23 October 2011

social commentary Sunday . . . 'sibling rivalry - when you're an adult'

Greetings all,
Oh yes, this old chestnut . . . sibling rivalry . . . when you're an adult, really, will it end?? 
Today's post was triggered by my sister, who enjoys the role of gossip information conduit in the family.  It's easy when she calls our parents 3 times a day!!  As much as i love her, she was the sibling who would say "no offence, but you're ugly" . . . it's not constructive, it's plain mean.  She also starts every conversation with a passive aggressive "have you spoken to Mum & Dad lately" when she knows i only talk to them once a week or less.  I save up interesting things to tell them about my life, they know i care, i don't hassle.
Anyway, while i was recording the 'leaps' at the 13y.o. girls' long jump at Athletics yesterday, my mobile was running hot with SMS from my sister.  To wrap it up, I texted "hands sore, pressing buttons hurts, will have to have surgery soon".  My carpal tunnel has hit new heights of swelling, aches & numbness.  By the time i got home . . . Dad had already called twice, freaking out with worry (he has Mum's Alzheimer's to deal with, he's on a need-to-know basis about any of my dramas). 
I said to my father, this was my business & not for her to tell you, 2 minutes later.  I was going to tell him after i had confirmation of surgery options next week.  Ok, so you're thinking 'she's caring & worried about her little sister', but this is the millionth thing she's blabbed about before i've had a chance to tell my parents.  Flash back to when i was 18 & she delighted in telling my parents that i had sex!!  Was not in a rush to share that news, but it was my news.  Spending most of my adult life not living in Sydney, i've enjoyed my privacy & independence, especially raising our children.    
Don't worry, i've told her exactly how i feel, like i have the million times before.  I just can't believe it still happens.  Why!!??  I've suffered carpal tunnel since i was 28 & was pregnant with my son, it's no secret, everyone knows i sleep with metal hand splints, it's been 8 years & recently escalated thus considering surgery. 
I realised in our 20s . . . when my sister, Mum & i would get together, my sister would strive aggressively for Mum's attention.  So i backed off, i had my own relationship with our Mum, & with my new attitude, our get togethers would go swimmingly.  Seems like my sister has never let go of the sibling rivalry (my sisters-in-law tell me my brothers are the same).  Isn't that weird??  All grown up, we get on brilliantly, until our parents arrive & the competition for their attention is on.  Trust me, we all had plenty of positive attention from our devoted parents throughout our childhoods!!  We are all so different, careers, children, lifestyles, futures, i don't know what any of us is trying to 'rival'?? 
Do you notice sibling rivalry in your adult version of being a sister or brother??  What triggers it??  Are you dreading the upcoming festive season of enforced family events??  Love Poise
PS my crafty friends with sore hands . . . my surgeon brother said if i left my carpal tunnel any longer, i could do irreparable nerve damage. Yikes!!  Surgery here i come.  Edit: surgery can be done with a local anaesthetic, by a general surgeon in their office - who knew it could be that simple??  I didn't & i've put it off, suffered severe pain, now i feel quite silly.  You can seek out a hand specialist & a general anaesthetic if you wish . . . if you have 'the hands of a surgeon' or something special.  You can even drive an automatic car & continue on with your life immediately (as much as i'd prefer to be treated like the Queen & wave to my subjects - make their own bloody lunches!!)  Warning: if you do both hands at once, who is going to wipe your bottom??  Just saying.   


Felicity said...

Yikes indeed!

I'm very fortunate to have a supportive and loving relationship with my one and only brother and can't imagine the strain that the competitiveness with siblings must put on families.

I guess Tolstoy summed it up best when he wrote:

"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in their own way."

Hoping you have a gentler week ahead my friend.

Tania said...

Thank you for the nudge. The Mr has been wearing splints to bed too and every now and then I ask him when he is actually going to make (and keep) that specialist appointment. (I am living with a head-in-the-sand ostrich).

As far as siblings go, it's not rivalry as prompted by our parents, I don't think. And it's not that we don't all adore each other (mostly). It's more that I'm still pretty sure I had to have been adopted...

Mum on the Run said...

It really is wasted energy, isn't it?
Without knowing your family, my general belief is that the situation is more about the attention seeker's own personal issues than anything else.
I am slowly learning your technique/attitude with an in-law situation.
I don't need to be validated with attention from the family constantly - but she does, so I'll let her have it.
You are a self assured, confident, talented and mature person with an amazing personality - just being you is enough.
Good on you.

Shar :-)
I've only suffered De Quervein's (like Carpal) for a few months after Magoo and it was awful. I hope you get relief soon - even if that is surgery. My surgeon told me it is hugely successful. x

Pamela said...

I have a cracker of sibing rivalry for you. I have 3 sisters and 1 brother. My oldest sister is under the belief that because she is the oldest she has to do everything first. I mean EVERYTHING. As a kid I just took the attitude of "meh, go for it baby, i will do it my way, own time, anyway".

But a few of her crazy stunts include:
* getting married when she thought my boyfriend was going to pop the question, she filed for divorce within the month, oh and my boyfriend didn't propose till 2 years later.

