to the household. Ideally, it’s going to be an equal partnership, so why is only one person buying a ring? And why is only one person wearing one?

The old thinking goes that if a person can save up a couple of months’ worth of salary, he must be serious and marriageable. But these days, it just means that person got a credit card, which is not much of a hurdle. And after the engagement, that debt shifts practically, if not legally, to the both of them. Why kick off the whole marriage shebang by going into debt? Fights over money have been found to be the most pervasive and difficult to solve of all the issues that couples spar over. It’s madness to invite them in on the first day.

The engagement ring, in fact, could be seen as a disincentive to marry. The purchase puts additional pressure on the proposer—in heterosexual relationships, nearly always a man—about the commitment. There’s financial pressure. There’s taste pressure. Every week on reddit, some woman writes about how she hates her engagement ring and doesn’t know how to tell her future life partner. It’s like he’s deciding whether to go into a club and the bouncer is saying there’s a several thousand-dollar entry fee and you may get thrown out pretty fast if the folks inside assess that you don’t meet dress code.

Having to buy a pricey trinket just to propose also reinforces an unfortunate recent trend in marriage; it’s becoming a rich-people thing. Studies have shown that marriage rates, which have long been dropping among those with less education and wealth, are now dropping among the middle class too. Since we know that marriage can bring health and wealth benefits, and married people like being married, why make the barrier to entry so high?

The point of the engagement ring, tradition holds, is twofold. One is to indicate that this woman is taken; the original engagement rings in ancient Rome came with little keys. The other is that if the guy changes his mind about wanting to marry her, she can sell the ring and it will make up for the damage to her reputation. Both ideas are preposterous and send an appalling message about the autonomy of women and the reliability of men. Plus, as it turns out, keeping a ring after a broken engagement has been shown to be often unenforceable by law.

That’s not such a blow as people might think it is, because although a woman is worth just as much pre- and post-engagement, diamonds are not. The romantic charade around these rings is expensive to maintain—there’s all that classical music to pay for—so engagement rings have a steep markup. They drop at least 25% in value after they leave the store, more if the ring has one of the increasingly popular lab-grown diamonds.

Why is it, you might ask, that the average engagement ring costs $6,000, according to a survey by The Knot, three times more than the average wedding ring, even though the engagement is supposed to be a transitional thing and a marriage is supposed to be forever? Why do we blow it all on the front-door handle and ignore the house? The answer is that there are a lot of diamonds out there, and they don’t sell themselves. The chocolate makers get Easter and Hanukah, the flower folks get Valentine’s and Mother’s Day and the diamond dealers have proposal day. (They couldn’t have wedding day, because men wear rings too.) It was marketers who came up with the idea, not even 100 years ago, to associate diamonds with the promise of a lasting love. You know, because nothing says desire like an object that has to be cut before it’s considered beautiful.

(In the ’90s, the diamond industry tried, less successfully, to sell everyone on the idea of the 25th-anniversary diamond, which didn’t catch on, but actually would have made more sense. Getting engaged is easy; it’s staying married that requires resilience and clarity.)

Of course an engagement should be celebrated. It’s a wonderful moment, when two people decide to spend their lives trying to love each other. But, as even the promoters of the wedding industrial complex who put out Brides magazine have acknowledged, there are plenty of proposal ideas that don’t involve offering a diamond ring—including getting tattoos or a pet. There are all sorts of crazy romantic things a person can proffer on one knee. And most of them are more exciting than a diamond ring, especially given how hard it is to be 100% certain that your love token did not destroy someone else’s life.

I also, these days, get the appeal of rings—they grow on you when you spend your life at a keyboard. If you want one, knock yourself out. In fact, I have a brand-new idea for contemporary proposers—or at least a vintage idea with a modern twist. Bring back Gimmel rings. These are rings that fit together. When people got engaged during the Renaissance, each partner started to wear one, and on the day of the big event the rings were joined together in a mega-ring for the bride. In the updated version each partner could give half their ring to their love and create two blended wedding rings. I promise you, it’s going to kill on Instagram.

A lot of women still dream of that moment when some guy gets down on one knee and opens a box with a massive sparkler in it as evidence of his eternal adoration for her. I don’t want to be a fun sponge. If a diamond ring is your jam, go get it. At the very least you can scratch your spouse’s car with it if things go wrong. But can we also acknowledge that this dream has been concocted for us mostly to sell expensive things? There are better, more original, less limiting dreams out there and we should welcome them.

At some point I lost my engagement earring, which I know makes people think it was bad substitute. (I also lost my wedding ring, so the joke’s on you.) But the engagement is long gone. I loved the earring, but I didn’t need it to feel loved. It was like losing the keys to the desk of the office you no longer go to filled with supplies you no longer use. I’ve kept the spouse, though. He’s a gem.


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People & Personalities




My mother was 16 when I was born, my father just 14. More shockingly, they were BROTHER AND SISTER!

