Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Siblings

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on February 18, 2011

   Lilith, twenty, starts to cry. “I wish my brother Xavier (age twenty-two) would stop defending our parents. I know that he has a better relationship with them, but he could be more sympathetic to what I am going through. He just tells me how spoiled I am and I don’t appreciate them, but he knows that they favor him and he knows that when I ask for things, I am not being ungrateful, but they give me a hard time.” “What do you think is going on?” I ask, curious about her perspective. “I think he is mean to me because he has always been mean to me. He has never accepted me in his life.” Lilith says, as if to say that no one ever asked Xavier if he wanted a sibling and so he has punished Lilith ever since she was born. “Do you think you could talk to him about it?” I ask, knowing that she has probably tried many times. “I think he should come in here with me,” Lilith says, almost as if she was reading words out of my mind. “Maybe if the two of you came in together, you could learn to see each other’s point of view, and in so doing, forge a lifelong relationship which is mutually rewarding.” I say, trying not to sound trite, but at the same time, expressing a deep appreciation for the importance of sibling love. “That would be so nice,” Lilith says with tears running down her face. “We have never had a good relationship, but maybe there is still hope.” Lilith says, again, as if she is reading the words straight from my brain. The meaning of this sibling relationship to Lilith seems clear to me. Lilith wants Xavier to validate her perspective that her parents treat them differently. Only Xavier can give her that affirmation, as Lilith believes her parents will never acknowledge the asymmetry. Maybe he will not go there with her, but she certainly wants to try. It means a lot to her. It means her mental health, or so she believes in this moment.

4 Responses to “Siblings”

  1. Shelly said

    Hurrah for the hope you both have that Lilith can form a lasting and meaningful relationship with Xavier, but good luck in getting him into the office. If he has been resentful and nonaccepting of Lilith from the beginning, why would he ever agree to accompany her into your office? He would feel outnumbered there, whereas with their parents, the parents are always on his side. (I hope you’re going to followup in a future blog as to the outcome of this scenario…)

    • If he perceives me as ‘taking sides’ then he probably won’t come in, but if Xavier sees me as trying to help their relationship, then he might give it a go. It is hard to say. Follow-up to come, hopefully.

  2. Suzi said

    I totally hope that you find out that it’s all in her head!

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