* she found out my little sister was planning to elope, and she didn't want to be the only sister not married (she was up to divorce number 2 at this stage) so she literally raced up my sister to the registry office. She then triumphantly rang her to tell her she got married before her, only to find out my little sister beat her by 12 or so hours. So one has an anniversary on the 12th, one the 13th. Crazy stuff.

But all these outrageous things don't bother me too much. Quite funny actually. The one that really is annoying is the "my kid is better than yours". I hate comparing kids. Mention any achievement to my parents or her and I immediadely get innundated with "well E did this, R is taller / cuter /smarter..." you name it. Oh and we ended up pregnant at the same time... that was joyful, you can imagine the comparisons. I was a beached whale to her whiteout pen... nice...

She dobs on me to my parents too, but with 100% exxaggeration. So if I have a slight head cold my mum rings me frantic thinking I have been hospitalised with pneumonia. Grr...

I love my sister to bits. But she is one weird chick. Very intense and high strung. We all live in different states and it really suits us. I feel your pain :)

Hope you can get your op done soon. *hugs*

Liz said...

No, I don't dread it anymore, used to but not now...one just doesn't speak at all so I don't see him, one is off with the fairies most of the time (well, he lives in his own world really!) and the other just lives his life and doesn't worry about the rest...
So, I don't have that whole sibling rivalry at all, but then I don't have a sister...!!

posie blogs Jennie McClelland said...

Well it seems like those of you sisterless have it easier?? Maybe your brothers rival each other??
I'm actually totally cool with our collective 14 children, they are all smart, sporty & social, & we don't compete on that level. Maybe leave it for the cousins to fight it out when they are adults??!!
On the other hand, on my husband's side of the family, those collective 13 children, CONSTANTLY compared - by my father-in-law no less, not we mummies & daddies of said children. I think that will change in high school though, again, let the cousins fight it out. Love Posie

Thea said...

Oh you poor thing. I hope that surgery gives you some relief. I don't worry about sibling rivalry in my family because I stoppped caring about what they all think a long time ago.

There is one close member in the family who likes to blab everything you tell them in confidence so again, I stopped confiding in them a long time ago. STOP telling your sister anything unless you purposely want it to get around and you won't have a problem. xx

Finki said...

It's sad isn't it that when we grow up...some of us just don't. I have 5 siblings and talk to none of them barr xmas and bdays. For ages i was the goto girl. I wouldn't say no to helping out with money, life whatever. When i started saying no I can't help this time ...so I could focus on me and my own little family, I stopped getting called at all. Sad, but really, It saves me a whole lotta heart ache. xx

Kristin @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia said...

Oh girl, came by to see how you were doing, you were on my mind. I'm sorry you are going through so much.....there was a reason I came by today, so with that said, lots of love to you!!!

Jan Maree said...

Poor Posie. I hope you can schedule the surgery soon and get some significant relief. It doesn't seem fair that crafters get sore hands! And as far as families are concerned, I have learned over the years with occassional problems on both sides of the family that there are very few families out there with no issues and you just have to come to terms with what you have and find a way to adjust and deal with it as hard as that may be. The only thing you can change is the way you react and you just have to hope that is enough. Have a happy day.

LionessLady said...

Posie, I am feeling your carpal tunnel pain! I too got it whilst pregnant with my boys and it continues to haunt me! You will have to let us all know how you feel afterwards.

Sibling rivaly can be icky - luckily my sisters and I seem to have grown out of it these days! Joy!

yardage girl said...

Excellent post (again!) ~ aaahh the joys of families ~ it doesn't seem to matter how old we are, the same stuff still happens! Best wishes for the surgery and no more pain.

Queen Of The Armchair aka Dzintra Stitcheries said...

Oh beautiful Posie...I so feel for you...big hug your way!!! Lots of love Dzintraxo

The Provincial Homemaker said...

Only child here - so can't comment on adult sibling relationships with any authority. But, I do notice when my husband is back with his siblings it is very much like they are all back in the childhood nest all competing for Mum and Dad's attention.

Best of luck with your surgery.

Sarah said...

I am not sure if I could handle just having a local. Maybe if they put up a big screen so i couldnt hear anything.

Glad to hear you are able to get your wrists fixed up. As a short term sufferer of carpal I feel your pain. I honestly dont know how you have put up with wearing splints for so long. They drive me nuts.

Good luck

My Beautiful World said...

Oh Posie I do hope you feel better soon, I’m with you life’s too short to be worrying about....who doing what....and when.....Live your own life and live it happily I say! Hope you have a lovely weekend my friend.

Always Wendy

Naturally Carol said...

Hi Posie..my brother has a real need to compete with my sister and I ..and we are non-competitive and just bow out when that happens. I don't know whether it's just his kind of insecurity but he tries to get their attention and then says that they treated him badly when he was growing up and favoured us! I don't think they ever did..but it is all in a person's personal perception isn't it. I love him, but try to just ignore that part of it all!

Beautiful House said...

Good luck with surgery, I hope it gives you some relief. So glad I popped in today, I'm an only child too, sometimes wish I wasnt. Its been a long week over here.x

Jeannee said...

