Adult Sibling Relationship


I realize that everyone comes from a less than perfect family, there is something in our souls that longs to believe that the family we come from should be different. Better than the average. You might expect the family next door to be abnormal, but not those who are genetically related to us. Siblings provide a reference against which to judge and measure ourselves. They know us in a unique way during childhood and share a history that can bring understanding and a sense of perspective in adulthood.

Adult sibling relationships in families are like the weather—stormy at times, defying predictability, and disruptive. It may be that you have a distant relationship with a sister or a toxic one that seems cordial on the surface but under the surface there is anger, jealously, unspoken resentment, bullying and unmerited hate.

What matters more is that as constants in our lives, siblings provide a reference against which to judge and measure ourselves. They know us in a unique way during childhood and share a history that can bring understanding and a sense of perspective in adulthood. Friends and neighbors may move away, former coworkers are forgotten, marriages break up, and parents die, but our brothers and sisters remain our brothers and our sisters.

             Sibling rivalry is a normal aspect of childhood, experts say. Our siblings are our first rivals. They competed with us for the love and attention of the people we needed most, our parents, and it is understandable that we occasionally felt threatened.

As we age and begin to sense our own mortality, many siblings rediscover the values and strengths of family. "There is a real awareness that brothers and sisters are in this together." Old rivalries are either forgotten or forgiven, and siblings concentrate instead on the feelings and forces that can help us feel more human, less ashamed, and more connected.

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How to Deal With Bad Medical News

So, you just received some bad medical news, and you are not sure how to deal with it. Maybe you were told you have some dreaded disease, or maybe you were given some sad news and don't understand how it may affect you. You may be feeling depressed, unsure what to do. In any case, here are some tips that may help you deal with bad medical news.

Be prepared for potential bad news. If you have not already received the bad medical news, but suspect you will (e.g. your doctors calls you to schedule an appointment to go over some test results that you think will be bad news), try to prepare for it emotionally. Anticipate the worst news possible, so you would not be shell-shocked upon actually receiving bad news. Bring a family member or close friend with you to the appointment: this will not only help provide you support at the moment when you need it most, but will also help clarify the bad news and write things down, as you could become shocked upon getting the bad medical news and not be able to ask appropriate questions or comprehend any explanations that follow.

Clarify what exactly the bad medical news is and how it will affect you. This may take time and often even more than one meeting to accomplish, as shock and denial is frequently the first emotional response to very bad news. Most people, upon receiving the bad news, become flooded with emotions, making it difficult to comprehend any discussion that follows. If that is the case, it is often helpful to ask the doctor to give you written materials about the condition and its treatment so you can go home and read more about it later in a better state of mind.

Try to stay calm. Excessive worry will not help. Don't overreact to bad medical news. Understand that one cannot change what has already happened, but only how one responds to it. Try to keep your cool to focus on its solutions.

Get as much support as you can, immediately. Don't say I'll try to deal with it and if I need help I'll get it later. Later may be too late. Tell it immediately to all your loved ones and friends who will listen to you. They may be able to offer you helpful insights on how to deal with condition. And the process of opening up to others is emotionally healing by itself.

Be aware of the common Kübler-Ross grief stages to receiving bad news: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Grieving, Acceptance. Most people go through these stages, though not necessarily in this order, and often may experience more than one stage at a time. Seek professional help (e.g. counseling, psychiatrist) if necessary

Be prepared for the worst outcomes. If you are given a limited life expectancy based on the disease prognosis, plan ahead to accomplish what you need to do before your time comes to leave the world. (Look into palliative care; who can not only make the transition more comfortable but may improve the quality of life as well.) Maybe it's a book you need to finish writing, maybe it's an old acquaintance you need to forgive, or maybe it's some unfinished project you need to fulfill. In any case, make sure these things get done while you can. Have a living will or durable power of attorney if applicable.


The Positive in the Negative

I pray that this will help you create good news out of bad news. When you discover the positive in the negative, you will enjoy life again, not just trying to endure it. You will be spared from becoming a complainer and become an explainer, showing people in pain how to handle their suffering successfully.

Famous Amos

He had a dream to bake the best cookies and sell them. He founded Famous Amos Cookies and is known as the father of the gourmet cookie industry. Sadly, adverse financial conditions forced him to relinquish ownership of his company. He described the hurt he was going through, “The financial collapse really hurt. I had nothing left, but I had been there before and I could handle that. Yet someone I didn’t know acquired the brand name of my cookies, and I was told I could never use my name anymore, ever again.” To lose your name is something else. So I decided to keep the positive attitude that has always worked for me. I started a new line of cookies and called them “No Name cookies”.

He turned his adversity into opportunity. He started another cookie venture, The Uncle Noname Cookie Company. Since then, he has written several inspirational books and has become one of America’s most popular motivational speakers.



            Abandonment is the deepest pain that I experienced. It is more painful to me than I can describe, it really hurts. Cut off from all contact. The painful message implied is “You are not important. You are not of value”.

            I had adverse financial conditions, I was laid off and it was almost two years since I had full-time employment. Now my health was failing. I had chest pains, could not breathe or walk. I was taken to the hospital by a sister and dropped at the Emergency Room. No one came with me or waited to see if I made it in. I was rushed in to see a doctor because I was having heart failure. I was alone but I felt the presence of God, I had peace. The doctor kept asking me if I understood what she was saying about my condition. I explained what she said back to her, she was assured that I understood. She said that I was so calm. I told her it wasn’t me, it was God. All that I had been through, I learned to find meaning in the darkest times. No one can take from me my freedom to choose how I will react to what happens to me.

            Sooner or later you will be left alone with all your hurt. Make friends with it. Let it turn you into a kind compassionate, caring person, and it will the test in your testimony. Some of our heavy hurts never die, they just lie around waiting to be aroused by a new frustration, or a new opportunity. If you can’t kill the hurt, fill it with a new spirit. See your hurt as a process, not as an event. Trust God and somehow, through someone, sometime, or some way, God will reconnect your stumbling, struggling soul. Suddenly a door opens, and you will not feel abandoned anymore. That is real salvation!