The Dark Underside of Having Siblings

The sibling relationship also has its DARK side which is commonplace but is seldom mentioned.This include mindgames and other forms of upmanship.
The sibling relationship also has its DARK side which is commonplace but is seldom mentioned.This include mindgames and other forms of upmanship.

THE UNMENTIONABLE TABOO

Sibling relationships often have its negative side which is seldom mentioned or acknowledged but it is a usual occurrence.
Sibling relationships often have its negative side which is seldom mentioned or acknowledged but it is a usual occurrence.
Siblings oftentimes compete with each other for parental attention. Gamemanship and other forms of mindgames are often used by siblings to gain this attention..
Siblings oftentimes compete with each other for parental attention. Gamemanship and other forms of mindgames are often used by siblings to gain this attention..
In multichild families, sibling competition and rivalry are de rigueur occurrences.Siblings share family space and familiarity CAN breed CONTEMPT.
In multichild families, sibling competition and rivalry are de rigueur occurrences.Siblings share family space and familiarity CAN breed CONTEMPT.
Many people are first abused and/or disrespected at the hands of a sibling.
Many people are first abused and/or disrespected at the hands of a sibling.
Many children experience emotional, mental, psychological, and verbal abuse at the hands of siblings.
Many children experience emotional, mental, psychological, and verbal abuse at the hands of siblings.
The constant competition for parental attention oftentimes bring out less than positive feelings among siblings.  Such feelings can include animosity and jealousy.
The constant competition for parental attention oftentimes bring out less than positive feelings among siblings. Such feelings can include animosity and jealousy.

BIRTH ORDER AND THE DARK SIDE OF SIBLINGSHIP

Birth order can also be the cause for sibling conflict.Children are assigned roles and treated differentially based upon their respective birth order.Differential/preferential treatment by parents can result in strong animosity among siblings.
Birth order can also be the cause for sibling conflict.Children are assigned roles and treated differentially based upon their respective birth order.Differential/preferential treatment by parents can result in strong animosity among siblings.
There are some oldest children who use their birth order position to dominate younger siblings. This domination can range from subtle forms of manipulation to either overt or covert bullying.
There are some oldest children who use their birth order position to dominate younger siblings. This domination can range from subtle forms of manipulation to either overt or covert bullying.
There are middle children who act aggressively towards their sibings as a result of always being considered "the second wheel" and "the other one" among their siblings.
There are middle children who act aggressively towards their sibings as a result of always being considered "the second wheel" and "the other one" among their siblings.
Many youngest children are the recipients of various negative treatment from older siblings as a result of the perceived preferential parental treatment in comparison to what the latter experienced.
Many youngest children are the recipients of various negative treatment from older siblings as a result of the perceived preferential parental treatment in comparison to what the latter experienced.

FAVORITISM'S ROLE IN THE DARK SIDE OF SIBLINGSHIP

Favoritism can go both ways regarding the sibling relationship.Many favored children can act manipulative towards their siblings.They feel this is acceptable as they can do no wrong.
Favoritism can go both ways regarding the sibling relationship.Many favored children can act manipulative towards their siblings.They feel this is acceptable as they can do no wrong.
Favored children oftentimes incur the wrath of their siblings, particular those who are less favored.
Favored children oftentimes incur the wrath of their siblings, particular those who are less favored.
Oftentimes schisms are created between favored children & their siblings which can last until adulthood & beyond. Favored children are resented by their siblings for their exalted & privileged familial status.
Oftentimes schisms are created between favored children & their siblings which can last until adulthood & beyond. Favored children are resented by their siblings for their exalted & privileged familial status.

THE ROLE OF BEING UNFAVORED IN THE DARK SIDE OF SIBLINGSHIP

Unfavored children tend to be bullied and/or otherwise ostracized by siblings because of their low family status.
Unfavored children tend to be bullied and/or otherwise ostracized by siblings because of their low family status.
Many unfavored children are objects of ostracization and other forms of stigmatization from their siblings as well as from their parents.
Many unfavored children are objects of ostracization and other forms of stigmatization from their siblings as well as from their parents.
Unfavored children feel like personae non gratae in their families.They are often cut off from their siblings either from estrangement on their or their siblings' part.Many siblings just simply DISASSOCIATE themselves from the unfavored sibling.
Unfavored children feel like personae non gratae in their families.They are often cut off from their siblings either from estrangement on their or their siblings' part.Many siblings just simply DISASSOCIATE themselves from the unfavored sibling.

