Sibling rivalry - Counselling time

Sibling rivalry - we know it, we've heard of it and we have indeed experienced it. It is accepted as part of normal family life and to a large degree it is healthy. Within the rivalry we learn about our needs and the needs of others. We learn how to flex our muscles, stand our ground, compete, be compassionate as well as get to know another's likes, dislikes, moods and trigger points. We learn how to be nasty and kind. We are all different characters so we learn to recognise and respect difference and diversity, for example: 'the sporty one' or 'the reader'.

We battle it out with siblings which teaches us how to negotiate and compromise. The family, in general, provides a safe place in which to develop all the social skills required in adult social and work life with parents usually around to mediate through. Sometimes though sibling rivalry is not just that. It can be encouraged, indeed even instigated, by parents and/or other adult family members. Phrases such as, 'Why can't you be like X with high grades' or 'Y got into the team, shame you are not sporty' or 'Your sibling always looks good - why can't you?'. The phrases and comments used are endless and I am sure, by now, you have your own family messages going through your head.

If, in adult life, you still struggle with sibling rivalry, therapy can help you and them. Through counselling we can go back to origins and help you define your own strengths and character - the 'real you' and help you to discover and appreciate the 'other' as an equal. What was 'normal' and 'healthy' is not when, as an adult, it still continues and hurts.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Finchley, London, N3

Written by Lindy Medway

Finchley, London, N3

Counsellor, psychotherapist and supervisor with 19 years experience. Working with individuals, couples and adult families. I am Senor Accredited and Registered with BACP and BUPA recognised.
Based in North London offering face-to-face, Skype and telephone therapy and supervision.

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