Help/support needed: rage attack by uBPD sis after ultra-stressful week.

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SpringLight

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I'm in post-BPD crisis mode, and would love to get feedback or support. 

This is a long rant...about my BPD-sis at her worst.  :-[

I don't think my situation is particularly unique to those of us who have raging BPD siblings. So, any pep talks or routine advise would be appreciated.  Please be aware that, unfortunately, there is literally no way to go NC at this time. However, I do think in the future, NC is likely.

Background/quick review of my FOO : I'm the youngest child of four, the lifelong, knee-jerk doormat SG. We are all now in our 60's.  Everyone in my FOO is very accomplished in their careers, and evidently can hide their PD sides when necessary. Lots of N and NPD throughout my FOO, and then there is my BPD -NPD sis.  :sadno: To the outside world, the PD people conduct themselves well and  are widely admired  and even envied at times.

I have written here before about  my oldest sibling, a BPD sister who can be good when she is good, but absolutely HORRID when she is horrid.  I have finally acknowledged to myself and now for the first time on this board that she has been downright abusive, and yes, she has traumatized me, periodically throughout my entire life.  I have rarely spoken about this with anyone.

My problem now:

Background stress, first...
I have just now begun to recovered from one of the most stressful weeks in recent memory. I'll skip all the terrible horrid details, because for this discussion, it's not important. But just to give you the flavor...it was a week of back to back funerals, visiting a dying friend's mother, hearing about TWO young people with rare cancers and much more, ...all in a matter of less than a week.
Too much to assimilate.  Emotional and extremely draining. But all that is NOT PD stuff, just life stresses, back to back.

Here comes my vent...

One of these days, I stayed with a friend whose mother was dying. (She has since died.) It was an emotionally wrenching day, I hadn't slept much the previous night, but "powered on" (feeling like a sleep-deprived zombie at times) because I knew it was important for her and for me. When I arrived home, I was glad I was there to help and comfort, despite the sacrifice, but I was beyond exhausted. Sick with exhaustion. Hey, it happens. Very unwise for my health, but from time to time it's appropriate to do that. So, it was hard, but no complaints.

I couldn't eat, but I tried to drink some tea, eat some crackers before I went to bed.  Because the high level of stress took away my appetite.

Then...just as I was beginning to relax after a difficult day/week...

The phone rang. It was the hospital. My mother had been taken to the ER. She had had a cardiac event. Honestly, I thought I was hallucinating when I was told the news. Could this really be happening to me NOW, today? It was all too, too much for my then-fragile brain.

 I'll cut to the chase and say simply, I went to the hospital. I ran on adrenaline, and thank God, I survived that awful day and night, after the stressful week from hell. The kind of week we all go through at some time in our lives...but looking back, you can't believe so much awful happened-- in such a short period of time.

Good news. My mother is reasonably ok now, recovering with me at the moment. I live closest geographically to my mother, so I am the main caregiver. Her health is NOT the reason I'm writing now.  My mother is elderly, spared of many of the usual problems of old age, but recently has developed some concerning chronic health problems.

But oldest uPBP sis....IS the problem.  :stars:

To be fair, sis genuinely cares about  and loves our mother. To be fair, she also DOES contribute in ways to my mother's well-being. She is generally very good to our mother.  Meaning she does "good deeds." She's not so good if you need empathy...

But sis has very ambivalent, mostly NEGATIVE feelings about me. She has had a life-long resentment of me, often acts decent in public, but behind closed doors, she can and has been able to wreak BPD havoc for as long as I have lived. I have spent most of my life trying to have a good relationship with her.

 Perhaps this is typical BPD  but, when an emergency happens (especially involving Mom ), BPD sis reacts by becomes a RAGING MANIAC.  Stress brings out the absolute worst traits of BPD sis. She is the absolute WORST person to have around when bad news strikes! 

She thinks she's "taking charge" of the chaos... when in fact she is adding exponentially to the tension of the moment . 
Since Mom's emergency happened into the wee hours, BPD sis (living out of town for years, btw) wasn't notified until the next day.  Nor, I should mention was anyone else notified in the middle of that night. This was because I was exhausted beyond belief AND also because my mother insisted that she wanted to notify sis herself--THE NEXT DAY.

Mom, feeling better after the night at the hospital, made the call from my home the next morning.  I listened to Mom's side of the conversation with sis. I knew BPDsis was reacting in her usual style:  FURIOUS. PANICKY and utterly. TYRANICAL  EXPLOSIVE STYLE. She takes over the conversation. Her harsh, intense, hostile, controlling LOUD patronizing, admonishing, dictating.  Mom has been an enabler, she has usually puts up with the rage storms and allows it to happen. Unfazed...

