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Relationships are very important in life and they are beautiful with anybody. It does not have to be a love and romantic relationship with your husband 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 house. Having a younger sister, brother and other siblings would have been wonderful. Sibling relationships are the same as any other relationship. It can be a wonderful close and a relationship with a beautiful bonding. Just like a negative and toxic relationship, sibling relationships can also turn toxic to then become a toxic sibling relationship.
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.
What Is A Toxic Sibling?
Sometimes a sibling might become a toxic influence on your life, can abuse you, and make you feel uncomfortable. A person will try to find positivity by taking up a new hobby and some stay away from their sibling. 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 and family members and friends. Social media might help to reach out to people and let them know toxic sibling relationships put stress on you when you were trying to suppress your feelings and emotions for the sake of keeping things normal between you and your toxic sibling.
How to know if your sibling is toxic?
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 indicate 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 to 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 wellbeing. 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 to talk with them and it is a clear sign of a toxic sibling.
How to deal with toxic siblings or family members?
The following are the ways to deal with a toxic sibling relationship
1. Set Boundaries And Limits
The biggest challenge to deal with a toxic sibling or toxic people is how you often think you can make them change. This change is not going to happen. Do not have any expectations from them, accept who they are, and engage with them accordingly.
Boundaries and space are crucial to any type of relationship, and they are very important when you are dealing with toxic people. It may not be possible to entirely remove your sibling from your life and you have to learn how to set hard-and-fast boundaries and you have to find the courage to communicate them explicitly.
2. Speak Up
Your sibling might not even know that they are hurting you. It is important for you to speak up and let your brother or sister know how you are feeling. This is important for your mental health and it is something that you should do.
If you have a sibling that enjoys targeting you, make sure to tell them that jokes and funny stories are acceptable but ones that are harmful to you are not acceptable.
Having these conversations can be difficult so it is best to have a list of talking points, usually dealing with the things your toxic sibling does that are uncomfortable to you and how to confront them with those issues at the end of the day.
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 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 heal 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 on 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 allow your toxic brother or toxic sister to think what they do is always correct. You must always ensure that a toxic person realizes what they did is wrong and you have to point that out. In most cases, your sibling will try to diminish your feelings or brush the entire thing under the rug, but you should not let your sibling 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 to say goodbye and walk 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, 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.