Because the younger sister sees the older sister as the source of her pain, the only direction in which her life can move is down. She has cast her- self in the role of the chronic victim, and she can only deteriorate from there. Her agony will grow. Her rage will consume her. The loudest voices in her head will be those of bitterness and hatred. They will make her hard, defensive, and aloof. They will impel her to shun the company of positive people and lead her to feel alone, unappreciated, and misunderstood. She will wallow in self-pity and depression. Unfortunately, she will not sink in her toxicity alone, but in the manner of a stealth virus, she will contaminate those who are emotionally dependent upon her. Her toxicity will certainly affect her son, drawing him toward an even deeper darkness than the one in which he is now immersed.
The Path of Most Resistance
The tragedy of the younger sister’s story is that none of this need happen. The path of most resistance is not an absolute, unchangeable reality. It can be easily avoided. If the younger sister had chosen the path of responsibility and faced her own darkness rather than continuing on her stubborn, lonely walk down the twisted path of most resistance, a better reality would have been able to manifest in her life. Had she transformed herself, the conflict that she created and sustained with her older sister would no longer exist. Instead of chronic tension between them, there would be support for each other. They would be able to applaud each other’s successes, and in all likelihood, her son would be better adjusted, perhaps as successful in his life as his cousins have been in their lives. Her reward would be group consciousness, cohesion, and love within the family, rather than jealousy, animosity, and conflict. The family would be an open system with no ceiling on the success its indi- vidual members might attain, instead of a closed system, where success is limited and the individual members have to fight each other for their quota of success.
Zero Sum Games
When we personalize our experience as the younger sister has, we see ourselves as victims. As victims, we struggle to assert ourselves against our adversary. This forces us to play a zero sum game, struggling to take back our power from those we feel have stolen it. The more we react, the more separation we create between ourselves and those we view as our antagonists. That external separation is also mirrored internally, as increased distance between our ego and our soul. If we are not careful, both the internal and external degrees of separation may prove impos- sible to surmount. Even if we should win the zero sum game, we would still lose in the long term because we are not advancing our growth, only strengthening our negativity and the power it has over us. This is the opposite of living a responsible and conscious life.
Whenever we take things personally, we create a closed system and lock ourselves into a zero sum game. Zero sum games are not limited to individuals, but also apply to competing interest groups. Wherever and whenever people organize their lives and perceptions of reality around their toxicity, zero sum games will always be played.