There’s no law that says we have to get on with our siblings. Thankfully, most of us have pretty good family dynamics. But some people have toxic sibling relationships.
So what’s the difference between say typical sibling rivalries to toxic sibling relationships?
Healthy sibling relationships are compassionate, loving, willing to listen and help. They are non-judgemental and caring. They want the best for their brothers and sisters. That’s why they are happy and pleased when their siblings achieve success. They are independent of their siblings but not distant from them.
Toxic sibling relationships are simply the opposite.
Here are 10 other signs of toxic sibling relationships:
They are the favourite child
Parents should not have favourite children. But was your sibling always praised and given the best opportunities in your family? Did they get away with murder? Did the rules not apply to them?
Favouritism can lead to narcissistic behaviour. When a child always gets want they want and is never made to feel the consequences of their actions, it gives them a false sense of superiority.
They are controlling
Do you feel like you always have to do what your sibling wants to do? If you don’t, they will sulk or get aggressive? In the end, it’s just easier to go with whatever they want?
This is a form of control. Whether it is what friends are suitable for you or the type of college course you should study. If you find that you are not able to make your own decisions without your sibling getting their way, this is a sign of coercive control.
You don’t feel you can say ‘no’ to them
This is another form of control, but it also impacts a great deal on your life. Do they get upset if you say no to one of their requests or demands? Do they make you feel guilty for saying no? Finally, do they play on your emotions and try and make you feel bad for not helping them?
This is typical behaviour of a younger sibling that has narcissistic tendencies.
They manipulate you
People that think and act in a rational and logical way can quite often be deceived and manipulated easily because they just don’t think in that kind of devious way. Someone who is lazy and can’t be bothered to work themselves will use deception to resolve their issues instead.
The problem here is that, of course, families are supposed to help out one another, but not to the point where one person is always benefitting to the detriment of everyone else.
They are always right
No one is right all the time. We all have to have an open mind, even if we think we know the truth. But some people that believe that they know what is right and won’t listen to anyone else’s opinion.
This kind of closed mind can be exhausting and inevitably leads to arguments and breakdowns in a relationship. It also invalidates your feelings because you don’t feel as if your opinions and ideas are important or that they matter.
They ‘play’ you against your other siblings
Does one sibling constantly gossip or badmouth to you about your other brothers or sisters? Does this undermine your relationships with them? This is one of the worst signs of toxic sibling relationships as this behaviour can cause lasting damage.
They do this to elevate their own position by making their other siblings look bad in your eyes. This is because their own behaviour is not good enough by itself, so they have to trash the reputation of others in order to look better.
They dismiss your feelings
We need validation when we are feeling angry, unloved, frightened, anxious or sad. When someone does not take our feelings into account, they are telling us in effect that we don’t matter. We are not important.
Our emotions are what drive us, they are interwoven into every action or behaviour that we take. To have them ignored is extremely detrimental to our psyche.
They are constantly criticising you
Not only do toxic siblings like to trash their brothers and sisters to other siblings in the family dynamic, but they also like to make you feel bad about yourself. They do this by constantly criticising you.
They will judge every aspect of your life and find you wanting. Nothing you do will be good enough in their eyes. Their barrage of putdowns will have a cumulative effect until you begin spending less time with them to escape the mental battles.
They only ever contact you when they need something
You get friends like this, ones that you only get a phone call or a text when they need money or a shoulder to cry on. And it can be exactly the same with siblings.
Do you go for months without hearing from your sibling and then suddenly out of the blue, you get an email or phone call from them?
It will start off innocently enough, perhaps asking how you are, but then the real reason for the call will soon become apparent. They want something from you.
They make threats all the time
Making threats is a toxic behaviour in itself. Well-adjusted people don’t tend to have to make ultimatums in order to get what they want or need in life. If your sibling is constantly making threats, it shows they do not have the mental capacity or the patience to get what they desire in a civilised way.
So how do you deal with toxic sibling relationships? It may be too late to change their behaviour, but you can certainly do something about yours.
How to deal with toxic sibling relationships
Ignore toxic behaviour
Do not engage in bad behaviour, just ignore it. If you engage in it, it may encourage your sibling to carry on.
Surround yourself with positive people
It is easy to doubt yourself when you have a toxic sibling. But if you are with positive well-balanced people, you’ll be able to recognise bad behaviour immediately and not put up with it.
Set clear boundaries
Some toxic behaviour is quite intrusive and can take over a person’s life. By setting clear boundaries, you can regain control.
Sever contact if necessary
Finally, there’s no rule that you have to stay in close contact with your sibling. If the situation is really bad and affecting your health, it is best to sever contact.
Do you have a toxic relationship with your sibling that you would like to talk to us about? Let us know in the comments section.