Out of the FOG

Coping with Personality Disorders => Dealing with PD Siblings and other Family Members => Topic started by: IAmReady on June 21, 2016, 12:24:58 PM

Title: For those whose self esteem has been damaged by PD family members...
Post by: IAmReady on June 21, 2016, 12:24:58 PM
I've shared in other posts on this forum that my relationship with my uPD younger sister (my only sibling) began to unravel 7 years ago, following a traumatic event in her life. Prior to this event, we were very close - I considered her my best friend. She put me on a pedestal and idolized me, her big sister - in a very short period of time, I changed from being able to do no wrong, to being able to do no right.

It's only recently that I've been realizing how extensively her rejection of me has damaged my self esteem. I began to notice at some point, that after spending time with her, I would often feel bad about myself. This is because she would posture as though I was a hot mess, a draining, conflict-driven, needy, self-absorbed head case, who never shut up about myself and who she needed to "set firm boundaries with." Over time, slowly, drip by drip, I began to absorb her portrayal of me, and to believe it.

I used to be a confident person who was a lot of fun to be around. I liked myself. At some point along the way, I stopped seeing myself as this likable, fun person who people gravitated to, and started to adapt instead my sister's view of me. It was only very recently that I even realized this had happened - I just knew I was depressed, because I am also dealing with a break up with my uNPD/ASPD boyfriend, the man who I believed was the One. Realizing that my sister's rejection and abuse, have been in fact more damaging than anything my narcopath ex has done, was a big A-HA! moment.

Turning to my FOO for support is not an option. PDs run in my family on both sides - my father is uNPD and my mother has always functioned as his enabler. She was never an ally to me and my sister, never a source of warmth and comfort as we were growing up. Her own mother, my grandmother, was also uNPD. I think, living under the same roof with a narcissist her entire life, completely screwed up my mother and gave her a massive case of fleas. She's done and said some pretty awful things over the years, that would rival anything a narc could come up with. It's because of our toxic FOO, that I believe my sister is uPD.

I've managed to set thick boundaries with my uNPD father. It took years, but now we have a pleasant but distant relationship. My parents live far away from me. I speak to them on the phone regularly, seem them maybe once a year, and just make a point not to interact one on one with my father, not for more than a few minutes, when we do see each other. I keep him at arm's length, while being simultaneously smiling and cordial, and keeping in touch with superficial, upbeat phone calls, and that works for us. It keeps the peace.

I've realized that, for seven years, my sister has been doing to me what I did to my father - distancing herself, keeping me at arm's length, setting thick boundaries. Being on the receiving end of this (as I believe it to be completely unwarranted), has been so painful.

Three years ago, I dealt with a health crisis, and had to check myself into the hospital. My sister lives the next town over, a 10 minute drive, and she refused to accompany me to the hospital. I was in a really bad way, that was probably the worst, most frightening day of my life, and I could barely talk. I needed someone to go with me so that I could communicate with the doctor. My ex-fiancee (not the narcopath) was at work. My sister was not. She refused to go to the hospital with me, citing some minor obligation she could have easily gotten out of. I had to literally beg her to come. She would not. Eventually my ex-fiance had to leave work and come with me. Looking back on this episode over 3 years later, I'm able to see that what was going on was this: my sister had no empathy.

What's disturbing is that she is a therapist. She's completing her internship now, and will begin a private practice in a year. How is it possible for a PD to work as a therapist, a job that requires so much empathy? In my sister's case, with her clients I wonder if she is wearing her mask? She can act the part of empathetic caregiver, as she doesn't know these people, and doesn't have an actual relationship with them. Maybe they are supply. With me, a family member, someone she has a longstanding intimate relationship with, she can't fake it. A crisis, such as what I went through, would require genuine empathy from her, and she wasn't able to generate that, because it doesn't exist. Once she began devaluing me 7 years ago, the days of empathy, tenderness and helpfulness were over.

Being on the receiving end of this behavior, has eaten away at my soul. For the last two years, it's been occurring at the same time as the abuse from my uNPD/ASPD ex. So between the two of them, I have been brought to the lowest point of my life. Feeling unlovable, as though there's some frequency I'm emitting that other people pick up on and know to keep their distance.

For those of you who find your self-esteem ripped to shreds by PD family members, how do you begin to repair it? How do you begin to undo the damage they've done to your spirit? In my case, I believe LC with my sister is most appropriate - a lot of boundaries and a similar dynamic to what I have maintained with our father. Keeping her at a distance so she can't hurt me anymore - ripping her devaluation campaign out from under her. Refusing to be her punching bag any longer.

Would greatly appreciate any advice on how to rebuild after this kind of damage. Is it possible to ever get back to the person you once were?