By Teresa Weiler

Making new friends when you’re in your mid-60s tends to follow the same pattern. Proud grandmas share photos of their grandchildren, stories of babysitting dramas and details of soon-to-be new additions.

So, at 64, I brace myself for the question I’m inevitably asked: ‘Teresa, do you have grandchildren yet?’

Pinning on my brightest smile I simply answer: ‘I’m afraid not. I would have loved a family but I just never met the right man.’ 

After years of being asked about my family status — first about children, now about grandchildren — you’d think I’d be used to it. 

‘My mother was 16 when I was born, my father just 14. More shocking still, they were brother and sister,’

Little Theresa

But while I’ve been giving the same platitudes for so long they trip off the tongue, the truth is, the pain I experienced aching for a baby is every bit as intense now as I accept I will never have grandchildren either.

Yet there’s no way I can share the real reason it never happened — that my family background is so tainted, I was terrified I would breed monsters.

When I discovered the truth, I knew I could never have a baby. The risk that it might be born with an abnormality because of the close genetic relationship between my parents was just too great.

Although I’ve fallen deeply in love over the years, I ended every relationship that came close to marriage. I couldn’t bear to share my shameful secret with the men I loved.

Why am I talking now? Because I don’t want to feel ashamed any longer. I’m not tainted goods — and nor is anyone else in my situation.

I was born on September 13, 1958 at London’s University College Hospital and abandoned at a mother and baby unit a few days later. Apparently, my mother disappeared with a man she introduced to the staff as a friend, promising to be back. When she didn’t reappear, I was taken to a children’s home in Essex.

I could easily have spent the rest of my childhood there. So it was a stroke of incredible luck that at two years old I was adopted by Truda and Terence Weiler.

Intellectual powerhouses who had studied Classics at university, they showered me with love.

Young Theresa (circled) with family

Dad had a stellar civil service career, rising to become Assistant Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office. His proudest role was organising the annual Remembrance Day celebrations at the Cenotaph for 20 years, getting to know the Queen and Royal Family very well.

I even attended a Royal garden party with Dad in my 20s, where I found myself chatting animatedly to Princess Anne about our shared love of sports — I was a fanatical hockey player.

Mum had given up her job as a teacher when my older brothers, Martin, who was six when I arrived, and Michael, two years older than me, were born. They were desperate for a big family but looked to adopt after Mum couldn’t have any more children.

It was my luck that they saw an advert in the Catholic newspaper, The Tablet, offering ‘an attractive baby girl of above average intelligence’. Later, when I messed around at school, Dad would tease me that he should report me under the Trades Description Act.

From the moment I arrived at their home in Osterley, Middlesex, in February 1961, my childhood was idyllic, even more so when my parents adopted my sister, Frances, four years younger than me. I adored my older brothers and our parents never treated us differently.

I had piano lessons and was encouraged in all the sports I loved, playing cricket, netball and hockey at county and national level. And yet there was a tiny kernel inside me that wondered about the ‘real’ mummy I knew was out there somewhere.

That curiosity only grew when my brothers and sister started having children. I, too, was desperate to be a mum but felt I couldn’t start a family without knowing more about my past.

All I had was my birth certificate, naming my birth mother as a waitress who’d lived in St Pancras, London. No father was listed.

I also wanted to know about my genetic history. How ironic! A horrible accident on the hockey pitch had triggered arthritis in both my knees and arms. I wondered whether there was a family history of the condition.

So, at 26, with a steady boyfriend and a good job in local government, I started looking for my birth mum.

Without telling my parents, who I sensed might be anxious I’d stop loving them if I found my birth mother, I put my name on a national register. If my birth mother wanted to find me too, we would be matched.

If I’d left it at that, perhaps I would never have discovered the truth and my life would have been totally different. Instead, I also asked to see all my records.

That’s how I found myself alone in a nondescript room in a council office one day in 1985, leafing through a brown folder. The staff must have known what was in that folder but no one said a word.

I read about how my 16-year-old mother had been visited by two young men after my birth — one dark and swarthy of Greek origin and the other fair and blue-eyed like her.

According to the paperwork, she hadn’t known which was the father until I was born. Then it was blindingly obvious.

I felt sorry for her. But the next words hit me like a train: my father was 14 and he was her brother. The idea was so shocking, I couldn’t take it in at first. Then revulsion engulfed me. I was the product of incest. No wonder my mother had abandoned me.

I sat there for an hour, burning with shame. I knew I couldn’t tell a soul. My deeply respectable parents would surely reject me and my friends would abandon me.

It was only when I was walking the streets afterwards, in a daze, that it hit me: I could never be a mum.

There was no way I could risk having a damaged baby. I would have to give up the one thing I wanted most in the world.

Forty years on, we’re so much more enlightened. If I’d confided in a medical expert at the time, they would perhaps have reassured me that, although I was a product of inbreeding, my own child would carry only a small risk of problems.

Teresa Weiler was adopted by Truda and Terence Weiler when she was two and has been a keen sportswoman throughout her life pix

Instead, I ended my relationship. My boyfriend was distraught, particularly as I had no explanation for him.

