Siblings Can Either Enrich Or Destroy Your Life More than parents, sometimes it is our siblings who shape our personality, well-being & happiness

On the joyous occasion of her engagement, Princess Eugenie credits her elder sister, Princess Beatrice for her giving her the courage to live fearlessly. She recalled her painful scoliosis diagnosis: “It could have impacted my life. As my big sister, you inspire me. I love that, as a team, we work hard to support each other – no matter what. You encouraged me not to get disheartened. Not to give up,”

Siblings Can Either Enrich Or Destroy Your Life
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How lucky she is to have the support of a caring sibling. What would have happened if her elder sister was uncaring and rejecting? Would she be able to feel confident and overcome her debilitating condition.  Moreover, with parents like Prince Andrew who was busy with his shady deals and her mother Fergie having her toes sucked by her financial advisor. Without a doubt, her elder sister’s support was crucial to her healing.

Effects Of An Uncaring Sibling

Reading that brought tears to my eyes. Oh, how I wished I had that kind of backing. My experience with scoliosis was doubly amplified by my brother’s total lack of acknowledgment of my condition. In later years he became ashamed of me and would not want to be around me.

Furthermore, he became threatening and rejecting. He blamed me for all the problems in his life. Particularly, his inability to get a wife.  Because I was around and unmarried he was unable to get married. His rage became so much that there were times when he nearly came to hit me if I protested against his accusations. And my father had to come and intervene. My brother had taken over the aggressor role of my father. For me, it was horrifying that after years of struggling with my father’s violence I now had to deal with this.

It was something akin to the scene in “The girl with the dragon tattoo, where the protagonist Harriet reveals that her father, Gottfried Vanger sexually abused. When she finally kills her father in self-defense her brother Martin witnesses her act and uses it as a weapon to abuse her. Literally, taking over from his father. And the only way to protect herself was to escape from the situation.

I too finally escaped into a relationship that was not the best for me.

Sibling Abuse Is Real

Sibling abuse is an unspoken threat. The violence perpetrated by siblings is doubly devastating because it is supposed to be an equal relationship. Despite the lack of attention it receives, sibling abuse is not only real but significant in both impact and scope. Further, it is actually more common than parent-child abuse.  This violence can take any and every form that one sees in parent-child abuse – including emotional, physical, and sexual.  Usually, the victim is the younger sibling who is weaker and helpless to fight back. 

It took me years to understand the abuse of my brother. Most times it was not physical, but his aggression and meanness inflicted deep psychological wounds on my psyche. How he ganged up with this predatory cousin who was molesting me to make fun of my bed-wetting. And how he violently pushed me banging my head on the wall so that he could go along with this cousin. I now realize that this porn addicted cousin was evil. He came from a home of a drunk father and a cold-rejecting mother. But what took me years to comprehend was how evil permeated the soul of my brother who was once so loving and protective when my mother was around.

Sibling Rivalry and Hatred

Sibling rivalry is not something that comes out of thin air. It is the outcome of parental favoritism or uncalled parentification of the elder child. When the second child is born, usually parents ignore the elder child and focus their attention on the new baby. And if the age gap between the two is smaller, the older child is unable to understand and process his feelings logically.

His understanding of the situation is that this creature is the reason I am loved less. Because of him, I have to make do without or give my things to him. Why should I?  He is the enemy who has to be annihilated.  What am I getting out of this? Since the time for mutual reciprocity to happen is a long time away. The older sibling will develop an innate dislike for this usurper in his life, who is also his responsibility. The easiest way to dismantle him from the affection hierarchy is by belittling or bullying or snitching on him.

Becoming The Scapegoat

Usually, when someone is rude to you and responds angrily towards you, you are not the real source of their anger. Their anger stems from something else which was probably the outcome of their own abusive childhoods. They are just displacing it on you the most convenient scapegoat.

Looking back, I now realize that getting the approval of this porn-addicted cousin was all that mattered to my brother. What with my mother no more and my father beating him up over trivial things. Initially, post, my mother’s death my brother and I were still close. Once the porn-addict knew I was not going to have his way with me. He turned my brother against me by getting him pornographic books. And for a 13-year old boy that was all that was needed to get pulled into the hell of deception.

It took me years to get over the reality that the bond we shared had become toxic. And that my once loving brother was lost forever.

Dysfunctional Family Dynamics

Without the support of my mother, my brother did not have the emotional resources to tackle an abusive father and the deadly temptation of the serpent.  Caring for me meant he would miss out on the fun.  I now realize that in the dysfunctional family dynamics it was each one for his own. As there was no one around to fulfill the emotional needs of the child. There is a constant feeling of scarcity of resources. It is survival of the fittest, take what one has to through fair or foul means. My brother could no longer be the protector and benefactor. Like a person drowning he had used whatever means possible to survive. Even if it meant totally trampling on my feelings and rights.

Acceptance Of Loss

It took me many years to understand Don Miguel’s second agreement. Nothing someone does is because of you. What someone says and does is a projection of their own reality. If they treat you badly it is because they are relieving themselves of their own pain and you just happen to be a convenient receptacle for their rage.

I no longer feel bad that my brother was cruel and unsupportive, Healing for me has helped me understand the dynamics of our relationship and letting go of old expectations. But, I no longer feel the bond of love and attachment. However, it does fill me with sadness that a once beautiful relationship that could have nurtured and supported both of us was destroyed.

Further Reading

Childhood Trauma: Abuse Between Siblings

IT HAPPENED TO ME: My Abusive Sister Screwed Me Up As Badly As Any Crazy Parent Ever Could

The Dysfunctional Family’s Scapegoat

Dysfunctional Families: Recognizing and Overcoming Their Effects

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