Siblings: why some people still hate each other

There are a thousand reasons, child, not to support his brother or his sister ... But why, adult, this disenchantment continues it? Analysis of five situations.

Isabelle Taubes

When rivalry persists ...

Infantile conflicts between brothers and sisters usually resolve during adolescence, "second chance to become brother or sister of brother or sister", says child psychiatrist Marcel Rufo. However, they sometimes endure at maturity, where they reappear regularly during more or less stormy discussions. As if the protagonists had not really grown up. Why is it impossible for some to make peace in adulthood? The unconscious ignores time, teaches us psychoanalysis. In him, the rivalries and resentments of childhood remain intact, ready to rebound. Especially if the family relations have been particularly toxic, or if the adult individual wants to camp on his hostility as a child, obstinately refusing to let go, so to evolve. Here are some typical situations that condemn to hate each other over the years!

"My sister should never have been born"

"As soon as my mother came back from the clinic with her, I hated her, says Eugenie, 33. I was 21 months old, I remember that she put it on my little bed and that I screamed: "My dodo, I want my dodo, take off baby." Today, between us, it is radio silence, no contact. To evoke the shock caused by the arrival of her youngest daughter, Eugenie finds her voice as a little girl, moved as if the "drama" had occurred yesterday. However, explains Sylvie Angel, psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and family therapist, "such precise memories dating back to the age of 21 months is impossible.It is the parents who have reported this story, made it a family myth and, hence, more or less consciously, they maintained the hostility between the two girls. Curiously, indeed, some immature parents find their account in fraternal rivalries: it is a way of continuing to settle their accounts with their own siblings. However, the idea that his brother or sister is a usurper or a usurper - a double to eliminate - would be more and more widespread. "In traditional families with six or more children, each had a definite place. In the siblings of two or three, the brothers and sisters are above all rivals, "says psychologist Françoise Peille.

"My brother is luckier than me"

In his Confessions , St. Augustine describes the dismay of a 3-4-year-old boy who contemplates his youngest son hanging in the womb. Too big to be fed this way, he still wants it, jealous of the beatitude found in it by his brother."The desire of the man, it is the desire of the other", affirmed the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan. We desire the "thing" of the other not because we like it, but because the other wants and possesses it. Thus envy and jealousy are necessarily part of the program of infantile sibling relationships. However, the chances of continuing to hate one another in family are increased when, blinded by envy, unable to let go, we fail to find our own desire or our own way. Not to access it pushes indeed to accuse the other of having deprived us of a happiness which returned to us and to prevent us to succeed our life.


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