Home article Living in The Shadow of a Successful Older Sibling

Living in The Shadow of a Successful Older Sibling

Living in The Shadow of a Successful Older Sibling

My older brother is 4 years ahead of me.  He was popular, got straight As in all honors classes, and he was a varsity football player. The problem is, everybody expects me to be like him, but I’m not. I don’t play football and schoolwork is harder for me.  How can I make them stop?

It is very, very difficult to change other people. You can influence, but it’s basically impossible to make someone else change. In other words, I don’t think you can make them stop thinking what they think. Instead, consider two other options here: changing the situation or changing the way you feel about the situation.

Changing the situation might include:

  • going to a different school where you aren’t living in his shadow, or
  • picking a different way to showcase your talents in the hopes that people will stop expecting you to be like him.

Changing the way you feel about the situation might include:

  • the next time someone compares you to him, you make a joke about it in your head, or
  • you take a deep breath and try to let go of the feelings you usually feel.
  • Figure out what you need to let it bother you less!

The other thing I want you to know about this is that time may help. After a few months or a year, people will probably start to see you for who you are, as opposed to what your brother was. So give it a little time. We can’t change others, but time changes things, sometimes we can change the situation, and we can always work on changing how we feel about a situation. Good luck.

Katie Malinski Katie Malinski LCSW is a licensed child and family therapist and parenting coach. In addition to her one-on-one work with families and children, she presents dynamic parenting workshops on a variety of topics, including: Beyond Birds and Bees, Parenting Through Divorce, Typical Parenting Conflicts, and many more. Learn more about Katie at www.KatieMalinski.com.
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