THERE IS EVEN A DARKER SIDE........REGARDING THE SIBLING SCENARIO

In some families, siblings indulge in more insidious forms of conflict which include: (1) physical assault
In some families, siblings indulge in more insidious forms of conflict which include: (1) physical assault
(2) fighting
(2) fighting
and (3) bullying and other forms of physical abuse.
and (3) bullying and other forms of physical abuse.

AFTEREFFECTS OF SIBLING MINDGAMES AND UPMANSHIP

As a result of constant sibling mindgames and other forms of manipulation and upmanship, many people suffer from low self-esteem which often adversely affects them in future relationships.
As a result of constant sibling mindgames and other forms of manipulation and upmanship, many people suffer from low self-esteem which often adversely affects them in future relationships.
Many people suffer from self-esteem issues as a result of what they had to endure from their siblings. They are often distrustful of people and relationships.Many have to undergo psychological and psychiatric help in order to overcome sibling issues.
Many people suffer from self-esteem issues as a result of what they had to endure from their siblings. They are often distrustful of people and relationships.Many have to undergo psychological and psychiatric help in order to overcome sibling issues.

More Tales of the Darkside From the World of Siblingship

There are more recent studies authenticating that children who have siblings have issues that only children do not have. The studies confirm that children with siblings suffer from more psychological issues such as having a lower sense of self and other self-esteem issues which was the result of competing for parental attention. Furthermore, children with siblings are subjected to sibling bantering and teasing which also adversely affect their self-image.

In other words, siblings equal family drama. This is because when there are more than one child in the same household, children learn ways to gain parental favor. The more children, the more intense the vying for parental resources whether it is physical, emotional, intellectual, and financial. This is why in multichild families, there is always sibling rivalry which is a fact of life.

There is no multichild family in which there is no sibling rivalry. Siblings constantly compete with each other for parental resources. This is quite normal behavior. Study the animal kingdom-notice what occurs when animals have more than one offspring. Yes, you guessed it- the little cubs or puppies are fighting for the affection of the parent. Well, human behavior in multichild families is duplicating such animal behavior.

Sibling rivalry begins upon the birth of the second child. Social scientists and educators such as Susan Newman, Ph.D. and Ellen Peck, authors, maintain that when a succedent sibling is born into a family, the older children often feel alienated and abandoned. In other words, they feel dethroned and unwanted. Oftentimes, the oldest child often revert to more childish and/or infantile behaviors such as baby talk, bedwetting, and soiling in order to garner parental attention.

Dr. Newman further elaborated that most children are extremely wary of their new sibling. This is because many older children view their new sibling or siblings as threats to their familial status. Oldest children were only children once and the center of parental attention. Then, presto, a succedent sibling arrives and the first child becomes dethroned. The new sibling now needs the parents' attention. So the oldest child often becomes resentful of the new arrival and views him/her as an intruder.

In several biographies of Princess Grace a/k/a Grace Kelly, she reported that her oldest child, Princess Caroline was so jealous of her brother, Prince Albert, that she would bite him. Also, it was further reported that upon the birth of the youngest child, Princess Stephanie, Princess Caroline attempted to flush her sister down the toilet, saying that she did not want her. Many oldest children, in fact, detest the arrival of a new sibling and have done many things to show their displeasure. One noted creative writer of COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE reported leaving her newborn brother on a curb, hoping that someone would take him away.

Many oldest children believe that upon the birth of a succedent sibling or sibling that they are not as good as the new arrival/arrivals. In fact, they feel inadequate and believe that they were not enough for their parents. According to research done at Montpelier University, oldest children are more selfish than their younger siblings. This is because with the birth of a successive sibling/siblings, they became vary of parental love and of relationships. They often believe that they are on shaky grounds regarding their parents and feel cast aside. This makes many oldest children distrustful and uneasy in relationships. They also have a high sense of parental abandonment.

Many oldest children because they believe that they were displaced, develop the overachiever and the good sibling mentality in order to obtain parental attention. Some oldest children mask their resentment of younger siblings by exercising upmanship with their younger sibling/siblings. This upmanship includes behaviors from teasing to actual bullying. In a biography of a highly successful corporate executive who was the oldest of seven children, he would remark to constantly playing mindgames on them and making them do errands and clean his room. Oldest children are quite adept of the adage that might makes right. They have learned to use power play regarding their younger siblings.

However, there are oldest children who pretend that nothing is wrong and adopt the persona of the responsible and altruistic older sibling. These oldest children play the good oldest child by putting their sibling needs before theirs. This often results in parents taking the oldest sibling for granted and the younger siblings taking advantage of their kindness. They often learn since their perception of being abandoned, never to voice their needs and wants ever again. They feel as if they are second best in their families and that their younger sibling/siblings are more important than they are.

