ACP member speaks about sibling rivalry for the Guardian Weekend

A reader wrote to Annalisa Barbieri (The Guardian's Problem Solved Columnist) about her relationship with her elder sister, both now in their 20s and living together again. She writes that she is finding it hard to come to terms with just how different she and her sister have become and the problems she has encountered living with her sister.

ACP member, Peter Wilson, asked about why the sisters were living together again and also talked about how in adolescence, even children who got on before can find themselves diverging. “Everybody’s adolescence is very different,” he explained, “and it is then that people tune in to their own individual personalities. It’s when we start to discover who we are.” 

“It’s important,” counsels Wilson, “to recognise your differences. Your sister may be in a different place. Look at where you are in your life and where else you can get that companionship.”

The piece explores the need for siblings to separate out and find their own place, or step back from trying to replicate childhood patterns and past family roles. 

To read in full, go to:

Sibling relationships can be complicated throughout life, but for young adults seeking to establish their own identity separate from the family, it can be a very painful and confusing time. Psychoanalytically trained child psychotherapists can work with adolescents and young adults experiencing these difficulties, see our Find a Therapist section of this website if you want to find out more or to search for  psychotherapists in your area.