Dear Mrs. Bluth,
I find myself in a terrible predicament and need your advice. My situation goes well beyond simple sibling rivalry, as the parties involved are no longer children; it has escalated into a full-blown hatred.
My sister and I are twins. I, being the elder by two minutes, have always been the outgoing one, the achiever and the people person and she was always the shy, quiet one, the artsy one, with her head stuck in a book. Growing up, we were always pitted against each other – we went to the same school and had the same teachers. But we always had different interests and were not in the same social circles. The trouble began after we graduated from high school – she went to seminary and I to a local college. It seemed that whenever we got together, we would argue. This caused a great deal of strife in our home, sending our unmarried brothers running out of the house with my parents left behind to try to make peace. My mother, who favored my sister, would try to smooth her ruffled feathers by taking her shopping. My father, who doted on me, took me into his business when I graduated college. Having majored in business, I was an asset to his company and he came to depend on me. However, this caused an even greater rift with my sister.
Some years went by and my father became ill, leaving me in charge of the business on many occasions. My sister took advantage of his weakened state and cajoled him into creating a position of little importance for her in the company. Little did he know that she was nothing but a thorn in my side, disturbing the staff and causing unwanted arguments on a large scale. It got so bad that two trusted and vital workers threatened to quit if she didn’t stop harassing them. I did not want to burden my father with this aggravation, but saw no other option. When she realized what I had done, she ran to my mother and made up all sorts of stories of my belittling her in front of the workers and being mean to her – all of which was completely untrue. My father could do little to undo the damage and my mother totally sided with my sister, defending her to my father; I became the “bad gal.”
This went on until my sister got engaged and, for a while, peace returned to the workplace and to me, as she was busy with wedding plans and her chosson.
Our father passed away a year and a half later, leaving the running of the business to me with stipulations that my mother and the rest of his children share in the profits. In time, my sister insisted she wanted her job back in the company and all the grief started again, only now I had no one to turn to for help.
She is causing such havoc amongst the workers that some have already quit and others threaten to do the same. The business is suffering and I have come to absolutely hate her. I am at my wits’ end, and it takes all my strength not to grab her by the neck and choke some sense into her, but I know that would be pointless.
So here’s where I turn to you for some words of encouragement and support. Is there a solution that will serve to at least make her see how damaging and destructive she is being?
It is said that twins are really two people that would make one perfect person if they had been born in the same body! Very often, because they are so close (especially twins who are identical), people tend to measure one against the other, and each twin may measure herself against the other one, which can cause competitiveness and jealousy. When a mother and father each pick one twin over the other to favor, that doubles the problem and lays the groundwork for always being at opposite sides of the ring. This seems to be the case with you and your sister, who each had one parent to champion her battles. Sadly, there was no “voice of reason” to point this out to your parents, no one who intervened to try to make peace between the two of you and, thus, the wars just escalated. Rather than discussing what should have and could have been, let’s concentrate on what you need to do now.