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How Can My Sibling and I Get Past Our Awful Childhood?

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From a teen in the U.S.: Hello, I’m a 16 year old girl who has had these creepy day dreams and it keeps getting worse. It occurred when my older sister began living with us (stepmom and dad). We never got a long as kids because I was raised separately as a child. She lived with 4 other of my siblings and I lived with an aunt of mine with her child till I was 10.

We’re always bickering with each other and it just gets worse and worse. We both had terrible childhoods growing up so I became very antisocial and isolated. I tend to act mature for my age as I’ve been told. But yet she tends to act like she’s 15  while she’s a grown 20 year old lady. There’s no respect between us.

There’s times where we gotten into an altercation with each other. And I really do hate her with a passion but lately I’ve been having these daydreams of me choking her in her sleep or just brutally doing something to her. Whenever I look at her I just start daydreaming about murdering her or just attacking her but I have control over myself and I know I need to get some help but I’m wondering why it’s getting worse and worse. It used to not be this way until she came.

She has this hate towards me growing up because I stole our dad? But I didn’t grow up with him till I was 10. She tends to be hostile with me and I do the same. My mental health feels like it’s deteriorating the longer she’s here and my father knows that having her here isn’t good because she tends to cause a lot of problems where we live and she demonstrates to him that she’s just using him for her personal gain and she’s very hostile towards my stepmom who’s basically a mother to me. Which is why the altercations occur and I really don’t know what to do because depression or mental illness is basically seems as a joke and I know I need help. What can I do?

How Can My Sibling and I Get Past Our Awful Childhood?

Answered by on -

A.

One line says it all. She feels you “stole” her dad? My guess is that she is a terribly hurt person who is lashing out because she doesn’t know any other way to get the attention from your dad she craves. Hurt people generally hurt other people. A starting point for you is to remember that.

It’s not true that you didn’t get along as kids because you were raised separately. You didn’t get along because both of you wanted what you thought the other person got. I’m guessing that as a young child, you wished you could be with your mom and siblings. It’s also likely that she thought you had a better life with your aunt than she had.

You’ve both had it hard. There is no “winner” in the contest of who had it harder. It sounds like neither one of you had the stability of a loving family that every child needs and deserves. Since she is violent and you have violent fantasies, I’m guessing that both of you grew up in situations where you either experienced or heard about violence. Kids do tend to learn what they live.

It’s a shame that the two of you can’t be allies in healing. You don’t need to be competitors. If your dad is a loving father, there is enough love to go around. There is absolutely no need for you to bicker with her. You can’t be your stepmom’s defender. You can’t make your sister be more mature. She’s still working out the pain of her childhood.  If you think your sister is out of line, say it once, and only once. Then let your father and stepmom iron out their issues with her.

You could try to talk with her reasonably and rationally. You two were really in the same situation even though you were in different places in your early years. Neither of you had the family you wanted and needed. Together you could restart your relationship by realizing that you could be there for each other now as two people who uniquely understand what it was like. She may not be able to listen but it’s at least worth a try.

I do think that you, your sister, and your father and stepmom could benefit from some family therapy. There are a lot of hurt feelings ricocheting around your house. With the help and guidance of a licensed therapist, you could all learn new ways to support each other in healing so your futures can be better than you past.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

How Can My Sibling and I Get Past Our Awful Childhood?

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2019). How Can My Sibling and I Get Past Our Awful Childhood?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 21, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2019/08/17/how-can-my-sibling-and-i-get-past-our-awful-childhood/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 15 Aug 2019
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 15 Aug 2019
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