Coping With Adult Sibling Rivalry

Hello Lovelies,

Today, I wanted to write a piece for you about something that is very dear to my heart at the moment. Because of my amazing followers, this scenario is getting to me much, much less than what it would normally do.
I am one of two offspring to my parents. I have a younger brother who, although I love him dearly, can get on my very last nerve. While I’m a more laidback person and don’t give a damn for my haters, my brother has a need to be liked. While I write and (hopefully) inspire one or two of you, my brother opts for publicity stunts which he hopes will gain lots of attention. When nobody cares about his ambitions and the likes and donations don’t flow in like he hoped, he gets rather downcast. For me, a lack of likes and follows simply means I wrote a bad post.

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, one of my brother’s more frustrating habits is doling out unsolicited advice. Although well intended, it can nonetheless grind on those who have no desire to receive it. This latest incident was by far no exception.

Yesterday, we visited Portreath. As we sat on the seafront, my brother made a comment about the sun and I playfully quipped that I was glad he pointed out what it was because I thought it was just a fire in the sky. Instead of laughing off what was admittedly stating the freaking obvious (because well done Elena, the sun really is a fire in the sky), he scoffed and made a really cold comment that a big ball of fire is exactly what the sun is, and that my attempt at sarcasm was poor and I could at least try to be funny. Instead of laughing with me, he decided to go above me and make me feel bad about myself, for no justifiable cause.

In a fit of rage, I put my drink down and walked off. If I didn’t, I probably would have clipped him across the ear.

“Precious little prick,” I seethed, “who the fuck does he think he is?”

When I returned, I refused to fall back into the group. I headed onto the beach and waited for them. The last thing I was prepared to do was to be seen returning by my brother, walking back with my tail between my legs.

Having cooled down and taken some time to think, I realised the bigger picture. My brother is painfully insecure, he is depressed and he feels a need to be liked. Unfortunately, sometimes his attempts at getting liked are the very things that drive people away. By contrast, I am very happy-go-lucky, witty, secure in myself and confident in who I am. For my brother then, my happy, calm and confident self is probably rather annoying.

At twenty-nine years old, my brother’s biggest fan is our Mum. For me, my biggest fan and number one supporter has been my husband, ever since the age of about nineteen. Although it can be frustrating not to have my family’s support in the same way that my brother gets, having the fan base that I have means that I have no desire to change to impress her, and so I remain being authentically me. Although it can be frustrating to be treated worse than Satan himself by my brother, there are at least ways that I have learned to cope.

1. Love your sibling, regardless
They are them and you are you. I went to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy sessions and I know and believe that it works. However, neither my mother nor my brother have had therapy sessions, and so neither believe that therapy can help. Rather than wishing they were different, take some time to recognise why they are the way they are, and love them anyway.

2. Allow yourself to be loved by the people really do love you
My husband and my readers! Where would I be without you?! Truthfully told, the story that my brother wrote doesn’t have anywhere near the fanbase that my blog does. it doesn’t! Over here, I’m 12x more popular for what I write, and that warms me so much in my heart because I know you guys really care about what I produce. I know only 3.6% of my fanbase in person, so for my blog to be popular all over the world is amazing. As I hope to inspire you, I also allow you to love me for who I am. Even if my family aren’t behind what I produce, my blogger family supports me and you guys mean so sooo much to me – thankyou!

3. Practice acceptance
No matter how annoying they may be, they are still your family. Even if they can be really, really snotty to you, you can’t trade them in or deny that they exist. No matter how much they upset you, you need to accept them just as they are.

4. Talk to someone who understands you
Sometimes, it can be really, really amazing to talk to someone who understands you because it can make you feel like you aren’t seeing things and you aren’t alone. My husband is my world for this and he gets completely where I’m coming from. I can talk to him about how I feel and, usually, he even agrees. Yesterday, he even admitted to feigning to be asleep, just so that he didn’t have to listen to my brother!

5. Allow yourself to feel however you need to feel

If their comments make you angry, sad or confused, it’s fine to feel that way. Maybe their constant talking annoys you, that’s fine, too. Cause and effect, people. Remember that.

6. Walk away from bad behaviour

It’s fine to be different to your siblings, but if they are disrespectful or violent towards you then it’s fine to walk away. You don’t have to walk away forever, you may just want to walk away for a while to allow yourself to cool down, like I did. If they’re repeatedly malicious towards you, you may wish to reduce contact, or if they threaten or harm you, you may wish to cut contact for good.

At the end of the day, no matter how much my brother infuriates me, no matter how different I wish he was and how much I wish my mother would support me, too. Even if they aren’t perfect, I love my family regardless and I wouldn’t swap them for anyone else,

And neither should you.

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Penny Berry

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