Sibling rivalry – the struggle is real

What happens when the squabbling and hair pulling you and your siblings indulged in as youngsters evolves into full-blown adult envy? Except we’re no longer jealous that we weren’t the first to get a mobile phone or stay up past 10pm..we’re now jealous of salaries, relationships, friendships, social lives and the race to the top of the property ladder!


Whether you’re close in age to your sibling or ten years apart, its easy to feel like they’re always the one that lands smugly on their feet.

Perhaps they steamed through Uni and now appear to have the best paid job a 24-year-old ever managed to secure in the history of jobs. Maybe they’re the free spirit of the family, gallivanting around the world (with financial help from mum and dad) on a journey of self discovery. Maybe they’re just really popular and like to shout about it, with a FB/Insta feed that would give anyone FOMO. Or maybe they just remind you of the younger, prettier, slimmer version of yourself from five years ago. All these things can feel like a massive kick in the proverbial balls.

It can be hard not to envy a sibling  – and this isn’t always helped by family members either might I add.

As a kid, my Nan would always compare me and my little brother – even when it came to ridiculous things:

Nan: “Ohh look, your brother’s about to finish all his pie and mash, you’ve barely touched yours…he’s going to win the race”

Me: (internally shouts) “I didn’t know eating mince beef pie was an Olympic sport?”

Nan: “Look see your brother’s gone for a wee before bed, why can’t you?”

Me: (Rolls eyes and gets into bed without comment).

I love my family to bits, and those comments do often come from love but that doesn’t always make it any easier to hear them. Especially when your younger sibling gets to ‘life’s more obvious milestones’ before you do. For example, in the last year my little brother has bought his first house (at 24) and gotten engaged. Now to me, this makes him a bit of an abnormality – nobody I know is in this financial/relationship situation at that age, he just happens to be a bit rare. Which is good for him.

But none the less as soon as those two things happened, I could feel the eyes of older relatives looking to me either out of pity or desperation that I might not provide them with those same celebratory moments. Especially as I’ve been in a long-term relationship for some time. Well, sorry to disappoint chaps – this is my script, I’ll write it how I like!

Comparing siblings can be a dangerous thing, whether that’s self-comparison or otherwise. Sometimes when you’ve known someone all your life, the closeness between you can become suffocating if you do start to examine their successes too closely against your own. But perhaps it’s natural to do that?

Things to remember when sibling rivalry gets the better of you:

  • Life is NOT a race – just because you both share DNA does not mean you have to share the same ambitions, life goals or set path in life
  • Don’t let family pressure you – you will do things when you’re good and ready, and if marriage, babies and houses isn’t for you then that’s your choice – times are changing, and not many kids will follow the same path their parents did at the same age
  • Ignore petty comments – siblings will still sometimes try to wind you up for kicks, don’t let these comments get into your head. Similarly, stop yourself from making a childish comment if you can feel one bubbling up from the depths. You won’t thank yourself
  • Embrace your differences and ask for advice – if your sibling has achieved something that you want to, or seems to have a certain confidence that you’d love to have – ask them how to go about getting it for yourself. They might mock you to begin with (as siblings do), but if they care they’ll be there for you no matter what
  • Finally, chances are any insecurities you have about your siblings can be reflected in the way they see you too. Quite often we don’t realise that those we’re jealous of may also be sat on the other side of the fence viewing us with the same envy


I’d love to hear your sibling rivalry stories if you have some?

Thanks for reading.

3 thoughts on “Sibling rivalry – the struggle is real

  1. Growing up with three siblings (a sister 13 years my senior, a twin brother, and a brother three years younger), I definitely understand sibling rivalry. I remember when I bought my house last year, it didn’t seem like nearly as big of a deal as when my twin brother got engaged a couple months prior. But funnily enough, he actually felt the opposite–that people made a bigger deal out of my accomplishment than his. I think we tend to create a lot of the rivalry ourselves–we never seem to think about what our siblings are hearing from those same outside sources about us and our accomplishments. But like you said, we’re all writing our own scripts and it’s important for us to live the lives we want to lead–no matter what our siblings are doing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Dylan, glad you could relate. It’s so funny how we sometimes forget than any sibling insecurities we have are likely to be reflected in our sibling’s own view of us too! Be interesting to know if my little bro has ever looked at me with a tinge.


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