Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What Page Are You On?

I've talked at length about relating to your parents after they divorce and dealing with the changes in your relationship. But one relationship I haven't focused on is the one with your siblings (sorry to all you only children out there -- you'll have your time to share). What happens when you and your siblings are on different pages?

The truth is, this is likely to happen. When your parents get divorced, not everyone will feel the exact same way about it. Yet at the same time, your siblings are the only ones who understand how you're feeling. Because unfortunately, they're dealing with the same crappy situation too.

But not everyone will be on the same page. Someone may feel more loyal towards one parent over another. The other sibling may not even be talking to one parent. Feelings of anger or disloyalty may manifest themselves. You may feel uncomfortable or upset if one sibling is progressing "further" than you (I use quotes because who's to judge one's progress? Everyone's different). You may even feel abandoned by a sibling if he or she is talking to the parent you're avoiding.

This has happened with my siblings. While we have experienced similar feelings relating to the divorce, we are all handling it in different ways. And there's no one better way to handle it than another. It's just different. And while it may be easy to focus on the differences, I think it's important to focus on what holds you together. Focus on sticking by one another and comforting each other. Focus on making time to talk and cultivate your relationships with your siblings -- it will help you get through this incredibly difficult time and show you that you're not alone, even when you feel like it.

Whatever happens, don't let your relationship with your siblings be affected by your parents' divorce. The divorce came as a result of their issues, not yours. So don't take those issues on or get in fights with your siblings about it. The family is likely already going through turmoil, so hold onto the relationships you do have. Cling to them -- because for the rest of your life, you'll have to deal with your parents' divorce and subsquently, your changed life. But one thing won't change. Your siblings will still be by your side, going through it with you. They get you. And that's valuable enough to hold onto for a lifetime.

Would love to hear how your relationships with your siblings have fared. And if you're an only child, how have you dealt with your parents' divorce? Did you reach outside your family for help and comfort? Leave a comment below or shoot me an email at

1 comment:

Serenity said...

wow..this is timely. All the siblings have handled my parents divorce differently with varying levels of contact with our father.
Just recently something was shared by one sibling to another sibling and it was intended to be kept a secret from one parent. That may have been an issue in the past when our parents were still married, but especially now, it puts people in the middle of relationships that already feel a loss of trust now. This caused a discussion with one sibling wanting to set up more boundaries and the other wanting things to be like they used to , where sharing information with trust was common. I don't know if this makes sense, but the bottom line is that the divorce has damaged the sibling relationships as well because of different choices of loyalties to parents. Many adult children of divorce agree that we would like to remain "neutral" to both parents , and while we love them both, we may not be able to remain "neutral" as adult children.
When loyalties among siblings differ , then it hampers conversation and openness among them too...... another sad consequence we acods have to deal with. Not easy or something I am happy about!!!


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