We have a relationship with our parents in adulthood that is based in the present, but we also have an internalized relationship with our parents from childhood, a relationship of which we are not always aware.

The present relationship is filtered through the internal one from the past. We may get angry at something that seems innocent enough in the present context, but is, in reality, bringing up painful memories from childhood. Similarly, we not only have an adult relationship with our siblings but also an internalized one developed in childhood.

The internalized one involves an image or mental representation of our self and a mental representation of our sibling. The mental representation of our sibling is in relation to an image of our self; the two are inextricably entwined. The relationship between those images is internalized and often unconscious.

I call it The Sibling Inside

For example, you may be brighter, wealthier, or more fulfilled in your marriage than your sister in reality, but feel envious of her because you still experience her as if she were the mental representation you internalized as a child when she seemed better at everything. You may also be envious of friends to whom you’ve transferred the feelings you have about your sister. But in both cases, you have a mental representation of your self that complements the image of “sister”—i.e. your self as deprived, unable to compete, and bad because you are filled with envy.

You don’t have to feel bad for the rest of your life. I can help you.

If you would like to learn more, please see my article, “Adult Siblings Over a Lifetime”, on thirdAge by Clicking Here.