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How to survive your monster sibling

6 crucial steps to survive and thrive when you can't escape interacting or living with your monster sibling

Do you ever feel as though you were born into the wrong family?

Where evereybody is too wrapped up in their own lives to pay attention to yours?

You see, usually,  healthy siblings are great because they're like mirrors to you and they help you understand what's happening in the world around you.

Healthy siblings bring a whole new meaning to the word 'family'. And they give you a chance to learn from their examples and grow. 

But when it comes to toxic siblings, they tend to think they know better than  you and can be mean, petty and cause harm to others with no care or concern of the repercussions whatsoever.

Siblings with a  destructive complex thrive on making other people feel small. And it is not just about their attitude, but it is also that they are often compelling.

 They have an almost magnetic ability to convince others that they are right and you are wrong... And they seem to have this negative ability to crush you and hold you down emotionally and mentally against your will.

In this article, I'm going to show you a way to deal with a toxic monster sibling and keep on thriving anyway despite their toxicity!

First, though, toxic siblings come in all sizes and colours. I want to take you through a list of toxic siblings you need to identify so you can be certain if you indeed have a toxic sibling.


Let's go…

The threatened sibling

This sibling has a potent complex because he feels threatened by others and uses this as an excuse to try and prove that he is better than everyone else. 

He has an inflated opinion of himself and his abilities, often without any basis in reality.

He will be a continual victim, even when he is causing the very problems that he complains about.

And he'll often find fault with everyone around him, always seeing himself as the exception.

This victim behaviour makes him very difficult to help. You can't just tell him to "grow up".

Here are some common warning signs for a person who has this problem

  • They are constantly making excuses.
  • They believe they are the victim and complain about it all the time.
  • They are always trying to be the best
  • They see the world in terms of "them vs me."

Sadly, if not managed well, the truth about the threatened sibling is that...

He's not going to stop until he gets what he wants, and if you don't give it to him, he'll become more and more aggressive.

He'll try and manipulate you and try and undermine your authority, sometimes even threatening violence. He will continue until he has sapped up all your power to resit or challenge him.

Moving on...

The favoured sibling

This sibling believes he is a "favoured child" and that everyone else in the world is jealous of them. This sibling often has a strong desire to prove himself right.

He will often do this by trying to control every aspect of your life, including your work, money, relationship, free time, and even diet. 

This sibling can profoundly impact your life for the worse. 

Because you cannot escape them, they will always be there with their irritating "I'm right, you're wrong" attitude, like an irritating itch that won't go away.

A big problem with this sibling is that he was never taught to accept other people's points of view

He doesn't understand the concept of "difference". He believes that everyone else is inferior. He is often a very negative person and will drag you down with him. Sometimes this type of person is just a nuisance, but sometimes he is very dangerous. 


The cold-hearted sibling

The cold-hearted sibling tends to shut down and ignore you when you try to reason with him. He doesn't want to discuss the problem, so he attacks you instead. 

If you attempt to reason with him, he will accuse you of being irrational. 

The cold-hearted sibling is a sibling who doesn't like you. He will constantly judge you and never wants to get along with you. 

You can get pretty hurt by their actions because this sibling is so self-absorbed that they don't care about anyone else in the family.

This problem in their personality is sometimes because they have lost touch with their emotions or don't know how to access emotions appropriately.

At other times the cold-heartedness is due to them being overwhelmed with life and unable to express their feelings or deal with the emotional burden of being a sibling.

Moving on to the next sibling type...

The belittling sibling

The belittling sibling involves one sibling consistently ridiculing and undermining the other for no good reason, usually to gain an advantage or out-manoeuvre them. It can lead to deep emotional hurt and a feeling of worthlessness that the person being belittled does not deserve.

This problem can result from an unfulfilled need for parental approval or attention, the fear of being seen as inadequate by parents, a need to demonstrate their superiority over the sibling, and the need for control and dominance.

The big problem with the belittling sibling issue is that...

 It is harmful to the person being belittled because it can affect their self-esteem, confidence and motivation. And may lead to depression and anxiety problems. It can also lead to other problems such as anger, anxiety, and substance abuse.


The self-righteous sibling

The self-righteous sibling believes he is right about most everything and tends to have an "I'm right, you're wrong" attitude.

He may be right about many things, but he is often so sure about his position that he is blinded to the needs and feelings of others.

The blindness can cause severe problems in family relationships.

For example, a self-righteous sibling may believe he is right about his parents not providing enough love and attention for him and therefore rejects his need for the same.

