When it comes to how someone behaves and sees themselves for instance, childhood development is often cited as a primary factor. This will include how ones father and mother treated them during their formative years as a child and a baby and even ones time in the womb.
And while the relationship one had with their mother and father does play a significant role in their life, what is often overlooked is the relationship one had with their sibling/s when they were growing up.
Their impact often goes unnoticed and is overshadowed by ones caregivers. And this is understandable due to how powerful they presence can be in one’s life. But through placing ones focus entirely on them, ones awareness can end up being limited and seeing the whole picture will be difficult.
Square Pegs In Round Holes
So one can look for answers in their past and reflect on how their parents treated them and struggle to find out what happened. And while this could be the result of them having a faint memory and needing to gradually connect to their past, it could also be a consequence of them looking in the wrong places.
Through reading certain books and their mind coming to the conclusion that is all about how their caregivers treated them, they can then be blind to other sources. It is then a bit like trying to fit square pegs in round holes. The intention is there and the commitment could also be there and yet no matter how hard one looks, the answers will not be found.
It may mean that one will end up projecting things on to their caregivers that they were not actually responsible for. And even though they can’t be found there, the mind will still see them there and will filter out anything that goes against this position.
Perhaps if there was more of a focus on siblings and the affects they have on each other, then it would be more natural to question the roles that they played in shaping who one is. However, while it is easy to see all of this in isolation, caregivers and siblings are all part of the family system and each influence each other.
No one was their own island in their family of origin and they were constantly influencing the people around them and being influenced by them. So while one can feel powerless and believe that they had no choice, their behaviour was also shaping how others responded to them.
One of the biggest factors when it comes to siblings is the order that they were born. If one was the child who was born first, their caregivers would generally have treated them in ways that were different to the second or third born for example.
The child that is born first is often expected to achieve more and as a result shows greater levels of intelligence and can demonstrate a greater tendency to act responsibly. When one is the second born, they are not as likely to feel the pressure that the first child felt and while this could lead lower intelligence and chances of success; it could also mean they have greater freedom to pursue their own wants and needs and in their own time.
There are many other dynamics that can take place and therefore many other consequences. It will all depend on what order one was born and what took place as a result.
So through one being the first, second or third born, they would have been likely to have seen their sibling/s in a certain way and they would have seen one in a certain way. And the ways that one behaved would have been what felt safe in the family system.
There wouldn’t have necessarily been any thought of if this role would be in their best interests; what would take precedence is ones survival. At the time it would have lead to one being able to handle this early environment. But as an adult, it might be holding one back from living their truth.
One could ask themselves ‘does how others treat me or how I treat others, reflect how it was with my sibling/s when I was younger?' And some of these interactions may have been healthy and empowering and then there will be others that were limiting and disempowering.
How ones brother or sister treated them can be how one expects other men and women to respond to them. And if these are ways that honour who one is, there is not going to be too many problems; if they are not, then something will need to be changed within.
These ways of behaving could also cause one to disempower and limit others. Although ones way of seeing men or women may be familiar and feel comfortable, it could lead to them stopping the people they are close to from growing.
These roles that one plays in relation to men or women and how they see themselves, as a result of how their sibling/s treated them, can stop one from being present and acting consciously. And yet to the ego mind this is what is familiar and therefore what is being interpreted as safe.
So even though one’s life might not be uplifted by these roles that one is playing, the ego mind is still holding onto what took place all those years ago. And should one act in a way that is different, they will soon be met with a myriad of different emotions. Or one might not even go this far and just end up feeling stuck and unable to be who they want to be.
One of the most important things will be to question who one thinks they are and why they feel they have to act in the ways they do. And if one is acting how they want, this won’t be a problem; but if they are not, then change will be necessary.
It might be enough to change how one thinks and how they behaviour. And for others, it might be a case of releasing trapped feelings and emotions from these early years.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.