The bond siblings develop in childhood may be vastly different from the relationship that evolves in adulthood. Driven by affection but also characterized by ambivalence and ambiguity, adult sibling relationships can become hurtful, uncertain, competitive, or exhausting though the undercurrents of love and loyalty remain. An approach that recognizes the positive aspects of the changing sibling relationship, as well as those that need improvement, can restore healthy ties and rebuild family closeness.
With in-depth case studies of more than 260 siblings over the age of forty and interviews with experts on mental health and family interaction, this book offers vital direction for traversing the emotional terrain of adult sibling relations. It pursues a richer understanding of ambivalence, a normal though little explored feeling among siblings, and how ambiguity about the past or present can lead to miscommunication and estrangement. For both professionals and general readers, this book clarifies the most confounding elements of sibling relationships and provides specific suggestions for realizing new, productive avenues of friendship in middle and later life—skills that are particularly important for siblings who must cooperate to care for aging parents or give immediate emotional or financial support to other siblings or family members.