In order for them to feel important, they become the perfect child. That is they will outdo everyone in the family in order to feel that they are important in their parents' eyes. They become the prototypical overachiever. They begin to equate doing and accomplishments as an index to their humaneness. Their motto is that since they are not good enough, they will be better than everyone else just to get noticed and appreciated. Their cry is, " Look at me, damn it!"

Now, with the correlation of succedent children in the family, there is a prevalence of such variables such as favoritism, scapegoating, differential, and preferential treatment of family members based upon parental preference. The larger the families, the more likelihood that there will be unequal treatment of siblings. There is NO parent or parents, no matter the saying that all children in the household are loved and cared for equally, practice this. In fact, subconsciously parents have THEIR preferences as to what sibling will receive the golden glove treatment and what sibling will be a persona non grata. Please do not tsk tsk or pooh pooh me, stating oh no how untrue, untrue. Well, it is so true.

Joseph Kennedy, patriarch of the Kennedy clan, favored his oldest son, Joseph Kennedy II. Mr. Kennedy pinned all hopes that his eldest son be the first Irish Catholic president of the United States. Joseph Jr. was viewed as the golden boy in the Kennedy clan. He was handsome, extremely bright, and an all around person. Furthermore, in the eyes of Mr. Kennedy, Joseph Jr. could do no wrong. All of Mr. Kennedy's hopes were pinned upon his oldest son.

During World War II, Joseph II became a fighter pilot. Unfortunately, he was killed while in battle. Of course, Mr. Kennedy was distraught and decided that his second son, John, would take Joseph Jr's place to become the first Irish Catholic president. John was somewhat the less favored son; however, Mr. Kennedy believed that since John was next in line, he decided to groom his second son for the position.

There are many such children who are the golden children in the family. Golden children, even more than favored child, get the best from the parent. They receive the best clothing, care, parental time, and education. They often get away with things that other siblings would be punished and disciplined for. In other words, they can do NO WRONG in parental eyes. The golden child in the family often exhibit characteristics which separates them from other family members rather it is striking good looks, prodigious talents, intellectual giftedness/acumen, unusual athletic ability and other related variables.

The golden sibling is often considered a jewel and a precious entity by the parents. More money is usually spent to him/her much to the neglect of the other children in the family. Because of the intensely preferential treatment that the golden sibling receives from the parents, he/she develops a superior attitude and a sense of entitlement.

Of course, there is a sibling or siblings who are the object of parental favoritism because of variables which include birth order status, similar parent/child characteristics and psychology, and the child's innate personality among other factors. Favored children are usually treated more preferentially than other children. They often get more parental attention and favors than their other siblings. They are often punished less for offenses that their siblings would be severely punished for. Like the golden sibling, the favored sibling also has the halo effect i.e. they are viewed more positively by their parents than the other children in their families,

Both golden and favored children curry the resentment, hatred, and envy of their less favored siblings. An example of this is Joseph in THE BIBLE. He was the eleventh son out of twelve children whose father is Jacob. Jacob saw qualities in Joseph that he did not see in his other eleven children. So! So you asked- now what happened? You guessed it- Joseph was the special, golden child whom Jacob favored above the others. Well, the other eleven brothers, especially the few oldest brothers, did not take kindly to this at all. By brotherly consensus, they elected to sell the special golden sibling into slavery in Egypt!

The abovementioned example is an extreme of course. However, this is a perfect illustration of what happens in multichild families when favoritism and special status to granted to a sibling or siblings over other siblings. While the favorite and/or golden child feels loved, adored, and pampered by the parents, the other siblings suffer. The latter often feel as they are persona non grata or worse, invisible. As in the story of Joseph, they display their resentment towards the favored and/or golden sibling either verbally or physically. Often the less favored and/or ignored sibling often develops low self-esteem and other negative behavioral issues. Oftentimes, many siblings develop a schism between them which lasts for a lifetime because of favoritism, preferential treatment, and special status conferred upon a particular sibling/siblings over others.

As I have said-where are siblings, there is drama! Then there is the scapegoat sibling. In multichild families, there are children, who for one reason or another, are objects of parental disfavor and abuse. Maybe this child was an unwanted child , possess characteristics which are vastly different from their familial culture, have a different personality than the parents, and/or who just stands out for whatever reason.

