Saturday, April 1, 2023
HomeRelationship AdviceI (22F) am jealous of my sister (12F) and it's affecting our...

I (22F) am jealous of my sister (12F) and it’s affecting our relationship

I can’t help but constantly notice how much of a better childhood my sister is getting than I did. I know it’s our parents’ fault and yet…

She’s allowed to go out with her friends, go shopping etc. When I was her age I was barely allowed within eyesight of our home and had to constantly call my parents so they would know I’m ok. This kind of protectiveness my parents showed cost me a lot of friendships and was the main reason I was a social recluse throughout middle school, meanwhile my sister is thriving socially.

When she goes with my parents to a store and sees something she likes, she usually gets it by simply asking. To this day I’m still terrified of asking my parents for anything. If I ever wanted some new toy or clothes they would immediately start questioning why I want something new, is what I have not good enough, etc.

There’s a lot of other stuff, like her getting an allowance while I never got one, her constantly complaining about things when if I ever complained about anything I would get yelled at.

I know it’s just because my parents grew tired of being strict and overprotective, they told me myself when I confronted them once. I know for a fact that the reasoning behind those differences is not financial either.

I’m so angry and frustrated knowing most of my mental problems are because of the parenting I received. All the shouting, never allowing me anything new if it wasn’t a must, restricting my social circle. I grew up to be an anxious adult who is terrified of asking their parents for a new pair of shoes even though the old ones have holes in them. My first thought in any situation like half of the time is “oh my god I’m so stupid they’re going to yell at me”.

Meanwhile my sister is growing up ok. Getting the stuff she wants (within reason ofc) and hanging out with friends, doing activities she likes, just growing up to be normal.

What really makes me mad at her is how she acts about it. I know she’s just a kid and she doesn’t know how I grew up, but she never makes it easy for me.

She keeps complaining about everything. How she doesn’t have enough clothes, that her bedtime is too resrictive, etc. That makes me think about how good she has it and how i wished to grow up like she is. She always gets more time and attention from my parents (I still live with them but I work most of the day while she has short school days and my parents mostly WFH) but whenever I get the slightest bit of attention, or a compliment, or a new item, she immediately starts asking “what about me?!” As if she never gets affection of attention.

It’s so frustrating and I keep being cold towards her even when she’s on her good behavior. I feel almost like she’s the enemy and I know I shouldn’t but I don’t know how to change it.

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  1. To me it sounds like you’re misdirecting the anger that should go to your parents for how they treated you. You know it’s their fault but you don’t seem to have gotten any resolution for it.

  2. My husband is in the same boat as you. He was the oldest and has the most rules put on him than his younger siblings. But that dynamic made him strong. He is independent, lives on his own, with a wife and a place, while his siblings are living at home still. Both sides are envious of each other. They’re jealous of his life, he’s resentful of his childhood. But he’s glad he left when he was eighteen.

  3. Talk to a therapist honestly. It’s stuff that can’t really be sorted out by talking to your parents or your sister. It’s work you have to do inside to get over the resentment. And in my experience, resentment is tough to get over in your own.

  4. You should try to put some distance between you and your parents. You mention you have a job, so if you can somehow make it work with your salary, move out, maybe find roommates if you can’t afford an apartment on your own.

    Try to spend time with your sister away from your parents, perhaps on the weekends. Currently you probably rarely interact with her when your parents aren’t around, which constantly reinforces the different way your parents are treating her, compared to you. Actively remind yourself to redirect your anger whenever you feel a surge of jealousy or resentment.

  5. You love your sister but it hurts you to see what your childhood should have been like. I get it. However even if your sister had the same issues u had it won’t make u feel any better. That’s why it is better to learn to control your behavior and recognize when your becoming “cold” or lashing out. It will make your relationship with your sister better in the long run. I would also really consider therapy and talking to someone.

  6. It’s a very common phenomena, the youngest child gets spoiled more and has fewer rules applied to them.

    It’s not *her* fault. Parents will often go hard on discipline for the older children, only to realise it was unnecessary once they get to the youngest (or they just baby them because they’re their “last baby”).

    Remind yourself that it has nothing to do with her and you are an adult. Being resentful of a 12 year old is beyond fruitless and quite frankly, pathetic.

  7. Move out! You have all your 20s and 30s ahead where you can have more fun than your teenage self ever could!

    Treat yourself, make your own rules, become independent by taking care of yourself, have loads of adventures with your friends.

