You may not be fighting with them directly, but it’s still possible you have a toxic sibling poisoning your life in ways you’re not acknowledging more outwardly. Maybe you awkwardly avoid them at all costs, or your parents hang out with you separately because they don't want to deal with potential drama. Whatever the issues you two have, it probably spans way back, and the reasons you recoil from them proliferate in your mind until you can’t stand to be at the same wedding, the same room, or even that same state.
Recognizing your brother or sister is a negative influence in your life is different than identifying other harmful relationships, because you can’t really leave a toxic family relationship in the same way you can a romantic one. But realizing you have one is the first step, and there are courses of action you can take to minimize their impact on your life. If it turns out they are toxic, you can either potentially get counseling to help heal the friction between you two, or, if that isn’t an option, steer clear of them as civilly as possible. Whichever route you end up taking, it’s not always easy to tell in the first place that your relationship with your sibling has gone from simply less-than-stellar to downright poisonous, but it’s an important distinction to make for your own future mental health. Here are seven signs that you have a toxic sibling, and that you need to start taking strides to make things better for yourself.
1. They’re Always One Upping You
You just bought a house? Well, they’re looking into buying a bigger house. You and your partner took a road trip? They’re planning on a tour of Europe. No matter what, the things they do are always just that much better than what you do.
2. They Undermine Your Accomplishments
This can range from subtle, underhanded comments to full-on insistence that whatever life announcement you’re making, you’re just not that special.
3. They Rely On You For Money & Other Basic Necessities
Helping out a struggling family member is one thing, but once you become a personal ATM for your sibling, that’s when you’ve crossed the line into unhealthy territory.
4. They Share Your Secrets With People Outside Your Family
Whether you’re trying for another or you suffered an unspeakable loss, somehow a bunch of people that shouldn’t know definitely do, and only your nuclear family was privy to that information. Such disregard for intimate details about your life is most definitely selfish — and toxic for you.
5. Every Conversation Is About Them
The center of the world has arrived, and it’s your sibling. They barely know anything about you, but you could relate every little thing they’ve been up to in the past several months.
6. They Steal Your Friends
For some reason, all of your friends always become their friends, too. They don’t work hard to find their own social life or footing, because they can always rely on you to provide new companions.
7. You Feel Uneasy Around Them
Even if you can’t identify exactly what bothers you about them, trust your gut — it will not lead you astray. If you feel uncomfortable around them, chances are other family members do, too, and it may be worth bringing it to a close cousin or another relative to ask if they have any suspicions, too. Sometimes subtle hurts can be just under the surface of observation, but it’s those less tangible feelings that need the most confronting.