Siblings who are scapegoated are treated WORST by their parents. They are often held to a stricter standard than the other members in the family. They receive the worst of everything whether it is clothing, privileges, education, and/or other types of care. They are often punished more punitively and harsher for offenses that other siblings are merely reprimanded for. Some scapegoated siblings are actually HATED by their parents.

Scapegoated children are more likely to be ignored, neglected, and abused by their parents than their other siblings. Even though scapegoated children occurs in all family sizes, it is more prevalent in medium large to very large families where there is greater parental stress because emotional, physical, and financial resources are S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-D to the limit. In such families, children are CONSTANTLY competing for what few resources parents have. Furthermore, the larger the family, the more chaos and psychological stress there is as it is IMPOSSIBLE for parents to equally devote and divide their resources among their large number of children. Children in medium large to very large families are often viewed as obligations to be undertaken instead of joyous creations. As a result of this, there are some children in such families who are viewed as more burdensome than others and are thus scapegoated.

This is a familial atmosphere regarding scapegoated children which is analogous to the concept of constructive discharge. Let me first define constructive discharge. In the work environment if the supervisor and/or superior does not like the employee for whatever reason, he/she can make the working environment so infernal for the employee that he/she is left with no other discourse but to resign his/her employment. I shall apply the same principle to the familial environment to the scapegoated child/sibling. Some parents view their children as so burdensome and onerous that they create an environment of living hell for the scapegoated sibling/siblings that they are forced to leave home earlier than they wish to.

There are some parents who view their children, not as joys but as mouths to feed and support. Many parents especially in larger families, voice that they cannot wait until their children reach eighteen and move out of the house so they can have more freedom and less mouths to feed and support. Many scapegoated children are often throwaway children with nowhere to go but to the streets. They are simply not wanted by their parents who have too many children to support, Still other scapegoated children are simply pushed out of the parental home or told to simply leave.

Then there is the unfavored sibling who is not as badly treated as the scapegoated sibling. Unfavored siblings are disliked by parents because they often have different characteristics than the parent or sometimes they may have the same characteristics of the parent which he/she does not wish to acknowledge, and the parent may have an deepseated animus against the child for some unknown reason.

Unfavored children as scapegoated children are often in a precarious situation. They are also on the short end of the parental receiving stick. They are too held to a different standard than their favored sibling. They are disciplined and reprimanded for behaviors that their more favored and/or other siblings are allowed to get away with. The situation of the unfavored sibling/siblings in the family can range from the lower purgatorial to slightly hellish. Unfavored siblings have little or no sense of self as it is constantly being invalidated by parental figures. They often spend the LEAST time with their parents as their parents often find excuses and methodology to avoid interfacing with their unfavored child. They are usually left to their own devices. As with the scapegoated sibling, they are the nonentities and nothings in their families.

Of pertaining to preferential and differential treatment, where there are SIBLINGS, there is the BIRTH ORDER dynamic. In multichild families, there is usually an unequal playing and hierarchical field. Parents clearly do not treat children in multichild families equally. Each child is treated preferentially and/or differentially dependent upon his/her birth order. Some children in multichild families(usually the youngest child) is adored, babied, and indulged while others are treated more harshly and expected to carry the responsibilities( the oldest child), and yet still others are ignored and overlooked (you guessed it-the middle child).

Such family dynamics often have long lasting effects on the children involved. Many oldest children hate and resent their younger siblings for privileges and more indulgent treatment that they received. They believe that they are the unpaid and unappreciated servants in their families. Oldest children, especially in medium large to very large families, are often the UNHAPPIEST of all birth orders. Of course, they are pressured to be adults and responsible from a very early age. They are not allowed by their parents to enjoy a decent and reasonable childhood but must spend it caring for their younger siblings.

Forget about middle children. They are used to being ignored and anonymous by their family members. They often accept it as a fact of life. However, there are some middle children who rebel against being overlooked by parents and older siblings. They often become aggressive towards their siblings in a bid to be noticed and respected. Middle children are the second unhappiest of all birth orders.

The youngest child received the golden gloves in any family, especially medium large to very large. Of course, they are happy because they have the LEAST familial responsibilities. Life is a golden palace for the youngest child. They are often the favorites in many families. However, they are more likely to be bullied by other siblings who often resent the former's privileged and pampered familial status.

