Herald-Journal
Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Aug. 13, 2001

How long can sibling rivalry possibly last?

By DENISE ROSENAU

I just don't get it. I am in my 30s and I still have a sibling rivalry going with my younger brother, Scott.

Scott is two years and four days younger than me, and there are times, even now, that I would really like to take him outside and kick his butt. And this comes from a very non-violent person.

I don't understand why, but there is no one, not even my husband, who can push my buttons like he can. And the worst part is that he knows it, and I believe, enjoys it.

How long can a sibling rivalry go on? I would have guessed that it would have ended many, many years ago, but here we are, sometimes still bickering like kids, with the only difference being that now it is more in fun that in seriousness.

Our Mom always told us that someday we would be good friends. I didn't believe it when as a kid, I was getting blamed for something he did.

This also came from the same woman who told me that part of the reason my parents decided to have another baby was because I was getting too spoiled. If that didn't cause some underlying feelings of resentment, I don't know what would.

My brother is an interesting guy. He is married to a woman who I would choose as a friend. He has three children, all of which I would gladly take on as my own if they would just allow it.

Scott has always carried the stigma of being a down-to-earth, reasonable, well-adjusted person. Not me ­ I was always shy, but quick to give my opinion to those I knew well. And even quicker to get ruffled when someone wanted to get a rise out of me. Even I can admit that it still isn't too tough to do. Especially for him.

We were at Scott's house a few weeks ago. By the time we left their house, I had been physically assaulted and left with a bruise on my arm from the "monkey bump" he gave me. I'm hoping that someday I will learn to keep my mouth shut and not smart-off.

Throughout my lifetime, I couldn't even venture a guess as to how many times I have had to say "uncle!" to him in my lifetime.

When my oldest son was around three, my brother taught him to say "Uncle Scott's the best." Then "Uncle Scott was the coolest" came along.

Do you think I could ever get his son, who is nine months to the day older than mine, to say "Aunt Denise is the coolest?" No way.

My brother is a professional guy, a salesman, and as we all know, some people in the sales field have a sort of "salesperson-like" way to them. My brother is no different.

He is a great listener, and I can see how he can be successful in his job.

He is such a good listener, in fact, that if you have any inconsistencies in a story, he not only will notice, but feels a need to point them out. Nothing gets by him.

I've found that, whatever you do, don't try to disagree with him. He will take as long as necessary to convince you, in the way that only a professional salesperson can do, that your opinion should be the same as his ­ calmly explaining his opinion, quietly listening to your rebuttal.

What I find so odd is that even though he can bother me to no end, his opinion is one that I feel I can trust. He doesn't sugar-coat things, and he lets me know, in no uncertain terms, what he really thinks.

I may kick myself for saying this, but I value his opinion, and even though I sometimes act as though I think he's being ridiculous (which, for the record, sometimes I really do think), I will go over the things that he says in my mind long after the conversation has ended.

What a strange feeling. In the same breath, I can tell you that my brother drives me bananas and that I think he's the greatest.

Never would I have believed when we were teenagers that I would choose to hang out with him voluntarily. But when we had extra tickets for the Twins game, guess who we called?

I tell him, though, that it's not him that I like, it's his wife and their kids.

But I have a sneaking suspicion that he may see through me.


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