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Relationships are crucial in life and they are beautiful with anybody. It does not have to be a love and romantic relationship with your partner but it can also be a relationship with your parents, friends, and family.
While growing up as kids, most of us would have grown up with a sibling at our home. And, having a younger sister, and brother would have been wonderful. Sibling relationships are the same as any other relationship. It can be a wonderfully close relationship with a beautiful bonding. Although, just like any other negative and toxic relationship, sibling relationships can also turn toxic to then become toxic sibling relationships.
Let’s understand what a toxic sibling is, how to know if your sibling is toxic and how to deal with toxic siblings from this Parenthoodbliss article.
Who is a Toxic Sibling?
Sometimes a sibling might become a toxic influence on your life, can abuse you, and make you feel uncomfortable. You might turn to a new hobby just to be distracted or simply find other ways of staying away from them. Toxic siblings can damage a lot of issues in your life and it is better to cut ties with that person and take care of your mental health.
Based on the level of toxicity it is sometimes hard to talk and have a conversation with your parents, family members, and even your friends. Social media might help to reach out to people and let them know toxic sibling relationships put stress on you when you are trying to suppress your feelings and emotions for the sake of keeping things normal between you and your toxic sibling.
How Do You Know If Your Sibling is Toxic: 5 Signs to Look Out for!
Your sibling relationship can be toxic if you spot these signs in their behavior-
1. Constant Criticism
If your toxic siblings keep on constantly criticizing you on each and everything you do or if they blame you for every fault of theirs and never give you an opportunity or chance to speak up it’s a sign of having a toxic sibling. This behavior is very disrespectful and it lowers your self-confidence.
Toxic siblings use manipulation as a tool, to demand what they want from their mother, father, you, or any family members. Toxic siblings can try manipulating you emotionally and will definitely bring up a year-old issue or conflicts from the past and damage the sibling relationships.
Toxic people will try to bring out the worst in you and may try to make you angry in your behavior and actions which will make you feel uncomfortable.
3. No Sign Of Guilt And Shame
If your toxic sibling has done or messed things up quite seriously, have they ever shown any sign of guilt and shame, and do you feel bad for yourself? Feeling guilty and apologizing is a human tendency to show that one cares. If your toxic sibling does not show any of these signs indicates that they do not care about you and your mental health without being respectful.
4. Abusive Behavior
Toxic siblings are very abusive and they can show toxic behavior toward your parents and family members also. They always try to disrespect your boundaries again and again and will go out of their way to terrorize, manipulate, or will try to control you by physically and mentally abusing you.
Toxic sibling relationships are abusive and dangerous to mental and physical well-being. There is no way to change the behavior of an abusive sibling relationship and if they blame you, remember that you are never responsible for their actions.
5. Lack Of Trust
Trust and confidence are very important with a family member. If you have told something in confidence to your sibling and they keep on spreading it to people by blaming you for no fault, there is no point talking with them and it is a clear sign of a toxic sibling.
How to Deal With Toxic Siblings or Family Members?
Here are 9 ways you could follow on how to deal with a toxic sibling relationship:
1. Set Boundaries And Limits
Dealing with toxic siblings or other individuals can be difficult since you frequently believe that you can influence their behavior. This change will not take place. Do not even demand anything from them, accept them for who they are, and interact with them as such.
In all types of relationships, boundaries and distance are key, but they become even more necessary when dealing with toxic individuals. You may not be able to completely cut your sibling out of your life, so you must learn how to set firm limits and have the confidence to state them clearly.
2. Speak Up
It’s possible that your sibling is harming you without you realizing it. You should express your feelings to your sibling and let them know how you feel. You should do this since it is beneficial to your mental health.
Tell your sibling that although jokes and humorous situations are fine, they are upsetting. This is especially important if your sibling likes picking on you.
It is best to prepare a list of discussion topics ahead of time, generally focusing on the behaviors of your toxic sibling that make you uncomfortable and how to address those concerns when the session is over.
3. Accept Your Truth
If your toxic sibling is not someone you do not want to be friends with, acknowledge that in yourself. If you feel uncomfortable while accepting the truth, give yourself some time and you will start feeling better slowly.
4. Walk Away
The meaning of walking away does not mean that you are walking away from your parents, family, or your toxic sibling, but it means that you are walking away from the toxic situation that is there in front of you. If you are not in the presence of your toxic sibling, they cannot target you and blame everything on you.
Your toxic siblings are likely to talk behind your back, but it won’t happen for a long time since you are not present in front of them. You walking away will give you sufficient time to think and prepare for what to do next. This time will ensure that you are not reacting emotionally towards your toxic sibling.
5. Assess the damage
You have to realize the damage left behind by your toxic sibling for you to mend and move forward in your life. Try to communicate with them about how you feel about their actions and words towards you.
It is important for you to know the extent of the damage caused by them to your well-being. Look back at the pain they have caused in your life and if there are any side effects that have left you in distress mentally and physically.
6. Visit A Therapist
Trying to contact a therapist can be a great way for you to let go of your feelings about a toxic sibling in a very safe emotional environment. The therapist will advise you on how to confront your brother or sister for future events.
If you have had a conversation with your sibling and they are open-minded and willing to change then family therapy could be the next step towards fixing your relationship. Having an unbiased family member like your mother while visiting a therapist will boost your confidence and give you support if your brother or sister starts to become angry or frustrated while having a conversation with the therapist.
7. Do Not Normalize Their Behavior
Never let your toxic sibling or toxic brother believe that anything they do is always right. A toxic individual must always be made aware of their actions being bad, and you must make that clear to them. The majority of the time, your sibling will try to overcome your sentiments or sweep everything under the rug, but you shouldn’t allow them to do that.
8. Change The Opportunities
Once you have set boundaries and if that does not help in your sibling relationship it is high time to cut ties with your toxic sibling. You may have a sibling who makes comments to you when you are alone and it is better to walk away and ignore such a toxic person. Interacting and engaging with positive people in the family will help.
9. Say Goodbye
There are many ways of dealing with toxic people in life and saying goodbye and walking away is the perfect end to toxic behavior in your life. Boundaries are important in life and it is difficult to cut ties with your sister, brother, and family.
Try not to make it emotional, but it is better that you put effort into not hurting people. However, we should realize that there are a few things that cannot be changed regardless of how we attempt. In the event that you do conclude that bidding farewell is the best decision to end a relationship.
Use this as a chance to talk and let your sibling understand what they have done and why you have decided to take the present situational choice. You would prefer to not leave yourself with stones unturned so ensure that you get the whole of your sentiments out there before you stop receiving their calls. Finally, wishing them good luck and moving on in your life might be your key to better emotional well-being.