When it comes to challenges associated with sibling estrangement, one of the more significant ones involves learning to compose with something that we unwillingly experience. No one likes to be rejected or cast out. And when the mind gets involved, it can cause us to feel as though things are left incomplete, causing us to ruminate. But could there be another way of working with unfinished business? The answer is yes.
It’s a fact that the mind does not like incompleteness. When you’re watching a movie, you like to see the beginning, middle, and the end. If any of this is missing, then you may get the sense that you don’t have a full understanding of the story, which can play on the mind.
Even with incomplete information with regards to letters, numbers, or sentences, our brains like to complete what they see, and will fill in the gap to make information coherent.
This search for answers can be the very process that fuels personalization. And this can be worsened if we are natural fixers in our family. We want to somehow make things right. And if we can’t, then that drive can turn against us, and eat us inside, causing us to experience pressure in somehow doing something.
So how do we compose with incompleteness?
Rather than trying at all costs to resolve every single thing and/or putting pressure on ourselves, perhaps resolution is not the answer. In situations that are beyond our control, and require the goodwill of another individual, it can be good to recognize that certain elements are just not conducive to resolution. And that things will almost always be invariably incomplete. Therefore, taking a different stance and working at the root of the problem is more effective than working on the persistent need for resolution.
So, can an inner part of you be ok with the situation with your sibling being what it is? And I’m not saying to justify what they did or said to you. I’m saying can what you carry within you be accepted as ok?
If so, let yourself move further into that. Letting yourself go deeper into the “ok”. If this is challenging, look at a past situation where you initially weren’t ok with something, but came to accept it as being a fact. Go with that same feeling now.
Move towards the ok with the incompleteness.
Towards the ok with not doing anything. Towards the ok in the present moment. Letting yourself dwell there for about a minute or however long you need.
Notice the shift in how this makes you feel about incompleteness. Maybe there’s less pressure and less urgency. Perhaps there’s a bit more peace. It’s this very ability that lets us transcend our perceived need in making things better. Welcome to the world of radical acceptance.
I’d love to hear about your experiences with this. Please let me know how you do with this practice in the comments below. As a final word, give yourself some time to get acquainted with this if you need to.
Rome wasn’t built overnight.
Looking forward to hearing about how you’re building the new You!
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 and an intensive workshop both on zoom for those looking to empower themselves with this rarely discussed subject.
One thought on “Navigating Incompleteness with Sibling Estrangement”
I struggle with acceptance because it has taken me a long time to protect myself against the accusations and actions of my sisters. I am not a victim but every encounter with them is hurtful to me and my family. I never initiate contact and try to focus on my family to remain happy and peaceful. I never had trouble growing up with them but adult life has brought many disappointments for them and I seem to get their wrath. I am sitting in acceptance in an effort to remain calm and uninvolved with all the drama.