Problems between siblings often stem from they're upbringing, note the authors of "Mom Loves You Best: Forgiving and Forging Sibling Relationships." The dynamics of the family during the childhood and adolescent years can lead to feelings of anger and resentment, which often re-emerge during adulthood. The good news is that you can resolve these issues and create a healthier sibling relationship with a little effort, honesty and patience.
Address the problem head-on, advises psychotherapist and author Jeanne Safer in a January 2012 interview in "Maclean's Magazine." Establish exactly why your sibling makes you angry. It may be something he said or did, or it may be something completely out of his control, such as the fact that your parents favored him when you were children. Be honest with yourself and identify whether your sibling is at fault. Accept that anger is simply a way of expressing hurt, fear and frustration.
Try to work past your anger to establish your true feelings toward your sibling. If you are hurt that she does not appear to value your relationship, tell her so. Allow yourself to be vulnerable, advises Dr. Phil, because you will hurt more if you bottle up your emotions and let anger control your relationship. Tell your sibling if she upset your in the past or let you down, but don't let an apology be your motivation. Forgive your sibling regardless if you get an apology or not, so you can stop being a victim and start taking control of your own emotions.
Accept your sibling for who he is. You can have a healthy, close relationship without having the same values or leading your lives in the same way. It is possible to love someone despite those differences. Remind yourself of your sibling's positive qualities. Also remember that you are not perfect and that there are things about your personality that likely annoy your sibling as well.
- Maclean's Magazine: Jeanne Safer in Conversation with Ken MacQueen
- Dr. Phil: Getting Over Sibling Rivalry
- The Ohio State University Extension: Adult Sibling Relationships
- Mom Loves You Best, Forgiving and Forging Sibling Relationships; Cathy Cress, Kali Cress Peterson
- Spend time with loyal, positive, supportive people. Learn some techniques and take steps to relieve stress and establish peace in your life such as through healthy eating, yoga or meditation.
- Keep in mind that a suitably qualified, therapist or counselor can help you work through any unresolved issues you might have.
- If you come from an extremely dysfunctional family, enlist the services of a family therapist.
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