Sibling difficulties - what to do?(46 Posts)
So frustrated with a close sibling's behaviour. Not saying I'm perfect, but they constantly swear at me, undermine me, belittle me and ignore me, among other things. Can go into more detail if needed.
What should I do?
Don't really want to go no-contact, as it would really hurt the rest of my family and it's not really practical for us. Any advice appreciated.
Thanks so much.
Have you tried telling her that her behaviour is unacceptable
can you ignore back? just don't reply, don't speak unless absolutely necessary, focus on the other people in the room.
Call them on it? Sternly "Do NOT speak to me like that" when swearing, as for the others- ignore and disengage
Thanks so much for your replies everyone. I could - and will - try what you've all suggested here.
What I'm worried about is how I might look in front of other family members if I try some of these things with the sibling e.g. ignoring or calling them out on it. The sibling acts all sweetness and light in front of everyone else, but then is nasty to me.
Every other family member knows that we don't get on that well, but it's just got to the point where it's absolutely grinding me down.
To give some context, the sibling is always late for everything (today, for example, my Mum and I had arranged to meet them outside their office for a certain time before going to dinner with them. We got to the office, waited for ten minutes, and then sibling suddenly texts 15 minutes after we'd planned to meet to say that they'd be another ten minutes).
I've stopped telling the sibling anything about my life, because they just use it against me later on in arguments. And then they get angry at me for not telling them anything.
And they'll leave me to sort out everything e.g. arrangements for any event we've been asked for organise together. And then when they find out what I've arranged, they'll tell me that my arrangement is shit and that they could've done a much better job. It's so bloody soul destroying.
my sister is like this. i ignored it for years, then started calling her out on it every single time. shaming her publically is sometimes the only effective remedy when theyre doing the sweetness and light schizz
i dont like her much but can tolerate her for my mums sake.
Sorry to hear that Angry I should tolerate her for my parents' sake, tbh.
I think it's all just come to a head recently, and I can't stand it any longer.
For example, the sibling and I did similar university degree courses. They took a year longer to do theirs because they panicked by the time final year came around and realised they hadn't prepared for it properly so deferred their final exams for a year.
Then when they got a job last year, they didn't prepare enough for a particular set of exams and asked to defer them as well.
It just fucks me off. I find it really really unfair that they get special treatment for being lazy. In particular, what fucks me off is that they openly lied to get these special circumstances. They said they had anxiety and depression. Yet they have no sympathy for anyone who actually has depression.
At times, I have fucking awful depression. I have made suicide attempts, although they were a while ago now, and the sibling has said to me more than once in the past: why don't you just fuck off and fucking kill yourself?
Christ, your sister sounds fucking unhinged.
Agree with PPs - quietly and firmly call her out on her shit, every time. Not easy but then you can feel you have supported yourself and voiced your truth.
Not sure what you're after here OP.
You "should" tolerate her for your parents sake?
Firstly there is no "should". Either do or don't do. You're an adult, take responsibility for your actions. There's no obligation on you to act any particular way.
Secondly, is this really how you want to spend the rest of your life? Believe me when I say that narcissists only get more outrageous as time goes on.
I do feel sympathy for you. Your first step might be to go LC (low contact) but your second definitely has to be grieving the loving and supportive sisterly relationship you don't have.
PS. Don't tell anyone you're going LC. They will just see it as an invite to tell you what to do, yet again.
Thanks everyone for your replies. I think I'll go LC with them.
Record her in private if she slags you off. Then when you see family play it to them. Say you love her but not her behaviour you put up with it from friend / kids so don't put up with It.
I don't quite get the thing about the exams, but obviously it's unacceptable for them to belittle you and swear at you. Have you ever said anything to them about their rudeness? If so, what do they do?
The point I'm making about the exams is that I think there are double standards in the way that the sibling is treated by my family and the way I'm treated by my family. I wouldn't be allowed to do any of that (repeating exams etc.) whereas they were allowed to.
The sibling will talk over me or will start giggling if I call them out on how rude they are. The sibling makes it seem as if I'm being unreasonable for calling them out on their behaviour. If I ever call them out on it in their (rented) house, they'll shout at me and say that they can behave however they like because it's 'their house'. I suppose part of the solution is not to visit them anymore. Which would probably mean that we would never see each other, as I always visit them.
If I ever call them out on their rudeness in front of other family members, the other family members either say I'm being childish or they scream at me and tell me they 'can't take it (the arguments and disagreements between me and my sibling)' more.
OK, so it's a bigger problem than just your sibling. The rest of the family seems to think they should be able to have a say in what you do (push through exams) and what you say (standing up for yourself). In fact, it sounds like you don't feel able to stand up to any of them. Because actually if you are an adult there's really no need for them to know whether you're repeating or deferring exams, and they certainly shouldn't expect to have a say in your educational progress, so being concerned about whether you're 'allowed' to repeat exams shouldn't be an issue for you.
But if that's the case, the difficulty is how exactly to stand up to them... It sounds very frustrating.
Do you live with your parents / family members? If so, is there any possibility of moving out?
Thanks so much for your reply Cards. I don't live with my parents at the moment, but am living temporarily with some other family members - just living with them while I find a place of my own to rent. There is a different dynamic with me and then than there is with me and my parents though.
