When I was much younger I learned about the Bible and its stories. I was taught about the main characters like Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and Noah because they had lessons to teach. One theme that always seemed to rush to the front was getting along. As an adult I can look back at the story of Cain and Abel not getting along as an understatement. I’m not a Biblical scholar by any stretch of the imagination, but there was murder involved, so I’d say sibling love was not included in Cain and Abel’s relationship either. Cain kills his brother, lies about it to God, and then is banned to the land of Nod, marked for life, unable to farm. Godly love my ass.
The Bible is really just a re-telling of stories handed down from one person to another, so who knows if the person who developed the Cain and Abel schtick was simply angry at his brother or sister that day and wanted to voice their irritation. As a baptized Catholic this might be blasphemy, but the Bible is a bunch of modern day blogs crammed together in one very old book and it reflects how the authors were thinking and feeling in the moment.
There is a reason I brought all of you back 3,500 years and compared WordPress to the Bible; sibling rivalries. Cain and Abel were the first siblings to really have it out, although we really don’t know why, and their end was a tad more violent than I’m comfortable with normally. Typical sibling fights for kids today center around time, friends and space. Most sibling rivalries end in childhood and the adults that come out on the other side are well behaved and agreeable. Adults who cannot get along, however, argue about immediate family, spouses and personalities. I know all of this because I have two brothers and I haven’t spoken to one of them in over a year.
Over the past eight years there was a familial crack that had been widening and unlike Cain and Abel our entire family tried to patch it, ignore it, cover it, and fix it, but it simply got bigger. The biblical solution for sibling rivalry was murder, but I decided that wasn’t a fantastic idea, so to eliminate stress and anxiety from my life I needed a solid alternative. In order to feel in control, I needed to take back the constant worry that my core values were colliding with my sibling’s family’s world. I stopped speaking to him.
If any of you have ever stopped speaking to another person for any length of time you know that it’s not only difficult, but it’s also painful. It felt like my sibling had died, every day, for about six months. My decision eliminated him and his immediate married family, which was absolutely heart wrenching, gut aching, and brain numbingly painful. Worst of all, my choice impacted our entire extended family.
I’m not certain that Cain would have attended Abel’s funeral if he’d had one, but it still would have been awkward for the rest of the family. When siblings stop speaking it creates a dynamic that involves separate holiday time, uncomfortable family emergencies, and don’t even get me started on funerals. Sibling rivalry in adults has a tremendous rippling impact on the families it ensnares. It tears them apart and leaves them feeling angry and sad at the same time.
The deterioration of our family structure happened gradually with the introduction of new members and the changing of personalities. It took me eight years to severe ties with my sibling, but the rivalry was always there. I’m not certain if I could have done it sooner, but I will tell you this: my life is calm and peaceful and when we go to family meals they are pleasantly wonderful. I don’t have the added pressure of performing for my sibling and his family any longer. I finally feel good about myself when my family is around. As for my sibling, if someone asks, I tell them he moved to Nod.