Should I break up with my narcissistic sister?
May 13, 2012 8:51 AM Subscribe
Estranged from my sister because of her wedding and personality. To make this right or cut off my narcissistic sister.
posted by sweltering to Human Relations (32 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
My sister and I have been estranged since 2008. I am four years older than her. We're in our 30's. At this point, though we have superficial conversations (which is a step up from the hostile silence of the past three years), I am fairly ready to the throw in the towel. I am tired of her. I don't think we can recover from our history, or at least that I've exerted the control over which we could. I am also too hurt by her hatred and the way she has attacked me about my adult onset disability. Sometimes I think she is a sociopath. This all started because of her wedding.
She met her fiance at my wedding. They were a groomsman and maid of honor. They had a blossoming romance and ended up both moving to the Big City where my husband at the time were living. My sister wanted us to have lot of "girl time" which she fantasized about having with a sister -- both of drinking champagne and shopping. This is the happiest I can remember our adult relationship being. Thing is that I was beginning to be very ill. I was beginning to need tube feeding in my arm. My husband at the time was beginning to be very eager to divorce me for being ill. He'd already ask me for an open relationship. I was in the hospital from Thanksgiving until New Years that year. My sister had no interest in visiting me in the hospital (she didn't once) and definitely not interested in supporting me as I was left by a husband.
In fact, she insisted we both remain in the wedding party. I don't know whose planet that would have worked on, two acrimiously separated people in a wedding party. My divorce lawyer didn't want me to be in casual contact with my ex and didn't think I could go to the wedding , something I conveyed to my sister. In the end, my ex went, was in the wedding party and I didn't even attend. I just couldn't go at the time; we were delivering each other legal papers. Hashing things out. Communicating through lawyers. It was awful and painful and I'm glad that friends fed me soup and let me cry cry cry. I forgave her for doing that, and letting my ex get that dig at me, -- but the thing is, she doesn't think she did anything wrong. She thinks that's the whole problem, that I betrayed her by not going to her wedding.
She wants me to apologize for missing her wedding if we are going to be friends as adults. I just.. ugh... I *never* expected an apology from her; I thought it would just be behind us. That it was best to never speak of it again; she had been young. The first thing she addressed when we got back in contact was: MY WEDDING. YOUR RSVP IS LATE. When I've pointed out the ridiculousness of expecting me to apologize for not attending, that I couldn't have made another decision, and asked her what she would have had done in the same circumstances (you know, like in a rational discussion), she has been slightly wavering, but has then returned to this strident, bullying position, almost offended that she was tempted to reconsider. I don't know if she's interested in listening. I am not cowed by her stridence. I just don't want to be around it, so we slip back into estrangement. (Asking her to drop it has been unsuccessful, especially now that she knows it bothers me.)
I'm chronically ill. I'm feeling mortality nipping at my back lately. My sister, a medical professional, has been a major source of spreading disbelief about my illness in my family -- about an illness I don't even have. (She denies this, even though I have received identical reports from multiple family members describing her education efforts. When I catch her red handed she just acts sort of indifferent.) This weird axe she is grinding has cost me a lot of family support and caused a lot of skepticism toward me in my family. It isn't cool that my sister is using her position as a medical professional this way because of her grudge about the wedding -- and has been for years. I am housebound and have a reduced lifespan. It has been hard to lose my family because of her poisoning the well. She also regularly urges me (after years of immune suppressives and specialist treatment) to get psychiatric help in order to become undisabled (I have a psychiatrist and a therapist, thank you, always have, it doesn't work that way). She will not respect boundaries about this.
Some part of me wants us to get along and make up -- partly because I have more of a sense than ever that there's not infinite future to make up in. Some other part of me knows she is horrible and that just can't happen, not on any tolerable terms. She does not seem to feel guilt and feels so much entitlement. It seems like meeting her halfway would be meeting in a bad place. Can this sisterhood be saved? How do I cut off a narcissist if not? Ever had to cut out a sibling? It's so hard not to keep trying. We live thousands of miles from each other and she's averse, so counseling for both of us is not an option. Therapy for me is already happening. Book/web/etc recommendations welcome.