Being Traumatized Siblings


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My sister and I have had an on-again, off-again relationship all of my life.

Our family laid it out perfectly: I’m the smart one and she is the pretty one.

Naturally, this caused a lot of resentment from both sides. She didn’t really appreciate being pretty and stupid and I didn’t much like being ugly and smart but that was our reality.

As we have aged, I have realized that my sister isn’t stupid and has a big nose. She has noted that she wishes she also got my mom’s pretty eyes and that I am not always so smart. 😆

And so, we are not so resentful as we once were. We also both have cPTSD and GAD and so we are able to bond, there.

But being sisters is hard. I think we both do try but ultimately fail to get each other. Add in the extra spice of shared and unshared trauma and sometimes it feels like we will never get this right.

Granted, she was also a hot chick tyrant when she was a teen and got herself kicked out of the house by chasing me with a butcher knife and locking me outside for the morning while I was trying to get ready for school. She insists she would not have hurt me and I DO NOT believe her but feel pretty confident that now that the flashbacks are over, I have forgiven her. I’m pretty sure she remains a tad angry at me for “getting” her kicked out by "making" her mad enough to chase me with a deadly weapon.

For her, I was not nearly concerned enough with being “normal.” I was embarrassing, I didn’t try not to be, and that was really anxiety-producing for her because being the pretty one meant that she had to show her people that she was cool or at least not a complete freak. Not surprisingly, I thought her people were assholes (and basically still do, including her husband of 19 years). In addition, she had no bond with my mother and I did. My mother repeatedly told my sister to mind her business and leave me the hell alone, even during times when juvenile hall was probably the best place for me. My sister resents this and insists that her violence and insults surrounded my well-being and that since my mother would not parent, she felt someone needed to. I remain skeptical about the accuracy of this, feeling that her motives were at least 50% selfish which wouldn't matter much in adulthood except that triggering stuff does still come up and she is still controlling.

Has anyone had a rough sibling situation like this and actually come to feel like they have a good relationship? Sometimes I think we are alright and sometimes I do not and don’t think we ever will be.
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Me and my brother were very close as children but chronic trauma took its toll on our relationship. There were a couple of fist fights as adults. We then didn't speak for nearly a decade. We are now communicating again and since he's had a daughter he's changed for the better and his behaviour towards me is much better by miles. I too have changed. I don't drink anymore so I don't have unhealthy outbursts towards him. It's like a fresh start as adults especially as we both have our own accommodation and dad isn't part of our relationship. Today we spent two + hours together playing Xbox online and chatting which was really good for both of us. Alot of fun and bonding.


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@RussellSue, it's unfortunate that your parents labelled you both the way that they did. It induces resentments.
Yeah, we were pretty screwed up by that. It didn't help us get along at all.

It's funny, though, that we still seem like those people. She barely finished high school and got the hubby making $150k a year and has no need to work (which is exactly what she told us she would do because she was so pretty), while little sister struggles to find post-grad school work, not because she did even a little poorly in school but because she feels like a social disaster, has trouble talking to people, and wishes she could wear her mask for Zoom interviews. I also have a high school math teacher husband.

It's hard to say whether we were really born for the roles we got but we grew into them.


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he's had a daughter he's changed for the better and his behaviour towards me is much better by miles. I too have changed. I don't drink anymore so I don't have unhealthy outbursts towards him.
I feel like my sister and I are in a similar situation. We have done pretty well over the last couple of years. But yesterday got a little rough. We didn't fight but we had a serious talk. The talk unearthed some continued attitudes which I consider pretty selfish that I thought she had outgrown. I know I just need to accept where she is at but I am not quite there, yet.