How can I cope with my little sibling liking the same things as me?

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How can I cope with my little sibling liking the same things as me

At 21, navigating the complexities of adulthood while shouldering the weight of a traumatic childhood has been my reality. My coping mechanism? Hyperfixations—music, movies, and various forms of media have been my refuge, my escape from the haunting memories and feelings that stem from those early years of turmoil. Among these, artists like Taylor Swift and Lana Del Rey have not just been musicians to me; they’ve been lifelines, their music a balm to my aching soul.

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My brother, who is now 13, grew up alongside me but somehow worlds apart. The tumultuous period of my life coincided with his formative years, when he was between 5 and 10 years old. My struggles to cope meant I wasn’t the kindest sibling, creating a rift that has only widened with time. Now, our interactions are minimal, and whatever I learn about his interests usually comes secondhand from our parents.

Recently, he’s started to dip his toes into the same pop culture waters that I’ve been immersed in for years. His interest in Taylor Swift didn’t ruffle my feathers—she’s a megastar, after all, and it’s only natural for someone his age to gravitate towards her music. However, the decision not to let him attend her concert, made by our mom in an attempt to be fair to me, was a bittersweet reminder of my own unfulfilled desires.

But it was the news of him buying a Lana Del Rey poster that truly unsettled me, stirring emotions I couldn’t immediately understand. Lana’s music has been my sanctuary, especially during the darkest days of a depressive episode that’s lasted for years. Her melodies and lyrics have been on a constant loop, the only sounds capable of piercing the fog of my depression.

The thought of my brother claiming fandom for Lana Del Rey triggered an unexpected reaction within me—a mix of irritation and sadness. It felt as though my sacred space was being invaded, even though logically, I knew music wasn’t something one could claim ownership over. Yet, I couldn’t shake the feeling that he couldn’t possibly connect with her music in the deep, almost spiritual way I did.

This realization about my reaction—my inability to see this shared interest as an opportunity to bridge the gap between us—left me feeling immature and isolated. Why did the idea of finding common ground with my brother through our musical tastes evoke such a negative response? Why did it feel like a personal affront rather than a potential avenue for healing and understanding?

I’ve grappled with these questions in solitude, too embarrassed to seek advice or share these feelings with friends. The realization that my hyperfixations, while a source of comfort, have also become a barrier to reconnecting with my brother has been a difficult pill to swallow.

Coping with this newfound commonality requires a shift in perspective, an attempt to dismantle the walls I’ve built around these interests. It necessitates viewing music not as a battleground but as a bridge—a means of forging a connection that has long been missing between us. It’s about recognizing that sharing a love for the same artist doesn’t diminish the personal significance their music holds for me but rather offers a chance to share something deeply meaningful with my brother.

This journey toward acceptance and understanding is fraught with challenges, requiring me to confront my own insecurities and the lingering effects of my past traumas. Yet, it also presents an opportunity for growth, for finding common ground in the melodies that have shaped my world. Perhaps, in sharing the music that has been my solace, I can begin to heal the rift between us, opening the door to a relationship built on mutual respect and shared experiences.

The path forward is uncertain, but it’s clear that the first step involves embracing the possibility of connection, of allowing my brother to discover his own relationship with the music that has been my lifeline. In doing so, I hope to not only find a way to cope with our shared interests but to also rebuild the bond that has been strained by years of silence and misunderstanding.

TL;DR: Struggling with the fact that my younger sibling is developing an interest in the same music that has been a crucial part of my coping mechanism, I’m torn between irritation and the potential for connection. Facing my own emotional turmoil, I’m contemplating whether this shared interest could be the key to bridging the gap between us, despite the challenges my past traumas present.

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