In multichild families, because there is intense competition for parental attention and favor, there is often a lot of infighting and gamemanship practiced among siblings. Murray Straus, Ph.D., author of the book BEHIND CLOSED DOORS; VIOLENCE IN THE AMERICAN FAMILY, clarified that in multichild families, it is rife that sibling abuse occurs. Dr. Straus maintained that 74% of children in multichild families abuse each other. Further sociological and psychological studies concur that 42% of siblings kick, punch, and bite each other. Those studies further maintained that if verbal abuse is involved, then 85% of siblings regularly verbally abuse each other. Since sibling abuse, verbal and other, is commonplace in multichild families, the long lasting effects of such actions are damaging to the child's self esteem and sense of self.

Such sibling rivalry does not end in adolescence. In fact, sibling upmanship, competition, and rivalry often last throughout an entire lifetime. Sibling roles, rifts, and upmanship from childhood and adolescent often continue throughout adulthood. Many siblings have low self-esteem and issues relating to other people because of their sibling experience. Still others receive psychological and psychiatric care because of the abuse they endured from siblings.

Many people live their lives in the shadow of their siblings instead of establishing their own individual lives. Others, especially oldest children, live for their siblings and are afraid to express their own individual wants and needs. While adults who are youngest children in their families expect other older siblings to continuously support them throughout their adult years. Middle children, as adults, often escape from the family and sibling drama, often making their own mark and going their own way(think of Grace Kelly and Madonna).

Then there is the issue of favoritism and scapegoating among adult siblings. Many golden and favored siblings "mature" into selfish, entitled prima donnas and boy wonders who believe that the world revolves around them and people exist to do their bidding. They have an inflated sense of themselves with little or no regard for others. They are often manipulative and will do anything to get their own way even if it hurt others. They further believe that the world owes them something and because they had an easier life, cannot handle stress and hardship.

Unfavored and scapegoated children either are utter failures in life because of a severely damaged self-esteem or they become the family rebels and iconoclasts who have severed ties with their toxic biological family and have found non-related family members who care about who they genuinely are. Many unfavored and scapegoated children have become wildly successful and famous and use their fame and success to help the underdogs of society.

In conclusion, having siblings increases the likelihood of uncooperative and even pathological behaviors in the family. When there is more than one child in the family, children must compete in any way necessary for parental favor. Furthermore, there are documented studies which illustrate the often deleterious effects of siblinghood on children ranging from one child feeling abandoned to preferential and/or differential treatment of children by parents.

Because of the intense competition to curry parental favor, children in multichild families often play mindgames and manipulate each other to see who is the better person. Such mindgames and similar behaviors include verbal and physical abuse which often include punching, name-calling, hitting, kicking, and biting each other. Such combativeness and other adversarial relationships among siblings often have an extremely negative effect upon each sibling's self-esteem and self image.

Sibling competition just does not cease in adolescence. It often continues into adulthood. Many siblings often act out and assume their childhood familial roles because it is safer to play the part. However, there are some siblings who refuse to play their familial roles and carve out unique and individual lives. As illustrated above, blood is not always thicker than water and familiarity can indeed breed contempt!

© 2011 Grace Marguerite Williams

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Comments 24 comments

bell du jour profile image

bell du jour 5 years ago from Ireland

I'm the eldest of six and became almost another parent to my siblings, and as a result I had to grow up very quickly. Very interesting and well written, voted up.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 5 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

Thank you so much for your response. For decades, psychologists and sociologists have glorified the multichild family and how "wonderful" it is to have siblings. However, reality contradicted this. People have reported friction regarding their sibling relationships.

When I was growing up, sibling culture was exhorted to an insane degree. It was a constant inundation that children with siblings are better adjusted and have no issues. Well, this is totally false. There were always negative issues surrounding sibling relationships. It is now with the advent of smaller families that sibing relationships are thoroughly being critiqued and analyzed. The issues of sibling rivalry and favoritism among siblings are insidious and often leave long lasting scars. Actually, having siblings is not all that great-many people enduring horrific relationships at the hands of their siblings. In actuality, most people are not happy in their sibling relationship.

Many parents mistakenly have two or more children so their children will have a sibling relationship. However, many children wish that they did not have siblings. In my opinion, only youngest children are happiest in the sibling relationship. Oldest children are clearly the unhappiest because they are transformed from regular, carefree children to stressed out caretakers and second parents. Oldest children often have little or no childhood because they are given caretaking responsibilities over their siblings. Forget about the middle child who is totally overlooked and ignored. The sibling relationship is often precarious and has deleterious effects on the children involved.

The most recent study revealed that children with siblings have lower self esteem issues because of the inhouse rivalry, bantering, and abuse of all kinds. In multichild families, there is always inequality in terms of parental treatment of children. Children with siblings have issues that only children thankfully do not have. Again, I appreciate your response.


