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January 25, 2022

Incompatibility, Distrust & Disconnection: this is the Sister Wound.

I’ve never been close with my sister.

Most people are actually surprised when they learn that I even have a sister because I never talk about her.

She’s 13 months and 13 days younger than me, so we were always just a grade apart in school. We grew up in the same generation, the same household, the same era of TRL on MTV, SpongeBob, Backstreet Boys, and Blink-182—and yes, even Furbies.

We could have been like those cool siblings who hung out together all the time…except we weren’t.

We didn’t like the same things, we didn’t play the same sports, and we didn’t have that unspoken connection that it seemed most of our friends with sisters did.

She’d steal my things and listen in on my phone calls (remember when there was just one shared landline per household?).

My mom had to take the lock off our bathroom door because we would fight over who got the most bathroom time and lock each other out constantly.

She always had to get the last word, no matter how cruel it might be.

People would describe us as “night and day,” and it couldn’t be more accurate.

As we got older, I thought maybe we’d grow closer. We both went to college, but I finished out my degree while she got married and moved out of our home state before she turned 20.

During what I lovingly refer to as my “quarter-life crisis” years, I tried to maintain contact with her, but I was struggling in a toxic relationship, she was dealing with babies and health issues, and it was hard to find common ground.

I don’t remember the exact note that our contact ended on, but I know we haven’t spoken to each other in four years.

Our lives simply unfolded in completely different directions.

I’ve accepted that we may never have a healthy relationship, but it still makes me sad. Sad and grieving for the two of us, for my niece and nephew, for her future nieces or nephews, and for what could have been.

I grieve the sibling connection we never had and feel it deeply. Sure, I could reach out and try to rekindle our relationship. But I’ve learned to protect my energy and peace at all cost, and the cost of reopening that wound feels too great for me right now.

Now, today, I can see that back then, my sister was most likely hurting in some way, seeking validation and love from anyone who would give it to her. Or maybe we just weren’t compatible personalities.

I’ll always wonder if it could have been different, if we could have had that cute sister/sister connection you see on TV if we had done things differently. Maybe if we had gone through something earth-shattering together, or beat some kind of odds as a pair.

Who knows?

I could never truly understand her, and even now, I’m still only guessing at why we ended up so radically different and disconnected from each other’s lives.

The sister wound is an extension of the mother wound.

The feeling of never being good enough, never having a solid connection with her, always trying to prove something, one-upping each other: that’s the sister wound.

The jealousy, competition, manipulation, cruelty, comparison…it just carries on right down the line from generation to generation, from our mothers and grandmothers, in our society and culture, and laterally across to our siblings as well.

I’ve noticed that the negative effects of my difficult relationship to my sister have extended into my female friendships, my family relationships, and even in my work coaching other women. The distrust and comparison and frustration I have felt about my own sister has been reflected back to me in so many ways.

I deeply desire to be part of a community of women who are also seeking their sisters in healing.

I want to surround myself with a sisterhood that understands the deeper layer of suffering that is the sister wound and mother wound, how it’s affecting their world, and feels just as strongly called to heal themselves as I do.

Not in a trendy “girl boss” kind of way, but in a united, feminine energy, holding space for vulnerability and freedom to express your truth kind of way.

I’m working hard to heal the mother wound, the sister wound, all the damn wounds.

For a long time, I felt that I didn’t have a true “purpose” in my life or work. I was constantly seeking this magical, invisible, somewhere-out-there “thing”—the answer to my prayers.

I feel a massive responsibility and calling to become conscious of these cycles and patterns so that I can heal myself and really so that I don’t unknowingly inflict these wounds on my future children.

I tried in vain for years to fit inside a box that was never built for me to fit into. I have come to believe now that my sister also did not fit inside her box, and maybe she figured that out sooner than I did—maybe that was why we never saw eye to eye. Maybe we were more alike than I ever understood?

Eventually, I figured out that my purpose is to simply be myself, the most true and real version that I can be, and express myself to the world. Everything that comes to the surface for me to heal, every obstacle that arises, every relationship that grows or dies is a personal lesson.

How I respond is a reflection of who I am becoming. I am a mentor and a teacher and a sister, and so much more.

There’s nothing for me to “do”; I am here to simply be.

 

 

~

 

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