Friday, November 19, 2010

Heartbreaking (Adult) Sibling Fights

One of my favorite readers named, “anonymous” responded to my recent post, When an Adult Child Cuts Off a Parent, by sending me a link that she found. It’s a post on that is titled “When Adult Children Fight, a Mother's Heart Breaks” and was written by Jessica Barksdale Inclan. It is well written and poignant.

She describes the distinctly different personalities of her two grown sons; one an anarchist and the other a police-academy aspirant.

Inclan writes, “At one time, these were my happy little boys, my sons who played together all day on the weekends, slept in the same room for years. They both went to the same college, called each other frequently, hiked together, laughed together. But when Nicolas began to become the man he is, their ideologies started to pull them apart. He began to despise all that Alex stood for, and their drives home from Washington State began to get ugly, full of silences or harsh words. Our last meal together, all of us sitting around the table of our new home, was as unpleasant as could be.”

“It's possible that these two will never come back to one another. The fight could be the axe that splits their relationship wide open, forever irreparable. I close my eyes and breathe in hard when I think of them forever at opposite sides. Siblings are the closest relationships in time and age and place. Siblings know each other in ways no one else can, and to see my boys approach an end to this connection is more than I can bear.”

I want to suggest two things:

These two young men drifted apart and have let their ideologies divide them. There will (hopefully) come a time in the future when they will recognize the indispensable nature of one’s nuclear family….and agree to disagree.

Second, I have faith that the (future) spouses and children of these two young men may have a profound influence on this sibling division (or not). If each brother has their own two children (which my research shows is likely) and they each try to prevail upon their own children how important sibling bonds are in life, a major-watt light bulb may illuminate (or not).

You can read Inclan's entire post by clicking here.

And be sure to read some of the frank comments that follow her post such as Debbie who stated:

I do feel a little better because I'm not the only one who is going through this. My two boys will never be friends and will never have a relationship. I think this is sad, but I'm done with all the conflict and unpleasantness. If I could go back in time, I would have had puppies and never any children.
(ASinger: Ouch!)


Jessica Barksdale Inclan said...

Hi, Dr. Singer--

I just found your post here through Google alerts, and the good, good news is that my sons have managed to create a "agree to disagree" and "agree to just not talk about it" rule that has worked for them. I, also, managed to learn to stay out of the fray. It is their relationship to mend, after all.

My sister and I memnded a breach after she had children, and there is that pull toward family and community that comes when you see your own children. I hope that things get even better at that point.

So we are all looking forward to better holidays this year!

thanks for the nice words.


Jessica Barksdale Inclan

Dr. Alan Singer said...

Folks, this world wide web idea that Al Gore thought up, just amazes me on a regular basis. Jessica Barksdale Inclan finds me on this planet via Google Alerts and sees the post that I wrote about her terrific piece on parentdish. And as you can see, her sons are really working it out on their own and Jessica's staying out of the fray.

We know that Disneyworld's the only place where everyone always lives happily ever after, but this sure is one sweet ending to a story that I plan to repeat to my children (and my sibs too).
Thanks for posting a comment Jessica!

Unknown said...

Child years is some duration of learning and growing. An occasion when errors occur, limitations are pressed and problems are fixed. These difficulties continue into maturity, the only difference is, once we are grownups people anticipate us to have discovered some skills to deal with them.