Help with possibly PD sister who split me "white" and rest of family "black"

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bigsis

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Hello,

I'm new here and thanks for the welcome.

I came here because I am not sure of the best way to respond to my sister; she has recently decided that a great many people in our family and in her grad school (she is working towards a Masters of Divinity) are against her.

(My welcome thread with more background: http://www.outofthefog.net/forum/index.php?topic=55705.msg495243#msg495243)

Right now I'm the "good guy" and she sometimes asks me for advice with her various plans.

Unfortunately, most of the plans seem like a bad idea to me. They are plans like how to show the rest of the family how bad they are and how much they need her to be their "spiritual leader," or how to make money from things that seem like scams, or how misguided her denomination is for saying she's not ready to be a pastor yet.

After reading through some of the definitions on this site, I think this is a pretty classic case of Splitting. She casts herself as a hero, and everyone who opposes her as a villain.

I know I can't do anything to keep her seeing me as "split white," but I am concerned that if I don't keep in contact with her, she won't have any emergency contacts if something really bad happens.

I have been delaying my answers to her because I am not sure what to do.

I would prefer to "agree to disagree," assert my view of the situation, and then decide what level of agreement with her plans was appropriate. When I try to have this type of rational conversation, it gets into a neverending cycle of her repeating her view of things and trying to get me to 100% agree. I had to tell her "I am too tired to have this conversation" and hang up on her the last time we spoke.

However, she has cut off contact with pretty much everyone else in her life who dared to assert a different version of reality - my brother, my parents, her mentor at the school, her denomination, etc.

Is it better to essentially lie to her as much as I can to keep agreeing with her, so she has SOMEONE she can contact if an emergency comes up? (Of course the issue may force itself if she wants practical assistance I can't provide, like asking for money or asking me to treat my parents as villains.)

Or should I be like "Nope. That's not true" and keep disagreeing with her until she "splits me black" too?

I'm worried because she seems to have very bad judgment right now; falling for a money scam is one thing, but what if she does irreversible harm to herself? This is the first time she is living on her own and she was a late bloomer so I would really like to offer reasonable support as her older sister.

I am worried that if she doesn't have at least one person she views as good, she will be alone and vulnerable to bad decisions, with no one to contact in an emergency.

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IAmReady

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I'm in the opposite situation from you - my uPD sister split me black several years ago, and began devaluing me. We were previously very close, and to be on the receiving end of her cold, distant, judgmental, dishonest and petty behavior has been one of the the most painful experiences of my life.

But, to answer your question about how to deal with your sister's confessions to you and efforts to make you agree with her perspective 100%: Imagine you board a crowded city bus, and end up choosing a seat next to a homeless bag lady, who decides to tell you her life story, stopping occasionally to say, "Do you see what I mean?" or "Do you know what I'm saying?" How would you handle this situation?

I imagine you would nod and smile and be polite, saying "Yes, of course, I see what you mean," or other nothing-meaning pleasantries in response to her chatter. You would just let her prattle on, and give a polite acknowledgement that you are listening and understand her, whenever necessary. You wouldn't be emotionally involved with this woman, so doing this would be relatively easy.

This is what you (IMO) now have to do with your sister. Nod, give bland pleasantries, let her ramble on, and when called on to validate her delusions, say "Of course, yes yes, I see what you mean there" or "Wow that must be frustrating" or whatever you can come up with that's vague yet makes her feel validated.

As you have witnessed with your other family members, insisting that her version of reality is incorrect, will get you blackballed. I don't think you are going to get through to her and force her to see that in fact her spinning of events is delusional, and no one is against her. She believes this very strongly and has made it a part of her core identity. She sees you as someone who is a possible ally.

If you try to argue with her, or challenge her beliefs, she is only going to put you in the "enemy" camp with all the others, and further isolate herself from all of you. I know, when someone is rambling nonsense, and is all worked up about things you don't agree with, the temptation to challenge what they are saying is HUGE. But I think it would better serve you, and your family, to continue being your sister's "ally," so that someone in the family is still connected to her, and keeping tabs on her.

If you possibly can, detach from her talk like you would from the crazy lady on the bus, whose insisting on telling you her life story. Not to say that your sister is "crazy," but to give you an idea of the sort of polite nothing-meaning bland responses that are called for, when she starts going on about all the family's offenses against her, and expecting you to back her up. Don't get caught up in it - you and everyone else in the family know that her anger towards them is unjustified, that no one has done wrong by her, that her animosity is purely imaginary. It's evidence of her disorder - and when dealing with a possible PD, a major goal should always be to not get caught up in their version of reality - no JADEing.

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bigsis

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Hi IAmReady,

Thanks for the kind words. I was her least favorite person in the family for years; at the time I thought it was typical younger-sister jealousy. It stung and I'm sorry you're going through that now.

That's part of what makes it so surreal to be the "ally" now. Actually I don't know if I still have that status, as I had to hang up on her during our last phone call, and she hasn't responded to my email since then.

I'm planning to talk to a specialist as well. It feels really weird to "smile and nod" since I usually enjoy a good debate; but of course that depends on a shared view of reality.

I'm wondering now if I should text her again to see how she's doing, or wait until she contacts me again. I'm thinking I'll text her since I know she's going through a rough time.

-Big Sis

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Lillith65

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What you have said so far makes me wonder if your sister is unwell. Splitting is something which occurs in some PDs but it is also a symptom of some acute mental illnesses.
You also need to be aware of your history and the fact that, as you suggest, she could easily swing back to seeing you as the enemy. My approach would be similar to IAmReady: non judgemental, respectful and exploring why she believes what she does in a non threatening way.
You are right in that she needs someone - especially if she is acutely ill and therefore vulnerable. Until you know that this is a PD and that she is abusive I would suggest treading very sensitively. It's tough though.
You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep someone else warm - anonymous.

Part of my story: https://www.outofthefog.net/forum/index.php?topic=54885.msg488293#msg488293
https://www.outofthefog.net/forum/index.php?topic=54892.msg488385#msg488385

NC uPDM; NC uBPDSis

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KH

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Sounds to me you are being held hostage emotionally.  From my experience, it doesn't matter what you say because when the PD is not stable, they will find something that angers them.  I have always been up front with my sister BPD and right now have chilled contact.  If I back away and let her pout, she comes back eventually.  I wish you the best with your situation, but remember that you are not in control of her decisions.

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almostthere

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Is it really your job to make sure she has back up in case of emergency?  She's not a child so she can befriend or demonize anyone she wants.  If she really needs you, you can be sure that you will hear from her.

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bopper

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I agree...what emergencies would you help with?

If she has a medical emergency, then the hospital would take care of her.
If she has a financial emergency, that is of her own making and you should not enable her by bailing her out.
If she has a legal emergency, then she can get a lawyer or have one appointed.
Just because they are incapable of loving you, doesn't mean that you are unlovable.
Anything makes the false self appear real is supply.