This rejection causes an emotional rift in the family and sets up generations of dysfunctional patterns.

You see, the self-righteous sibling lacks empathy.

He has no understanding of what it's like to be another person. Instead of understanding others, he puts himself in a "God's-eye view" and sees everything as a competition.

This way, he loses the capacity to love and connect with others genuinely. Consequently, he creates a lonely and empty life for himself.

Moving on...

The superior complexed sibling

Your sibling has a superiority complex and thinks he is better than you. He makes no secret about it and goes out of his way to let you know it. He feels he has a God-given right to be an ass to you whenever he gets the chance.

It is excruciatingly painful to have a sibling who thinks they are so darn superior to you... And it's not just the annoying little twits with a superiority complex.

Even well-intentioned siblings can be a real pain in the ass. You see, sometimes even well-intentioned people have an inflated sense of their importance. They believe they are always right...  

They expect you to agree with them...  Do what they say without question or get very offended and take it as evidence you don't respect them.

This belief causes them to withdraw even more from you.

This sibling hopes that his withdrawal will make you feel worse about yourself and create a vicious downward spiral of negativity and pain that drives you back into a subservient position.

And lastly...

The judgmental snot-nosed sibling

The judgmental snot-nosed sibling is the product of an environment that fosters competition.

It may be a family where siblings are encouraged to "prove themselves" against one another.

Or a family where there are no consequences for being mean or cruel. It could also be a family that values appearance and social standing above all else. So his sibling is the one who feels "different"…

Who got the better grade on the report card… Or the athlete or entertainer child who everyone celebrates…

While you, the less-gifted, lesser-skilled, plain old every-day-citizen child, is ignored, neglected, and mocked. 

This sibling is brilliant but lacks empathy. He doesn't feel emotions usually and is; as a result, often rude and thoughtless. He also tends to have problems at school and with friends.

On the surface, the way this sibling presents can make him appear to have low intelligence or emotional immaturity.

But in reality, under the hood, he is an intelligent schemer who can hold grudges for years. And you can bet he will strike back at you at a point in your life when you least expect it.


Now that we know what traits to look for to identify our toxic siblings, what can you do about them?

Now this list is in no way extensive...

The bottom line is that…

Having a toxic sibling is very stressful for everyone. First of all, you will have to deal with this person. You will have to live with them for the rest of your life. 

So it's a constant mental struggle. 

If you can relate to any toxic sibling descriptions above, here are six steps you can take to ensure that they can never stop you from living a fulfilling life.

STEP 1: Avoid trying to be "right" (You've got to avoid this like it's a plague) 

(This will help you understand why your toxic family member is so obsessed with being "right.”)

  1. Being right isn't always about being right. It can make you feel bad. Here are some reasons why
  2. People who are confident that they're right often get angry when they find out someone else disagrees. They feel like the other person is judging them and calling them wrong.
  3. When you are right, you feel more important and confident. This feeling can make you less patient and tolerant.
  4. It can be hard to accept that someone else is right and you are wrong. You may feel angry or resentful.
  5. People who always think they are right often get tired of explaining why they are right. They often feel like they have to defend themselves.
  6. Being confident that you're right creates a lot of stress for people around you. They feel the pressure of knowing that their opinion matters.
  7. Being sure that you are right gives people a reason to judge you as a person. They may think that they must be right if you disagree with them.


STEP 2: Instead of trying to be right, use calibrated questions to restore peace to your home. 

Calibrated questions are a way to make sure the information you give is clear, useful, and accurate. They can be a powerful tool in a negotiation.

You can work toward a mutually beneficial agreement when you know what you're negotiating. 

Here are three types of questions you can use in this situation:

Descriptive questions. These are questions that tell you something about the other side of the table.

Expectative questions. These are questions that ask for information.

Calibrated questions. These are questions that provide information to guide you through the negotiation.

 I use calibrated questions all the time, with great success, when dealing with anger problems clients. 

In my free webinar replay, I tell you exactly to apply calibrated questions in toxic family situations. You can sign up to watch here now.

Next is step 3...

STEP 3: Stop reacting emotionally to your sibling's comments. 

Everyone has moments where they become angry, and it can be hard to stop this feeling.

But it is important to understand that anger isn't logical. It's emotional. We may be upset with our siblings because we feel sad about something.

Or maybe we are feeling frustrated because he keeps asking for things but never appreciates them.

Try to pause, and use your rational mind to analyze your feelings.

