Home » Blogs » OCD Reflections » What about Siblings?

What about Siblings?

by sattva freedigitalphotos.net
by sattva freedigitalphotos.net

There is so much focus on family and spending time together during the holidays. Lots has been written about how to get along with those difficult relatives that, thankfully, you only need to interact with once or twice a year. You figure if you can just get through it, you’re good for another year!

But what if that “difficult relative” lives with you? What if he or she is someone you love dearly, someone you long to have a close relationship with? And what if you are too young to truly grasp the reasons why this closeness isn’t happening? Actually, there’s a lot you don’t understand. Why does he or she act oddly at times? Why (in some cases) does this person avoid you, or worse, not even allow you both to be in the same room?

I’m talking, of course, about being a sibling of someone with obsessive-compulsive disorder. I have previously written about my family’s situation and how we dealt with our daughters when our son Dan’s OCD was severe. I talk about what I think we did right, and what I think we did wrong. Of course each family’s story is unique, but for younger children who are living with a sibling with OCD, there are some questions I feel should always be considered:

Are they being teased about their brother or sister at school? Do they resent not getting as much attention as their sibling with OCD? Do they feel uncomfortable in their own home? Do they think their sibling’s OCD is somehow their fault? Do they feel frustrated because they want to help their sibling and don’t know how? Are they embarrassed, confused, jealous? Do they feel scared, or neglected? Do they think they might develop OCD also?

This is only the tip of the iceberg. So much to consider!

The Washington Post recently published a wonderful article titled “Eight things siblings of children with special needs struggle with.” While it doesn’t specifically focus on OCD, each struggle mentioned rings true for families dealing with obsessive-compulsive disorder. I highly recommend checking it out.

While it is quite possible that siblings of those with OCD will grow up to be more empathetic, responsible, and understanding than many of their peers, we must realize they are also often burdened. As are we parents. It is a monumental task to do right by each child in the family when obsessive-compulsive disorder is involved – parents should not hesitate to seek professional advice.

And we need to remember that children themselves can be extremely helpful as well. Asking all of your children what they feel and what they need from us is so important. Open communication among everyone in the family can go a long way. With a lot of hard work, love, and proper treatment for OCD, there’s a good chance that close sibling relationship can become a reality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What about Siblings?

Janet Singer

I am a mom whose son was completely debilitated by severe OCD in 2008. Thankfully he made a remarkable recovery and is now living life to the fullest. I've since become an advocate for OCD awareness with the goal of spreading the word that OCD, no matter how severe, is treatable. I am the author of Overcoming OCD: A Journey to Recovery (Rowman & Littlefield, January 2015) and have my own blog about OCD at ocdtalk.wordpress.com. There truly is hope for all those who suffer from this insidious disorder!


No comments yet... View Comments / Leave a Comment

 

 

APA Reference
Singer, J. (2016). What about Siblings?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 21, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/ocd-reflections/2016/12/what-about-siblings/

 

Last updated: 24 Dec 2016
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 24 Dec 2016
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.