Dealing with a Toxic Sibling
December 3, 2012 6:19 AM Subscribe
How do you deal with a toxic sibling who ruins every family event?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (21 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My sister lives next door to my parents. Anytime I or my siblings go to visit my parents, she is there. The problem is that she has a toxic personality and manages to ruin every family get-together, big or small, by offending people and acting outrageously.
Examples of problematic behavior are:
1. Treating her children in a way that makes everyone uncomfortable. We don't want to "tell her how to raise her kids" (she is VERY touchy about this) but her parenting methods include physical punishments, outbursts of explosive anger and emotional manipulation.
2. Seeking the negative attention she gets when she makes offensive jokes and insulting comments.
3. Making conversation by cornering individuals and then ranting at them about whatever topic she's fixated on at that time. (She often becomes fixated on ideas she's come up with about conspiracies in the world. My parents report that sometimes she'll come over in the pre-dawn hours needing to talk to them about the ideas.)
My siblings and I are very concerned about her behavior and wonder if she is mentally ill; however, she can act "normally" (even charmingly!) when she chooses to. This is how she maintains a life in the world outside of our family.
There are essentially two parts to my question:
1. What strategies can I employ in-the-moment when the family is together and my sibling is causing a scene?
2. How can my family address my sibling's troubling behavior going forward without my sibling feeling attacked or controlled by the rest of the group?