Sibling rivalry happens in many families, and it often begins shortly after the second child is born, according to the University of Michigan Health System. Some kids outgrow their rivalry and become close friends, but PsychologyToday.com points out that roughly one in three adult sibling pairs describe their relationship as distant or conflicted. In many cases, sibling rivalry is sparked by jealousy. Here are a few signs that your sister might be jealous of you.
No matter what you do, your sister tries to do it better. If you are on the honor roll, she gets straight A’s the next semester. If you bring home a new boyfriend, she announces her engagement. Constantly trying to outdo you is a clear sign of jealousy, especially if you both still live at home. Psychotherapist Phyllis Hirschkop notes that by young adulthood, sisters generally develop their own identities and the one-upmanship settles down. Yet if you and your sister don’t resolve the underlying issues, jealousy might spark up again as you compete to have better careers, bigger houses or more money.
Anger and Rage
Unresolved jealousy oftn leads to explosive emotion, states PsychologyToday.com. Anger, rage and an inability to talk calmly are possible signs of jealousy. The University of Michigan Health System notes that outbursts are especially common in families that consider them a healthy way of expressing emotions. If your family is less vocal overall, your sister might channel her anger into a seething resentment rather than directly expressing it.
Emotional or Physical Distancing
Humans tend to put emotional or physical distance between themselves and the people who cause bad feelings. If your sister is jealous, she might withdraw or shut down when you are around. She might refuse to make plans with you, avoid serious conversations or even walk out of a room when you walk in. After high school, she might choose a college in a distant state and eventually settle somewhere across the country. PsychologyToday found that feuding siblings report the most peace when plenty of space exists in the relationship.
How to Rebuild
If you want a closer relationship with your jealous sister, you need to make the first move. From your perspective, your sister’s feelings might be unfair or unjustified, but that doesn’t make them any less real. Hurt, abandonment and loneliness are generally at the heart of jealousy. For some reason, your sister believes that you are better than her, or that your parents love you more. In an interview for Cosmopolitan, Dr. Deborah Tannen notes that directly confronting jealousy is the best way to diffuse it. Rather than accusing your sister or trying to make her feel bad, bring up a time that you felt jealous of her. That makes her feel more normal and encourages her to open up. Rebuilding takes time, but making a conscious effort to be open and honest is the key to success.
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