    Be so busy having fun now that you forget about resenting your sister or your past.

  8. I apologize to everyone for this post being long, but I do have a lot of relevant things to say.

    OP I am in the exact same situation as you. But with slightly different outcomes. I am a 22M with a 13M brother aand we are children of immigrants. When I was younger my parents were overprotective of me and asides from track after school I didn’t have a social life, didnt have any friends until college and I was also spanked a lot ( most of them deservedly from my extremely aggregious behaviour), no allowance, video games that were bought but I couldn’t play because of extra tutoring that my parents made sign up for. In addition i had a job since I was 14. My parents never came to a single track/xc meet even though we lived 1/2 mile from the school and it was free to watch. With that said I did have some positives, I was given so many opportunities to develop professionally, but professionally only and food( whatever food my mom could cook I got the best of, and so does my brother) exchange programs, tutoring and other educational materials that I wanted, learning languages and more and I am grateful for what they have given me in that regard.

    Now for outcome in my life from the upbringing. I am very socially awkward, I don’t know how to be confident and interact with people in high-school or a colleague even and say the right things in the right way because I don’t know how that person will understand the phrase or words I say. Because of this i had 2 friends in highschool and the first time i was ever invited to a friends house was in senior year of highschool, i was so excited to finally get to go to a friends house, which is a bit embarrasing to admit at such an old age. In addition i have a psychiatric anxiety disorder ( Clinically diagnosed), where I exhibit and perform very weird behaviors, which really doesn’t help socially. So i want to let you know that i understand you OP in how you feel. In addition i dont feel the need to tell my parents much that happens in my life since we are not close in a personal level ex i had 3 concussions a broken leg and a broken shoulder, from sports in the past, and never felt the need to tell them( not telling them is my choice but i never felt like they needed to know). I did graduate college and now have a professional life.

    Now for my brother he doesn’t have any restrictions isn’t forced to do extra things that he doesn’t want to do. Isn’t pressured as much to excel in school, find some work( I know he is young but soon we’ll see), he’s allowed to talk back to my parents and doesn’t get spanked for bad behavior. My parents pay to go to all of his sporting events and even invitr their friends to come watch him play football/basketball. So he is definitely a courageous, outgoing, creative kid that doesn’t give af.

    Where I differ from you is i guess that I am grateful my brother has a better childhood than I did growing up. I know what it feels like to not have friends ever want to visit you or your house and what it feels like to want to go out with friends and spend time at the park or playing video games and just be a kid so I am grateful for that. My brother is frankly my best friend because being that I was so much older than him I got him into pokemon and playing other card games and other things that we both love.

    What I suggest for you is that understand that your parents are to blame and if possible tell them to tell your sister that you had it harder growing up and that she should be grateful. Also talk to her one on one and get tonknow her better and try to take interest in her hobbies. You don’t have to forgive your parents but try to forgive your sister, and try to get close to her. I know you are living at home but work really hard and get promoted and develop yourself so you can live by yourself and enjoy your freedom. This freedom is key because of it I was able to be more confident in my life.

    Couple things I want to point out or differentiate, my family wasn’t very well of, I had to work to help supplement the money coming in, so I don’t know your family’s financial situation. I am the son of immigrants, I don’t know about you, frankly i dont need to know, it shouldn’t matter but in a way it can help make sense of your situation. I am a man and I understand that so many girls in my ethnic community have it different from their brothers because they are girls and I’m sorry if you were treated differently even unknowingly by your parents because you are a girl. Overall, I agree that this way of raising may not have been the best but I want you to know that the cycle has to stop somewhere and hopefully it will be with us.

  9. I feel the same way. My (21M) parents treated me exponentially more poorly than my younger brother (18M). I was always a good kid, never got in trouble. My younger brother has done things in the last 4 years that would have had me in the deepest shit, but they don’t care. They are 10x easier on him. I had to have A’s and B’s in school or else my dad would call me out to make me feel like a failure and a loser, my brother on the other hand was failing so hard in his early high school years and didn’t get punished whatsoever, or made out to be an idiot. I feel you OP!

  10. There is an old saying, the eldest has to fulfill the hopes and aspirations of the parents while the youngest just has to stay out of jail. It’s not her fault, so don’t take it out on her.

