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Narcissistic sister(36 Posts)
I'm not entirely sure what I'm looking for here, but I really need to get this off my chest.
I have a twin sister who I believe has a type B personality disorder (a couple of them in fact). I haven't said anything to her about it because she gets very very angry and defensive if she feels like she's being attacked. She's currently seeing a therapist because her gp believes she may have bipolar, but in my experience she doesn't have extreme highs or lows. She's running with the bipolar diagnosis (although it's not formal yet as the therapist needs to see her experiencing the high and low before official diagnosis).
I found out today that her therapist 'apparently' said to her that I'm obviously someone that believes that girls who wear short skirts and tight tops deserve to get raped. God knows what she said to her to get that response. I absolutely, 100% do not believe that at all. I'm quite horrified that anyone would even think that I thought that actually. I'm a proud feminist and truly believe that rape is always the rapists fault, no matter what the victim wore or how much they'd been drinking etc.
This is just the tip of the iceberg with my sister. She regularly bad mouths me to people in our home town (I moved away 7 years ago, but go and visit frequently) and several people that I used to consider friends quite obviously don't like me anymore. She's been like this our whole lives. She would frequently become friends with my friends and then turn them against me. She dated all of my ex boyfriends when we were teenagers (I say all; there were only 3!). She used to steal from me, our mum, even her friends, and she still steals from me and my sister. She tells me negative things that other people have said about me (e.g. her boyfriend thinks I'm a snob, her best friend said that I'm really judgemental and unsupportive, one of our mums friends thought I was too stuck up because of the way I walked etc). I've had real issues with my self esteem pretty much my whole life because my sister doesn't seem to like me very much (and according to her neither does anyone else).
The thing that irritates me the most is that I do think that I'm actually quite a nice person. However, none of my old friends like me anymore, and they don't have any time for me or my kids. Ironically, my sister is so nasty about these people and their children to me. I asked her to stop insulting these children to me (she hates all of her friends kids and regularly calls them really awful names to me, but then obviously gushes all over social media about them) and she absolutely flipped at me. I got told that I'm taking advantage of her poor mental health, that I'm unsupportive and judgemental and that I'm an awful person for speaking to her in such a way. To clarify, all I said was that it made me uncomfortable when she spoke of 2 and 3 year olds like that, please could she stop. She ended up disowning me and telling me that I couldn't be a part of my nephews life anymore. She re-owned me the next day, and the only reason I didn't tell her to eff off is because of my nephew.
I just don't know what to do. How am I supposed to act around her? Or react to the awful things she says to me? Anything I do say seems to set off massive arguments and then I get bad mouthed to all and sundry. I worry about my nephew too, and the affect she'll have on him as he gets older. I guess a part of me is jealous that someone like her can be so popular and loved even though she's so horrible, and I don't really have anyone apart from our family (who all know what she's like). Any advice on how to deal with someone like this would be appreciated.
Geeze, that's an essay and a half! Well done for anyone that manages to get through it
I'm not sure what to recommend regarding your sister, her issues sound complex, perhaps someone else will have better advice regarding that.
However, regarding your self esteem. What about your friends who don't know your sister? People who aren't having poison dropped in their ears? I bet they like you!
If she lies about you to others please also bear in mind that she probably lies about others to you. It's quite likely these people didn't say anything mean about you.
@scarlett thank you for the response! I figured anyone who read it wouldn't want to go near this one with a barge pole!
My self esteem is definitely better since I left our hometown. I do have a few good friends (from uni and also my mil and sil) and none of them like her very much. None of our other sisters friends do either actually.
I do know that her friends probably haven't said these nasty things about me (I typically get told when she's telling me she thinks it "well blah blah thinks it too, she told me" kind of thing. But I have definitely noticed a cooling in the friendships. My little sister gets invited out with them when she goes home, I do not. But then my little sister doesn't react to anything my twin does or says, she just nods and goes with it. I have quite vocally disagreed with my sister about certain things and am therefore the one that gets bad mouthed to everyone.
She sounds awful. Limit contact. Keep your distance. Be careful what you say about your life. Make friends totally away from her. She seems evil.