I'm an only child BUT when you mentioned "Alzheimer's" ... sigh. My Dad went through that illness. Long story short, I moved back home to take care of him - all by my disabled self. This type of passive-aggressive sibling rivalry I got from the neighbors that had known my dad 20, 30, years, were close to his age, AND - here's the cherry on top! - were jealous that there own children, who weren't disabled, would never take care of them like that - they knew it would be the nursing home for them. They created problems that included court (but I know it could have been far, far worse), anger attacks at me, at friends of mine who stopped by the house ... As Felicity stated, please have a gentle week!

Calico Child said...

Hi posie so glad I dropped by today (sorry been ages had the in laws staying)

I hope the surgery goes well what a pain it is my mum has had it she tried acupunture which seemed to have helped but I always notice she is rubbing her hands & wrist (she just won't go get it done) :(

Sorry about the sibling issue hope you have a better week :) x

cheryl @ nefotlak. said...

oh yuk! both the hands and the sibling rivalry.
not what you need I'm sure.
hope you get a surgery date soon - if you need ANY help let me know.
cheryl xox.

tinajo said...

Wow! As a child without any siblings at all I´m not familiar to this, but I guess I´ll eventually see it in my boys. Must be a drain of energy I guess - interesting that it doesn´t end when one reaches adulthood.

Marian Hazel said...

I'm the eldest of 5 children (3 girls, 2 boys), luckily there isn't any sibling rivalry (well if there is I'm totally unaware of it!), BUT my mother is constantly playing us off against eachother, if I talk to her she'll say 'Jen is upset because of insert random thing' so I talk to my sis and she's not! We've worked out finally that our mother gets upset about things and projects her issues onto us via our siblings! It's horrible, now I never believe her, and have told the others not to either! I love my mother but it's quite hard cause you can't tell her anything of a vaguely personal nature because who knows how she will reinterpret it to others. Hence we've not got a great relationship.
Goodluck with the surgery, the pain sounds dreadful you poor thing, without sisters mucking you about!

Libby said...

Hi Posie,
I can totally relate...to the sibling rivalry not the carpal tunnel :)
My younger sister (I have an older one too) recommended a book called 'The Sister Knot' by Terri Apter...it's a bit heavy going but is quite illuminating re the sister thing (which I find quite different to my relationships with my two brothers).
Hope your surgery goes well...lots of healing thoughts coming your way :))

ally said...

Naaah - don't do both hands at once - may ruin your relationship with your kids forever.
HHmmm - its my mother who regresses when my brother is in town - says we're picking on her and being mean if we so much as agree....

polkadotpeticoat said...

You know I know all about this maybe the silence treatment isn't so bad......in my thoughts Momma!

Hot Fudge said...

Best of luck with the surgery, you poor thing. A local anaesthetic would not be an option for me, because I faint at the sight of blood.

I feel somewhat left out of things with sibling rivalry, because there was none between my two brothers and me and, as far as I know, there is none between our three children. We're a boring lot, us Fudges.

P.S. Re that toilet thingie, have you thought of installing a hose?

TexWisGirl said...

oh, sorry to hear about the carpal tunnel but glad you are going to get it corrected! hopefully it will not be too rough of a healing process!!

as for sibling rivalry, i was the youngest of 8 and my next-oldest sis was 4 yrs older than me, so i didn't really even get to know my older siblings until later. but because i moved 1,100 miles away when i was 20, i didn't get to know them very well and only see them about every 4 or 5 yrs or so now...

janerowena said...

I thought for a moment you were leading my life! I have the annoying sister - who moved nearer to me two years ago - and the carpal tunnel syndrome. My mother is ill at the moment and my sister's latest stunt is to ask my mother for all the inherited family jewellery. as her 'son is more likely to be a safer bet to take care of it than any other of the grandchildren'. Which he is not. I obviously know more about his coke habit (via my daughter) than she does.

I don't want to start a war, my mother isn't well and I don't want to upset her and frankly I can remember my mother perfectly well without any family heirlooms, but it was the smirk on her face when she told me what she had done that made me want to smack her.

Kerryanne @ Shabby Art Boutique said...

Having just one sibling, a brother, I always wished I had sisters... and lots of them. Hearing your story Posie and all the comments I'm so glad I have one brother who lives in another state. Your sister sounds horrendous - I know you are nursing injuries right now so if you need someone to slap her face... I'm your 'goto' girl!! lol

Salley said...

Ahh Posie... another excellent blog post to provoke us all into reflecting on the die that get thrown our way.
No one is alone in this sibling thing...it gets PATHETIC as we get older... just when we should be getting more mature.
I think Jealousy is the dragon.
Hold your head up high... you are amazing...and whilst CTS is so debilitating...I'd try every thing natural first. My hormones post childbirth were the culprit for me. But glad I didnt have surgery. Really hope you find a solution for you.

Magi said...

My sister and I are 11 years apart (there are just the two of us). We started getting along very well once we were both adults. But we do have trouble fighting/arguing. Both growing up virtually as only children we never really learnt conflict resolution skills and so avoid conflict altogether.

Question: how does this sibling rivalry affect your own parenting (if at all)?>