Even though siblings come from the same family system, they develop different personalities, have different destinies, and sometimes find it hard to get along.
There is a subconscious, indissoluble bond that connects siblings and lasts forever, regardless of what your relationship with them is like, even if you are not on speaking terms or have never met some of them.
The relationship with our siblings sets a blueprint for other peer relationships in life, such as life partners, friends and colleagues and whatever is unresolved with our siblings will likely be projected onto those relationships.
Root Causes of Sibling Rivalry and Conflicts Between Siblings
Conflicts between siblings are usually not about what they appear to be. As observed in family constellations, these are some of the most common root causes of disputes between brothers and sisters:
- Competing for the parent’s love or attention
- Taking a place in the sibling line that is not your right place (ex. firstborns taking the place of surrogate parents of their siblings, a sibling taking the place of an aborted or miscarried sibling, etc.)
- Loyalty to my mom or dad or excluded people in the family system (if mom and dad are in conflict, perhaps one of the siblings is loyal to mom and another to dad)
- Unresolved conflicts between mom and her siblings or dad and his siblings are transferred onto the next generation (some of the children may be loyal to a parent and others to their aunts/uncles)
These dynamics are operating in the subconscious level (we are not aware that they are there) and are exacerbated in certain life events, such as when a parent passes away and leaves an inheritance. However, when the entanglements come to light in a family constellation, something shifts inside, which usually also has a positive effect in the relationship.
Here are some keys to resolve sibling rivalry and conflicts with your siblings:
- Knowing that there are unconscious dynamics and loyalties that are affecting the relationship
- Honouring the siblings that came first and everyone as they are
- Taking your place within the sibling line and including aborted, miscarried siblings, stillbirths, siblings from extramarital relationships of our parents
- Giving everyone else their place, according to their order of arrival in the family (ex. not acting like the parent or the partner or the child of your siblings)
- Not comparing yourself to your siblings
- Respecting the special relationship our parents had with each of them, knowing that sometimes being too close to our parents can become a burden (ex. the “ favourite”, for example, often becomes caught in the parent’s sphere and has a harder time to be independent in life.)
Are you ready to begin the journey to resolve your sibling rivalry?
To go deeper into this subject, join us for my upcoming Family Constellations Online Workshop: My siblings and I: Same beginnings, different lives.
We will also be setting up constellations on any issue that arises on the Family Constellations Online Workshops: Ready for a Shift.
What is one thing that came up for you after reading this? Leave a comment below and let me know.
Also, if you found this valuable and insightful, please consider sharing it. It may be just what someone needs to read to begin their healing journey with their siblings.
Thank you for sharing this. Yes, what is unresolved in one generation tends to find its way into following ones and probably originated before your own generation. One could set up a constellation to explore hidden dynamics around this. All the best to you, Marina
I now realize that my difficult relationship with my older sister, the eldest, who used to beat me up, bite and kick me, and whom I feared, has mapped itself onto my oldest child, my daughter, who is now pregnant. Our relationship erupts often in ways I find hard to explain and I fear her also…