The difficult thing is that when she's in a good mood she can be really nice and really fun. And it reminds me of when we were really small (pre teenagers) and how close we were. Also, a part of me feels guilty because she obviously has mental health problems. Could that be the reason she's so mean one minute and nice the next? Does that mean that she's not actually responsible for all the awful things she's done? (I don't want to go into anymore specifics because some of it is absolutely awful and would be very identifying).
I have recently started limiting contact @sole and I feel a lot happier and more content
Some they may be cooling because of stuff she says about you (or has pretended that you have said about them) Or it may be that they are reacting to your anxiousness towards them.
If there is someone that you regret losing touch with among these friends try to pick up with them individually (invite them out don't wait to be asked) perhaps working up to finding out what has been said.
If you aren't really bothered I'd let them go and focus on your real friends in your new town.
I would go very low contact with a person like this. It's really not possible to have any sort of relationship with someone who is narcissistic. The bad mouthing you describe sounds typical of a smear campaign.Do remember that although they are extremely manipulative they are not able to force people to adopt unpleasant personality traits. The friends who listen to her rubbish were disloyal and judgemental long before your sister came along.
You know people can have mental health problems and be total twats as well. My brother is a perfect example. He's diagnosed schizophrenic and he can also be horrible to his family. We're all supposed to tiptoe round him because it was all because of his mental health problems. But I noticed he was only horrible to his immediate family. So he was choosing to behave like that. Since then I've gone low contact. Much better for me. I think you should consider some counseling but also going low contact.
In your experience you don't think she has bipolar? What is your experience of studying, training and eventually qualifying to be able to research and diagnose disorders?
You sound like hard work too. Maybe you need to speak to a therapist to discuss your issues and stop involving yourself in your sisters. Very bizarre
I have a lot of experience in similar situations.
The only solution is low contact and creating emotional distance.
Out of the Fog is a great support site.
The relationship between twins can be difficult and enmeshed. My mum is also twin and it's been a blessing and a terrible curse.
It sounds drastic but have you thought about moving away?
You've already taken the best step by moving away. Now build your separate life in your new home. Make friends there and don't introduce them to your sister. Keep up with your Uni friends. Go home to visit your family but don't bother trying to socialise with your sister's friends. Don't bother arguing with your sister. Try and avoid anything other than polite chit chat. You don't want to know what her therapist said about you, what her friends said about you etc. If she insists on telling you, don't react. Don't introduce boyfriends to her. Don't invite her to your new home.
Sorry I missed that you had already moved away. This is really tough but I suspect she is jealous, and frustrated that she can't influence your new friends the same way she can at home.
In my limited experience people like this will only respond if there are consequences. Eg if she's being horrible about other people's children, tell her it isn'the nice, you don't want to hear it and ask her to stop. If she doesn't, end the conversation. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. I know from experience it can take a long time.
Thank you everyone. My life is definitely easier since I moved away and found friends of my own and met my dh. And my self esteem is much better than it was. I struggle to make friends, I'm quite a shy person and am honestly surprised when people remember my name! At uni it was easy, you just go out and get drunk with the girls in the rooms next to you until you're friends! My eldest started school recently and I've made a couple of mum friends which has been nice. I keep her very separate from that part of my life
I think uou both have issues if I'm honest. You seem to blame everything that's wrong in your life on your sister, right down to lack of friends. In my experience most adults are able to judge for themselves and are not so easily led in that regard. You also admit you are jealous of her.
On your sisters side she clearly has her own issues which you've articulated, the main one being she tends to tell you what people think of you, she could be lying about some of that as a way to undermine you, has mental health issues and she clearly dislikes you also.
I'd recommend instead of continually focusing on your sister, get some distance, get your own therapy and try to move forward. If you focus on you, what she says can't hurt you or will hurt you less.
Stop visiting so much. Cut it down to a couple of times per year or not at all. If you want to meet with your mum or anyone else meet in a different town and make sure they know why.
Each Tim you visit you are supplying her with oxygen to carry on hurting you.
@bluntness I am completely aware that I have issues too, but also aware that my lack of confidence (which is my main issue I thunk) has been largely down to having a sister that has has criticised me in almost every way she can since we started secondary school. My younger sister once said to me that everything we hate about ourselves has been pointed out and criticised by our sister. I do feel like I'm making good head way in getting over it, but I do struggle sometimes.
