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to ask those of you who aren't close to your siblings whether your parents are to blame?

(122 Posts)
MinutesOfMeetings Sun 27-Jul-14 09:39:21

In RL most of my adult friends with siblings are either very close friends or slightly distant but generally loving. On here I see a lot of posts from people saying they hate their siblings or are not in contact, these posts are especially common on threads debating only-children.

I was an only child so have little insight into sibling dynamics but I now have three kids and would be so sad if they grew up with negative feelings about one another.

Are there things a parent can do to foster a good sibling dynamic? Those of you with bad sibling relationships, do you see it as all down to your sibling's personality or something else?

Hoppinggreen Sun 27-Jul-14 09:43:20

I am nc with my brother, which is mainly because he is a narc.
Our father was also a narc so he may have for it from there but our father also likes to play is off against each other and encourage us to compete for his affection. We definitely weren't encouraged to be nice to each other.
I had no idea this wasn't normal until I saw the way DH interacts with his sister.

ilovesooty Sun 27-Jul-14 09:45:19

Not down to parental input. My sister and I just have little in common. We don't have the same values or opinions and that is down to the different directions our adult lives have taken.

shareacokewithnoone Sun 27-Jul-14 09:45:24

Well, I have a brother who almost certainly has Aspergers.

He was/is very, very difficult to live with growing up and now - well I don't live with him now but you know what I mean!

No social skills: tried to go to L'occitane without a shirt on yesterday (oh, the horror!) eats noisily and inappropriately (mouth full) and loads of other stuff. Can't relate to people, inappropriate topics of conversation, it's just a bit cringe fest at times.

I love him. But he's never any form of support to me. I am to him, though! So I don't know. We don't hate each other although I have to admit I'm not sure how much if at all I like him.

Sparkle9 Sun 27-Jul-14 09:46:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Floralnomad Sun 27-Jul-14 09:46:33

I have 2 sisters ,one is my best friend ,the other one i see occasionally at my mums and we do birthday / Christmas presents but are not what I would call close . It has nothing to do with my parents - we just have very little in common .

FrankSaysNo Sun 27-Jul-14 09:47:48

There is only my brother and myself. There is a 12 year age gap. I really don't remember him until I was 14, he was either in the navy or working on oil rigs.

We are not particularly close although closer since our parents died.

Siblings being close is all a bit of a myth. It comes down to personalities. Any friends I have who are from larger than normal families (6 or more) have very little to do with siblings who are more/less than 5 years older/younger. It is rarely one big melting pot of happiness.

DS1 and 2 deserved to be only children IMHO, DS3 would have benefited from siblings closer in age. Will my children remain in contact when they leave home and DH and I are dead, not here to orchestrate Christmas and birthdays? I doubt it. They have nothing in common. Conversely with my mothers cousins, we all talk and meet up right down to 5th and 6th generation cousins. Very close family that most people wouldn't understand.

olaflikeswarmhugs Sun 27-Jul-14 09:58:54

I think that's a great question . I think it's possible that had my parents not encouraged and nurtured a relationship between myself and my sister that we may not have a great relationship . But then I also think my easy going and tolerant nature has a lot to do with it as well she can be very selfish difficult .

OTOH my mum went NC with her sister about 5 years ago . My aunt is a manipulative controlling narc and so the rest of my mums family all sided with her and my mum was basically left with no one . This all happened once my GPs had passed away and maybe of they were still alive things would have got sorted out (even though that's not what my mum would have wanted)

squirrelweasel Sun 27-Jul-14 10:00:50

I have a sister 5 years older and a brother 12 years older. I have no relationship with my sister. We see each other maybe 4 times a year at my mothers house for maybe 2 hrs. We don't speak in between visits. This I believe is down to how we were treated so differently growing up. She was very much my mothers favourite, spoilt and in my mothers eyes (and words always in front of me) the most beautiful child to grace the planet. She had foreign school holidays paid for, my mother funded a month in Australia for her when she was 19. Any new clothes she wanted and sent her £100 spending money every week through her 4 years at uni. I had to sit through Christmas days with hardly anything whilst she had masses as a child. I never went on a single holiday. Even now I don't get a Christmas present but my sister and her husband get £1000+ spent on them each.
My brother on the other hand was kicked out of home when he was 16 and I hardly saw him until I was about 13. We are now super close. Speak several times a day on the phone. He lives 4 hours away but visits often. He hasn't spoken to my sister since she was 18 (17 years ago).

squirrelweasel Sun 27-Jul-14 10:01:19

Wow that was a bit long sorry sad

bauhausfan Sun 27-Jul-14 10:05:57

I had a terrible childhood - there are 4 of us siblings and for some reason the first two (including me) are the unwanted ones and the second two are the wanted ones. I loved all of my siblings growing up but unfortunately my parents' manipulations and sheer spite mean that I am now NC with my parents and the 'golden' children and likewise, the sister I still speak to is in roughly the same position. I totally blame my parents (particularly my mother who has been the main instigator) for all of the misery and fall out. In fact, if we were ever getting on well, she would do her best to cause trouble. I have two DC and I work really hard on creating a sense of family loyalty. It would kill me if my own family had a rift in it as I would blame myself.

