Reflections

Sibling Silence when Adult Siblings are Estranged



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"Sibling Silence when Adult Siblings are Estranged"
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We are saddened at the death of a loved one, especially if it's the loss of a parent or child or sibling. There's an inexplicable void, an emptiness that's felt. Similar feelings are felt at the loss of a sibling through estrangement. Hate is such a strong word, but sometimes there's a mutual "feeling of hatred" between or among siblings. One can't stand the other. The familial love is still there, but for whatever the reasoning, siblings drift apart. They become estranged by circumstance or by choice.

Some adults never get over the sibling rivalry. It is a common conflict in families with more than one child. During their stages of growth and development children often go through episodes or periods of time when they like and dislike each other. They become very competitive and vie for time and attention. As children grow they .develop their own individual qualities and attitudes...their personalities. And as children grow, their needs also change. Parents are responsible for meeting the needs of each child individually. Children don't always understand this and some begin to feel that mom and dad love the sibling more. If these issues are not resolved they can carry over into adulthood.

Children with low self-esteem may feel inferior and become jealous of a sibling because of physical attributes. One sibling may think one is better looking or is an extrovert and has more friends. One sibling may be more of a high achiever than the other. Good parenting skills are necessary to work through these issues. More often than not children are emotionally and mentally healthy enough to resolve and outgrow these conflicts. When sibling rivalry persists, professional help may be necessary. If professional help is not sought, children harbor these feelings as adults.

So much is missed when siblings are estranged. Although days, weeks, and months seem to crawl by, years fly by fast. So many opportunities and events are missed. Marriages, births, and birthdays are celebrated and a sibling is not there to share in the festivities. What better time than holidays for a family gathering? And someone is missing from the events.

Sometimes there are legitimate reasons to separate yourself from family. It's healthier not to be in a toxic relationship even if it is family. But if it can be fixed, fix it. Words of advice: forgive and let go. If you are an adult caught up in sibling rivalry, and you have children, your children are learning by example.

More about this author: Frances Meupe

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