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A Weekend with a Narcissistic Family Member

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Prash 3 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #225325

    Eva
    Participant

    Alright. There is a family get-together this weekend, so I will be forced to be around my narcissistic, hurtful, angry, victim-playing sister.

    For our entire lives, she has always treated me as a bit inferior. She was always more important — but then she’d say things, when depressed, about how she always wanted the best for me? Yet, she has a very hard time being happy for me when something good happens to me. She just gets jealous and angry.

    Anyway. Over the years she’s gotten worse. Whenever she’s drunk, I am her favourite person to just start screaming at. She’ll bring up something that happened a year ago. More years ago. She’ll say I looked at her weird; I must have been talking about her; I didn’t have her back (translate: my own opinion was different from hers, and this means I didn’t ‘have her back’). She’s got so much anger inside her that she just spews it at me. It’s started happening in public now. She yelled at me in the fucking street outside a bar this summer.

    Quick background: we grew up with an extremely narcissistic mother. She controlled our father, and she decided to disown all of her children and most family members, so neither of us have seen either of them in years. Just straight up, we are basically orphans.

    Somehow, she has become exactly like our mother. She is always the victim. She is blameless. She deserves first everything; no one else’s needs/feelings are as important as hers.

    A few weeks ago she was snooping through my stuff and read my diary.

    Our mother did this. The violation of privacy was a huge hit for me, back then, so when my sister did it, it was like something snapped and I couldn’t keep doing this anymore. Couldn’t keep being her target. So I told her, very clearly and not rudely and really calmly, that I felt like we needed to not talk to each other for awhile because our relationship had clearly become really toxic. I needed the space, because my own mental state was floundering all over the place. Only my “family” brings about this sense of insecurity and like I’m unsafe and have nowhere to go and no one to trust.

    She kept trying to message me, getting aggressive and trying to fight, so I blocked her number.

    My best friends and my cousin knows what happened, with the diary. My sister texted my husband and told him that I’ve been “spreading lies” about her.

    Her version of the story is that she opened the journal “just to see what it was, so I knew where to put it”. When I asked her why she kept reading when she realized it was a journal, she said, “Wouldn’t you read if you saw your name?” My response was a clear and thorough, “Fuck, no.” I said it’s none of my business what someone else writes about me in their private journal. It’s none of YOUR business what I write. At that point, she made up a lie about needing to get home and quickly left my house.

    So.

    This weekend. She will be there. She has a few weird “beefs” in the family, also. Shocking.

    I’ve been doing a lot of self-work lately, and trying to create a safe, positive headspace for myself. It’s tough. I grew up in a very abusive household where I was taught that I was basically human garbage, so learning to change my self-talk is a work in progress. The fact that I set a boundary with my sister is a huge step for me.

    But how do I handle her this weekend?

    What if she tries to start something? Makes a snarky comment? Causes a scene? Starts hunting me down when she’s drunk?

    I need some techniques to plan out, so that when I’m there, I don’t drown in her negative energy and feel like my chest is caving in. I don’t want to feel like all of the work I’ve been trying to do for myself, with handling my anxiety and fear and emotions, just comes crumbling down.

    I’d love any insight or help!

    • This topic was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by  Eva.
    #225349

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Eva:

    Are you really forced to attend that family event?

    Let’s say you really want to attend that event, how  do you protect yourself is the question, how do you prevent trouble and if it happens, what do you do, my suggestions:

    1. Let your sister know that you have empathy for her for having the mother you both share, that you hope she attends quality psychotherapy to heal from the injuries she suffers from that horrid childhood, and let her know in no uncertain terms that the current status from now on, until further notice, is that there is no communicating between the two  of you, including during the family event.

    2. Be prepared to leave at any time, having a vehicle/ someone to drive you at any time during the event. This way you know that you can leave at any time.

    3. Ask a friendly and dependable relative who also attends the event to provide you with a protective shield, standing between you and your sister if she approaches you, being ready to separate her from you if she talks to you.

    4. Keep your part of #1 and do not react to her, do not communicate with her, even if she screams at you (#3 should intervene in that case and #2 is available to you as well).

    anita

     

    #225353

    Eva
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    I do have to be there. I want to be there. I love this small family group; they’ve always been the only family that showed love or any kind of warmth.

    I’m just starting to feel anxious about it.

    Your tips make me feel better because I was thinking along those lines. My cousin has literally already thought ahead to making some sort of human shield. She told her sister to be on the lookout for my sister eyeing me up.

    When she’s drunk, she’s erratic and hostile and relentless. Or rather, even more so than usual. The screaming at me triggers this deep anxiety in my chest that reminds me of our childhood and I hate the aftermath of that sort of confrontation. I have yelled back when she starts screaming, just to be heard, but I KNOW I can’t respond. I have to walk away.

    Aahhhhh.

    Fuck I hate this.

    #225359

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Eva:

    Take care of yourself, that should be your first priority. Do what is right for you. I wish you could look forward to the event without this problem spoiling the anticipation.

    It just occurred to me, there is an option maybe to not offer alcoholic drinks so that she doesn’t get drunk. There is also the option of her not being invited, being her behavior is known to other members of the family.

    anita

    #225367

    Prash
    Participant

    Dear Eva,

    Is it possible that you can communicate the situation between you and your sister to those family members who are organizing this get together. So in the event that any problem happens and you need to leave, there are no issues between you and them, the ones that have shown you love and warmth.

    Another way of self preparation is visualization and role play where you practice your defenses for the situations that may arise.

    Take care.

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