The reason I am confused is that there have been two serious episodes in recent years, each lasting about a month, when she has behaved in a really obnoxious way towards me when she thought she was being contradicted and not getting her own way over a particular issue (I think this can be known as narcissistic rage?). This brought out the most astonishing behavior, the like of which I had never experienced before and, on reading up about it later, I found the disorder NPD and terms which were uncannily accurate: sense of entitlement, sounding authoritative, no remorse, projection, triangulation, manipulation, twisting words to suit her etc. The first time it happened, a few years ago, I was shocked but gradually things returned to some kind of normality and I could only assume that she was going through the menopause or something. But then this last time, it was much worse - it was just madness to see how she twisted everything and denied the truth of what was before her. I feel that she has gone so far that it will not be possible for me to trust her or to have any sort of friendly relationship with her again.
However, now the issue has blown over (she managed to get what she wanted from the dispute, with no apology for her hostile attitude) and she is back to being 'normal' again. It is really hard to grasp that she wrote the kinds of emails and said all the things she did and behaved in such a dastardly way and yet can now put it all behind her as if nothing ever happened. I won't be blaming the menopause this time but am I right in thinking that my sister is only like this with me, perhaps because I am the one she has most resentment of? And how do I continue the relationship, given that it is going to be very difficult to have no contact when my father is still alive and in the same area as her (she prides herself on being the one who 'does everything for him' and being the spokesperson on his health matters but gets prickly if I ask any questions that she hasn't thought of herself). I'd like to be able to put this on one side and stop thinking about it but it really has become embedded in my thoughts. I know that this could arise again, perhaps over my father's health or when he dies and I just feel I need some strategies to use when it looks as if we're off in that direction again.
It's really difficult to give you a definitive answer on this issue because we don't know for sure whether your sister has narcissistic personality disorder. If she does have it, she would have been showing signs of it by her 20s, and as she is now menopausal, it sounds like we are looking at a timespan of a couple of decades for this disorder. Perhaps some of the "chalk and cheese" behavior was narcissism, perhaps not. She may simply be a moody and occasionally nasty person. Alternatively, she may have NPD. Finding out which is important because if she does have NPD it would mean that you would need to interact with her in a different way and learn techniques to deal with her. Much more so than if she was just having a "mood".
If you are interested in a diagnosis by proxy, please contact me. Protecting yourself from a narcissist, if you believe she is one, is do-able, but certainly not easy. You can still have a relationship with your father but it would have to be conducted with tools to protect yourself from the fallout from your sister.
Let me know if you have any further questions by contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Thanks very much again for your help.
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