Post # 1
I have a sister who has borderline personality disorder. I try to be very supportive and not let her actions/manipulations get to me. I am very well read in the disorder but knowing about the disorder and how you SHOULD act is one thing, but being in the situation is another. That’s why any experience/advice is extremely helpful!!
A situation occured last night, long story short, for my wedding present she said she was going to pay for a trip for all of us to go to Greece (we have family there). Of course I was happy, but at the same time I knew that she had a difficult time holding down a job, saving money, making plans etc. so when she cancelled the trip I completely understood and wasn’t upset about it at all. Fast forward 3 months, my husband and I decided we would still go this summer and pay the trip for ourselves. I told my sister last night and I think you can guess where this is going.. she was very upset at me. How dare I bring up such a sensitive topic, I’m so selfish, I need to grow up.. the list goes on. I have a really hard time not internalizing this and the things she says to me.
This is difficult because if the tables were turned I would be ecstatic for her, but she isn’t like me. The same went for my engagement, my wedding, my new apartment, my acceptance to graduate school and all the little milestones for me. Do any of you have experience with this disorder? How do you deal with it? Do you have any advice for me going forward? Right now I feel like I want to give up even though I love her so much.. and I just don’t know what to do. HELP!
This topic was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by krrmee5.
Post # 2
Her mental disorders aren’t your burden to carry, but you’re trying to make them your problem. I get that she’s your sister, but you can’t live the rest of your life walking on eggshells just for her. Are you going to hide every single nice thing that happens in your life just so she feels better about herself? That’s not reasonable or even possible. All you can do is state what’s happening and move on. “Yes Jane, we’re going to Greece for our honeymoon. So what are your plans this weekend?”. Every time she tries to circle back to the topic, redirect her. If you don’t react and give her the response you’re looking for, she’ll find a different target. Every time you give her the reaction she wants, you’re just encouraging her behavior.
Post # 3
krrmee5: I guess in this instance, you shouldn’t talk about your upcoming trip much around her and not share too many photos afterward? I think you did the right thing telling her in the first place, just so she knows you’ll be out of the country, but since she had such a negative reaction, you don’t need to tell her anything more about your Greece trip. I am sorry she was so rude about it. I’d recommend not posting about it too much on social media, either; you can have a glorious trip just to yourselves, and if anyone really is dying to see photos, they can ask you directly.
You can’t make someone act happy for you if she’s jealous, but there’s no reason you can’t be happy and enjoy yourself.
Post # 4
My mother has this, so I know how traumatic interactions with borderline personalities can be…how they never accept fault, blame you for everything, and manipulate. As you probably know, one of the key aspects of borderline personality disorder is that these women have a fear of abandonment that manifests itself in rage. So, I would guess your sister probably feels disappointed in herself for not being able to give you the trip, and sad that you are going without her to visit your family.
I think the first thing you need to do is realize that her over-the-top reactions of anger is about her not being able to express her true feelings, which is probably disappointment. Second, as other posters have mentioned, try not to mention the trip too much and don’t talk about it much afterwards. I know this is hard, and I struggle with this with my mother, but I find that even though there are things I want to share with her, I can’t if I want to avoid the fighting, abuse or manipulation. Third, maybe try to spend some time with your sister doing other things to show her how much you love her and appreciate her support. Clearly she loves you very much, but her disorder makes it hard for her to show you.
Wish you the best.
Post # 5
MariContrary: thank you for the response. Very helpful.
HBanan: I think you’re right. If bringing it up evoked so much emotion, continuing to talk about it/posting about it will just make it worse. It’s unfortunate that I can’t share the good stuff, but that’s the way it is and at the end of the day, like you said, just because she can’t be happy for me doesn’t mean I can’t be happy and enjoy myself.
Mode: Your reply brought me to tears. It is so great to not feel alone in how traumatic this disorder is. Thank you for your words.
Post # 6
krrmee5: My mom has it. I’ve learned to just take her outbursts with a grain of salt. It takes a long time to be able to do. Sometimes calling them out or walking away works, but more often than not a borderline will make herself the victim, going as far as to outright lie to people to make it seem that way. I’ve posted before about my mom and the things she has done; being able to get distance and exert control over your environment (like being able to walk away during an outburst) goes a long way towards helping you deal with it.
Post # 7
I’m coming at this from a completely different aspect… i was diagnosed with borderline at 14 years old. Years of counseling has taught me coping skills, and outside of my family and FI, nobody would ever know. I could be a rare case, but I no longer expect my loved ones to walk on eggshells with me. That is doing me no favors… I still have my moments, and I am held responsible for my actions, and any hurtful things I say, just as I would be without the diagnosis. Over the years, i had to take responsibility for my actions, and learn to recognize the correct responses for all emotions. Up to about a year ago, I never cried… if me and FI got in a disagreement I would say something hurtful and pack a bag. My instinct (like others with borderine) has always been to lash out at the first tinge of disappointment and to run away. Now, although we rarely disagree, when something comes up, I can sit down and explain why I feel the way I do. I don’t think my unrealistic feelings I get over tiny things will ever go away, but I DO strongly believe we should be held accountable for how we react… if not, I would have never grown into the person I am today. All that being said, I don’t believe you should have to watch what you say around her. I can understand why she would be disappointed, but it is an exciting thing for you. I don’t know how your sister would react, but I always responded well with people sitting down and calmly explaining to me their heart and their reasonings for saying and doing certian things. Normally in my head, it was always a personal attack, and in reality that is almost never the case.
Sorry for the novel!
Post # 8
Post # 9
ForeverBirds: Thank you! Yes I have found walking out helps.. but it seems to only help me because she gets more angry and I am the most terrible person in the world for doing it according to her. I guess that’s where the abandonment issues come in for her. Kudos to you for taking it with a grain of salt, I am working on that desperately, not taking things to heart and internalizing it.
Mrstidwell: Amazing advice, such a wonderful perspective for me to understand what is going on. Your strength is admirable. Thank you so so much.
Laurenplusalex: Thank you! I will definitely look into those readings.