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My sister is just so awful(86 Posts)
I am struggling today. Dysfunctional family dynamic in the background. I was messed up. Got a buttload of therapy and am much better. Sis is much younger than me and has refused virtually all therapy and just wallows in having mental health issues. It is like a badge of honour that she can't get a job. Anything she doesn't fancy, she claims anxiety.
Now, I have actually been ULTRA supportive up until now. I am her cheerleader whenever she makes any positive steps. I also chat to her about normal stuff. Sisterly chats about telly and so on. I don't pressure her. I walk on eggshells because she is so volatile and because I don't live with her - my mum lives with her and has to deal with the fallout and I don't think it's fair on mum to say whatever I want.
Today I get copied into some emails in which she is just being so so awful to mum. Really manipulative and abusive. Awful. And I lost it. I said she should be ashamed of herself. Blocked her on FB.
She then blew up at mum. I've been emailing mum saying that no, Mum hasn't been unreasonable, yes Sis is being awful, no there is nothing to feel guilty about.
I am just so so so sick her her crap. I think she has borderline personality disorder or something similar but I don't care anymore. I don't want to pussyfoot round her. I don't want to see her. I don't want to have her show up at the family Christmas and have to play nice. Obviously she has threatened not to come as if that is the worst possible thing for all of us!
Thank you for letting me rant.
Take her up on her threat.
<survivors of dysfunctional family group hug>
Stories like this upset me, partly because I hate to hear of people being unhappy and in distress, and partly because they make me less tolerant of mental illness, which I know is terrible.
I know mental illness is real and devastating, and people with it suffer from ignorance and being misunderstood and stigmatised. But I also know that so many people with mental illness just don't help themselves, or attempt to manage their conditions, or use it as an excuse to treat the world like shit, as if they themselves are the only ones struggling. On another thread right now we're hearing about someone who claims his teenage daughter's strops have given him PTSD and suffers nightmares, flashbacks, twitches and loss of speech, which he thinks might be cured if only his kids were perfectly behaved and always do exactly as he says, and his wife were a perfect little homemaker.
I'm sorry to hear about your situation, OP. The only thing I can say for sure is that the first rule in administering first aid is not to put yourself in danger too, because two casualties are worse than one. If you can't help her without endangering yourself, self preservation does have a place.
As somebody with bpd, i'd say step back for now. Leave her to it for a couple of days. Then speak to her and let her know how what she did made you and your mum feel.
She is not going to listen to reason while she is the way she is. While what she has done is wrong and she needs calling out on it, for her sake as well as yours, please don't abandon her, that's one of the MAJOR issues with bpd. You will just be perpetuating the cycle of "self loathing, nobody cares, everybody abandons me, so i'm going to kick off so that they all will sooner rather than later, self loathing, then back to the start"
I know you're angry now, but IF she does have bpd, you need to try and get her help. It is incredibly scary to cycle through emotions the way a person with bpd does.
I wish you all the best, this isn't an easy road to be on OP.
We have all done nothing but try to get her help.
Why shouldn't she face the consequences of her behaviour?
I don't actually know if she has BPD.
EVERY year we have this shit around Christmas. She says she will/won't come because we've been lovely/not been sufficiently subservient and attentive to her, back and forth for weeks. And we all just ride out the storm until she eventually shows up on Christmas day like nothing happened.
She continually tries to pull us all into her 'I'm so awful you must hate me/you're so awful because you don't believe my every word' games.
My mother doesn't know what is normal anymore. She needs to be defended too.
So... if you come from a toxic family home, who was toxic? Where was your mum in the toxicity quota?
I say this bcs (you probably know this) toxic families appoint a scapegoat: 's/he ruins everything!' 'We'd be so happy if it weren't for her/him!'. Then, guess what, the scapegoat starts acting out, conforming to the family's projected role...
I'm not saying she is or isn't the scapegoat. But it's something to bear in mind. There is always a scapegoat in a toxic family (as well as a golden child).
Sis was definitely the scapegoat. Dad narc, Mum passive.
