Late to the party, sorry just joined! I am actually right in the middle of this very same situation, MadamePants. My younger (3.5 years) sister is a narcissist/NPD, and has manipulated and all but terrorised our already small family for the past 15 years or so. I’ve been the olive-branch extender for years. Being the bigger person can work on some people if they’re just ignorant to the effect of their behaviour. Sadly my sister is the very definition of a narcissist, and so such efforts are ineffective – demanded by and wasted on her.
As her older sister I have looked out for her, tried to support and ensure she’s happy and flourishing, and included her in my life (I have lived away from home since I was 18, now 32, she still lives at home at 28 due to many factors but mostly immaturity and dependency on my poor exhausted and somewhat enabling parents, as well as short-span career choices). Don’t get me wrong, we used to bicker as kids as kids do, until I was about 16, when I wanted us to be friends (that old older sibling enforced maturity!). Sometimes she’d be lovely, but now i recognise that it was only when there were other non-family members present, or at big showy occasions like Christmas or birthdays. After the events would calm, she’d let the cover slip a bit more.
For many years now I have felt the need to try and distance myself from her for the sake of my own mental health, because she has a dispicable temper and a sense of absolute entitlement. She belittles me and our parents and makes demands of all of us for no return. She has low self-esteem underneath that I sympathise with and wish I could help her with somehow, but her front-facing behaviour is abusive and ungrateful, and there really is no making her see how it damages others. The lack of empathy or care for other people is remarkable. She absolutely will not be questioned or debated with, and she flies into a furious, venomous rage when her needs are not met. My parents are spoken to as if naughty children – they are retired and she is living off them still, while they pay her bills. I and my mother end up upset and depressed after an interaction, my father leaves the scene. It was not until very recently that I realised that she fulfilled 95% of the narcissism checklist.
I got engaged on 1st Jan this year, and we will marry next July. My fiance and I are very excited, and are in the midst of the fun bits of organisation. I will be getting my dress and the bridesmaids sorted out in the next couple of months. So here lies the issue – at the start, I asked my sister to be a bridesmaid (with my 4 best friends and my fiance’s sister who is wonderful). Obviously, because I always hoped we could have that day as sisters where she could celebrate our happiness and show that she does care really, deep down.
It has always been me that has initiated contact – calling to catch up, texting, email, starting conversations on the odd occasions I’m at the family home, i.e. Christmas. She doesn’t bother to do any of this herself, unless she wants something from me, sadly. We have barely spoken twice since I asked her to be a bridesmaid, and on both occasions she flew into a rage at me and blamed me for something she did herself!
At Christmas just gone, I spoke to my dad about how I might best manouvre this issue, as quite frankly, I don’t want her to add stress to the process or the day itself. I would love to have her there at the wedding to enjoy the day and celebrate with us, but every interaction means an argument and blame thrown at me, and I have had enough. Cannot risk it.
On the back of my dad’s and mum’s advice (they 100% understand my standpoint) I phoned her and made the suggestion that she might feel more comfortable just attending and enjoying the day, instead of being made to wear a dress and stand around and do the work in the run up to the wedding. NOTE: She hates dresses and convening to events and rules, so I thought this might actually appeal to her and solve my problem in one fell swoop – after all, she has shown no interest or motivation so far to do with it since the start, or in my own life as a whole for years. She’s an expert at making and breaking plans at her own will, to boot, so I know I cannot rely on her to attend fittings or get-togethers with the others.
She lost it, started screaming at my parents. I made sure to leave the offer calmly on the table, and said she can call me when she’s calmed down so we can just make whatever plans are needed if she wants to be bridesmaid, in case it actually meant something to her. I’d likely have still, even then, offered to have her as bridesmaid AS LONG AS she caused no arguments or stress, else be removed from duty. As a narcissist though, she wasn’t listening, immediately took it as me wronging her in the most heinous way possible, and threw the whole thing back at me and my parents. We had hurt her beyond all human belief apparently. She now hates us all, won’t speak to me, tells me I’ll be lucky if she even appears at the wedding (sic), and that I have hurt her more than any other time in her whole life (Bear in mind, I have played peace-keeper and supporter for her for years since we were children so that she might ease up on my long-suffering parents, she has no grounds for that statement so it’s laugh-worthy). It’s just always got to be about her, you see.
I cried myself to sleep that night, because – as I’ve now come to realise – I’ve been trained for years to become upset and feel guilt if SHE feels upset or that she’s badly-done by. I do still love her, she’s my only sister, and I still remember and greatly miss the times she didn’t seem to hate me. But the relationship has been completely toxic for all our adult lives, realistically.
I woke up, re-read a number of NPD support resources that I have been digging through for a while, and forced to remind myself that I didn’t need to feel terrible for her anymore. She is the creator of her own demise, and I don’t need to have that energy-drain in my life. I am allowed to say no, especially for our wedding.
We have yet to speak and I have no idea if or when that may happen either at this pint, but I have decided that I simply do not want her as my bridesmaid regardless. Even without the personality issues, there are only my most close, most loved people in my bridal party, and if she and I were not sisters, we’d certainly not be friends. The abuse towards my parents when we last spoke made my blood boil.
I am officially going No Contact with her until she decides to make contact herself. Thereafter, Low/No Contact again.
I have fleeting nightmarish throughts of her coming to the wedding and trashing the day with vile statements and screaming. It honestly gives me chills. I am unsure how to try to not exclude her, but at the same time safeguard aganst that. I’m tired, and worried about it.
I am very sorry that this has become a wall of text, especially as my first post. This is only 2-3 days fresh, as an issue for me, and I found this far too relateable to not comment. This may have also been an outlet for me in many ways as I’m getting to grips with this way of dealing. You have my true empathy, and you should also feel able and supported to do exactly what YOU and your fiance want to do so that you have the greatest day together. Life is too short to worry about people who don’t care about your happiness in return, family or not.
You will have by now gotten hitched, and i hope it was every bit the perfect day for you both 🙂 If you see this reply, being 4 months late, do let us know what you decided to do? I face the same before very long!