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Friends and Family Everyone has disagreements, even best friends and family. If you need advice about a relationship, ask us here.

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I Don't Know How to Cope With It All - October 7th 2012, 09:06 PM

My family consists of four girls, a mother and father. Nothing wrong there. But for some reason, I just can't get along with my little sister. I am the second youngest, and my little sister is 4 years younger. The second oldest sister is about one year older than me so a lot of people say we look alike. I do realize though, that her maturity level is much higher than mine. She gets along with my little sister very well. In fact, my little sister respects her a lot more than me. I want to fix my current attitude and how I handle things because I think that might be the reason why she does not see me as an older as much as she does to the oldest two.
Now here's the problem for me. For some reason, I just hate my little sister so much to the point where I sometimes feel like doing the most horrendous and disturbing things I can ever think of. But when I have dreams of losing her somewhere or she gets bullied by someone I feel the need to get revenge for her. I know I have some kind of "sisterly bond" with her, but I don't know how to handle the hate that also comes along with the love. She's in junior high while I am graduating high school this year, so I do understand that she's going through all this wacky teenager stuff and I am often told by my oldest sister that I have a very bad and foul tone when I talk to people (especially to my little sister). I just don't know how to handle her at the moment. Especially when my mother tells me to watch over and teach her piano. THAT, I will NEVER and CANNOT EVER do and to be honest, I don't know why either. I really don't have a legitimate reason for that.
Apparently my oldest sister which I look up to very much has admitted that she hated me very much when she was in high school but ended up wanting to mend the relationship between us when she moved out for university and now we're fine (I think). So I am guessing I am going through the same phase with my little sister. Sometimes, I just feel like my oldest sister is asking me to get along with my little sister too soon. If she really wanted to, I could act it out but my hate for my little sister would just increase. Today, my oldest sister told me to work something out with my little sister to clean the house and pick up after ourselves, but I tried to explain that I just wasn't ready to work together and I would be willing to work something out myself. I guess my tone of voice or some kind of gesture I did made her think I was very immature. In the end, she told me I had the mind of a 13 year old while I am actually 16, and my little sister is 12. I do feel insulted but at the same time, I also agree to some extent. At this point, I just wish I could ignore my little sister until I am ready to improve our relationship. I am so annoyed and mad at her for no reason (or the reasons would be little things that tick me off but at the end of the day, it "wouldn't matter" or so my oldest sister tried to explain to me).
I want to fix my relationship with her, but at the same time I could care less. I want to build up my maturity level and handle situations like an adult would, but at the same time I find myself running in circles. Why is it so hard for me to grow up? I want to know what's holding me back, I just don't know where to start.
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Re: I Don't Know How to Cope With It All - October 9th 2012, 10:58 PM

It seems like the biggest conflict is with your younger sister, but I'm seeing a pattern of people pointing out your overall "attitude." Perhaps, instead of working SOLELY on the conflict with your younger sister, it may be more helpful to start off with the broader problem. If people are commenting on how you have a "bad/foul tone" when talking to everyone, then that's something you can work on changing now, simply by becoming more aware of it and trying different approaches when you catch yourself talking to people in ways they probably wouldn't like.

I actually dealt with something similar when I was in high school. People would ask me, "Why are you always angry?" I told them I wasn't, that I felt "neutral." They would then point out that my facial expression conveyed "anger," even if I felt "neutral." After that, I began to work on my facial expressions when around other people - I would make a point of smiling, to ensure they didn't mistake my "neutral" facial expression for "anger."

I think a greater deal of self-awareness will go a long way for you. Becoming more mindful of your emotions, how they affect your tone of voice, and how that affects your relationships with others (not just your younger sister) will allow you to begin stopping yourself, re-thinking your approach, and trying something new. It can be something as simple as lowering your voice (higher volume can be perceived as hostility, whining, etc.), or just choosing your words more carefully (using words with more positive connotations). Heck, you even try recording yourself while having a conversation with someone, then replaying it and determining whether you sound "friendly/mature" or "unfriendly/immature." For me, with my facial expressions, I practiced in front of a mirror. As silly as this may sound, it really can make a difference!

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Re: I Don't Know How to Cope With It All - October 17th 2012, 01:00 AM

Thanks! I really appreciate you explaining this for me. (=
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Re: I Don't Know How to Cope With It All - October 17th 2012, 06:22 PM

I agree with Robin, some people simply have issues displaying their emotions, and this can cause conflict between people.I know that I, personally am guilty of not expressing myself propperly. By that, I don't mean that I "don't talk about my feelings enough", but rather I don't clearly express when I'm angry, upset or even happy. This has caused conflict in my life before. Thereby,working on being able to better convey emotions you might find situations are easier to deal with.

Quite frankly, I'm having a similiar issue with my brother, who's four years younger. I suspect that the problem is at least 60% my fault. My personal issue is that I don't demonstrate the correct amount of maturity when dealing with him. For example, becoming upset, or "tattling" on him, instead of handling the situation myself. My basic point here is; act like an adult and you will be treated like an adult. Handling a tense situation with grace is the easiest way to maintain control over a situation.

However, if you get along very well with other people in your family, the issue may very well be a clash of personalities. My sister and I clashed quite often as she was ten years older than me, and therefore found me "annoying". Now that she's moved out, I find our conversations are more meaningful and frequent, because we are handling the situation in bits at a time.

It's entirely possible you simply come off as unpleasant to your sister, but that doesn't make you a "bad person", but rather is means she is unequipped to handle your personality, and therefore some changes may be in order to allow you to better get along.

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