What if You Have Adult Siblings with Rivalry Issues?
It is difficult for some people to recognize that letting go of the past is the best way to facilitate more rewarding sibling relationships. Trying to “fix” a family problem by trying to fix a family’s member “attitude” is seldom successful. This is because many siblings prefer to avoid admitting that they have problem behaviors, and do not want to accept a sibling’s suggestion that they change.
However, if you feel that your sibling is constantly trying to make everything a competition, here are a few suggestions that could help:
* Siblings who always want to “one up” you, even in adulthood, clearly have a limited repertoire of engagement strategies. Recognize that a little bit of modeling in your own interactions may be needed to move them out of the competitive rut they are stuck in. Even if you not wrong, a change from your side could be for the best.
* If a sibling simply cannot move past the past, perhaps you should have a face-to-face, heart-to-heart discussion with him or her. Perhaps you might want to share your perspective on how you felt inferior to the sibling growing up.
* It is said that adulthood turns rivalry into envy: If someone is envious of what you have accomplished, that says a lot about their own self-esteem and sense of accomplishment. If a sibling tries to denigrate your accomplishments, perhaps you can defuse the building tension by admitting that you haven’t accomplished all that your sibling has.
If it is your sibling who is being the mean one, then Yusuf A.S. tells us to be patient and forgiving. Reflect upon this beautiful verse, which tells us how Yusuf A.S. forgave his brothers, never mentioned it to them and made Dua for them: He said,
قَالَ لَا تَثْرِيبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْيَوْمَ ۖ يَغْفِرُ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ ۖ وَهُوَ أَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمِينَ
“No blame will there be upon you today. Allah will forgive you; and He is the most merciful of the merciful”” [Qur’an: Chapter 12, Verse 92].