Our first best friends, our first enemies, our first rivals; the first you share your secrets with, the first laugh you can remember, the first tears because you like the same toy,  the first all night conversations about life as you grow older; and when things get tough the first you call. Ask yourself, which of your family members know exactly how to push your buttons or from whom you can never hide your feelings – whether you are happy, sad or just nervous? Yes, you guessed right! It’s your sibling…

Do you remember the days, when you were a child and you wanted a partner in crime? Someone to do all those little things which infuriated your parents and then laugh with? This is when you joined forces with your sister or brother. One common cause – smiting the enemy! And as you grow older, when things get a little more complicated, when words such as love and sex suddenly begin to transform into a reality and you want advice, you turn to your sibling. You know, some say that this is a lifelong relationship as, for most of us, sibling ties last longer than any and all others – 50 to 80 years – compared to the 30 to 50 years that people typically spend with their parents.

And how about the days of bloodshed; the days where the house was a war zone? The days you were ready to do battle over a toy or a favorite piece of clothing that your sibling wanted and took without asking. The referees were there and fortunately, they ended the story with the phrase “… you are both grounded!!!” Those were the fun parts because as you grow older things become a little harder; responsibilities, ambitions or character gets in the way. The most common rifts are about money, as well as sorting out who cares for an elderly relative, and politics. And we all have heard sad stories about how this kind of stuff can end up.

So what can we do when things get difficult and heated discussions turn into arguments? Well, at first try to learn to see things more clearly. Separate the facts of the situation, from the stories in your head and try to explore your sibling’s view. Secondly, why don’t you try to avoid the argument in the first place? I know it’s difficult when things are escalating -as you want to win at any cost- but there is the key as well. When you start to have those kinds of feelings, stop! Stop everything you’re doing! Take a deep breath and try to listen carefully. It’s not your enemy talking; it’s just an argument. And if you can’t, just walk away. This will give you time to rethink and regain your center.

Those kinds of things can create a great void between our loved ones. And sometimes we cannot see it until the day we are physically separated. So what we do if we got in conflict and things became difficult? I believe admitting that there is a problem, is the first step. A little self-criticism will do you some good too. Try to remember the good stuff that made you laugh and make the first move to forgiveness. Be patient, be realistic and remain hopeful.

Nevertheless, our sibling is our blood no matter what is happens between us. From having the best relation we can have, to just a formal relationship. We can be a powerful team when we are together and especially in difficult times the support and the affection your brothers or sisters can work wonders. And even in disputes, always have in mind, that no matter the misunderstanding and the quarrels we can always rewrite the script with the ink of our love!

Author: Chris Kokkinelis

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