  11. Your feelings are valid, your resentment towards your parents or jealousy towards your sister. Reading from your replies it seems like you still live with your parents. The thing is once you move out and live on your own, you may feel better, as you are far away from the source of your anxiety. I hope you’ll be able to move out and get therapy to get to a better place mentally. Maybe reading on some books about mental health would help you in the meantime.

  12. I am the oldest out of 4 children, so I get it. I always felt that my younger siblings had the more positive attention compared to me. Especially when my little sister became captain of the dance team and my mom would spend so much money on that. I was in band when I was in high school and while they did the Christmas performance, I only remember them coming to one game.

    But you can’t keep being angry on how your parents raised you vs. how they raised your sister. Your parents are probably happy they did raise you more strict because that caused you to be more independent. So they don’t really have to worry about you. Your little sister is not going to have it easy when she grows up because she is going to be so used to the relaxed parenting and attention.

    Also be there for your little sister. You won’t believe how many times she is going to need you when she grows up.

  13. Parental strategies change over time. As people get older they become more relaxed. I remember raising my nephew and niece when their parents were locked up. Fast forward 20 years and they see how relaxed I am when I deal with their kids and they pointed out how calm and patient I am with their kids but was so aggressive and strict with them lol.

  14. Stop talking to your parents! It’s time to take a time out from your family. Do some journaling or therapy, whatever helps you with your anger, resentment, and other issues caused by bad parenting. When you feel up to it- if you want to – reopen the relationship with sister… though I suggest LC with parents.

  15. Hi Op. To say I understand how you feel, would be the understatement of the century.

    Both my older and younger siblings had way more freedom than I did. Where I can count on one hand the amount of times I was allowed to sleep over by a friend throughout primary school to high school, both my sisters lost count of their sleep overs before even reaching high school.

    If I wanted anything, I had to buy it with my own money. (i never received pocket money or an allowance or anything like that) there were only two times a year I would possibly sometimes receive money, and that was on my birthday and Christmas. My older sister got new things all the time and never had to pay, and I would have to take her hand-me-downs. My younger sister is 7 years younger than me, and therefor did not want any hand-me-downs ever because they were old and not her style. So she got new everything.

    These are only two examples. There are soooo many more.

    I have since let go of my resentment towards my siblings, and redirected it towards my parents only.

    If you would like to talk, feel free to message me. I know talking about the issue with someone was the real turning point for me.

  16. Girly, you’re 22 now, time to create your own path. You can’t go back in time and neither can your parents.

    All there is to focus on now is the life you see for yourself. You can buy yourself whatever you want. You can go anywhere you want and do whatever you want. Enjoy it.

    I don’t mean to come across as patronising. I’m 23, lil bro is 5 years younger than me and he was treated like a king and I was Cinderella. Apparently my culture dictates that I do all the housework. Anyways I moved out, forgave my mother and live my own life. I can’t hold grudges, my life is in my hands now.

  17. You absolutely should not argue with your sister, she hasn’t done anything wrong, adress the issue to your parents, if they don’t handle it well you can take it into your own hands in whatever way possible.

  18. I may be going against the grain here, but do what makes you feel good. Don’t add more stress to your life about what’s the “right” way to feel toward your sister.

    We know it’s not your sister’s fault. You know it’s not your sister’s fault. It’s not like you want her to face the same struggles you faced.

    But if seeing these situations keeps bringing up bad memories and feelings then remove yourself from that situation.

    Of course the logical thing to do would be to not resent your sister for the things she has that you didn’t have, but feelings aren’t always rational. You’ve suffered enough. You don’t have to feel guilty on top of all of that.

    It sounds like you’re trying to place your negative emotions where they belong. But if you can’t then it’s okay. We all struggle to be our best selves. If you need to spend less time with your blameless sister then that sucks, but you need to prioritize yourself.

  19. Therapy is your best bet. Until you can afford that try and look up radical acceptance. And try and reframe your thoughts regarding your sister. Do you really want her to go through what you did?

    Even when she’s being a typical bratty teenager think about how great that is that she gets to be like that.

  20. Recognizing that your anger is wrong and misplaced is a good first step. It’s not your sister’s fault here.

    Until you can get away and get some therapy, just repeat a little mantra in your head of “it’s not her fault, it’s not her fault”

    And ask for the new shoes.

