The case study has shown that both Ralf and Michael Schumacher possess several neurotic traits which, though rooted in childhood, have continued to develop. Although their relationship is more intense than average due to these neuroses (which in turn are probably exacerbated by their own attitudes towards one another), paradoxically, this relationship can still be regarded as typical of that which develops between same sex siblings who do not become neurotic. Michael and Ralf's experience shows that even when siblings appear to be very close, upon detailed examination, jealousy and hatred can be discerned hiding beneath the surface. No relationship is completely ambivalence free.

I hope to have demonstrated by this project that although the Romulus and Remus situation may be most apparent in families with only two children of the same sex (1), all of us that have siblings or sibling substitutes will experience a Romulus or Remus complex to some degree or other. Children from larger families may have Romulus rivalry with younger siblings and Remus rivalry with elder ones, as Freud did (2). It is clear that Freud did not like to discuss sibling rivalry as, like his Oedipal attachments to his mother, it was a subject too close to his own situation for him to feel comfortable writing about it.

I recognise the highly speculative nature of this theory and the need for more case studies. I also accept that the Romulus complex may suffer like the Oedipus complex from being biased towards the eldest child as eldest children are more likely to express extreme jealousy when their first sibling comes along than laterborn children are when confronted with their first successor. I also need to consider opposite sex siblings more closely. Whilst they are probably less likely to compete in adulthood, this is by no means unheard of (3).


1) This is of course still the most common family size in Western Europe. See Toman, Walter (1993) Family Constellation: Its Effects on Personality and Social Behaviour (fourth edition), Jason Aronson Inc, New York, p.3.

2) Alfred Adler is also a good example. Forever trying to surpass his elder brother, he was equally wary of the challenges he himself faced from the two younger ones.

3) See, for example, the Conran siblings, Terence and Priscilla, currently trying to outdo one another in the food empire stakes.


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ã Robin Tamblyn, 2000.

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