Improving Sister Relationships – Riana Milne, LMHC, CAP, Cert Life & Relationship Coach
Here are some tips to help improved your relationship with your sister. Learning to communicate through your differences and old dysfunctional childhood patterns and issues are essential to healing. This important relationship becomes even more critical as both parties age and has families. One of you will have to take the leap to try to fix the problems. With the below suggestions, this process will be easier for you.
1) Do the mental self-talk work first to build up the courage to approach your sister. Convince yourself this is for the good of all. Admit to yourself that you do want a closer relationship, regardless of any fear of rejection. Try to understand the underlying cause of the initial breakdown, which could include childhood competition or jealousy.
2) It is better to write a letter then calling to ask your sister if she is interested in being friends and not just tolerating things the way they are. A letter comes from your heart and emotions, just keep it POSITIVE. Review it several times before sending it to remove any negative comments.
3) Be open minded to change and keep the past where it belongs. No one can change the past and often the conflicts came when you both were too emotionally young to handle things. You can control your own choices and responses, but not that of your sister. Stay focused on your issues and avoid your sister’s flaws or mistakes. Do not blame, compare or criticize.
4) Agree to start small by treating each other with respect and polite kindness, and perhaps getting the children together. Cousins should know each other and it is an important relationship to nurture. You will be also showing your children the importance of working through conflict. You will gain confidence as you spend more time together in a positive way.
5) Keep expectations low and be patient, long-term resentment doesn’t heal overnight. Start by meeting for a lunch or breakfast, or having a play day with the kids.
6) Write your letter or speak using I statements when you describe your feelings. Avoid the word – should, or any other word that is a demand or blaming word. Be sure to be complimentary about the good traits and qualities that she has.
7) Communicate your needs clearly and with respect. Don’t revert to old patterns and resentments. Focus on the here and now and the future relationship you want. Avoid sarcasm.
8) Don’t give advice or try to fix her. Leave her alone to live her life as she chooses. You may not agree but you should be accepting and supportive The goal is to be friends. The one exception to this is if she is addicted, neglectful or abusive to her children, then you must step in to protect the kids. If her negativity is toxic, then separation at this time may be necessary for you.
9) Respect your sister and your differences. There may be many, it doesn’t make either of you wrong or right. Find the common things you can celebrate that are positive family memories.
10) Use a Certified Relationship coach or therapist if you cannot get beyond childhood wounds.
Riana Mine, MA, is a Certified, world-wide Relationship, Love & Life Coach, #1 Best Selling Author, motivational speaker, Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Cert Addictions Professional at Therapy by the Sea; 15300 Jog Rd, Suite 109, Delray Beach. Her free App: My Relationship Coach offers more articles and her books, LIVE Beyond Your Dreams – from Fear and Doubt to Personal Power, Purpose and Success, and LOVE Beyond Your Dreams – Break Free of Toxic Relationships to Have the Love You Deserve addresses relationships with yourself and others. To learn more about Riana’s Life or Love Coaching programs or suggest a topic, go to Riana’s website, www.RianaMilne.com or email RianaMilne@gmail.com. Worldwide Coaching Phone: (201) 281-7887. Delray office: (561) 701-8277; Skype Coaching and FB: coachrianamilne. #LoveCoach, #LifeCoach, #RelationshipCoach, #SinglesCoach