When you have a con­trol­ling sib­ling

It’s im­por­tant to set bound­aries so that con­flicts are avoided

Move! - - CONTENTS - By Sello Mo­ra­pedi

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.

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