When you have a controlling sibling
It’s important to set boundaries so that conflicts are avoided
OUR cultural norms and beliefs dictate that we should always respect our elders, including our brothers and sisters. This, however, may create problems when the younger siblings are expected to respect an elder brother or sister to the extent that they are not able to express their feelings even when they are being illtreated. According to a counsellor at the Family Life Centre in Johannesburg, Joshna Lutchman, this can be very harmful.
OPENING UP TO OTHERS
Joshna says that if you feel that your older sibling is too controlling, it’s important to sit down with them and have a conversation. Do not show blaming signs by making accusations, rather focus on your own feelings.
“You must state the nature of the relation and communicate with your elder sister using ‘I’ as a sign of respect and making sure that they understand that it is you expressing how you feel about the way you are treated,” says Joshna.
PEOPLE WHO HAVE CONTROLLING OLDER SIBLINGS MAY END UP BEING INTROVERTS
The ‘I’ is very significant because you will also be able to state the way in which you want to be treated and make recommendations for future purposes on how you are to treat each other, adds Joshna.
CONSEQUENCES OF NOT OPENING UP
Joshna says bottling things up is dangerous because you may end up developing anger and hatred towards your sister.
Therefore, it is important to share the way you feel about how you are treated because keeping quiet can destroy a person’s self-confidence and self-esteem.
“People who have controlling older siblings may end up being introverts and spending all their time alone, which may lead to depression and suicidal thoughts,” she says.
“The sad part is that there are a number of people who have lost their lives because they were afraid of what people were going to say or think about them if they stood up for themselves.”
TALK TO SOMEONE
She says when you are in this kind of situation, it is very important to talk to someone you trust or feel comfortable with to express your thoughts and feelings.
“Talking to your parents is a good starting point because this is a family matter. If you don’t find a solution or way forward, you can talk to your friends, teacher, a pastor in your church, a trusted community member or counsellors in your area. They can advise you on ways you can use to deal with your controlling sister and they will guide you and show you the
ALLOW PEOPLE TO HELP YOU
right path,” says Joshna.
Centres that offer counselling provide a good environment in which you can freely express yourself and get help. The fear of expressing your thoughts can be a real setback because sometimes we need to talk about the problem in order for people to help us, says Joshna.