  21. Unfortunately this was quite common. I consider my parents very fair people; they actively do their best to make sure me and my younger sister get the same opportunities and treatment from them, but there’s still noticeable differences; some similar to yours. My parents were way more strict with me going out/spending the night/taking the car/etc than they were with my younger sister.

    In terms of the money issues I would consider this; were your parents struggling financially when you were growing up vs your sister? Perhaps they simply have more money to spend now.

  22. I know how you feel and was raised similarly, to the point where my parents were at time emotionally abusive (which I don’t want to assume anything from a simple reddit post, but I think you might have undergone some emotional abuse). I remember crying myself to sleep at night because I wasn’t allowed to hang out with friends or even go to youth events at my church. THey yelled at me for small things, like me “looking at them wrongly” or “talking back” when I simply said something they didn’t like. I’m now very very anxious and honestly, it’s because of my childhood and never felt I was good enough (I still feel this when I interact with them). So, all of this to say, I understand your situation, and I think your situation is different from normal older-younger sibling treatment.

    I think I would bring something up to your younger sister on your childhood and how some things were different. You can easily say something like “if I ever react to anything you say in a weird way, it’s because of my childhood, and I’m not angry at you at all.” A disclaimer to her may help! Therapy has helped me a lot too, and if anything, it’ll give you a place to just rant and get it off your chest (since it seems talking to your parents hasn’t worked)

    Trust me, I have a younger sister who similar to your’s, got a lot of the treatment, love, and freedom I had wished for. It’s not easy, especially when she complains about things like “I only got $20 to go out with friends” when I would be so scared to even ask for $5 (and never did) for lunch. I don’t mean to make this comment to feel sorry for myself as I’m at peace mainly with my childhood. I simply just want you to not feel alone.

    if you ever need to talk, feel free to message! You’ve got this and you’re not alone! You’re stronger because of this!

  23. I know this sounds off topic but what are your goals in life?

    You only have 4000 weeks in this life and you have already spent over 1100 of them, try not to use them on this jealousy, if the jealousy gives you anger use that anger energy to be productive.

    Don’t you also feel a little bit bad for your sister she might become spoiled and she will struggle to high real relationships later on her?

  24. I’m in a similar boat to you. Younger siblings have it a lot easier than i ever did, and for the longest time i was angry at them for having it better. But i think the best thing for you is to focus on saving up to get out of the house amd put some emotional and physical distance between you and your parents. Bring it up with them in a calm environment – not the monetary or material side, but the fact that you don’t feel equally loved compared to your sister. Do it now and do it again down the line when you’re out of the house, so they have time to process what that means about them and for their relationship with you.

  25. Parents learn by doing, every kid is different and there is no manual. It’s often a no-win situation. When parents are young they don’t always have the financial resources to spoil a child, as much as they might like to. The default answer tends to be no. As parents age they may get promoted or get a better job and have more money. It’s not uncommon for them to splurge on the younger child.

    If you’re overprotective the kid inevitably resents the lack of freedom. If you loosen the reigns the kid might get into trouble or become an entitled brat. There is no right answer.

    It might help to focus on the good things your parents did. There’s a 10 year age difference between you and your sister, so 22 years of parental development to reach this point. They’ve no doubt chilled out, most parents do.

    You can play an important role in helping your sister learn to appreciate her situation. You can be a role model by channeling your frustration into positive experiences for both of you.

  26. As an older sibling in much the same situation – hard check yourself. I’ve felt mild jealousy for my younger siblings being much less “disciplined” than I was, but after thinking about it for a couple of minutes I decided I was *also* relieved and happy that my parents learnt to be better parents after the mistakes they made with me.

    Of course there is some resentment, but that is directed at my parents, not my younger siblings who deserved every bit of the normal childhood I didn’t get.

    She’s young, she *gets to be* too immature to understand how good she actually has it. Not that she shouldn’t be made aware – but go easy on her and don’t turn it into a fight or you against her thing. I know it can get grating, happening daily it will certainly wear on your nerves. But you’re the adult in this situation, if you can’t be cavalier about it, at least be calm and matter of fact that she is already lucky within the context of your family.

  27. Maybe have a conversation with her? Tell her that you’re not upset at her, but at your parents, and then explain why you’re hurt. That it’s not due to the fact she gets these freedoms and such, but because YOU never got to. That you’re happy she didn’t grow up with all the restrictions and problems you did, but that you’re just asking her to be a Lil more considerate now that you are FINALLY getting some sort of attention.

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