Siblings can be great. They’re like friends who will never be able to dump you. They can be there for you in a jam, tease you for stuff you’d wish they’d forget, and go in on a present for Mom together.
But not everybody’s relationships with their siblings is like that. Sometimes we can have very one-sided relationships with our siblings.
One issue that comes up often between brothers and sisters is one of them taking advantage of the other. What I mean is that, as a brother or sister, you’re very good at helping your sibling out. If they need something, you’ll willing to fill that need. That’s what family does, right?
What happens when your sibling doesn’t reciprocate? Maybe because they are the baby of the family, they’re used to being taken care of. Or maybe they just take their relationship with you and your service for granted. Maybe this is how they maintain relationships with everyone in their life.
At some point, you’re going to grow up and not want a sibling to be dependent on you. Or at least, not to walk all over you, depending on how needy your sibling is. You’re probably done with all of that nonsense. And why shouldn’t you be? You’ve been the nice, charitable, selfless sibling the entire time.
What you need to do is break the cycle. If a sibling abuses your hospitality over and over, they’ve already formed a habit of doing so. They won’t want to break it unless you force them to.
Start out by setting appropriate boundaries. You can create these and maintain them with a partner, friend, roommate, family member,or therapist who is willing to emotionally support you. They have to help you be strong. Whether or not you tell your needy sibling about these boundaries is up to you. You can confront your sibling about their neediness to start cold turkey on your new relationship with them, but, depending on you and your sibling, that might also not be the best course of action to take.
Once you’ve set your boundaries, you need to BE STRONG! Sometimes, needy siblings will make you feel guilty for not helping them out. Whether they do it intentionally or not is irrelevant. You cannot fall back into that old pattern of behavior. Unless they’re deathly ill in the hospital and need your kidney, don’t give in.
It may take a while to form a new habit of not having your sibling walk all over you. That’s fine. Just continue to stay strong.