What’s your relationship with your brother or sister like? Is it toxic?
Siblings are not always the best part of growing up, not if they are toxic. You are fortunate if your brother or sister is your best friend since not all of us are blessed to have the best people. When we hear someone coming from a toxic family, it is mostly their parents who they don’t get along with. But a toxic family can sometimes mean toxic siblings too.
Not all of us have siblings we get along with. If you are stuck with a hateful brother or sister, it can leave a negative scar on you for life. It can take a lot of work to keep such a toxic relationship going, and sometimes, you may even have to make the decision to end the relationship altogether.
If your relationship with your sibling has a history of rough patches, and you have tried to keep the peace but failed, it is possible they are bad for you. Toxic siblings have the same effect on your life as toxic friends or bad coworkers. It is hard to take a step back since you have family obligations, even with toxic people.
Do you think your brother or sister is toxic for you? Here are 15 signs that say you may be living with a toxic sibling.
1. They are manipulative
Toxic siblings that depend on you to resolve their issues and financial problems are one of the many types. They make you feel bad if you say ‘No’ to any of their requests. It is hard not to help even if your gut is telling you that helping means you are making them come back for more. It can be frustrating to have such a brother or sister.
2. They are very critical
Constructive criticism is a good thing as it often comes from the people who love us. But toxic siblings don’t criticize you to help you become a better person, they simply want to make you feel bad about yourself. You will hence find them highly judgmental and because of their toxic criticism, you may feel you can’t do anything right.
3. You feel exhausted when are around them
A toxic brother or sister always makes you feel exhausted. This happens because of their negative behavior that often depletes your energy. It is one of the common traits of toxic people, be it your brother or sister.
4. They undermine your relationships with others
Do you feel your relationships with others are often tarnished whenever you bring your brother or sister along? Well, that means they are toxic. Out of competitiveness and jealousy, they will try to damage your connections with others. If you introduce your brother or sister to your boyfriend, they might tell him that you cheated on your ex in the past and stuff like that to belittle you. Such toxic behavior can undermine all your future relationships.
5. The relationship is based on abuse (this truly is toxic)
It can be verbal, mental, emotional, physical or even sexual abuse. In fact, a toxic brother or sister can bully you into submission. They won’t rest until they push your ego to the ground and step on it. If you give such toxic people leeway, they will overpower you within seconds. Since they are your siblings, they know your weaknesses and they may even use them to manipulate you. This can get bad fast.
6. They trigger your anxiety
It is totally normal to have a little bit of anxiety when you are meeting some relative who you don’t see often. But if your anxiety kicks in whenever you are around your brother or sister, that is a different thing. It is a problem when this anxiety becomes pervasive. It is times like these when you have to love yourself enough to let such relationships go.
7. The sibling rivalry is no longer cute
When you are growing together, you obviously have a little bit of rivalry. As you become mature, you feel proud to hear about their accomplishments and it makes you happy to see them successful. But there are some siblings who never grow out of the competitive phase. The sibling rivalry still exists and because of that they don’t get along and they cannot spend time together. If your sibling reverts back to their childish ways whenever you interact with them, it is a sign they are toxic for you and hence you should not make them a part of your life.
8. They are selfish
Of course, toxic siblings are selfish. In a perfect world, family members love to help each other. But there are some siblings who want to make everything about themselves. If you have a sibling who has never stepped up whenever you have asked for help, that’s an indication they are selfish. It may be hard but don’t be afraid to move on with your life without them.
9. You can’t do anything right around them
In our lives, we will be in lots of such relationships that make us feel as if we are walking on eggshells. You have to be careful what you say around such toxic people as they can either take the wrong meaning or use your words against you in the future. If your brother or sister makes you feel that way, it can be really damaging.
10. You feel like they control all your relationships
Missing my favorite (and only) brother as he adventures all over New Mexico with his badass new internship! Barely had time to finally have a drink with his newly legal self before he was off again ✈️ so happy to have a fellow adventurer in the family 😘 #sibling #brothersister #bestfriends #wanderfolks #wanderlust #neversittingstill #d9brewing
If you always feel like they are the controlling one in the relationship, it is a sign you are in a toxic relationship. Such siblings will make decisions for you. You will always feel they have an upper hand in the relationship and your opinion does not matter.