Title: Re: For those whose self esteem has been damaged by PD family members...
Post by: Summer Sun on June 21, 2016, 01:22:07 PM
IAmReady,  it is possible to rebuild I'm told.  I am feeling exactly as you are at the moment for precisely the same reasons.  Different scenario, same treatment and same impact.  I read somewhere that invalidation is equivalent to soul murder.   My readings suggest to surround yourself with people who can love and validate you, FOC, therapy, tools, boundaries.  I think for such a loss, one goes through the stages of the grieving process until we reach acceptance.  For me, I think I'm there, until the next point of contact and kick.  Like you, my UNBRo has some education and knowledge in the field, both PD sibs are incapable of empathy, though it can be feigned. 

It is a jagged pill to swallow, that those you think would love and accept you unconditionally, actually turn against you, and harm you.  I try to swallow, and, accept they are incapable of meeting my needs.  I work at removing the resentments from my heart and try to see they are wounded, try not to fault, use boundaries, look to other sources for meeting my needs.  Some days are singing good, others I backslide, I still have much work to do.

Wishing you all the love, support and joy you deserve!

Summer Sun
Title: Re: For those whose self esteem has been damaged by PD family members...
Post by: IAmReady on June 21, 2016, 01:24:58 PM
IAmReady,  it is possible to rebuild I'm told.  I am feeling exactly as you are at the moment for precisely the same reasons.  Different scenario, same treatment and same impact.

Summer Sun,

If you care to share, I would be very interested to hear more about what you went through.
Title: Re: For those whose self esteem has been damaged by PD family members...
Post by: Summer Sun on June 22, 2016, 01:41:49 AM
IAmReady, the family history is too complex, too revealing as well.   Trauma bonded siblings.  Each experienced abandonment, neglect, emotional, physical, sexual abuses.  I idolized my uBPPDbro; we were very close in spite of an age difference as adults.  My hero.  Of course, being codependent, I pleased, I served, I sacrificed, but the payoff was acceptance, belonging, or so I thought.  Traumas and tragedies weave in and out of each of our lives.  Insurmountable losses.  Addictions.  Chaos.  Estrangements.  Reconnections.  Shifting in alliances between siblings over the years.  When abandoned by my uBPDbro, I drew closer to my uNsis.  More losses.  More traumas.  I tried to love, support, nurture each foo relationship.  In short, it seems to me, that over the years, if I pursue a relational path that my uBPDbro disagreed with, or, have a different perception, or opinion, well, I'm punished.  ST.  The old push away, pull and then Hoover when I can be of service.  With the most recent traumas, the uNsis has been p/a, abusive, projecting, and she and UNBRo have aligned, I am now the reassigned SG.  Exclusion.  Invalidation that is almost laughable if it was not so painful.  The old devalue and discard game.  Reinventing history and the blame game works well for them when challenged on behaviors, makes me the crazy one.   No remaining FOO.  PD parents both deceased, their legacy entrails of destruction, devastation, damage.  One sibling has passed away, cause of death, IMO, is a broken heart. 

True to form, a survivor, I became an over achiever, successful which I think is a source for contention.  I was confident, excelled at developing others.  Without the drug of workaholism, and the abandonment, rejection and betrayals of the remaining FOO now, after a lifetime of losses,  abuse, stresses, crazy town history, my self esteem has taken a deep dive into depression, because, I can't control what I have not created or caused, nor can I fix it.  I cannot impose myself, nor do I wish to expose myself further to situations where I am not accepted or welcomed, this just jabs at my woundedness.  I am tribe less, though really, have always been, I was just in denial, had a childlike fantasy, seeing what I wanted to see.  I always thought they loved me.  I always thought they'd be there for me as I've been there for them.  Always thought we'd always be tight.  Never thought for a minute I'd be abused by those I naively thought I could trust.  Eyes wide open is such a very hurtful and scary place to be.  wisdom must prevail if I am to as well.  Working tools, boundaries, not tolerating abuse, MC.  DEepening understanding.  Knowledge is power and the road to acceptance.   I must admit though, I so have fantasies of moving away, out of sight out of mind worked well for my parents lol.

Summer Sun
Title: Re: For those whose self esteem has been damaged by PD family members...
Post by: Candywarhol on June 22, 2016, 01:25:00 PM
Sorry to hear what both of you are going through. I can relate. I didn't even realise that being the SG at various periods
of my family history was not normal.
Tribeless  is a very lonely place to be, as you said, Summer Sun. But it's got to begetter than almost being remote controlled as a codependent on what ever the clan is cooking up at a given time.

I wish you both all the strength you need and real love