How to Write Personal Letters to Siblings That Hurt You

Rewrite your letter to ensure that it expresses your feelings in a gentle way.
... Steve Mason/Photodisc/Getty Images

While phone calls, text messages and emails are the primary modes of communication these days, a handwritten letter to a sibling can also help you express your feelings. When disagreements and hurt feelings abound, a letter helps you reflect on your feelings before you contact the other person. While there are no guarantees that a letter will smooth things over between you and your sibling, it may help heal a rift.

1 The "I" Statement

In a dispute, people often make assumptions about what the other person is thinking when they wronged that other person. Including "I" statements, which focus more on your feelings rather than on what the other person did, can increase your odds of reaching a solution with your sibling. Instead of writing, "You're always a jerk about my girlfriend," you might instead write, "I felt hurt when you said that I could do better than Jill. I love and care about her, and I hope in the future that we can keep our discussions away from my choice of partner," according to GirlsHealth.

2 Thinking it Out

Before you bring pen to paper, think about the disagreement. Did a small upset lead to a huge rift between you and your sibling? You may find that the original disagreement is not worth the hassle of explaining how you felt and trying to get an apology from your sibling. After thinking about it, you might also realize that you were partly to blame for the problem. If that is the case, you might choose to write, "I realize that the last time we spoke, we each said hurtful things to each other. All I can think about is how what happened is not worth losing our relationship. I'm sorry for what happened, and I hope we can move forward," according to the Hallmark article, "How to Say Sorry."

3 What to Avoid

If you are penning a personal letter to address a problem, be certain that you are not doing so just to stir up the conflict again. If you played a role in the problem, address it, because ignoring it or blaming the situation on your sibling is unlikely to get you anywhere, according to psychologist Tamar Chansky in the "Psychology Today" article, "How to Apologize." Attempting to conceal your role in the situation such as by writing, "I was only defending myself" or "You started it" should also be avoided.

4 Sample Letters

If a small, one-time disagreement has driven you and a sibling apart, you might write, "I felt hurt when you made that joke about my weight on Thanksgiving. I realize you were trying to be funny, but I hope my weight won't be a target for the holidays next year. I love and care about you and look forward to seeing you in a few weeks." In a more serious disagreement you might write, "I felt angry when you told mom and dad about what I said, because comments like that are supposed to be between you and me. I hope from now on that we can keep some things to ourselves. I wanted you to know that I still care about and love you, and I don't want something like this to affect our friendship," according to GirlsHealth.

Candice Coleman worked in the public school system as a middle school and high school substitute teacher. In addition to teaching, she is also a tutor for high school and college students.