Ask yourself if the comment had merit. 

Why did you feel hurt by this comment? 

If you still feel angry, try to find the cause of the emotion. Are you upset because your sibling was trying to keep you from something?

Or are you upset because you want to spend time with him? Is there a way to make your argument and still not hurt his feelings? Try to find a solution that would make everyone happy.

So essentially, Instead of reacting emotionally, use your emotional intelligence to logically analyze his comments and determine if they have any merit.

Moving on...

STEP 4: Stop justifying your sibling's behaviour. 

It doesn't matter if he was abused as a child or not. It is not his right to take it out on you.

You are also not responsible for him and his problems. You need to understand that he needs help. And it is not your fault that he has emotional problems.

If you don't want to be hurt by him, stop trying to make him better. Stop being such a good person.

You are not doing anything bad, so why do you have to feel guilty? It is time you learned to let go and not worry about what others think about you.

You can't change the past, but you can create a better future. You have to learn to live with yourself and to love yourself. You deserve to be happy and be free from all of this suffering and pain. There is more good in you than bad. 

There is more light in you than dark. 

You are a good person who has been through a lot. 

You are still a beautiful person even though some people may not like you. That toxic sibling will never know how good you are, but that is okay because you deserve more than them.

 You deserve to be happy. 

You deserve to live in peace.

You're also not responsible for him and his problems. 

And now for step 5...

 STEP 5: Don't engage in power struggles with them.

Don't engage in power struggles with them. It is too easy for them to manipulate you and control you with guilt, shame, and fear.

They have a history of using guilt, fear, and manipulation to control you, which is why you struggle with life and feel miserable. If you allow yourself to be controlled, you will not achieve anything in life, and you'll become a victim of their manipulations. 

 You're fighting with them and trying to win over them so that they can control you. You've tried many ways of controlling them, but you've never gotten anywhere.

You are stuck in a vicious cycle of misery, and it's just going to keep getting worse because they're still controlling you.

Don't fight with them, don't try to win them over. Just let them do what they want, and let them leave you alone. Let go of your fear and resentment and resentment and guilt. You won't achieve anything if you engage in power struggles with them.

Finally, Step 6...

STEP 6: Look for ways to affirm your value instead of constantly waiting for your toxic sibling to acknowledge it

  1. Make a list of your strengths and your good qualities and talk about them with your family members
  2. Use the "I am wonderful" formula: "You are _______, and you are wonderful because of it"
  3. Ask yourself how you can make a difference in the world
  4. Spend time with others that appreciate your good qualities, even if they are not family members
  5. Do things that help people, even if no one is watching
  6. Stop comparing yourself with your sibling. You do not have to be like them to be worthy of love and respect.
  7. Be your own best friend
  8. Think about what you want and act on it! – no one else can take care of your needs for you!
  9. Start your own business – your life belongs to you!
  10. Learn how to cook for yourself – it's so much more satisfying than ordering in!
  11. Take care of yourself – you're the most important person in the world!
  12. Accept compliments about your appearance and compliment others when you see them.
  13. Ask for the things you need to help you grow and be the best version of you.

How to thrive...  Even when your brother/sister is a self-centred, drama-filled and downright awful human being!


Your sibling can be a pain in the neck. 

They get on your nerves all the time. 

And they can even be a real mood-buster. 

But the problem is that despite all that, they're still your blood. 

Yes, you don't want to let them drag you down. Make life miserable for you and your family. Put you under tremendous stress. Or drive you crazy. 

The truth is...

You don't need to give in to their drama or give in to their demands. 

You can learn to block all their nastiness without becoming a nasty person yourself.

You can influence their self-centred, obnoxious ways and become an inspiration to them.  By your action and response, you can teach them the lesson they need to learn.  You can help them grow up.


Your sibling is a handful. 

He's a real pain in the neck. But he's your brother or sister. It is not so easy to walk away from him and his behaviour.

In many situations, you.ve still got to relate with them.

And today, with the 6 steps above, you've got the tools to ensure that you can thrive even when your sibling is a self-centred, drama-filled and downright awful human being.

Read more in this series on Dealing with toxic Siblings

Identifying signs of a toxic sibling relationship

Enmeshment and codependency in toxic sibling dynamics

Jealousy and rivalry: dealing with sibling envy

Toxic sibling: Dealing with passive-aggressive behavior

Dealing with gaslighting from a toxic sibling

Written by Adewale Ademuyiwa


How to deal with a difficult family member

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