• Alex Jarvis

Adult Sibling Rivalry part II

Dealing with Sibling Rivalry as Adults



This month, we talked about sibling rivalry in children and how it endures for a lifetime in some and has a long-term impact on many. Sibling rivalry among adults is very much a reality in most families.


It’s easy to recognise that a family is experiencing this underlying issue when you hear adult kids say: “He’s always Mum’s golden boy.” OR “She always gets everything she wants.” and perhaps, “I hate how Mum and Dad take her side.


In this short interview, Dr. Dan Papero (faculty at the US Bowen Center for the Study of the Family) talks about Family Matters: Sibling Rivalry. And, in one’s struggle to understand where things went wrong, it’s important to look at how narcissism in a sibling plays a part as clinical psychologist, Dr. Ramani Durvasula, explains.


Oftentimes, the conflict gets to such a frustrating point that a sibling decides to severe connection with a sister/brother –even ties with parents. If you’re feeling the sting of adult sibling rivalry, here are some steps to get it out in the open and address it:

  • Acknowledge that the rivalry exists

  • Accept the fact that parents are not without biases. It’s an old family myth that parents “never have favourites”.

  • Acknowledge that the “favourite child” exists (whether the family recognises it or not).

  • Acknowledge that leaving the issue unspoken may make the rivalry stronger and more damaging.


For the unfavored child, here are a few tips that will help you cope:

  1. Accept the reality of the situation

  2. Don’t take it too personally: don’t let it determine the direction of your life

  3. Find support elsewhere: outside the family setting

  4. Don’t fuel the rivalry: don’t compete with your sibling & don’t blame them either

  5. Invest in your own family and outside relationships


If you’re having a struggle dealing with adult sibling rivalry, come talk to us at Jarvis Hypnotherapy. We have the expertise and tools to help in your journey to healing.

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