S G Hupp profile image

S G Hupp 5 years ago from United States

Hmmmm. This is a really interesting Hub. I really believe though, that many, if not most of the people parenting today put very little thought into it as if raising well balanced children is some sort of a "no brainer" which is not true. I have three children and I can say that the above really does not describe them at all. They are literally best friends and I know many other families like us. On the other hand, several of the most poorly adjusted, unhappy, and badly behaved children I've known over the years are only children--a result of too much parental attention being focused on them. I agree that your siblings have and enormous effect on the development of your personality. But how siblings interact is largely the result of parental behavior.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 5 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

To SG Hupp: You are very typical of the people who glorifies siblings and are extremely prejudiced against only children. If you can read, studies have shown that only children are the happiest and the most well ajusted in addition to having a high sense of self. Only children do not have to endure the bantering of siblings who constantly bully, verbally harass, and abuse them. The people whom I know who had the happiest childhoods were only children.

You are indeed prejudiced. Studies show that children who grow up with siblings are the unhappiest and have lower self esteem issues because of constant infighting, favoritism, and competing for parental attention which is PREVALENT in multichild families. You are typical of the sibling society-glorifying siblings and denigrating only children. Well, your remarks regarding only children are illiterate, asinine, and ludicrous. Only children have it better in life than children who have siblings because there is no drama in the homes of only children whereas where there are SIBLINGS, there is DRAMA!

I strongly suggest that you do some reading regarding the ugly side of siblings and the benefits of being the only child. There are articles in PSYCHOLOGY TODAY detailing this. Please read books on only children before you make your typical, sibling prejudiced judgement! I am sick of the prejudice that people have against only children! It is about time that it stops!


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 5 years ago

I raised two Happy, Healthy Sons, who were 2 1/2 years apart and the best of friends until they married...now their Wives do not like each other and so...there is a friction that is New and Sad to see. Well Written Hub GmWilliams on an Interesting Subject that holds lots of debates.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 5 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

Thank you b. Malin for stopping by. Your comments are ALWAYS welcome!


S G Hupp profile image

S G Hupp 5 years ago from United States

I don't think you read my comment very carefully...your hysterical and hostile defense of only children and your bizarre hatred for multi child families is disturbing--as was your rather vicious personal attack. Given the tone of your article, I should have guessed that you thrive on being offended, and therefore should have spelled my position out to you much more clearly. I was really only pointing out that families cannot be pigeon-holed and that parenting is the key to happy childrearing. Your rather ugly attack seems to point to a very narrow, frantic world view. I stand by what I said--my children are best friends--and several very unhappy children I know are only children--what I DIDN'T say was that ALL multi child families are happy and that ALL single child families spell trouble. You, on the otherhand do not seem capable of tolerating any experience that isn't slavishly consistent with your personal point of view. Or maybe it is this particular topic that sparked the hateful histrionics, I don't know. It's OK for you to have a point of view and it's also ok for you to disagree with the viewpoints of others, but in my opinion, hate-filled rants are NEVER ok, regardless of how desperately you want the world to agree.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 5 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

To S G Hupp: I sincerely apologize to you for there has been a severe misunderstanding. I welcome all comments including yours. I love comments on my hubs as I love all types of opinions which is necessary part of discourse in a democratic society. I would only be upset if there were NO comments to my hubs.


brakel2 profile image

brakel2 5 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

There are upsides and downsides to both sides of this issue. I have one brother, and my children are two. I have not been around only children too much. I think that your you covered your topic well. Each child is an individual entity, and probably a general statement does not fit everyone. The many different children make up this great world. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this issue in this hub.


Valentine Logar profile image

Valentine Logar 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Late to the game, you should see inside my strange and semi-functional family where we have not one, not two, but indeed four different sets of sibling groups. I am the eldest in three of them and second to the youngest in one. I am the 'rebel and different child' in two of them, but for one parent I am the scapegoat in one. I am the responsible one in all of them now, as an adult, but I am also the one that remains, different and hard to define for all my sibling groups.

I have written about being the blacksheep in different forums. What you have said is mostly true, though when my younger brother entered the picture I was both resentful and thrilled at the same time. Our rivalry was fierce but I was also overly protective of him throughout our childhood, if that makes sense.

I think you did a wonderful job.


Rena 4 years ago

I love the article and I agree that many people with siblings are unhappy. However, I do feel that only children are more carefree and happier since they are not bogged down by the horribleness known as siblings.