I know how it works. I know these patterns keep emerging. I know this. But without her getting help, which SHE WILL NOT ENGAGE WITH, the options are put up with it or don't.
She is SO abusive to my mum. No one should put up with that.
You the golden child?
Chances are she will never be able to have a functioning relationship with you. Just your presence will trigger her. Sadly. Narcs eh, their damage goes on for ever...
Do you, have you, lavishly supported her bcs you feel guilty about the past, feel/felt compelled to make it up to her?
I may be wide of the mark, apologies if so. Eg the golden child can become the scapegoat if s/he turns against the narc.
I'm pretty sure I was/am the gc. Being ten years older we also have a weird quasi parental relationship.
We have periods where we get on as long as we don't deal with difficult issues. Same with everyone, though. Sometimes she trusts me. But she kicks against any kind of authority, any kind of 'you should', so helping her is very hard.
We had a really weird thing a few years ago where she basically backed me into a corner saying she should go to therapy (which I do believe) but like I was making her, and then when she bailed on that it was like she felt she was letting ME down. It was a total headfuck. I didn't make her go! And it not working out was not letting me down! I knew that, but she was determined to believe it.
And yes, I know our relationship will always be tricky but I just want to help her but I've run out of tools. I'm not her therapist. I'm just her sister and I can react like this because it is not unreasonable.
OK. You've done the therapy. You know how this works.
You just got pulled into a game, didn't you?
Now you're playing your expected role in this. Your sister's bad, your mum's upset, you're protecting mummy and outraged at little sis. You've rejected sister (FB)
Tomorrow, or the next day but no later, take a step back and some good breaths. Talk to them both clearly, impartially, with understanding but without gaming. Make your therapist proud of you
I'm not saying this will solve all the problems - if only! - but it will: [a] make you feel better, like you run your life instead of some dog-eared, over-performed old play; [b] stand a 50/50 chance of resetting the game, so you're all at starting positions again instead of halfway to the screeching climax.
^^ sorry, missed some bits out due to knackered typing. You get the gist though.
Maybe the time has come for you to back away completely for your own sanity and well-being.
I had to do this with my DM. She has mental health problems, but refuses to see it or accept any help. Her behaviour can be horrendous at times and over the years she has regularly spoilt Christmas Day for all of us. I now refuse to engage in it and do not see her on Christmas Day (or many other days for that matter).
The moment she wants help or is willing to engage with Doctors or a therapist, I will be there to support her, but after 10 years of abuse, violence and her completely spoiling every family occasion, I just stay away from her and leave her to it.
That's possibly a choice that you may have to make.
That book was the only thing that helped me understand her. And I know she can't help it. I know.
But sidestepping these games feels like the best option. And sidestepping them means not having her for Christmas. Taking that power play away from her.
And what do I say to her calmly? 'You can't treat people like dirt. You can't treat mum like your servant. You have to figure this shit out. Get your head shrunk.' That will go down like a lead balloon.
And to my mum, 'You absolutely can't put up with this behaviour. Get your head shrunk.' Again, all been said. Calmly. Angrily. Peacefully. Frustratedly. All been said.
And I'm wondering if I've actually been gamed by my mum. Into defending her. But when she was a victim of emotional (etc) abuse for so long, she has lost perspective.
I understand that my mum is very 'comfortable' in a victim role. I get that. Stepping into to remind her that no one should treat her like that is okay, isn't it?
I had this awful dream about her, years ago, where she was having a seizure and my parents were just ignoring her or frozen, and I was the only one who could, like, see her. It was so awful. And it feels like it is like that even now.
Just remember that there is a family 'system' going on here.
What would you like to do for Christmas?
Isn't it between her and your mum though? Ultimately.
Yeah a family system where she gets treated like a child because she pitches a fit at real life.
And if she has no consequences or boundaries then aren't we all enabling this behaviour?
Yeah, am I trying to parent when I'm not the parent.
I come to the conclusion over and over again (through the years) that my mum is the enabler, by refusing to assert herself.
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