Finding your own place should be a good start! Some families have really warped dynamics and treat siblings very differently (e.g. one golden child and one scapegoat). Sometimes it's not as clearly distinct but there can still be unfair expectations of one sibling that don't seem to apply to the other.
I think it's especially hard if you're the youngest and if you have been having difficulties with your mental health as well. Both of those things make it especially difficult to remain calm while explaining that you expect to be spoken to respectfully - if you're the youngest you might be seen as a child still, and of course mental health difficulties make everything harder. If telling them calmly to speak to you respectfully doesn't work, you might find that low contact is the best way forward.
Sounds like she is either the golden child, or very insecure. Tey saying "That's not very nice" without any other signs of upset etc, whenever she makes snide remarks. When she is late etc, leave and say you will meet her at the restaurant for example. Let her bear the consequences.
I have this problem with a sibling, not so much directed at me but at my children. Have finally called her out on it. Relations are now tense but my children were angry that I put up with it so I felt I had to act. I haven't involved the rest of the family because as you say that doesn't work and makes the atmosphere even worse. She doesn't seem to be bothered that her nieces/nephews just don't like her and says they are rude - not seeing that they avoid her because of how she treats them...
I think she's very insecure, Twillow. She talks about a lot of things being 'hers' e.g. 'her' friends, 'her' house, 'her' room, and uses that against me quite a lot if I call her out on her behaviour. She defines herself a lot by her possessions, her salary, I think. At school or university, she would always define herself by her grades.
Even now, she still has an amazing memory for recalling grades, so she would say to me: 'oh well, I still got X amount of A*s at GCSE' (for example), and use it to show me how intelligent she is and how much better she is than me.
I think one of the most important reasons why our relationship is getting me down is because a lot of the relationship around her comparing me to her and always coming out better. I've learned that comparing myself to anyone makes me really depressed and anxious, so I don't do it, but whenever I'm with her, she'll use it to wind me up.
It sounds mean to say, but she's also very self-centred, and will talk about herself all of the time and always talk about how she looks. It's just got so boring and so annoying.
She'll also do things that she know winds me up, like applying body spray when I'm right next to her, watching things on her phone without earphones in, leaving full glasses of drinks on the floor right next to chairs which I won't see and will knock over (and will get blamed for).... I know it sounds incredibly petty of me to say, but I've had enough.
Why do you visit someone who is horrible to you?
you just have to back off and detach from the situations and don't get involved in the situations where there are opportunities to do this to you. I am the eldest of 6 and one of my sisters still insists on telling me what my Mum does and doesn't like - she has been my mother longer than yours!!! I have started taking stuff back and owning it and letting her ride it - she hates it so I say OK I can put x in so I will organise y. She then has to have full say in what is bought as "She knows best" but I let her have her say walk away and do what I want
The only answer is low or no contact.
And prepare responses for when that is noticed and the tantrums start.
'Yes, I've not been over much recently. To be honest you don't seem to enjoy spending time together any more than I do, so let's leave it there shall we?'
'No, I don't think I'll take on the organising for this, thanks. You can if you want. We won't go then? As you wish'.
'I don't really want to share stuff about my life with you to be honest, I've had enough of it eventually being used against me in an argument. You don't do that? Oh apologies, it must be just me then. No matter.'
'I clearly hate you? Well hate is a very strong word. I don't feel we have a very positive connection, but that's fine, not all siblings have to be close.'
You don't engage, and you become a success at not engaging by not caring. REALLY not caring, as in - if she wants to create a fuss to try and drag you back, let the fuss happen.
'You're right mum, I don't like her very much, no. I can't think of much evidence for her liking me either actually. I'm fine with that.'
She sounds like a narcissist....and your family behave like enablers.
The only way to deal with people like this is to go low/very low contact.
YOU decide when/how long you will visit and where
YOU decide on your boundaries and you spell it out to them
For example, i have a similar dynamic within my own family.
I'm the 'scapegoat/black sheep' and my narc sibling is the 'golden child' who can do no wrong.
Any time i speak/stand up for myself they try to shout me down.
Mum will be all "oh i can't stand the arguing"....but never tells the narc to 'shut up' or 'give it a rest'.
I've actually gone No Contact with narc sibling, because even with Low Contact she would use the basic 'hi' and 'bye' from me to get a dig in - usually by responding with 'hmmm' or completely ignoring me.
I refuse to have anything to do with her dc - because she uses them to play her narc/control games with me and i won't allow it.
Stop visiting your sibling and be honestly vocal about it if anyone asks.
If she's at your mums house and starts, totally ignore her like she isn't even there, literally ghost her.
If anyone else starts on you for it - tell them you won't tolerate being bullied.
At some point you may well have to go very low contact with the whole family if they keep enabling this dynamic.
You may want them in your life but you don't actually need people like that.
You are NOT responsible for how 'hurt' the rest of the family would be if you stood up for yourself........do you see them giving even a tiny shit about your feelings?
Google F.O.G (Fear, Obligation, Guilt) to get an insight into why YOU enable this dynamic.
I'm not saying it's your fault they behave like this, i'm saying people only continue treating you like this because you allow it by not having strong enough boundaries in place.
I came across this a while back and it sums up the narcissist perfectly
A Narcissist's Prayer -
That didn't happen.
And if it did, it wasn't that bad.
And if it was, that's not a big deal.
And if it is, that's not my fault.
And if it was, i didn't mean it.
And if i did, you deserved it.
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