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Sisters By Blood, But Not By Choice

Updated on May 26, 2017
Juliet Stewart profile image

Juliet Austin- Holds an M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling from E.S.U., she spends her time with her dog's, Heckel and Jeckel.

In the recesses of my mind

Are memories that linger

Of a time, a place, a smell

It calls to me this magical place

We were young and times were different

Together we roamed the hill top

Where one would venture so too would the other

We dressed alike though our looks did differ

We were and always and to this Day

Sisters, by blood and choice

As Years went by and as we grew

Then came another

More for me to love and hug and cater

Sisters all three are we

But the Years you see does what Years often do

Separated by lives and distance

But Sisters by blood and choice we will always be

What Makes us Sisters

I'm going to assume the people reading my article is somewhat familiar with how babies are first conceived and make their way into the World. How the physical characteristics make us sisters or brothers. With that in mind, I speak only of sisters born with their original sexual identifiers, having the same biologic family.

Certainly, the relationship between siblings is a complex one. But none more complex than that of sisters. I am often times bombarded with tears, and the past hurts by strangers and friends alike who for whatever reason find themselves in the precarious position of being alienated from their sisters. The lament is one I've become all too familiar with "we used to be so close, I don't know what happened".

A very dear friend of mine recently approached me with said comment, we shared our stories, and I found that we had similar experiences. Growing up my sister and I were very close, or so I thought, we did everything together, dressed alike, and were each other, playmate. In looking back, I realized what I thought was closeness, was forced interaction. My mother, as do most mothers basically pushed me to tag along with my sister, so we were inseparable. Nothing wrong with that at all, except as it may have concerned my sister. Maybe she didn't always want a younger sister tagging along, and just maybe she didn't want to dress like me. My mother however probably thought it was cute. So did I, I must admit, my sister though she didn't realize it was my idol, I looked up to her as do most younger siblings. To her, I was an annoyance she couldn't shake. That is also not unique, it's a view expressed by most older siblings. As we got older, we each developed our own interest's, friendships and basically did our own thing. Which is quite okay, we are different each having our own unique personalities.

Sibling Rivalry

What happens when closeness develops into full blown discord between sisters? As difficult as it is to accept, sister rivalry is established at an early age, we may not want to accept the facts but often times, most Parents unknowingly create these feelings of resentment in their children. There are the few that do engage in sibling baiting, pitting one Sister against the other.

Something as simple as maybe giving one child a more expensive gift, or one gift more than the other starts the ball rolling, or maybe one child develops a closeness to a Parent, and the other is more inclined towards letting that sibling enjoy the spotlight. As we develop into adulthood, that perception of closeness stays in our mind and helps to reinforce the belief that a sibling is loved more.

There is absolutely no way around jealousy, sisters are predisposed from birth it's in the genetic make-up the rule book, and guidelines we receive at birth, to be jealous of each other. If one excels in a certain area you can bet your a$$ets the other sister or sisters will be jealous. Jealousy in itself is a healthy emotion, it becomes problematic when the intent changes from healthy competition to full-blown rivalry or a battle to destroy the character, and well-being of the sibling being targeted.

The Do's and Dont's of Maintaining Sister Relationship


Give encouragement- often times to bring a relationship to the next level of understanding, all that's needed is giving a little encouragement to your sibling, focusing on the positive things that they may not realize you like and viewed as a strength. This is especially important if you are viewed as the successful one, by friends and family.

Have open and honest dialogue regarding your feelings - If you have resentful or hurt feelings towards your sister, maybe you view them as being the favorite or having things together and your Life is less desirable. Through honest communication, you may find that they have had struggles, and may view you as being the favorite. Perceptions are relationship killers and are often faulty.

Set aside time to interact with your sister(s) only - To really get to know, and forge a healthy relationship as with any relationship, spending quality time together is essential. You get to learn each other's likes and dislikes. Do take turns suggesting different activities that you as an individual enjoy doing and have the sister(s) tag along. Keeping in mind that you each have different personalities and may not enjoy the same things, eventually, you will be able to identify things you have or like in common.


Never take sides with anyone against your sister- Unless she is involved in criminal activities or will bring undue harm to self or others follow the old adage "If you can't say anything nice" then shut your damn mouth. Okay so I took a little creative license with that part, but you get the picture.

Never spread harmful rumors- Even if it may be true, divulging personal, and harmful accounting's of your sisters' actions you may deem inappropriate is neither your business or the business of your sisters' friends, or loved ones.

Do try to contain your behavior- It is never, never okay to divulge to your sisters' spouse information regarding your sister. By doing so, you have crossed the boundaries of acceptable behavior. To do so shows the level of hatred that has embedded itself since Childhood, once you have crossed this line, there really is little hope of ever resolving latent issues or forming a meaningful relationship with your Sister.

Spreading rumors about your sibling is not nice, nor does it make you better. What that does is highlight the jealousy, and possibly dislike that has been festering under the surface for Years, this is often times done to take attention away from an unfulfilled life, or simply to gain support and friendship. The deep-seated resentment comes from being unhappy and seeing your rival, in this case, your sister as being the reason for your failure.

"Sister, Sister"

The Sitcom "Sister, Sister" gives an unrealistic impression of the relationship between sisters, that is not to say that there aren't sisters who genuinely love each other, however, it's hard work to maintain that level of closeness, People will tell little white lies regarding their relationships, the reality is there are only a few sisters that have gone through the jealousy, competitive phase and somehow manage to weather the storm, there may still be unresolved issues, but not enough to create a rift.

Being sisters by blood does not ensure that a healthy sibling relationship is a foregone conclusion. To develop a level of actually liking each other, " Sisters by blood and by choice, requires attention, spending time together, and espousing the do no harm belief. Most of us never aspire to that level, it's important to know that you are not alone in this, sometimes moving on and maintaining your mental and physical wellbeing requires that you cut ties, because it takes two people or more depending on the number of siblings involved, to make a relationship, even sibling relationship, work. In closing dear friend I hope you are able to work things out with your sister, but if not, there is joie de vivre (joy in Life) in loving yourself enough to walk away.


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    • Heather Atwell profile image

      Heather Atwell 3 years ago

      You write with such passion, keep up the good work.