My Inner Sister

I realize she’s inside me, my enemy within, but I see her as separate from me somehow. I picture her as an older sister, which I don’t have but which I am, and she has my worst qualities as an elder sibling: a demanding know-it-all with a need for control.

I don’t see any of the redeeming qualities I might have as a sister in my inner sister. I’m not sure what these might be, but I imagine I do have them because my outside sister, who does not live in the same body as me, seems to like me. She invites me on vacation and comes to visit me sometimes.

My notion of being a sister is heavily influenced by my experiences growing up when my sister and I lived in the same household. We shared a room and my sister would borrow my stuff, both of which I resented. I guess I’ve never viewed myself as a particularly good sister because of these feelings of resentment.

My inner sister and I are at odds right now over some things. I think she’s a perfectionist who blows things out of proportion and her behavior has led to our current state, while she blames me for not being careful enough and making mistakes.

I realized this week thinking about her that we both want the same things–less clutter in our lives and a willingness to let go of the past. She wants to go about it in a way that’s just right. I, on the other hand, just want to get it done but am afraid of her wrath if we don’t do it her way (she can be a meanie). I’m hoping we can find a way to compromise.

When I was upset about sharing a room as a kid, my mom, who hadn’t always been able to live with her sisters growing up, would say one day I’d look back on the experience fondly. I’m not quite there yet, but I will say that I’m thankful that sharing a room with my outside sister offered me practice in sharing a body with my inner sister. And I’m going to give some more thought to how I’ve been a good older sister because I think my inner sister could be one too.

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