Grace 4 years ago

I am the oldest of 2 children. I always felt that my sister was "the perfect child". she had more friends, a better personality, Skinny-er than i was, prettier, better grades, everything. And i believed my parents saw the same. so i made up this story in my head that if i try to show my parents that my sister made mistakes, they would think of her as normal, and not perfect. but i endedup getting in troubled because i was "tattling" on her. I did horrible things to her. i called her bad words and a lot more. she intimidated me. She would act like an angel around everyone. This made me want to be even meaner.

Currently she says that she is "done with me", meaning that she does not think of me as a sister. But i don't want it to be this may. i just want her to realize that she is perfect, and not to rub it in anyone (ME) else face. But she wont listen...


Grace ( my comment is above ) 4 years ago

we are also a year and 8 month apart


D Leonard 4 years ago

Re B Malino

I liked your response. I currently have two sons 4 years apart. Now married with two sons each . As children best of friends. Oldest claimes his realation within his family is at risk due to excessive financial genorisity to the youngest which he believes is not respecting, and the support is being abused to support alife style which is not realistic.

The oldest made their own way with a lot less help from me (grandparent). Now the oldest believes a happy meaningly family releationship is in jeopardy. Action now considered by me is some form of tough love and full transparency in all communciation. Iam a middle child of six siblings. High school drop out. Own and operate a very successful business. Thank you for inspiring me to write this.


Jeepy 3 years ago

This article was very informative and interesting to me. I am currently dealing with siblings resentment with one of my sisters. I am the youngest of 3 girls. My middle sister is very resentful towards me and my mother. My parents divorced when we were young and my father was unbelievably abusive to my middle sister, let's call her Betty. My father, also a middle child, would call her fat and belittle her constantly. He wasn't nice to us either, but she took the brunt of his anger. Perhaps because she was a middle child like him? During our teens, Betty began to exhibit the same behavior and abusiveness towards everyone that my father had toward her, especially me. She would call me names, put me down constantly, and she just had such a way with her words. And she does do this, to everyone. She is very toxic. She has always been an over achiever and gone out of her way to possibly get noticed. I was sick with asthma in my childhood and I looking back I think she resents that I got"attention" for something I couldn't help because let's face it, attention is attention. My mother and other sister have tried to intervene and Betty accuses my mother of favoring me and not loving her. It was less for her. Lately things have been getting much worse. I went on vacation with Betty and one of my "friends" and it turned into hell. Betty manipulated my friend behind my back and they both ganged up on me. It was a perfect example of how how people are capable of behaving contrary to what they think they would if they were in a certain situation. Betty was the ringleader and had power. I almost flew home early from the trip because of how bad it got. This was all because of pent up resentment and jealousy that she holds toward me. The ironic part is how successful Betty is. She is beautiful, has a high paying job in the medical field, and comes off to others on the outside as a happy and perfect person, yet she is miserable. After the vacation from hell, I have asked her to get together to talk and resolve things more times than I can count. She avoids me and comes up with every excuse why she can't. 9 months have passed. I want closure and I shouldn't be the one approaching her after what happened--it should be the opposite. I don't think she wants to face herself and what she's done. She doesn't want to look in the mirror and admit to it. I don't even talk to my so called "friend" anymore because of the whole ordeal. My sister won't go to counseling and I can't subject myself to her abusiveness anymore. At this point, I don't know what to do anymore. I can't fix how she's felt for our entire lives. She hates me for being myself. An example is: she went to college and grad school before me obviously. She had apartments that she would put on her loan, and she had a car payment. She worked during this time to pay for her Audi that she chose to get. It was her choice to do that. When it came time for me to attend college, I chose to commute and save money. My parents couldn't afford to send any of us to college--we all had to sign for loans, so I chose to commute to accumulate less debt in student loans. And she resents me for that. She resents me for making different decisions than she. She could have easily done the same thing. Betty also doesn't bite her tonuge with anyone. Anyone that she has ever roomed with that she was friends with, their friendship ended when the lease did. She has no filter, no remorse, or empathy for anyone and says whatever she feels and doesn't care if it will hurt their feelings or not. She treats everyone poorly and is constantly getting into it with everyone because of this. She treats everyone poorly except for my father: the man who enstilled all this in her. She became my father. It's almost like he's untouchable. My question is, now that the resentment and jealousy is interfering and surfacing now that we are adults in our twenties, what am I supposed to do? She has ruined a friendship of mine. It is not as if we are older with families of our owns and I can choose not to interact with her. I cannot avoid her, and she won't get help and talk to someone with me or my mom. I'm at my breaking point. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you.


trish 3 years ago

You can only help someone who can admit that they have a problem and they want it resolved.