And then, a few months later, out of the blue, Hounslow social services contacted me. My mother would like to meet me. I was astounded. Did she know I had discovered her secret? Curiosity got the better of me, so I agreed.

There was no preparation, no initial phone call or exchange of letters. I was simply given an address at a block of flats near Victoria Station and told to turn up.

Even now, almost 40 years later, it’s impossible to explain the maelstrom of emotions I experienced.

My mother, who was barely 40, looked exactly like an older version of me — blue-eyed, prematurely greying hair with a strong Irish accent.

My dad — whom she actually introduced as a ‘friend’ — looked so like her and me it was obvious who he really was. It was exactly what a family should be like. And yet this was surely the most repulsive family on earth.

The instant physical bond with my mother was overlayed with red-hot rage. I hadn’t realised just how angry I felt until I walked into that room. Of course, I knew this wasn’t going to be the lovely, cuddly reunion I’d always dreamt of. I guess she knew too: she never tried to hug me.

I fired furious questions at her. Was it rape? Did you know what you were doing? How could you sleep with your own brother? How could you abandon me?

I was so distressed, I didn’t give her a chance to answer and instead of addressing the issues, she tried to defend herself. ‘Look at you,’ she said. ‘You’ve been brought up by a lovely family.’

I’d barely been there 20 minutes when she suggested I leave. ‘You’re obviously very upset,’ she said. ‘Why don’t you come back when you are feeling calmer.’

She pressed a phone number into my hand and ushered me out of the door.

I was so shocked, I didn’t argue. But as the days passed, I felt increasingly stupid for mucking up my chance for explanations. So, six weeks later, I rang the telephone number hoping to set up another meeting.

The line was dead. I went round to the flat but it was deserted. She had vanished into thin air.

I felt I’d been abandoned all over again. Worse. It was my fault. I had behaved so horribly, I had scared my mother off.

The truth, I suspect, is that she and my dad simply wanted to see me so they could reassure themselves that I was OK.

They had probably used a friend’s flat and never intended to repeat the experience. They got what they wanted but I was left with unanswered questions and an even more profound sense of self-loathing.

So I buried my secret deeper. Even when I fell in love a few years later, I ended the relationship at the point where we were about to get engaged. My boyfriend was devastated, begging me to explain why when it was so obvious I adored him. But I couldn’t bear to.

I threw myself into work — I got a fantastic job helping run The Chaucer Clinic, one of the biggest residential units in the UK for recovering alcoholics.

I also channelled all the love I’d have given my own children into my six nieces and nephews.

And I became adept at batting away questions about my private life. ‘I’m still waiting for the right man,’ I would smile.

Everyone could see how much I craved children and how great I was with them. Unaware of the hurt it caused, close friends would try to console me: ‘Don’t worry, Teresa. You will have some of your own.’

And then one day in my late 40s, I couldn’t take the strain any longer. I was on a long car journey with a friend who happened to be a counsellor. We were talking about families and the truth tumbled out.

Teresa Weiler did not want any children to have problems as a result of her parentage and so chose not to have children of her own
I expected him to stop the car and turf me into the road. Instead, he just looked at me and said: ‘You’ve done nothing wrong. You’re the same Teresa you’ve always been. Everyone loves you for you.’

I was astonished. For 20 years I’d convinced myself that people would be revolted if they knew the real me.

Still, it took me a long time to start trusting people with the truth. I told my siblings one by one over the next few months. They were completely unfazed. ‘You’re our sister, end of,’ my brothers told me.

It wasn’t until 2006 that I plucked up the courage to tell my parents. I didn’t want my siblings to bear the strain of keeping it secret any longer. I made a special visit home.

They had no inkling and were terribly distressed — but only to think of the pain I’d shouldered alone for so long. They reassured me that I was their daughter and nothing would ever stop them loving me.

It brought us so much closer. After Dad died in 2011, aged 92, I became Mum’s mainstay. When she died in May 2020, she was 93 and adored by everyone who knew her.

Once I’d been open with everyone, I felt confident enough to investigate the real risks of inbreeding.

Even though I discovered they are in fact low, at 50 I was too old to have a baby.

Now, at 64, with a good job as a business support manager, a legion of close friends near my home in Peterborough and beyond, and a wonderful relationship with my family, I know in so many ways I’m inordinately lucky. There are many people who have much less than me.

While I came to terms with being childless some time ago, what’s shocked me is just how bereft I now feel all over again.

That no child will ever snuggle into my arms and call me Nanna. I compensate by showering my great nieces and nephews with love.

I have forgiven my birth mother. She did the best she could — she was so young and, at the time, being a single mother carried such a stigma, let alone with a baby conceived as I was.

She’d be 80 now, if she’s still alive, but I’ve no intention of trying to trace her. I can’t afford to be rejected a third time.

However, I’ve found it harder to forgive myself. I tell myself that I did what I could with the knowledge I had at the time. But I’m paying a heavy price for my decisions.

As told to Tessa Cunningham.

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