One of the challenges we have to contend with in sibling relationships are the ups and downs we get with the reshaping of our life. Like a boat in rough waters, we strive to keep our course, and sometimes, a wave gets the best of us for a given time. One such wave can be the idea that there must be something wrong with us if they don’t spend time with us. Thankfully, we don’t have to stay with this erroneous thinking forever. What if there was a way to help us out of this slump? Just as thinking about the bad things they say and do to us can be a way to break fake nostalgia (euphoric recall), so too can we work with another way to bust this type of illusion.
One such way involves working with the future self. But wait. How do you work with a part that’s not here yet? By making decisions now to affect that future. Just like when you decide to do things for yourself, through foresight, for the following day, your future self will thank you. So too can you do this for a future you in your sibling relationship. So let’s go through a typical mental response. We think about our tumultuous sibling relationship. It gets us down. We conclude, somehow, that there’s something not right about us. And the self-deprecating thought spiral goes on. In moments like this, it’s important to realize that if you’ve chosen to accept the situation as being what it is, you’ve just freed up your future self from the burden of having to somehow figure out and fix the relationship.
Now comes the fun part. After acknowledging the acceptance of the situation, you can now mentally travel into the future and envision this future self as being carefree and lighter, because of your decision just now. Let yourself live their freedom in living the life they want. Let yourself feel all of their freed energy that, rather than grinding you down by thinking of and owning a problem that’s not yours, instead, spending that in useful places such as self-improvement, other relationships, pleasurous activities, and making the world a better place, for instance. Take as long as you need to feel this before coming back to the Now.
Much of our time is spent in worrying about what to do, and future decisions that are often disconnected and detached from this reality. Falling into this type of abstraction can be draining, and take away energy that could have otherwise been spent in more constructive and pro-active places. Training yourself to do this future self exercise will foster strength, inner-harmony, and reassurance on walking the path of sibling estrangement. Lastly, your future self will say “thank you” for the decision you made. It’s a wonderful feeling to be appreciated, isn’t it?
Ali-John Chaudhary is a Registered Psychotherapist with offices in Ontario and Quebec. He helps clients from different parts of the world going through sibling estrangement issues, and produces YouTube videos on the same subject, with author Fern Schumer Chapman. He also hosts a twice-monthly online support group on zoom for those looking to empower themselves with this rarely discussed subject.
He can be reached through the contact section on top of this page.