11. They ignore you
Some of our siblings are not designed to consider our opinions. They treat us as if we have nothing valuable to offer. That’s also a sign you are in a toxic relationship. It can be more painful if you are criticized for what you have to say. This contributes to self-hatred and low self-esteem. To be honest, what can be more toxic than that?
12. They undermine your accomplishments
There are lots of people who are in such relationships where their parents are never happy with what they have achieved in life. In your case, that toxic person, who is never happy with you, could be your brother or sister. Whenever you tell them about anything good you have achieved, they simply undermine it making you feel as if it is not special.
13. They steal your friends
Have you observed that for some reason, all your friends become their friends? That’s a sign of a toxic relationship too. They are never ready to put the work in their own social life. They will always rely on you to build new companionships.
14. Your brother or sister always lies
Toxic siblings are deliberately misleading. They either withhold the information or twist it. You need to watch out for their lies all the time. They are usually comfortable with telling lies and so you cannot trust them with anything. They even reinvent to the truth to hide their own personality flaws.
15. They always pretend to be the victim
If your siblings have always someone else to blame for their problem and the person who they blame is particularly you, then they are toxic for you. In relationships like these, they will always play the victim. Accidents and misfortunate can happen to anyone and sometimes we are responsible for them ourselves. But toxic people don’t take the blame, they like to put the blame on others.
What should be your guard against toxic siblings?
So your brother or sister is toxic? I hear you. There is a way to deal with such relationships. Here is some advice for you, depending on how bad your situation is:
Acknowledge that your brother or sister may not be inherently toxic
In toxic relationships like these, the first thing you must acknowledge is that your brother or sister may not inherently be a bad person. They are just not the right person to spend time with. Some of our siblings do actually have good intentions but they are still toxic because their needs force us to compromise our happiness. My advice would be to keep a distance from them as much as possible.
Tell them how you feel
The second step to deal with such toxic relationships is to actually let them know they are hurting you. However, you must be careful with the words you choose to express yourself. Do not say ‘I don’t like it when you say X’ instead, say, ‘Whenever you tell people stuff that I tell you in confidence, it makes it hard for me to trust you again.’ You never know what you can heal in relationships with open communication.
Toxic behavior is never acceptable
Just because they are your family, it does not mean it is OK to accept their toxic behavior. It is never worth it to put yourself up to constant toxic attitudes, drama, or the negativity of your brother or sister. If they are above 21 years and they still can’t be responsible, respectful, and reliable then it is time you speak up.
Consider family counseling
If your brother or sister isn’t treating you right even after you have openly communicated how you feel about their toxic behavior, maybe it is time to give family counseling a thought. A counselor can help you find the trouble in the relationship and even reach an agreement. There is a possibility their advice can mend your bond.
Sometimes, it is best to let go of toxic people
Unfortunately, there are cases when the toxic brother or sister is not willing to change. In that case, no matter how much it kills you on the inside, you have to determine how much contact you are willing to have with them. Cutting off the relationship entirely should be left as the last resort. In the end, whatever boundaries you set for yourself, do not feel guilty. After all, you are doing that for the best of both of you.
Don’t hate them because they are toxic
I know, I may be asking too much of you but even if your toxic brother or sister has hurt you, you should not let hate build in your heart. In fact, having spite for someone brings toxicity into your own life. Be strong and forgive them for what they have done to you and distance yourself. That’s the best advice to follow.
Your brother or sister may change over time. Have room for forgiveness in close relationships.
Remember, people can change. It is absolutely possible your toxic brother and sister relationship is repaired in the long run. Over time, if your trust level rises, give your sibling a chance and mend the relationship.
It is time you realize that toxic relationships do exist and they can take away all the peace from your life. It is important to accept yourself for who you are and that can only happen if you acknowledge that there is a toxic brother or sister that you have to keep yourself away from.