Getting along with your sisters and brothers when you’re an adult can be a major challenge. In extreme cases toxic sibling relationships can form. Here are some of my thoughts on sibling relations and finding peace with family members.
I recently went to a family reunion which included 4 out of my 5 siblings. We hadn’t all been together in one place since our Dad passed away. Needless to say, about a day into the trip, many of the usual sibling contentions came to the surface. It only took a day! It got so bad at one point that we had to have a pow wow and get back to a good place for the sake of the trip.
It’s funny how these things happen. The first moment you see your adult brother or sister, it’s like you’re kids again. You’re happy to see each other, catch up, laugh and have a great time. But it doesn’t take long for you to begin to see the traits that you don’t like about each other. The selfish actions or the mindless comments. The “I’m better than you” attitude. Maybe your sibling used to bully you when you were kids and calls you by that name you hate. Or you see the way that they treat your parent and begin to seethe with anger.
My Sibling Drama
In my case, I have a specific issue with each of my siblings that I have kept mostly to myself for over 30 years. The issues have quietly worsened in my adulthood because I feel that they all have managed to escape the mentally and physically tiring responsibilities of taking care of senior parents. I was the one left holding the bag for the most part — helping to care for my father until he passed away, and sacrificing a lot of my freedoms in the process.
My oldest brother left the family when I was young, leaving us vulnerable to a lot of family drama as kids. My oldest sister also left after a while, leaving a lot of responsibility in the hands of my other older sister, who I am closest to. My younger sister and brother became very spoiled and entitled after my father fell ill and was no longer able to discipline them. They put my parents through a lot (both as teens and as adults) and I guess I still resent them for that. All of my siblings eventually left the nest, while I stayed close to it.
One thing I’ve learned from watching my siblings in action is that people don’t really change–they just get older and keep repeating the same behaviors. And that includes me. I can admit that I continue to put myself in a defensive role, always ready to jump down anyone’s throat when they do something that I feel is offensive. I can be a very emotional person, and those emotions really come to the surface when I have to deal with my sisters and brothers.
We all continue to repeat the same behaviors, have the same thoughts, and react the same ways when it comes to our siblings because we grew up that way. Together. And that’s why in our 30s and 40s, we’re still having the same exact conflicts that we were having 20 years ago. A period of absence doesn’t really change anything.
Finding Peace with Siblings
After this latest family trip, I’ve come to the personal decision that staying away from my siblings as much as possible is probably the best thing for my mental wellness. I want to live as peaceful a life as possible, and if that means staying away from people who rob me of that peace, that’s what I have to do. At the same time, I understand that a life of isolation from your family isn’t the best idea. They are the only ones who will likely be there for you when you need them. So I’m open, in the future, to healing with one or more of my siblings, but at the moment it’s not high on my priority list.
Now Let Me Know Your Thoughts!
How have you managed to related with your sibling as an adult? Do you get along?
If not, what are your issues with them?
If you do get along, how have you been able to achieve that type of relationships?
If you were an only child, do you wish you had siblings as an adult or are you happy to escape potential drama?
Post your comments below!
Life Thoughts by Jas
Beautiful Image Courtesy Bessi/Pixabay
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