I have distanced myself, but I also feel incredibly guilty about it. Like I'm abandoning her in her time of need. I'm not sure how to be there for her without putting myself in the firing line.
Some what you are feeling is quite normal. It's very hard to overcome the negative messages fed to you by people who should love and nurture you. And walking away also feels wrong and hurtful and horrible.
Certainly get some support for yourself.
And please remember that this could hurt your children very much. There may come a time when she needs to do the same to them as she does to you.
Well that was a weird experience reading your op. Apart from a few details, your story is mine.
Yy we have our issues, for sure. But not in small part due to the viper we were born with. At least you have a heads up that there's an official mh dx in the offing - no such luck in my case.
I also can't fathom how someone who spews poison can be accepted - I simply don't know how she does it. I could say she has a malignant jealousy concerning me... but that is so small in the scheme of things that is her. She, her behaviour, is truly, stunningly, monstrous. I am baffled anyone gives her the time of day.
It's taken a loooong time but she is now out of my life. I can't tell you the relief. My work is now to repair the bomb damage, which goes deep. As it would, being as I've been poisoned by her from the year dot.. and before the year dot if you get my drift.
These days, in my heart I wish her well. Just as long as she's as far away from me as possible.
Thank you everyone for your input. Just to answer a couple of messages; I have zero experience in mental health issues. It's purely through googling and I will put my hands up and admit that I could be wrong and she could be bipolar. There is definitely something going on, and I have no idea why it never occurred to us that it could be her mental health.
I've also thought about having therapy, but there's no way we could afford to pay for it privately and I don't think it's a serious enough issue to go through the NHS.
Being a twin definitely adds a whole new dimension to the situation. Growing up we both had our specific roles which only added to the tension. I was the smart one and she was the pretty one, and we both hated it. She tells me now that since I've had my children I've gotten more stupid (baby brain) and now she's the smart AND the pretty one
She often reminds me that we have a special bond and when I judge her or tell her I don't like something that it hurts more than it would if someone else said it to her. But then whenever I tell her I don't agree with something etc she goes on the defensive and turns it around so I'm the one in the wrong anyway.
I go back and forth everyday between feeling like I need to help her or cut her off, it's a difficult situation to be in.
The guilt will keep you in if you don't get rid of it. It's absolutely impossible to help her. Whether she is just plain nasty or has mental health problems doesn't really matter. Abuse is happening, you are in an abusive relationship with her. Do you feel guilty for not accepting abuse from her, or for asserting yourself?
Although it probably doesn't make much difference, are you identical twins, or fraternal? I'm guessing fraternal.
I get the feeling that, for whatever reason, she would have preferred not to be a twin, or even to have a sister at all (since your younger sister also comes under fire). For whatever reason, she wants to be the one in the limelight, and she's undermining both of you.
I don't think you sound like hard work at all. Nor does it sound like you're blaming all your problems on your sister, as you've openly acknowledged that your life has improved since moving out of her sphere.
Equally I'd like to say that some adults are VERY easily influenced by the constant drip of poison against someone not there to defend themselves - there are sayings that cover this "no smoke without fire" and "if you throw enough shit, some of it is bound to stick". It's a common phenomenon - people tend to believe the worst of others when given the option, it takes a strong person to stand up and say "no, I don't believe you, this doesn't sound like Somevamps", especially when Somevamps is no longer in the area.
Whether or not she gets a diagnosis is possibly also irrelevant, she sounds pretty toxic and unpleasant. What about your parents, are they still in the picture at all?
Out of interest, who told you what the therapist is supposed to have said about you?
You sound bewildered, and I can't say I blame you.
Therapists will often reflect back what a client says to them, so your sister could say Somevampsarehot is like this or like that and the therapist will reflect that back to her. Your sister could then take that as confirmation or validation of her statements.
Therapy is really hard work and involves examining your own behaviour as much as identifying the external causes of your unhappiness. However, some people (especially those with a need to blame others) often hear only what they want to hear in therapy, just as they will often take only the bits they like from a psychic reading.
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