Thursday, 20 January 2011

A new sibling

Good morning! Today, I'd like to ask you your opinion about something. Here's the story.
I'm an only child. I'm not sure if I conform to the stereotypical only child though, I don't think I'm a spoilt brat and I do share my toys (although find it a lot more difficult to do that with food - anyway). When I was growing up, I never had someone close yet slightly older to compare myself to. And I certainly didn't have anyone that I seriously envied, no one who was allowed to stay up longer than me and go out when I was told I was too young to do so. I never felt that anguish and jealousy some feel towards their older siblings. I thought I was missing out.

Until now.

Obviously, it's not really my older sibling. But it feels like it at times. Boyfriend has an older sister, and in a way, I'm developing some 'older sibling feelings'. I'm afraid to say, not in the "looking up to her" way though. More in the "why is it that you have everything I want" way. This basically comes down to her having a lot more money than us (and more than we could ever hope to earn), being a lot slimmer than us, and achieving things we'd love to do, if only we had more money and better physical abilities.

Her and her husband seem to do everything by the book, living together for a while, buying a house together, getting married bla bla bla. Do you sense jealousy? I'm afraid you do. I'm not proud of it, but that's the situation I find myself in. We will never have the same financial facilities as them, and sometimes it kills me. Even though no one compares us to them, we can't help but do exactly that. Whatever you do, you find someone else has done it before you and you can't help but compare your dismal self to "the other".

This is all new to me, and I'd love to hear from you if you have older siblings and have been going through a similar thing for your whole life, or like me, have an "adopted" older sibling who's making you feel inadequate at times. Because it's only human to compare yourself to others, we all do it. We all know there are people much better off, but we also know there are people a lot worse off. Only when you have the "better off" category thrust in your face, it's a little more difficult to deal with it and stay content with your own predicament.

11 comments:

Liz said...

I have an older sister and I do recognise some of the feelings you're describing.

What you have to remember is that there is good and bad in every situation and she might just have some reciprocal feelings about you and your lifestyle (more freedom, spontaneity, etc.)

The Girl said...

Ha this is all so familiar, don't worry about it!

My older sister is the biggest over-achiever going - perfect o-levels and a-levels, degree from uni, straight into a professional job, married just the once, first child at 26, back to work pretty much straight away, climbed up the corporate ladder to pretty much as high as she can go, owns big fancy house, about to celebrate 19th wedding anniversary, first child doing Maths GCSE 2 years early....get the picture?!

And that is the standard that I have to live up to. Except I know that I can't and actually don't really want to because I know that on the surface her life is awesome but she works HARD is late home all the time, I'm not convinced her marriage is the happiest one on this planet - I bet if you dig beneath the surface all is not sweet hearts and flowers beneath your boyfriend's sister's seemingly perfect life. People have to work extemely hard to get to those places and something invariably suffers along the way.

Me said...

Oh, poor thing. Feels horrible :( Yes, I recognise ths too. Its completely natural. I do have an older sister, but I felt more like the way you're describing towards my ex's family. I didn't feel like I, or we, measured up at times... lots of times! I was very upset with the way our lives had panned out. I'm not sure how I got around the family problems, but it did subside. Maybe I couldn't stay cross at them because it was mostly me making myself feel inept and not them. I somehow managed to focus on the positives of having these people around. Much easier said than done I realise, but I'm sure you'll find a way. xxx

mon bouton said...

I never managed to get passed that feeling with my older brother, and sometimes my only reaction to this jealousy is anger towards him and his family ::
but I suppose this is kind of normal, but I'm still not getting used to it - not helping very much eh ?

Diane said...

I am the older sister and I can tell my sis feels like you do by the things she says and does. I often feel as if I am in a no win situation with her and she says some very cutting things. It makes me not want to spend time with her as much and spoils our relationship. We are all different. We all make our own choices, some things work out, somethings don't. Try to treat your sibling just as a person. xxx

Anonymous said...

I feel for you....My husbands ex always makes me feel like that and always manages to make me feel inadequate along with it, but as others have said, everything is not always as it seems and her world is self destructing now. The saying is true and sometimes the grass is not greener. With my own step siblings, it is not the monetery side of things but the fact that my father and stepmother are so much more interested in them and their children and stepchildren above mine. I try to distance myself now to protect myself

The Curious Cat said...