No Apologies 3 years ago

Great article, on point. Thank you.

I am the youngest of 4 daughters. My parents were divorced a month after I was born. My dad walked out on a mentally-ill pregnant wife and three daughters. I was born with a kidney disease and had numerous surgeries and hospitalizations before age 7, which created resentment between me and my second sister. She hates me. Always has and always will. She's told me this to my face, all my life. She's nearly 10 years older than me. She accused me of being sick just to get attention. My other sisters keep their mouths shut and put up with her games and crap because they are afraid of her and don't want to lose 'their place' with her. I am not afraid of her and I will not let her control me. I have had no contact with her in more than 1o years, I am happier without her and her crap, but that also means I cant have any contact with my other sisters, because they don't want to lose her if they speak with me. So they choose her. She also has manipulated them all of their lives so that they have resentment towards me as well, they grew up being reminded by her that I got better grades and had more friends than they did. Apparently, I am supposed to wake up every morning and apologize for existing. Last year I was diagnosed with cancer, thankfully they caught it in time. and my sisters knew this, and only one of them cared enough to call and find out if I was ok.

Sometimes you just have to cut your losses. For the millionth time, they showed me after last year, what horrible, heartless, gutless people they really are, (number 2 and number 3 especially). Life is short, make it good, make it count. I came to the conclusion a few years back that my second sister, whose been 'in charge and calling the shots' all of he life, is seriously mentally ill. Both parents have passed away already, so there was and is, nobody to run interference. I wish things could be different, but everyone has to want the same thing, and they don't want it.

Thanks for writing this article, I saw my siblings and myself in it, repeatedly.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 3 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

You are welcome. Your story is very sad.


Jill Schinkinger 2 years ago

Sibling rivalry results from the inequity of the treatment of the children by the PARENTS. Adults should know that. Adult psychologists should certainly know that!


Telenovela 8 months ago

Jeepy,

My story is similar to yours. I am the youngest, and while I was favored for a little while, my sister set out to change it and by lying on me, pretending that I'm violent toward her (dodging or ducking when passing me to look as if she is afraid when she is the one that has physically abused me), setting up traps so that I would accidentally break a rule due to her misrepresentation of a situation, etc. Now, our parents do not trust me and she is the favorite.

I thought that she would be happy with that and would leave me alone. However, she now focuses on my professional achievements and resents me for those. For instance, I had to travel due to my job. She heard about this, rolled her eyes, and set up a trip that she could hardly afford to say "I travelled too". She would never do her work in college and barely graduated but resents me for working and graduating Summa Cum Laude. She has actually been caught dressing like me and pretending to be me. She will also rattle off my list of accomplishments as her to those that don't know any better.

If I hide accomplishments, she will get upset that I am not telling her anything. She tells our parents that I hate her and that I don't speak to her when she has told me that she "wants nothing to do with me". I've tried to plan parties for her, but she won't tell me when she's off work and then she calls our parents and say that I won't show up at her party! She seems to be trying to completely destroy me! People really don't understand the seriousness of sibling rivalry.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 8 months ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

Siblings COMPETE against each other, that is WHAT they do. In the book by Ellen Peck, THE JOY OF THE ONLY CHILD, she mentioned that the average person w/siblings have contentious relationships. She went as far to state that the average person w/siblings actually HATE their siblings. Yes, sibling rivalry does have QUITE DISASTROUS results.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 8 months ago from Kaufman, Texas

This was very very easily readable.

I was lucky to be 8 years younger than my older sister, so I wound up with a mini-mom there.

I always wanted to be friends with my younger brother, but he was a very social one, forever having friends over, and I didn't like his friends. I do now though, but I'm 42! LOL.

Just wanted to say 'hello,' and 'nice write!'


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 8 months ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

Thank you for your response & for stopping by. It is greatly appreciated.


Telenovela 8 months ago

Not all siblings compete against each other. I was a musical prodigy as a child and I was content being myself. Of course, in small things like playing tag, I wanted to win. However, I respected my sister as being the oldest with longer legs and knew she would win. I sometimes even purposely let her win in childhood games out of respect.

However, what she has done to me is NOT normal. Constantly lying, setting me up for punishment, stealing, messing up the house so that I get punished for "not doing chores"??? As adults she hacks my accounts, rolls her eyes, throws out my food so that I will have little to eat, all the while I do nothing but congratulate her on her achievements.

Therefore, no! All siblings do not compete. Maybe in early childhood, but normally, it stops. She is attacking me as an adult; she ruins my personal relations and now, she is trying to ruin my professional life. Very abnormal!

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