16 Feb 2021

6 Tips for detoxing sibling bonds in dysfunctional families.

In functional families, siblings have good bonding and they are representative of parents for each other into whom they can turn to in good and bad times and can be a really big support system in course of life. But not everyone is lucky to have a good relationship with their siblings especially those coming from dysfunctional families whose dynamics are not easy to understand unless someone is really mindful all the time.

Here are 6 tips that can be followed by anyone from a dysfunctional family to maintain healthy sibling bonds.

1. Believe what you see. Do not listen to everyone's opinion. Especially if the opinion is purely negative. Sometimes our spouse may have a different image of our siblings than us. But we got to believe what we have seen in all those years since childhood and not what our spouse has noticed in 4-5 meetings with them.

2. Join your parents in loving them only. There are numerous ways of showing your faithfulness to your parents other than joining them in hating your siblings because of a personal conflict between them. Sometimes in life, there is a lack of alignment between a child and one or both parents. It may not be possible to understand the dynamics while looking from inside the conflict and you may end up hating or ruining the relationship with him due to feeling of obligation towards parents in being a loyal confirmer, while the parents will soon be in a good relationship with them as soon as the conflict is resolved or as the time heals everything.

3. Do not share your feelings for your siblings with those who do seem to be somewhat jealous or indifferent to your relationship. It's tempting to tell anything positive or negative happening in your other relationship, with those you are close like spouse or parents. But again, permanently or at that instance, these people may not like or feel jealous or insecure if you tell them of your plans of doing some special favors to your brother sisters. And if something negative happens then also sharing with them is not safe as they might be looking for a chance to create a wedge between you two. You are not obliged to report everything that's happening in your relationships to anyone unless they are directly involved or being harmed due to it.

4. Do not let money come in between. Keep all money matters clear. Do not shower them with expensive gifts attached to expectations as you will get hurt when they are not able to reciprocate in some potential. Precious gifts are not the measure of love. Return the borrowed money asap. Do not lend money if you fear it may not come back, however, if your sibling is in real financial distress you should try your best to help as much as is conveniently possible without disturbing your own life. If it's not possible then you can provide emotional support.

5. Maintain and respect boundaries. This is not only for the sibling relationship but for every relationship.  You should not over-expect or force them to spend time or anything else on you if they are not comfortable in doing so. Remember that everyone has other responsibilities like parents, spouse, kids, and work, etc which they prioritize as per theirs preference. Don't get upset when a call or msg is not unanswered immediately. Do not expect them to be with you on your or their special days every time. Don't expect them to be there physically every time you need some help. Don't expect them to like everyone you like or to hate everyone you hate. They have their own personal life choices and loving them doesn't give you the authority to control them. In the same way, set the same boundaries for them also and make sure that they should be respecting them.

6. Do not let another family member dictate what you should do to show your love to them. Show your love in the way you feel you should. . This is a safety tip that can save you from being manipulated by another family member who intends to create a wedge between you two. A mean family member might instruct you do something for your siblings to please them which might actually offend them by creating unnecessary chaos between you two. Use your own gut feelings instead and do what you think is required.

The above Six tips can help you repair and maintain a good relationship with your brother-sisters.

If your relationship with them has turned really toxic and they are seemingly harmful to your well-being and are always out there causing problems for you (but remember that this should be completely your observation and should have been understood by you and not that someone else convinced you of this. Because remember that this "someone" might be a hater of them or your relationship with them, and hence could be manipulating the innocent events and portraying them into toxic ones). In such cases, it is best advised to remain in a formal relationship with no attachment or to cut off totally depending upon the severity of the situation.

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