Rival sisters since forever
Jealous since we were children
Psychotherapist Silvia Podani explains that jealousy starts in childhood with the arrival of a new baby in the family. And when we were little, my sister always used to say to my parents, “When are we taking her back to the hospital?” This question isn’t insignificant because it represents the child’s anxiety about losing their parents’ attention and love. But unfortunately, her jealousy only increased as time went on. It spoiled my life, I found it very difficult to find my place in the sibling group and feel at ease with my family. Every time I got a better grade at school or a new toy, it was a massive deal at home! As I grew up, I thought that our relationship would calm down, but jealousy is still present in our relationship.
The origins of jealousy
We all agree that there’s no such thing as perfect parents. But they can have an impact on the relationship we have with our sister. If one child is encouraged or praised more, the consequences are harmful for the rest of the sibling group. Personally, I don’t feel like we were treated differently by our parents. But lack of self-confidence can also lead to jealousy and this becomes more pronounced when we reach adolescence. That’s why my sister’s jealousy has continued to increase since we were children. The fear of abandonment can also create a feeling of jealousy. This fear also manifests itself in childhood! So, there are several possible reasons for a sister’s jealousy. The challenge is to understand in order to relieve the tension and rediscover a calm relationship.
How do you appease your sister’s jealousy?
1. Re-establish dialogue
It’s not easy to go to the other person when there is sometimes a lot of resentment. But you must take the first step to re-establish a dialogue in order to understand the origins of your sister’s jealousy. It’s something that should be done outside of times of conflict. You can suggest a calm discussion with your sister about your relationship in order to get everything back on track.
2. Verbalize the suffering
It’s important to express your suffering. Explain how her jealousy ruins your life and that you’d like to have a healthy relationship with her. But your sister must also have the opportunity to express herself. Because if there’s jealousy in a relationship, it’s because there is suffering somewhere that hasn’t been healed.
3. Listen to each other
It’s hard not to answer back when your sister criticizes you! Especially for things that happened 20 years ago or for little details that seem insignificant to you. But you must listen to her to be able to accept her problems as best you can in order to move forward in the dialogue.
4. Be forgiving
I was angry for a long time about things she said to me. But eventually you realize that there’s no point in holding on to all these negative feelings inside you. So, to be able to move forward, you have to forgive. The longer you hold on to your resentment, the less the relationship will calm down.
5. Do activities together
As well as the dialogue, you need to be able to reconnect with each other. My sister and I have set up a day per month when we get together, just the two of us, to do an activity that we like. Reconnecting outside of the family circle is important to start afresh and not be influenced by the words or behavior of other family members, such as our parents.
Jealousy between sisters: The solution in therapy
Unfortunately, not everyone is lucky enough to be able to talk to their sister calmly. In order to settle old grudges, you can seek the help of a professional specialized in family therapy. The therapist will be able to understand the deep roots of the jealousy and will work on the cause. There are many avenues to explore and it may take some time to unblock them all.
This is what we chose to do with my sister, even though our relationship wasn’t exactly catastrophic. After several months of therapy, I feel that the jealousy has turned into admiration and support, which is a real relief for me. Our relationship has considerably improved since we got everything off our chests. And what a pleasure it is to finally have a sister after years of jealousy and arguments!
Editor’s note: Try to understand your sister – How did she get to this point?
If your sister is jealous and if she feels that you have always been the one better off, there must be a reason. If she says that your parents didn’t treat you in the same way, it’s probably true. At least that’s her truth. Perhaps your parents weren’t the same when she was born, perhaps they weren’t ready to become parents? There is very old anger and suffering. Start by listening to her and asking her to put her feelings into words clearly.
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