Staying sane with a crazy sibling

Staying sane with a crazy sibling

by Eunice Chua 26 Feb 2020

Few people in your life can get on your nerves as often as a sibling can – anyone with brothers/sisters can attest to that. While it’s a common saying about how blood is thicker than water, sometimes sibling hostility can go beyond petty arguments and childish squabbles. It’s possible (and indeed common) to genuinely despise your sibling. How then, can you tolerate and put up with one that constantly drives you up the wall?


Start with the issue at hand

If you find yourself shaking your fist at your sibling so much that it’s become impossible to be under the same roof together, then maybe it’s high time you do a proper analysis of the situation. What exactly is the cause of your resentment? Most sibling rivalry is petty and trivial in nature, but some can be due to serious reasons such as physical abuse or verbal shaming. Have a think about when this resentment started getting too serious to ignore. Try to recall a time when you actually got along okay with your sibling. Talking to other family members might prove to be helpful too. Your parents are usually the best people to turn to for advice regarding you and your sibling’s attitude towards one another.


Talk it out with your sibling

Having gotten to the root of the problem, the next step would be to talk it out. There’s no other way around it – resolving a relationship problem means addressing it head on with the other party. Be straightforward and tell your sibling what’s upsetting you and how you'd like to remedy the situation. At the same time, be open to hearing your sibling’s side of the story. Coming to a compromise is much easier when both siblings have had the opportunity to speak their minds.


Come up with a feasible solution together

A formal, concrete solution may feel weird given the blood relations between you and your sibling, but it’s the best way to resolve the problem for good. Aim for specific, measurable actions and not ambiguous ones that can be skirted around. For example, if you have a sibling who is overly critical and won’t stop insulting you, create a system of open communication where you can call them out and get them to stop the moment it happens. Monitoring incidents can help you make adjustments to the plan as you go along.


Ultimately, our siblings are still our family members. As much as we hate them, there's no changing the fact that they're still family. At the very least, we owe it to them to at least try to get along peacefully. You don’t have to force yourself to be best friends with your sibling – a slightly structured relationship with set boundaries and rules works just as well.