10 Tell-tale Signs Of A Toxic Sibling And How To Handle One

Here are 10 signs your sibling is toxic and how to deal with it.

By Kimmy
10 Tell-tale Signs Of A Toxic Sibling And How To Handle One

What are some of the normal conflicts between siblings?

Sibling feuds are actually rather common. When you live with some 24/7, it's easy to fight with them. Look at the Kardashians, it's not uncommon to have conflicts but at the end of the day you are there for each other and are proud of what they do.

Most siblings tend to fight over material things growing up, like who gets more toys or who gets the bigger cake. That's nothing out of the ordinary. As adults, most siblings fight about where to spend their family holidays, when to visit their parents etc.

What is a toxic sibling?

Ever felt your sibling isn't simply having a bad day or wants more of the cake? Rather, your sibling is trying to kick you out of the competition. He is trying you undermine you every chance he gets, to make you feel worthless. He is going out of his way to make your parents dislike you or even as far as to disown you.

A toxic sibling is never supportive. On the contrary, he can be vindictive, aggressive and jealous in a very unhealthy way.

10 Tell-tale Signs Of A Toxic Sibling

1. You feel undermined in every way

Whatever you do, it's not good enough and your sibling finds a way to undermine your effort and makes you feel useless. A good sibling should be supportive even during the darkest times. Don't confuse constructive criticism to personal attacks.

Your sibling isn't being helpful if all the comments are directed at you like you're a big time loser that will never accomplish anything etc.

2. You don't feel validated

Whenever you achieve something, instead of validating your success or celebrating with you, your sibling doesn't seem to care. No matter how hard you try, you never feel validated.

This can stem from jealously that your sibling feels you should be the loser in the family and doesn't want to admit it when you do better. Having no validation can be toxic because family is supposed to be proud of each other. Your sibling can make you feel you tensed up all the time, like you have to always be better. Or worse, you'd feel you should be worse than your sibling to keep him happy.

3. Your sibling badmouth you to your parents

When you are kids, it's easy to go to mum and dad when you feel mistreated by your siblings. As mature adults, you learn to take thigns in and deal with sibling feuds in private. You don't run up to parents and badmouth your sibling because he asked your parents to spend thanksgiving at his and not yours.

Badmouthing each other is very childish and very exhausting to deal with. Your sibling shouldn't be badmouthing you all the time. He can't deal with your problems in a mature way.

4. Your sibling is always trying to take over what you use

If you have a nice job, your sibling will try to take the same job and be better at it than you. He will show you deliberately how he is better than you in every way. When you are doing something for fun as a hobby, he will make sure he beats you at it too.

This unhealthy obsession to compete it's a sign of a toxic sigling. It's not a friendly competition so both sides can grow, but rather, a toxic competition where the he can make you zero.

5. Your sibling misleads you in various ways

When you seek advice, your sibling purposely gives your false advice knowing it won't work. He wants you to fail that he'd mislead you to make sure you will fail. When you are trying to open up a business and want a professional advice, your brother tells you you don't need to be legally protected because a lot of his clients do that. You trust him because he is family and this is what he does for a living. At the end, you realised you are screwed and your brother wants to end your career.

6. Your sibling verbally abuse you

Whether it be private or public, your sibling verbally abuses you with no shame. He'd constantly tell you how bad you are at doing things and even insult you in front of others.

He shows no respect to you and takes joy in undermining you in front of others. There is never an excuse for any kinds of verbal abuse. Your sibling isn't giving you the respect they deserve.

7. Your sibling tries to control you

You feel judged for everything you do. There is a certain way your sibling wants you to behave. He wants you to take up a certain job and not date a certain girl.

For this, it can go either way. Your sibling is either putting his hope and effort on you so you can be successful, something that he feels he can't do himself. Or he wants to control you to make sure you will never be as good as he is.

Either way, being controlled all the time can be suffocating. It's very toxic and no other human should control others.

8. Your sibling ostracises you

Your sibling tries to get everyone to turn against you so you will be singled out. You will then feel zero support from others. He wants to isolate you so he feels the winner in the family. All these is about validating himself by emasculating you.

He can do differnet things to achieve his goals, all of which will damage your reputation in various ways.

9. Your sibling refuses communication

Lack of communication can have a huge negative impact on any relationships. Not being in touch can be frustrating. Your sibling seems to refuse all your effort to communicate and you wonder why. He is actively in touch with other members in the family and it seems that he simply doesn't want to talk to you.

It makes you feel as if you have done something wrong when it can be that he wants you to feel this way. He wants to feed the seeds of self-doubt into you.

10. Your sibling is very dominant

Your sibling is so aggressive and doesn't leave room for discussion. You feel you have no say in the hosue and any suggestions get dismissed. Your sibling is trying to downplay your position in the house to make you seem insignificant.

How do I handle living with a toxic sibling? How do I know when to cut the relationship off?

First and the most important thing to do is to understand your sibling is the problem. Once you've identified the issue, you can try to live knowing that everything he does is targeted at you, not your ability. He will find fault in you no matter what. Once you have accepted that, it becomes easier to overlook all the gnarly comments.

Sometimes you just can't cut your sibling off because you have to take into your parents' feelings into account. But when things become too aggressive, consider exposing who your sibling really is. He shows no respect for you. There will be a time where you should stand up for yourself.

How do I take care of myself if I have a toxic sibling?

Don't let his offensive comments get to you. Know that you are being supported by your other friends and family. You don't have to obsess with his comments like how obsessed he is with you. You can walk out of this being the bigger person.

Sit down with your parents and tell them how it makes you feel rationally. Don't descend into the same petty person your sibling is. Justify your stance and help your parents see who is in the wrong. If they don't support you, you need to look for someone else to support you.

Spend more time with friends and focus on your career. Don't let your sibling takes it away from you. A sibling should help each other grow, not stop it.

What is NOT a toxic sibling?

A healthy sibling is supportive, friendly, always here to communicate and offers constructive criticism. He will never undermine your ability or dismissed your efforts. You should feel lifted up and feel comfortable going to your sibling during your dark times.

You would feel validated and know that your sibling will always appreciate your work. All in all, there should be a positive influence and you feel you are growing with your sibling everyday.

Related Article: Are You The Toxic Person That People Actually Hate?
Are You The Toxic Person That People Actually Hate?
You must just be the person people are trying to avoid :S


Dealing with a toxic sibling can be difficult. It's not someone you can block out and dismiss due to various reasons. And it can complicate the relationship you have with your parents. Sometimes you wonder if you are being petty or if your sibling is being really toxic.

Once you have identified the issue, make sure you know how to try your best and not let it drag you down as your sibling wishes. Most importantly, you need to learn how to keep growing even when dealing with this huge mess of negativity.