Godly encounters in sibling fights

There are times in my life, especially after a big fight with my brother, when I look at my disheveled self and say “I’m a terrible sister”.

Yesterday was one of those times.

Fighting with my brother takes an emotional toll on me, I get mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted. Some people say it’s better to fight between siblings than no interaction at all, what is a relationship when there are no disagreements?

It won’t be the last time I’ll be fighting with my brother (though I wish it will be all the time), we will makeup but something always pops up and the disagreements begin again. No one is happy, tears and yelling pursue, banging of doors and eventually retreating into our rooms. After a period of time, the better sibling will retract from hiding and apologize, all is good again.

It’s an exhausting cycle. It’s hard to avoid. Sometimes it even makes me question “Why God? You give me a sibling… but why is he like that?” There’s always a push and pull blame between my brother and I and it’s sickening to throw it around and see who’s right. I don’t think a single sibling in this world has never asked this question.

As an older sibling, I take it upon myself that he is my responsibility when my parents are away. I resume the role of my mother and be that ‘over-bearing parent’ by stalking his activities and his school work, a role I tend to normally despise. Sometimes I go so deep into it to realize and by the time I do, it’s too late to retract my actions. I will be consumed with regret and question the type of parent I will become in the future.

My brother is the baby of the family, we can’t deny that the whole family just loves him unconditionally and we just show it in the wrong ways, I don’t know if he sees that. During our fights, profanities tend to get thrown around and I get so emotionally wrecked up I will cry, occasionally even an anxiety/panic attack for no reason. Boys be boys, my brother doesn’t understand the emotional wreck a girl can go through (especially on her period), things don’t get better and according to my mother, I make things worse.

In the midst of my break down yesterday, I could feel the hole in my heart just eating in and my head was expanding in pulsing motions. Everything felt like it was sinking, it felt like I was that helpless passenger in the Titanic who could no longer be saved. Just as everything was about to grow darker, I cried out in my last defense for survival, “If only you were here right now Jesus, if only You were… I really want a hug right now I can’t stand it.”

I was in the kitchen at the time, the living room just across me where we have an L-shaped sofa. Just then, after that cry, I felt a beckoning to the far corner of “L” sofa. It felt like an invisible person, a force, was pulling me there and patting the side of it and asking me to take a seat. I slowly walk to words the seat and as I sat down, I felt a rushing wave… someone just pulled me out of the water and sinking ship I was in.

I felt God’s love for me. I was not alone.

That rushing wave of Jesus’ love and I knew it was His. That knowing fact that He was there and I am not going through this alone.

First time ever did I get such a physical and emotional experience such as this, words cannot describe the immediate relief and comfort that I felt with that knowing He is there with me in this walk and I wasn’t alone.

I’m not perfect. God knows it. I need Him and He knows it.

Trial and trial again and no matter how undeserving I am, He pulls me out of the water.

I can swim through this storm, I can swim through this giant wave with Christ strength in me.

I may not be the perfect sister, but I can strive to be the best I can with Jesus with me in this walk of faith.

Maowen, I’ll be there for you. I know there are times where I fail to be the sister you wish I could be but I promise no matter what, I’ll still be your sister and with Jesus we can pull through this together. I’m human and I can fail, but God won’t. He will pull you through times when any of us fail you, know that He is there and He loves you and you’re His child. You are my only brother and I’ll do the best I can to be that sister despite all the shortcomings and trials we have between us. We can pull through.

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You can’t fight fire with fire

If you add up a couple of small flames together, it grows, it rages, it burns. That’s how it damages things. No matter how small the flame is, it will always be moving, waiting for action, waiting for another flame for the rage.

Hence, you can’t fight fire with fire. It builds.

Being an elder sister isn’t easy. Especially when your younger sibling is filled with raging hormones, they’re  on fire… all the time. It’s not that they can contain that rage to themselves, it builds on you, sometimes it burns, so hard that it could damage a relationship.

Anything can trigger it to be honest. Sometimes I don’t really know how to handle it anymore. I do admit I’m not a saint. I have my own little flames and rages now and then, plus it doesn’t help much when it happens the same time as my brother.

Simple stuff I have to keep reminding myself to prevent the fire from building..

Leave him alone
It’s hard. As a sister you do care, you want to give that input you can as an elder sibling and hopefully he’ll learn from it. But nah. He just rages. He doesn’t need another mother or father. The more I say, the more he views me as his “enemy” or “third parent”. He rages.
It hurts to know you can’t be his role model. But for the sake of keeping the bridge between us and keeping it from burning, I have to leave him alone. I can only pray. Only God can help him, sometimes I have to accept that it just can’t be from me.

Pray
As I said above. It is so important, yet so easily forgotten, because the fire just builds so fast and it gets carried away. The rage can be strong, sometimes too fast too soon.  I used to regret so much once the rage happens, I fill myself with guilt and tears. I get scolded by my parents and the fire sometimes even just builds. I’ve learnt the only way to dampen that flame is through prayer. No matter how big the fire gets, the only way I’ve found that has helped diminish it, as cliche as it seems, is through prayer. It doesn’t just put the fire away, it can prevent it. I know that is harder, because we get carried away, however many times it has helped. It takes a lot of strength, and only God can give that strength.

Give time for yourself
It sounds really selfish. But sometimes it’s for the better. I realised the more time I spend with my brother, the more I see his flaws, the more tempted I feel to correct him, the higher the chances on building on the flame. If you don’t give time to yourself and constantly caring about them, it jeopardises your own work. Personal experience, I failed my subjects in uni. I was so welled up in my family’s issues, I neglected my own. Spending more time in the library helped. I learnt to focus on myself. Focussing on yourself sometimes helps, it helps to fix your flaws and it will also help with your relationship with the other person, because we are not always perfect. It takes two to make it happen.

Be the water, not the fire. Be the light, not the dark. It’s hard but it’s worth it. I’m not gonna sugar-coat it and tell you it’s easy, because I know it isn’t. It takes effort to be the better one, but it’s better than not putting effort at all. At least  you did your part.

In true Proverbs fashion:

A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel.
– Proverbs 15:18

Sometimes, it’s okay to let it go and let it be. Leave it to the One who knows how.