|Did you know — your sibling relationship is absolutely unique.
Typically, it is your longest one – started long before you met your best friend or spouse, and it extends long past the death of your parents. It has the power to influence your choice of friends and lovers, and your success at work. It is a power that has not been well understood or well used.
But while unique, it is often your most conflictual relationship, and the most overlooked one.
Whether or not you like your siblings, at some point, you will be the only remaining members of your original family. You are the only ones who remember when mother found her car keys in the medicine cabinet, or when in kindergarten, you sang “Jesus Loves Me,” at your family’s Passover Seder.
Your relationship with your siblings can also change over time. In fact, the changes in your relationship can be compared to an hourglass: more involved at certain stages in your life, less involved at others.
As your parents age, you are often thrown together, by choice or necessity, to take care of them – which can bring out the best in your relationships or the worst, or both.
WHAT ARE THE EARLY CAUSES OF SIBLING CONFLICT?
SIBLINGS AS A RESOURCEWhether you have a close, distant, or hostile relationship, your siblings hold a tremendous potential as a resource for solving problems as varied as:
Siblings may be part of the problem or they could become part of the solution.
Research shows once you reach mid-life, or once your parents begin aging, there is a growing desire to improve this unique relationship.
The question is, though, how to do that.
INVITING YOUR SIBLINGS TO JOIN YOU IN THERAPY (either as a participant or as a consultant; for one session or several)Sometimes people contact me wanting to resolve current problems with a brother or sister. They may be arguing so much, they hope to avoid getting to the point of never wanting to see each other again.
Sometimes a set of siblings come together to work out issues such as decisions about their aging parents, family business, or arguments around their inheritance.
Sometimes they have old issues from childhood they want resolved. This could be a shared experience of parent violence or alcoholism; or it could be from sibling physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. These old grievances interfere with their getting along with each other or getting along with others in their adult life.
BENEFITS OF MEETING TOGETHER
I have identified 6 reasons why it can be beneficial to talk with one or more of your siblings with a therapist. Click here for list. It often comes as a huge surprise that your brother or sister may help save your marriage, improve your job performance, or even throw insights into improving your children’s behavior.
Research shows that 83% of people over age 60 are close to their siblings; only 3% have lost contact. You don’t have to be part of this tiny statistic. You CAN become part of the 83%.