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Dear Stavroula

My Sister Is Happy I Broke up with My Boyfriend

July 30, 2022

Dear Stavroula,

I feel very disappointed in my sister. I thought we were very close and to me she has always been my best friend. In the last year, I was in a relationship with a guy whom she also knew and they seemed to get along just like I did with her boyfriend. The four of us hung out quite often. But recently I broke up and I was very sad and I told her about it but her attitude was like “why are you upset about that?” She didn’t seem to understand me at all even though she saw me crying all the time. But I got the big shock when I read – without her knowledge – a message she sent to her friend. Basically, my sister was happy that I broke up and even said that she had been waiting for it to happen for a long time. Since then I can’t calm down. I can’t understand how she can be happy about something that hurts me and talk like that about me. I would like your opinion.

Yanna

Dear Yanna,

Sibling relationships are very important and because of this are very often charged with strong emotions. On the one hand, love and devotion develop between siblings that are different from any other relationship, because in a sibling relationship these feelings are usually built on shared experiences and memories from the time someone becomes aware of himself. On the other hand, jealousy or competition can arise between the siblings which often has its starting point in seeking to gain attention from parents, and the satisfaction – or not – of needs in childhood.

Usually, however, as the siblings grow older, any rivalry between them, which is mainly fueled by childish jealousies, recedes. If this does not happen, then it may mean that there are childhood wounds that have not healed or situations that have not been clarified.

Perhaps something similar is happening in your case. If, therefore, in your relationship with your sister you often experience disappointments, you often feel that the relationship between you is dominated by jealousy and competition, then perhaps you should look for the causes of this situation. What is there in your relationship that prevents you from being a support to each other, what creates rivalry and prevents you from having mutual respect, love, and companionship? You may need to talk to a trusted relative or mutual friend and ask them to help you better understand what is going on.

If, however, this is an isolated phenomenon, then perhaps you should look for what is behind your sister’s particular behavior.

Sometimes one can feel a ‘wrong’ emotion such as joy when something bad happens to another person, without, of course, that characterizing him as a bad human being. Behind this feeling can be hidden the need that one has as a human being to feel that others are also failing in their relationships, in their work, in their efforts – without malice or hatred behind it. Many times the opposite can actually happen. Behind what seems to be joy for something bad that happened to another person, there can be hidden a love in another form, as well as the need to belong somewhere. In other words, behind your sister’s specific comments, there may well be hidden her need to not lose you that she found no other way to express.

Finally, maybe your sister reacted this way because she felt that your relationship with this particular person was not what it should be. Maybe she saw negative signs in his behavior that you couldn’t see or didn’t allow yourself to accept, so she was happy when the relationship ended, thinking it was best for you.

It would help to talk to her and explain honestly and non-accusingly how you feel. Let her explain her side to you, show her love and understanding – and maybe things will clear up between you more easily than you think.

Stavroula Tsoutsa is a Certified Holistic Professional Life Coach, ICF ACC, Certified Heartmath Coach/Mentor and Trainer, and Certified Points of You Practitioner.

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