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Adult Sibling Jealousy

Posted Mar 24 2010 3:20pm

  Many, if not all, cases of Birth-family abuse can be traced back to jealousy or envy in the abuser’s heart toward the victim.  It is very painful to be the target of jealousy from someone we love.  We are often blindsided by it because it is the last thing we would expect from a family member, however it is much more common than you would think.  Often, the victim has done nothing to provoke an attack or a betrayal, and is shocked when it happens.  Many times, there will be no explanation, or the act of abuse or betrayal will be way out of proportion to whatever the victim might have done that the abuser claims angered him.  An offender may decide to judge her victim for something that has nothing to do with her.  Instead of minding her own business, she uses a decision the victim has made in her own life, perhaps to get married, or move away, as a reason to become angry at the victim and “punish” her. 
            It doesn’t make sense to anyone else except the offender.  It’s almost as if she was waiting all along for any excuse, no matter how lame, to hurt her unsuspecting relative. As soon as the victim does anything she “disapproves” of, the abuser jumps on the opportunity to attack the victim and tell anyone who will listen how terrible the victim is.  She may start an unprovoked fight with the victim because of her resentments.  She may sabotage or undermine the victim.  Or she may go to the extreme of cutting the victim out of her life because her own feelings of inferiority have  made her uncomfortable around the victim all along, and now she finally has an excuse not to be in the victim’s presence any longer.
            People who care about and love each other make every effort to talk things out and hold their relationship together.   They may give each other advice out of concern for one another, but they do not force their opinions, wants, or needs on another.  They do not judge, “punish”, or blackmail each other.  If one makes a decision in her own life that the other is not completely happy with, an unselfish, loving relative  puts her own feelings second, wants what’s best for her loved one, and shows support and encouragement. An extreme reaction that doesn’t make sense and is all out of proportion to whatever “offense” the victim supposedly committed is a clue that jealousy, envy, and resentment are at work behind the scenes.
            Another tell-tale sign is a relative who hurts you and then “apologizes” by saying something along the lines of “we’ve BOTH hurt each other” or “we BOTH  need to forgive each other”, when YOU haven’t done anything  hurtful to her at all.  When you ask her to be specific about what you have done that requires her forgiveness, she will be unable to give you any examples.  She will try to change the subject, or the most you will get is some vague babbling.  She will have nothing to say because there IS nothing to say- you have done nothing wrong. 
            Although you have not hurt her, she has FELT HURT by you all along anyway, simply because she envies you for some reason you are not aware of. She is resentful of you for inadvertently making her feel bad, inferior, or upset, and uses her resentment to justify attacking you.  She is making you responsible for her feelings of jealousy.  In her mind, her offense of betraying, abandoning,  or abusing you is no worse than YOUR 'offense' of just living your life, and she reveals this in a “Freudian slip” by telling you she has “things” she needs to forgive you for too. But when you ask for clarification, she will be unable to admit her jealousy, sometimes even to herself, and so will have nothing specific to accuse you of.
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