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how to make yourself love someone (sibling related)

(13 Posts)
HorribleSis Fri 07-Aug-15 14:39:33

I really struggle, especially lately, to love or even like my brother, and I hate myself for it. As children we got along well, but as adults I have just found it so difficult to maintain a good relationship. I can't understand it, as he is a good person, very loving, loyal and a real softie, but there are so so many things about him that irritate me so much, and in my head is a constant stream of criticism. I feel so horrible about this, so sad, and such a bloody hypocrite, as I sort of pride myself on my kindness!

My pop psychology take on it is that we are too similar, and the traits that annoy me the most in him are things that annoy me about myself! As I said, I am pretty tolerant of other peoples' faults/ foibles etc, but with him, I feel this scathing criticism. In fact I would say I'm a pretty compassionate person, but not for my brother. He is younger than me and i see him making the same mistakes that I have, acting in the same stupid way that I've done, and want to tell him, and always want (and do) nag him, which he hates (justifiably)

I think generally, that people are MORE critical of faults in others that we have in ourselves, less forgiving. I beat myself up about lots of things, and in a way have a similarly compassionless view of myself often. So maybe, if I accepted myself more, I could do the same for him?

I would love our relationship to be better but don't know how to dampen all these negative feelings, and increase the good ones. How can I do it? I have actually just moved to the same city as him, for many reasons, one of which was to try and help our relationship. So maybe that will help. But maybe he hates me now, because I am a cow to him.

Any ideas for increasing love and tenderness towards others??

rouxlebandit Fri 07-Aug-15 14:51:34

I'm so sorry to hear this as our son and daughter, in their 20s now and living in the same city, have always been close. Let me have a think or ask me about them if you like.
I've also remembered that my late sister and I were always very close. We sometimes squabbled as kids but later in life we were a great support through bad times.
Keeping it brief for now. flowers

pocketsaviour Fri 07-Aug-15 15:43:32

I think generally, that people are MORE critical of faults in others that we have in ourselves, less forgiving. I beat myself up about lots of things, and in a way have a similarly compassionless view of myself often. So maybe, if I accepted myself more, I could do the same for him?

I think you've hit the nail on the head there. I know it's a cliché that "To love others, you must learn to love yourself" - but it's a cliché because it's true.

Perhaps you could do some work on yourself to accept the things you like about yourself, and transform or eliminate the things which you don't?

springydaffs Fri 07-Aug-15 18:12:11

It's unusual to have such a strong and visceral reaction to your brother (as he sound like an innocuous sort). I really would do some work on this bcs there's something huge going on here. Therapy is, anyway, about playing Sherlock a lot of the time - but once you find what's behind something like this its so obvious you wonder why on earth you didn't see it before; things tend to slot into place.

springydaffs Fri 07-Aug-15 18:16:56

Well done for identifying it though! Most people don't and trundle along with it as though they're justified - like Phoebe in friends who is hostile to Ross and it turns out it's bcs she had a bad dream about him.

pallasathena Fri 07-Aug-15 19:11:35

You change the narrative.

Next time you meet up with him, make a determined shift in your thinking processes happen. Instead of switching on the critical tape in your head, think about what's positive about your brother, why you like him even, as you wouldn't have moved cities to be closer unless there was something good between you both!

Also, and I think this is important, we live in an increasingly judgemental society. Do you think you could be projecting your own anxieties, fears and loathings onto him?

HorribleSis Fri 07-Aug-15 19:14:04

Thanks everyone.

Yes Springdaffs it is visceral, and yes he is completely innocuous! I will find myself a therapist!

HorribleSis Fri 07-Aug-15 19:20:20

and yes pallasathena I'm sure I'm projecting, like he represents the bad/ dark side of me!

i do think, with people who you are very close to, that you sometimes feel that you don't like them much, but you bloody love them ('just because I love you doesn't mean I like you" etc), and this is quite a balanced view of relationships. But sometimes I feel that I don't like him OR love him.

Except I know I do, deep down. I think he just highlights my perceived weaknesses, and I've done a lot of self examination over the last few years, so am very aware of them, and that's why I am particularly struggling with him at the moment.

bogspavin Fri 07-Aug-15 19:38:17

sorry to hi-jack but I'm having problems with my brother too.

We are a close family (two other siblings too) but it has made me question for the very first time how much one should make an effort to love someone because they are "family"

In my case, I find my db's behaviour very insensitive and self-centred and I don't like the way he takes advantage of one of my other (soft touch!) siblings.

I love him underneath all that but I don't like him much any more. We have nothing in common. We disagree about religion and politics. He is never wrong. He is loud and shouts down everyone who happens to have a different opinion. He doesn't seem to have any self-awareness.

I don't really know what to do about it.

To be strictly fair to him though, we weren't brought up in a terribly nurturing environment.

I totally 'get' what you say about being more critical of faults in others that we have ourselves. I know I get terribly frustrated with my child (who is very similar to me) when I see them making the same mistakes that I did. I don't know how to put this without sounding dreadfully schmultzy, but I think that sort of frustration comes from a place of love, precisely because you do care for them so much.

Hope you manage to work things out with your brother OP. If he is loving and loyal then that is a great basis from which to start.

pallasathena Fri 07-Aug-15 19:46:22

Then I'll just say one more thing.

Life is short. Heaven forbid, but what would you do if he wasn't around anymore? Let that thought permeate a while and get some therapy to sort yourself out.

Few people adore their families in my experience, but you can show a bit of kindness, tolerance, understanding and acceptance on a purely human level without descending into nasty thoughts or actions.

Its called being a grown up...

MakeItACider Sat 08-Aug-15 01:04:54

Why don't you try focussing on what you like about him? Sometimes we get so caught up in negativity it becomes a never ending cycle. Keep reminding yourself of his good points, try organising some fun activities instead of talkfests (which are just oppotunities to continue going over the crap stuff!) and build some new memories which can then help negate the negative ones.

CordeliaFoxx Sat 08-Aug-15 01:36:05

Some siblings just don't get on, myself and DSis cannot be in a room together, I really don't like her as a person and the feelings mutual.

Elllimam Sat 08-Aug-15 01:44:11

Someone once told me you can trick yourself into liking someone by doing nice things for them. No idea if it works but it couldn't hurt smile

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