Sibling Rivalry is considered quite normal and seen inevitable for a healthy childhood. But when this rivalry grows into adulthood then it causes real issues. Adult Rivalry is the reason why parents should “never have favorites.” Many parents may claim that they are never biased towards one of their children, but unconsciously they do have their favorites.
You can easily detect siblings rivalry when you hear such criticisms siblings have for one another:
- My mother loves him more.
- She always gets what she wants.
- Why you always yell at me, while you never say a word to her.
- I can’t believe my mother loaned him the car.
And the list goes on. This has led to clashes among siblings. This may also add stress to your already stressed adult life. At the peak, when you have to concentrate on building your career, this is the least you should be worry and stress about. For some, it may cease with time and later they would wonder how silly it was, but sometimes when it is deep-rooted in your subconsciousness, it may get difficult to forget.
Ways to handle adult-rivalry
Growing up with a sibling, you can’t avoid favoritism. But, if it bothers you to the extent of making you violent towards your sibling, consider these options. It will help you achieve peace of mind to some extent training yourself either by coping up with it or by avoiding it.
Acknowledging adult sibling rivalries
As most of us know, the favorite child still exists, whether we acknowledge it or not. Leaving it unspoken may even make the adult sibling rivalry stronger and more damaging. The very first step towards creating something is to acknowledge having it, only then you can get to its root and know the real reason. Keeping things to oneself, instead of talking it out creates bridges between siblings. Sit together and talk on equal terms, maybe your sibling isn’t aware that you are hurt because of his words or actions. Accepting our own jealousy, and recognizing it without asking your sibling to do the same, is the first step.
Don’t Take It Personally
Understand that your parents may not ‘love’ the other sibling more, they just feel closer or more invested in their lives, for whatever reason. They may not even be aware of it, and most likely not doing it to hurt your feelings. Because Mom or Dad has a favorite (and especially if you aren’t the favorite), does it mean they don’t love you? No! In most cases, they love you differently. Start talking honestly with each other and start getting honest with yourself. Look at your feelings about the fact that there are favorites in the family. How does it feel to know you’re the favorite? How does it feel to know you aren’t?
Don’t play the Blame-Game
Don’t compete with your siblings, and don’t blame them for being favored. You can’t blame them for being loved by their parents, can you? Just accept that your relationship with your parents is yours and try to keep it separate from sibling relationships.
Work on Strengthening your bond
Rather than competing for the most love, what if we work on strengthening the connections we share and appreciate our relationships? Accept the reality and try to move past it. Not everything can be under our control and according to our wishes. Acknowledge your unique bond with your parents and try nurturing that instead of being jealous of the relationship your sibling shares. Everyone has a different bond. It may be difficult to get into this frame of thought, but you’ll feel better after you do. Start by noticing all that you do get from them, and valuing that.
The bottom line is: You can’t avoid your siblings, neither can you change your parent’s favorite child but you can live with it if you choose to give it more importance than it requires.