My own sister is my port in a storm, my best friend, my confidante and the one place I can go to be completely understood. She’s my “unconditional love”. Our personalities aren’t alike but we don’t judge each other, so it works. We sing little songs to each other that mean nothing to anyone else. Who else remembers getting the giggles from sitting across the room attempting to throw dirty socks into each other’s mouths? Who else is going to relate to the minor infractions our parents pulled off against us? Who else is going to “get” US?
My sister planned her children two years apart and was ecstatic when they were born girls. Now they could be just like we were! Close all our lives through thick and thin and several husbands. Unfortunately, my nieces could not be further apart. They just have not gotten along from the beginning. They began as small children unable to pass each other in a room without a slap or a nonchalant elbow-nudge in the ribs. They couldn’t stand each other! Not a word out of either’s mouth made the other smile. The situation has seemed impossible for years.
My eldest niece says the younger one teased her all the time, couldn’t sit still, was a general pain in the posterior area. My younger niece says the older one had no patience, was a know-it-all and a slob to boot! Now they are twenty-seven and twenty-five and they seem to have reached a middle ground. These days they have begun to listen more closely to each other. It appears that distance is making them more curious about each other. They are starting to recognize the importance of the bonds involved in shared family experience, no matter what your differences may be.
We may think that siblings would naturally bond or at least feel an obligation to communicate as adults, if only because of the shared experience of their upbringing. However sibling loyalty is not a given. The kinship of bloodlines most certainly can be broken, or never truly developed in the first place. Let us ask: what are the reasons for estrangement or for absence of bonding in the first place? Why do some siblings seem to be exceptionally close?
Results of Survey on Sibling Relationships:
A.A survey of one hundred interview subjects showed the following reasons for failure to bond with or estrangement from their siblings:
1.Disloyalty to the family. A sibling reported another for a criminal action or “tattled” to other family members.
2.Geographical distance. A sibling failed to communicate due to another living far away.
3.A large gap in age. Some siblings don’t relate to eachother well because they were brought up in a “second family” situation and do not share common experiences.
4.Extreme differences in ideology or perceived morality. This can range anywhere from political differences or sexual attitudes and behavior. The siblings can not “agree to disagree.”
5.Incest,molestation or another crime perpetrated against one sibling by another.
6.Guilt or fear of rebuff by a sibling due to a real or imagined slight. A sibling feels like they wrote, said, or committed an act the other does not or would not approve of, so they are avoiding contact.
7.An upbringing they don’t want to remember. Siblings drift apart because they remind eachother of a difficult past.
B. Results from siblings who have kept close ties or renewed bonds are just as varied. The survey indicated that siblings bonded or at least kept communication between their brothers and sisters for the following reasons:
1.Common experiences. This was the single most prevalent quality in the responses from happy siblings. Their shared childhood memories seemed to cause an almost telepathic quality to their relationships.
2.Loyalty. The adage “blood is thicker than water” is a common thread among many nationalities and social classes. It’s just a rule that families stick together and you may face ostracism if you don’t honor the rule.
3.Friendship. The siblings just get along. They have many shared likes and dislikes and would be friends whether or not they were related.
4.Obligation.They feel obligated to take care of another sibling because there is no one else to do it in adverse circumstances.Or they feel guilty about an event in the past and feel there is a debt to pay to the sibling.
5.Loss of another sibling. A sibling has died or cut themselves out of the family, so the others make an effort to reunite.
6.Forgiveness. Siblings let go of a grudge through compromise or just because they decide the issue isn’t great enough to divide them.
Expections From You In the Sibling Experiment:
I would very much appreciate your additional remarks and input on the issues of siblings.Please provide your honest feedback on this issue. Log in and comment to the following questions:
1. How many siblings do you have?
2. Do you consider yourself “close” to your siblings? Are you in contact with them on a regular basis? Were you ever estranged?
3. If you are estranged from your siblings, please indicate the reasons and whether you plan on resolving the issue or if you feel it can be resolved.
4. If you are close to your sibling(s)or have reunited please comment on your experience. Have you ever been estranged? What binds you?How did you reunite, if that was the case?
5.If you are close now, is there anything that could separate you? What would have to take place for that to happen?
Thanks so much for your honest feedback in the sibling experiment!