Rivalry among adult siblings
Siblings share a history, a family, memories, and sometimes a room. Growing up, they are inevitably the closest people to us. They know us in a way that others do not, they know what makes us tick. This is what brings us closer, it is also what pushes us apart. Sibling relationships can be very complex. It is usually our closest relationships that hold the greatest amount of issues.
Why are sibling relationships so complex? Well, first of all, these are people that we love, care for, and even if there are negative feelings, we do usually want to have a good relationship. Siblings can be a great source of support, advice, and company as we go through life. On the flipside, a lot of adult sibling relationships are not as good as they could be. Many times there are unresolved conflicts, resentments, competition, and other negative feelings. In a lot of cases these feelings are not dealt with, and it creates distance between the siblings.
Studies have shown that many siblings harbor feelings of jealousy, envy, or rivalry toward each other. As adolesents, and as adults, our siblings are usually the ones we feel that we are being compared to, and compare ourselves to. Some things that siblings compare are looks, intelligence, and the biggest one of all, success. The tendency to compare ourselves to each other (or the idea that other people are) creates feelings of resentment and insecurity. This usually stems from childhood. It can be caused by things such as one sibling getting more attention or spending more time with a parent, or a parent taking one siblings side over the other.
Since siblings have been in our lives for such a long time, it is also very likely that we have had at least one big fight, or falling out. When we feel angry, or feel like we have been hurt, it is even harder to deal with if the person family. This can add complexity to a sibling relationship, especially if it is not dealt with properly. Families sometimes sweep things under the rug, and go on with life. If it is something really big, it can change a relationship forever. It is definitely not healthy to have unresolved issues with siblings.
In most cases, negative feelings between siblings are not discussed openly. If they were, the issues would likely improve. Some siblings have big issues that are very obvious, but for most, the issues are subtle. And most of the time, these issues come from places of insecurity or hurt, and who really wants to discuss their insecurity? Not many, but keeping negative feelings inside can hurt your own psyche. Discussing some of the feelings and issues can be beneficial both for parties, and beyond.