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How To Repair A Toxic Relationship With Your Sibling in 11 Steps

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Families can be an amazing thing. They can also be amazingly painful — often the source of discord, hurt, and betrayal, unfortunately. Like all relationships in life, nothing is perfect and just as often as some siblings get along, other pairs have deep seeded pain. If you can relate to the second sentence more than the first, you may be wondering how to repair a toxic relationship with your sibling, in hopes that the past won't set the tone for your future relationship.

Whether your feud has been stewing since childhood or a recent hurt has driven the two of you apart, you don't always have to experieince tension and deal with issues. Although brothers and sisters can sometimes seem to be the cause of our family discord, they also have the potential to be a source for fulfilling, exciting, and thriving relationships, if you can move past the pain.

Repairing a broken relationship, family or otherwise, is never easy. But unlike romantic relationships who you can simply leave in the dust after a painful breakup, your family is with you for good. And though that may not feel like a great thing right now, in time, and with effort on both ends, it's possible to mend your relationship and cultivate new memories together.

1. Leave The Past In The Past

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It can be so tempting to re-hash the same argument and hurts over and over again, even if they happened long ago, but letting bygones be bygones is usually the best way to let things heal. Although you should never brush your pain to the side (it must be dealt with too), a piece by CNN noted that bringing up the same argument over and over won't get you anywhere.

2. Start Out Small

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Mending your relationship won't happen overnight, but you can take baby-steps in the right direction. Start out by calling just to say "hi," or sending a sweet text saying you hope they're having a good day. Replacing negative interaction with positive ones can only do good things in the long run.

3. Identify The Root Of The Problem

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An article in the Wall Street Journal pointed out that sibling rivalries are often so deep seeded that you forget who the other person is outside of their relationship with us. If you can pinpoint what caused the discord, even it was years ago, it can help both of you heal from the hurt.

4. Communicate

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Talking, even if it's awkward or not fun, is better than no communication at all. Simply letting them know that working on improving your relationship is important to you might get the ball rolling.

5. Avoid The Touchy Topics

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Sometimes you just have to agree to disagree. Avoiding hot topics like religion, politics, high fructose corn syrup — you know, the major issues — can help unnecessary discord from cropping up.

6. Be Patient

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It might take years to fix things, but being patient with your sibling and their willingness to work with you can at least keep you calm and positive if your sibling isn't as responsive as you wish.

7. Apologize For Your End Of The Fued

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Chances are, you're both in the wrong in some way. Owning up to the hurt you may have caused them, both past and present, can soften them to doing the same.

8. Step In Their Shoes

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It's easy to be set in your ways and feelings. Instead, try seeing things from their perspective, as the same Wall Street Journal article recommends.

9. Don't Try And "Fix" Each Other

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Even if your personalities are fundamentally opposite, trying to fix or change them will only backfire. Instead, accept who they are as a person, and try and work with them rather than against them.

10. Support Them

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Is there something that's particularly special to them? Do they participate in a sport, club, or event where you could show your support? Showing up, even in small ways, can help show that you're in this for the long haul.

11. Get Help If Necessary

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If all else fails, there are therapists who specialize in "family-of-origin" issues believe it or not. And according to Very Well, seeking out a professional can help navigate through issues that the two of you just might not be able to manage on your own.