I Hate My Sister: What to Do When You Feel Hate Toward Siblings

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Some people are fortunate to have loving, supportive relationships with their siblings that can sometimes be far deeper than friendships. 

However, others may not be on the best terms with their siblings. If you feel like you hate your sister, you’re not alone. It is common for siblings to fight, which can lead to rivalry and hatred over time. 

Hatred for a sibling can set in at any age, in childhood or adulthood. It can intensify over time or dissipate as the years pass. Many adult siblings find it difficult to get along and cannot spend time together without arguing or fighting with each other. Some siblings are even estranged from each other or their families, due to sibling rivalries.

This article explores some reasons why you might hate your sister as well as some coping strategies that may be helpful.

Reasons Why You Might Hate Your Sister 

These are some reasons why you might hate your sister:

  • Differing amounts of parental attention: Either you or your sister may feel that your parents favored one of you over the other, which can lead to rivalry and hatred between the two of you.
  • Jealousy: It is not unusual for siblings to be compared to each other, either by others or by themselves. Aimee Daramus, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist and author of “Understanding Bipolar Disorder" notes that this can foster jealousy or a feeling of coming up short, which can lead to conflict.
  • Evolving personalities: As you and your sister grow, your personalities, tastes, habits, and needs may evolve and it may be difficult to see eye to eye, causing you to drift apart. Disapproval of each other’s choices can lead to arguments.
  • Stressors: External stressors can take a toll on your relationship with your sister and may lead to hatred, depending on your reactions to it.
  • Abuse: If your sister has abused you or deeply hurt you in some way it may cause you to feel hatred toward her. “Real hate usually means there’s been some serious abuse from that person or they’ve taken advantage of you in a life-changing way. People also feel hate sometimes if they’ve been the abuser and they don’t like being confronted with that part of themselves,” says Daramus.
  • Family values: Your parents’ values and the dynamics of your family can also play a role in your relationship with your sister. For instance, siblings with parents who think aggression is normal may be more prone to fighting than those with parents who express themselves respectfully.
  • Lack of family time: Spending time over meals, trips, and weekends can help build strong family bonds. Not spending enough time together as a family can make you more likely to fight with your sibling.
  • Projecting feelings: It’s also entirely possible for you to project feelings onto your sister. For instance, Daramus says you might be raging about something else that you can’t control and take it out on them.

Coping Strategies

Hate is an intense feeling that can be emotionally draining. In addition, you may also experience other emotions such as guilt and shame, for hating your sister instead of loving her or forgiving her.

These are some strategies that can help you cope with the emotions you’re experiencing.

Prioritize Safety

“If you can identify a specific way in which your sister has harmed you, it’s best to get as much distance from her as your circumstances allow, at least temporarily, so you can think your situation through. If there’s still a safety risk, put your safety above everything else,” says Daramus.

If you or a loved one are a victim of domestic violence, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for confidential assistance from trained advocates.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

Understand Parental Behavior

If you think your parents prefer your sister, you may feel slighted by them often. However, it can help to examine their behavior and understand its causes. Your parents may not be favoring your sister intentionally and they may not realize that their actions are hurting your feelings.

For instance, your parents may be closer to your sister because they live close by and therefore see each other more often. Or, they may share common interests with your sister, that they have bonded over together. 

Seek Therapy

Aimee Daramus, PsyD

If you hate your sister and can’t really understand why, or if you think that your own issues are the problem, definitely try to get therapy.

— Aimee Daramus, PsyD

“You might have some irrational anger to work through, or you might be projecting something onto them. Either way, hate is often irrational and leads to decisions that make things worse,” says Daramus.

Therapy can be a helpful way to understand why you hate your sister and how you can cope with your feelings.

Avoid Competing

You may have a tendency to compete with your sister. This tendency may be ingrained from a very young age and may be fanned by other members of your family (for instance, they may say things like, "Your sister has such a well-paying job!”).

Avoid competing with your sister and try to accept yourself the way you are. Start seeing yourself as an individual entity who is working hard, not someone who doesn’t earn as much as their sister.

Set Boundaries

It can be helpful to set boundaries in your relationship with your sister, to protect yourself. These can take different shapes and forms, depending on what you’re comfortable with. 

For instance, you may feel that discussing certain topics are off-limits, or you may not want to spend time with your sister outside of family gatherings. 

Find the Support and Acceptance You Need

Even if you’re not close to your sister, you can find support in other areas. Daramus recommends surrounding yourself with people who care about you and support you. This could include your parents, partner, children, friends, other family members, colleagues, support groups, or other people in your life.

Apart from people, you may even find acceptance and a sense of belonging in spirituality, art, music, books, and movies. 

A Word From Verywell

Sibling relationships are often turbulent, and in some cases they can lead to rivalry and hatred. Daramus notes that hating someone is a painful way to live and recommends seeking therapy, spiritual guidance, and the company of those who care about you and support you. 

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