Thefishewife Sun 27-Jul-14 10:08:20

Yes 100% my birth mother was a awful parent leaving me at a moments notice to be taken care of by my older sister who by all purposes became my surrgrot mother which posined our relationship
my sister is now very bitter that she had to give up her early 20s to look after me it cost her her uni place and her relationship with her child's father any I time I didn't agree with her she would say well I gave up my 20s for you I am deeply tankful for what she did but I can't thank her for ever and now I am older I need a sister and not a mother she finds it very hard

We haven't spoken now for bout 4 years she lives 3 streets away from me and our sons attend the same school I can't give her back the years she spend raising me I didn't ask for it and I would suggest the person who she is really upset with is our birth mother

bauhausfan Sun 27-Jul-14 10:08:24

squirrelweasel - we had the Christmas present thing too. Me and the other 'bad sister' with a couple of tiny gifts (eg hair brush, pants) whilst the golden sister's pile was enormous and full of expensive things. It really put it into perspective. She also had prep school, a pony etc - we had nothing.

paxtecum Sun 27-Jul-14 10:10:50

I have two siblings. We were all treated the same, but have very different personalities.
My two brothers have never liked each other and I don't like one of them, but make an effort and stay in touch.

VSeth Sun 27-Jul-14 10:11:25

My sister doesn't do relationships well. Has no friends and I struggle with her.

I think my parents failed to teach her the values needed to make and sustain friendships and enable her behaviour. Her husband is also an enabler but I suspect that he is scared of the consequences if he stands up to her.

So yrs OP

Bonsoir Sun 27-Jul-14 10:13:45

I think family rifts are usually about emotional dysfunction that often cascades down the generations.

Hopefully, as emotional intelligence becomes better known, people will be better equipped to learn more productive ways of managing their families rather than reproducing the models they grew up with.

squirrelweasel Sun 27-Jul-14 10:14:11

I really struggle with it all still to be honest. I have 4 children and I think I tend to go very over the top with treating them all equal and spoiling them all. I would hate any of my children to feel how I did/do.

KnittedJimmyChoos Sun 27-Jul-14 10:15:25

No social skills: tried to go to L'occitane without a shirt on yesterday (oh, the horror!) eats noisily and inappropriately (mouth full) and loads of other stuff. Can't relate to people, inappropriate topics of conversation, it's just a bit cringe fest at times

Wow you sound delightful!

Op there are major chasms with my siblings, yes I lay blame at parents door, treating us differently, not setting boundaries with behaviour and coming at us for instance....when a new sibling comes along, instead of being really positive and saying wow - your a good sister to x arnt you,isnt she lucky, and keeping things would be worry about sister being pushed out, and focus on all the new sibling becomes something to fear and be pushed out by....

When I had my own DC, my siblings were doing same to older child and generally making neg comments.....I had to keep ssshing them. With my own, only postive stuff and my DD says " X is the best thing ever" and after three years STILL NO FIGHTS OR PROBLEMS as DD one just loves and appreciates DD 2 so much. She read a book called The Choclate Dog recently...and when I read some to her I realised it was about a child who felt pushed out by the younger sister....and it was really negative! DD did change for a bit....and say some out of character dd2 so it does make a huge difference!

If older children mention issues its crucial to talk about them with them not just say " dont be silly, or you must love your sibling" find out what exactly is upsetting them...and get to bottom of it....make things fair.

make sure they all know how lonely people can be with sibs they dont get on with or those who have none.

My poor DH is same, cult worsip heaped on sister who is apple of parents eye, everything they wanted in a child.....poor dH is the odd one out...

GhettoFabulous Sun 27-Jul-14 10:15:53

I'm the second of four sisters - I was singled out for ongoing abuse. I don't hate my sisters, but none of them played with me as a child and I never felt like part of the family. Even before I went NC with my parents, the only times I would see them were birthdays etc at my parents' house.

Thefishewife Sun 27-Jul-14 10:16:27

Also my sil who my husband has a very difficult relationship with is down to my mother who treats them so different it's almost boarding on farcical she even treats the grandchildren very different for instance she has only been to our house once we have been married 5 years she lives in a different counrty but on numerous occasions has been visiting sil and not even told dh their in the country shock and also things like they never have any of the grandchildren ever his brother lives across the road my nephew is 7 and she's never had him she also has no job and not for my bil trying recently she flew over to the uk to babysit for my sil for the weekened then flew back home.

When we went over for Christmas a few years ago we couldn't even get her to watch dd for us for a hour

Very bad feeling all round espically in terms of money also

CarrotBottom Sun 27-Jul-14 10:17:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KnittedJimmyChoos Sun 27-Jul-14 10:17:35


I agree, I am certainly more emotionally aware than my siblings which is why with my own DC its painful to see them repeating same neg comments behaving in same ways to my DC...without any new knowledge...

my DB actualyl said to DD1 " so whose prettier?you or DD2" shockshock

HPparent Sun 27-Jul-14 10:19:27

My sister and I became aware at quite a young age of our maternal grandmother divide and rule tactics of constantly setting my mum and her two sisters against each other and swore it wouldn't happen to us.

I think my mum had a strategy of constantly favouring one or other of us at different times. She also did this with my daughters even my pets! For example one rabbit was nice, the other evil; same with guinea pigs and even budgies. She would tell one of my daughters that she was the favourite, while my other daughter was a monster. I found out years after the event that she gave my younger daughter a walloping in Kensington Gardens and then argued with people who tried to intervene - one person quite correctly told her she was unfit to be in charge if my children, which my mum had an issue with! I am NC with my mum nowadays. My sister and I fought up to our twenties when my sister moved to the Far East. We email etc but never talk on the phone.

My sister still lives overseas and when she was over last she was surprised at how well my teenage DDs get on - unlike us at the same age.

So yes, in our case, it was my mum driving the dynamic. I think my own parenting is not to take sides, slag off the child behind their back to the other one and not treat them as competitors but encourage them to do the things they are good at and value their different achievements.

KnittedJimmyChoos Sun 27-Jul-14 10:19:29

carrot you can however develop a relationship that appreciates your differences but bottom line, you have sympatico in the fact you and only you and your siblinsg ever came from the same factory.

needaholidaynow Sun 27-Jul-14 10:19:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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