Post # 32
OP, I can see by the other responses you are not alone. I have a sibling like that too – he sucked the emotional energy out of my whole family his entire life (my other sibling and I called him our Mother’s ‘Tiny Tim’ because every single thing in our family life was about him, his problems, his traumas, needs etc). We were never able to change the dynamic and now that my father is passed and my mother has Alzheimer’s the days of even trying that are gone. We do our best to disstance ourselves from him but since he has no friends and no other family it’s tough.
Post # 33
+1000, I’D CUT HER OUT, TOO!
Post # 34
@LadyBear: Wow, you have a lot on your plate with the sister, eh? First thing, there’s no telling what she may have. It could be Borderline Personality Disorder, Dependant Personality Disorder, Narcissistic, Histrionic, etc (you get the idea).
Your sister obviously needs to get to a licensed mental health professional to get diagnosed accordingly. Also, you aren’t responsible for her. She is an adult, albeit not functioning according to societal norms. Your parents seem to be in denial to a degree, and that doesn’t help.
Unfortunately, for your own sanity and wellbeing, you may need to simply minimize contact with sis as much as possible, or as other bees suggested, cut her out of your life completely. If parents bring her up, change the subject. Until she gets help, things will not change. I am so sorry you’re having to deal with this. Mental illness is a rollercoaster ride nobody wants to be on.
Post # 35
@LadyBear: I have 4 siblings and we are always talking about each other (not in a bad way). If something great has happened to my sister (she’s pregnant with twins, yay) then I am happy to celebrate it with her. Each family member plays a role in the dynamic and I’m not sure there is much you can do about that.
If you feel she needs therapy, maybe family therapy would be an option? You could cut her off but then that will impact the family dynamic even more. I’d just change the subject when she comes up and only invite her out when YOU feel like it. Otherwise, it’s hard not to have family members come up in conversation because it is the central point you all have in common.
Post # 36
@LadyBear: I have a brother who always seems to make the worst decisions and has a very tumultuous life as a result. I always make sure he knows the door is open, and I invite him to things. BUT he knows that if he is going to spend time with me, he will not be getting drunk or belligerent and no temper tantrums will be tolerated. (He’s 25, younger than me.) I think in my case, he actually likes this. He knows exactly what to expect if we hang out, and we don’t have drama between us. I do not lend him money, ever. Unfortunately this also means that he only calls me up if he’s doing well… I wish we were closer. He stays away from me when he doesn’t want to explain his latest shenanigans because I am the ONLY person that seems to see right through him.
I would distance myself from your sister… I’m not saying this is necessarily the nicest option, but helping siblings will never come at my expense. They are adults. I wouldn’t say blow up at her or anything, but if you can step back from any drama that might be best.
Post # 37
@LadyBear: I would seek counseling yourself if you can. They can help you deal with the resentment in a way that doesn’t bring anyone down and give you tips on how to deal with her in a constructive way. If you can’t see someone, try online support groups for family members of people with mental illnesses. They can be a great outlet and provide better advice than wedding boards.
Unfortunately, there is no biopsy for mental illness. No blood test will tell her if she has BPD or bipolar. I know it is frustrating to you, but it’s even worse for her. She tried to take her own life, and that’s about as bad as it gets.
Post # 38
I know what you’re going through; I’ve gone through it with my husband and it is extremely trying. Mental disorder is a tricky thing–and your sister might know that she is sick, but maybe her job (close interaction with children) keeps her from seeking treatment. (People are weird about that, and it is true that certain mental health records are subject to different privacy and disclosure rules. Totally counterintuitive and makes no sense, but it is what it is.)
You noted out that your sister doesn’t/won’t acknowledge she’s sick: I think that is fairly common for a lot of people suffering from these disorders. It’s hard to acknowledge that there is something wrong…and sometimes, blaming others and taking it out on others is easier and makes the sufferer feel better. It’s not right and it’s not fair, but it frequently happens that way.
There have been plenty of times where I have felt that I just did not like the person my husband was…but the caveat there is that, when he is sick or in a particularly bad place mentally, he is not the person he truly is. I know it’s easier for me to love him unconditionally than it is for you to love your sister unconditionally. But something that has helped me when I have started to feel resentful is to just remind myself that I would never be mad at him if he had the flu–and that his mental disorder is no different. It’s hard.
But finally, I agree with an earlier poster who said that there needs to be a “come to Jesus” discussion. I ended up calling my husband’s doctor and asking her to talk with him a little more about how he feels during the day, and I explained to her the type of behavior I was seeing. Although our GP isn’t a psychiatrist, she did prescribe a different medication for him, and it’s made a world of difference.
Hang in there. That is such a hard thing to deal with. I’m so sorry.