Boomerangst: Turning Dilemmas Into Discoveries – Adult Sibling Rivalry
Turning dilemmas into discoveries. Here, what to do when adult siblings quibble too much.
Q. I have an issue with my sister. First let me say I do love her and we spend quite a lot of time together. Here’s where the trouble comes in. Both of us always want to be right – about everything. I’ve noticed this escalating in recent years (we’re now both in our mid-50s). It doesn’t seem to matter what we’re talking about, the need to be ‘right’ is always there lurking around the corner, ready to launch an argument. The other day we were talking about a movie we saw and we quarrelled about a particular scene. She thought one thing happened and I was sure it was something else. Not that it mattered. But neither of us could let it go. I can’t explain this need I have to be right. Any suggestions on how we can get off this path (or how I can)?
A. Let’s reframe this issue. Maybe it’s not about needing to be right as much as it is about needing to be heard. There’s a difference.
“What’s more important – whether it was Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt in that vampire movie – or having a good friendship with your sister?” That’s the question posed by Debra McLeod, a Calgary-based former divorce mediator turned relationship expert. “Your sister may just want you to listen to her without instantly rearing up and arguing a point.”
She emphasizes being right just isn’t that important in general, especially if you’re conceding a point that is inconsequential. “If you’re arguing about what time your flight to Italy leaves then you need to find out who’s right. If it’s about something that’s not going to cause a problem then let it go,” she advises. “It will completely change the dynamics of your relationship – for the better.”