I think my sister would be a good one to leave a comment here. She went through a phase of what seemed like hating me. She was always really mean and put me down a lot. We have talked about it since and we think that it started when I went away on my gap year and she got a chance to be top dog - sister solo - and she had to deal with some hard situations whilst I was away and when I came back...well she kind of resented me...

Sisters/siblings are always in competition with each other...I don't really know the psychology behind it but maybe it is meant to motivate you in someway? I find a little competition amongst friends and school/work colleagues is good - it does push me. But jealousy comes I guess when it all gets a bit much...

I'm always getting jealous but I just don't show it or when it occurs I examine it but I don't let it consume and eventually it falls away. It is hard not to sometimes...but it is also good as it makes me strive harder and also examine what I actually have and be thankful.

I think it is natural but next time you feel this way take a look at all you have and try changing your outlook to be thankful for what you do have and note the importance of each of those things. I'm sure your boyfriend's older sister in her own way wishes she had some of your attributes or skills...you never know! xxx

Heather said...

Hmm well I'm the older sister and I try really hard not to be difficult to live up to! I would rather that my siblings were better off and happier than me (I am really happy so they would be super happy!) because that means that I don't have to worry about them. Because I would worry a lot. My next sister had a WONDERFUL first year of uni, whereas mine was horrible. But I'm not jealous, because I know she's ok, whereas if the situations were reversed I'd have felt guilty that I'd had a good time when she hadn't, and also that I'd be worrying about her ALL the time!

Angel Jem said...

This is such a familiar idea to me! All my life I have battled with envy from slight twinges to deepest green jealousy, and it's only now as I rapidly speed past 40 that I've learnt to shrug and say 'What the hell?' What I have is what I have and I can't get bitter wanting someone else's life. Also I realised that the people with the best looking lives don't always have the best of lives. Are you happy with your lot? Then be happy, and have fun!

skybluepinkish said...

I think it would be unnatural not have a twinge of jealousy at some point(s) in your life, but like Angel Jem (and I am much the same age) I have realised that this is my life, and it's good. There are people who have things I don't have or have achieved things I never will, but then the same can be said of me. I have everything I need and a whole lot more and I have something that a lot of people don't - I'm happy.

I keep a gratitude journal, it might sound a bit Pollyannaish but pretty much every day I write down three things for which I am grateful. Sometimes it's big and practical (I have enough to pay the tax bill) sometimes it's tiny (my headache has gone) lots and lots of times it's about my husband and daughters and how grateful I am for them.

I go back and re-read it and if there was ever a green eyed monster he quickly disappears. Try it :)

Gillie

Kari Homan Shannon said...

It's natural to be jealous of those who have things you want. It's natural to have revenge fantasies, just don't carry them out or allow them to do anything mroe than provide you with a little healthy release... (hey it can be cathartic to imagine bleaching someone's laundry or them having a pitfall which will level the playing field a little)...

And then once you're done with your catharsis, sit down and take a long hard look. 1. Are you happy with your life, if not, what could change to make you so (go back to school, change careers, travel, ??? ) 2. Is she happy? (others were right about that working till midnight, not really knowing or caring to know family, etc) and then 3. What do you really want in life (see number 1 and add to that) 4. What are you willing to do to create the life you desire?

Mine was quit my job, go back to school at the age of 28, go thousands of dollars into debt, get my masters degree and make beans for salary, helping people with their problems as a therapist). Do I wish I had more money? Who doesn't? Would I do it all over? Probably so! Do I like what I do? More days than not!!! Do I ever think about things I could do to make more money? You Betcha!!! Figure out a way to make money doing what you love, and the other things you want, will come!!!! You'll be deliriously happy, and that happiness will draw like magnets the things to you that you want for yourself. You'll have the energy to go after your dreams because you're doing what you love!!! It may involve sacrifice now, but I saw a quote this morning that just fits this...

Decisions determine destiny - Thomas S. Monson.

Every day, ask yourself, will this make me happier, will this get me closer to my dreams and goals? If the answer is no, then don't do it.

Ultimately I'd recommend talking to this potential in-law and just explaining to her how you feel... Perhaps she'll be relieved and will tell you about all the bad points so you can feel better and she can have someone she trusts and can talk to.

Either way, you need to take action before it festers and you get into a war with her... Fighting with his family will NOT endear you to him in ANY way... Plus, carrying all that around in your heart, can hurt you in so many ways including high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, breast cancer, etc...

Blessings, and if you'd like to talk further, I'm at NurtureByDesign.com. Good luck!!!