Man keeps trying to upstage sister

August 06, 2006|By HARRIETTE COLE | HARRIETTE COLE,UNITED FEATURES SYNDICATE

DEAR HARRIETTE / / My mother's birthday is coming up. I shared with my brother that I'm getting her an outfit. I told him the color, etc. So now he is getting her some complementary jewelry to go with it.

I know he is getting the jewelry to upstage me. This is not the playing field for sibling rivalry, so I don't know how to even protest it! I am so mad. He does this all the time. If I move first, he makes it a point to do double.

If I do nothing in response to a family event, he forgets it entirely.

I am even angrier because I know he did this on purpose through something I can't really address -- our own mother! This has gone too far. Should I say something? If so, should I say it to him before or after her birthday?

DARLENE, Linden, N.J.

DARLENE / / It may seem impossible to move past sibling rivalry, but it can be done. Start by looking at the situation differently.

Rather than thinking your brother is trying to upstage you, truly consider his decision to purchase complementary jewelry for your mother as a bonus. When your mother receives these gifts, give them freely and with love.

If you don't act like you believe your brother is upstaging you, even if he is, that intention will lose its power. In the future, keep your decisions to yourself. He doesn't have to know your every move. Since he seems to react to whatever you do, perhaps he needs to be inspired by you more than you realize.

Perhaps he goes the extra mile in an effort to appear as good as you. You never know what's in a person's mind or heart. Instead of allowing him to derail you, take charge. Be a leader. Support your family activities and love your brother for who he is, flaws and all.

[United Features Syndicate]

Send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com

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