Adult siblings

You are not alone. Many adult siblings juggle multiple responsibilities, feel isolated and need support in their sibling role. Use these pages to get information on sibling issues, and to make contact with other adult siblings in the UK.

Dealing with anger

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Siblings can struggle with feelings of anger and resentment about their situation and have unresolved feelings of anger from childhood.  Often siblings talk about not being able to discuss issues they feel strongly about with their parents or having to hide their true feelings.  Anger can become a problem if we have not allowed ourselves to express anger in the past.

Anger is a natural response to feeling threatened in some way.  Feeling angry can help us deal with situations but it can also be scary.  Sometimes the feelings of anger get out of control and cause problems for ourselves or those around us. 

Many people find that there are triggers (for example, someone’s tone of voice) that make them feel angry and that the anger is way out of proportion to the situation.  So someone may become very angry in response to a minor irritation and for some people this excessive anger can become a habit.

Anger as a young sibling

You may have been told as a child to not complain or had to put up with things because of your disabled brother or sister.  Perhaps you found it hard to get someone to listen to you and now find that you become really angry if you cannot get your voice heard.  You may have experienced feelings of unfairness; for example, you may have witnessed a disabled brother or sister expressing a great deal of anger or aggression, but were not allowed to express yourself in the same way.  When we feel that our emotions or needs aren’t taken seriously, it can make us react in unpredictable ways, which can be harmful for our health and our relationships.

Things that help

1. Writing your feelings down can help you understand what is causing your anger.  When something makes you fee angry it might be helpful to note down:

  • What happened just before you became angry in the situation?
  • What happened at the time?
  • What happened straight afterwards – how did you feel?

2.   Working on being more assertive in expressing your feelings may help you to have more positive experiences of dealing with anger.

3.   Practicing relaxation techniques can help you manage your feelings more easily - Have a look at our section on Dealing with stress.

4.   Sometimes in order to deal with anger you may need some additional outside help.  Some adult siblings have found counselling or Cognitive Behaviour Therapy helpful.  Anger Management courses or workshops might also be beneficial. Ask your GP about what is available in your area.

To read more about managing your anger have a look at this guide produced by Mind. http://www.mind.org.uk/help/diagnoses_and_conditions/dealing_with_anger