Do therapists know the importance of discussing sibling relationships with clients ? Here are five things they should consider. WebMD discusses common sibling relationship problems like sibling rivalry, jealousy, and fighting, and how to help your kids get along. Big brothers and sisters can "bring to relationships a controlling and protective attitude that just "It brings up all the old issues," she said.
There are many reasons for children growing up to become disconnected from their siblings. Dysfunctional parents often overtly favour one child over another, and the siblings are then set up to compete for parental attention. Equally, when parents are withholding of nurturing, siblings often become rivals for the few crumbs of affection they're hoping that their parents might dole out. Children who grow up in dysfunctional families often feel hurt, rage and frustration toward their parents but most of the time, they're too afraid to express these feelings directly toward Mom or Dad.
It's a lot easier to take out their feelings on their siblings, because the stakes are a lot less high, so instead of bonding together out of a painful shared experience, they often end up venting their hurt and anger at each-other.
Sometimes, one sibling wants to be close to the other, but their sister or brother rejects them.
When siblings fall out | Psychologies
It can be out of jealousy - siblings from troubled homes often mistakenly perceive that the other child got "more" of the love, attention and care than they themselves did. This certainly happened with my patient Estelle. In the case of Greta, her parents forced her to be the surrogate mother for her two younger siblings, and this created a life-long tension between them as adults.
Her siblings expected too much of her, and also resented the power she'd had over them in her parental role, even though it was never what she'd wanted. Many children who grow up in troubled homes hold on to the hope that maybe, one day, they'll finally be able to get some love and positive attention from their parents. They'd prefer to reject their siblings rather than risk alienating their parents' affections and missing out on the possibility of some belated, but better-late-than-never love.
My patient Sasha's sibling did this with her, but never got what they hoped for from their folks.
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Sadly, these individuals would do better to connect with their sisters and brothers, as the likelihood of hurtful parents turning around and suddenly becoming capable of loving their adult children is slim to none.
I've seen far too many of these troubled sibling relationships, and the tragedy of these is that, having such a unique and powerful shared experience, and knowing exactly what the other person went through, siblings could potentially have a very close bond and be there to support each-other, going forward.
Far too often, the opposite occurs. The shock of being told — no, screamed at — that someone despises you so much that they want to cut you out of their life for good is upsetting enough. The fact that the someone in question is your sister is even harder to bear. I remained in shock for a few days, playing the phonecall over and over in my head. Waves of anxiety and anger tore through my body as I recalled the sibling venom. Then I got rational.
When siblings fall out
From our teenage years, she started distancing herself, keen to bow out of landmark occasions and holidays, with my other sister and I picking up the pieces of her often-hurtful behaviour. Our interaction since then has been transactional and perfunctory.
As I emerged from the tailspin, I came around to thinking that actually, this sibling severing would not be such a great loss to my life. It was surprisingly liberating. However, shortly after this when her vitriol transferred squarely to my parents, it became obvious the issue ran much deeper; her grievances with us were locked in the past.
The Real Reason For Troubled Sibling Relationships | HuffPost Canada
Pages and pages of emails and texts, from my sister to my parents, rewrote the script of our childhood, recasting her as the Cinderella-esque character, sandwiched between two evil sisters and neglected by uncaring parents. Frustrated and seething, she then ceased all contact with my parents and sister, too. This scenario is very common, says Robinson, when communication has become superficial, strained or non-existent.
But we build these stories in the absence of real feedback.
The Real Reason For Troubled Sibling Relationships
Throughout the year, I was uncannily at peace with my decision to give up on the relationship. However, that started to change when our estrangement reached its first-year anniversary.
But where do I go from here?