It is disturbing to my mother when I assert myself in front of BPD sis and her rages. An ugly argument ensues. So, in deference to Mom, I have been trying to go Gray Rock.

At a certain point, Mom calls out to me while on the phone,  in the other room: "your sister needs to talk to you. Pick up the phone."

Now, the pre-OOF me would have run to the phone like a fearful servant. Something self-preserving kicked in at that moment because I said "I'll be there as soon as I go to the bathroom." (Yes, I really did have a full bladder, for the record. :yes:) As I was finishing up,  I could hear Mom's intensity increase. "Un, SpringLight, Are you getting on the phone?" Again, I actually took the usual amount of time it takes so I could wash my hands. Small victory for self-preservation for me.  :applause: I nicely said: "Coming, Mom-- just finishing washing my hands." How pathetic, really. But, it's progress for me!

I then get on the other phone. So it's BPD Mom, me and BPDsis. From the moment I picked up, I felt....OMG, here comes the escalating rage. It never fails!

At once, BPDsis  launches into her extremely predictable, raging lecture.  AT me. Then TALKING AT Mom. There is NO interrupting her tirade.  When she gets angry and stressed and feeling out of control, she turns that stress outward. Inflicting it on the people who are "causing" her to be stressed.

She responded to Mom's latest health development, not with thoughtfulness and empathy, but by giving us both orders.  >:(

First up...a raging, vicious tirade to both Mom and me about WHY DIDN'T YOU LET ME KNOW THIS LAST NIGHT?!?!?
(She knows perfectly well WHY, but she always insists she must be NOTIFIED IN THE MOMENT. )

Sis is just plain freaking wrong and selfish about her right to be notified as the health crisis is unfolding. As I have explained to her in the past when she erupted for the same reason.  I have told her...

1. the most important thing to do is deal with the health crisis at hand.  In the ER, when you have an elderly parent, you
don't have much time to break away to give health reports to anyone, especially an overreactive, irritable, demanding BPD sibling.

2, What in the world could BPD sis do at 2 AM? She lives out of the area, She goes to bed early and is extra irritable and downright disrespectful when woken for any reason.
3. Just between you, me and the lamp post...in a moment of crisis, BPD sis is my worst nightmare. But, she insists she is owed this!
Crazy-making madness.  ANY SUGGESTIONS???

I started getting that awful panicky TRAPPED feeling the second I got on the phone and heard her hostile, dictating tone.  Then, in order to do my best Gray Rock, I started folding some paper bags while listening to her rant, to do something with my hands to calm myself down, while enduring the abuse.   I was listening intently to what she was saying, as evidenced by the fact that I responded to everything she said.

She heard the shuffling noise, and she freaks out:
"WHAT'S THAT NOISE? WHAT'S THAT NOISE???!!!!!!!!" Like a mad woman.
But I refuse to add fuel to the fire. I apologize, and say, blandly erh, um, something fell, I went to pick it up.

Then she began giving orders:
"You MUST do this...from now on!!!" etc. "AND LISTEN TO ME!!!"
"YOU HAVE TO do this for Mom."
"YOU CAN'T DO THIS, but you have to do THIS. DO YOU UNDERSTAND!!!!? "
She begins to pontificate on the health matter (based on what she thinks is answer. She can't cope with any ambiguity. In her world, every medical problem has to have an exact outcome. ). My mother says, "well, ok, but...
Sis lectures about what we have to do, blah blah, blah,  DO YOU UNDERSTAND?!! Stop interrupting me!!!

I interrupt. "Yes, I know...BUT, please understand that we know that, and..
SIS (to me) : STOP INTERRUPTING ME! 
ME: Yes, sis, but you're telling us something we already know and..
SIS: "WOULD... YOU... STOP INTERRUPTING ME!! (screaming) You don't even know what I'm going to say!!!"
 
I let her talk.

She then proceed to  tell me  a) something I already know and
b) it WAS exactly what I thought she was going to say.

I really don't interrupt people often. HOWEVER, if they are telling me something I 'need to hear' in the most patronizing controlling tone that I have heard and information I already know (i.e., "Mom needs to go to her doctor.") ...yes, I WILL interrupt! 

The way I feel when BPD sis goes on her angry critical tirades....well, it's...suffocating. You'd think I'd have become less affected by such a long-standing behavior. But, as the years go by, I become more and more sickened by this behavior I tolerated all my life.

Speaking of interruptions, all my siblings CONSTANTLY interrupt me.

NO ONE I know, friend or stranger has ever cut me off as routinely and nonchalantly as do my siblings. Yet, if i interject anything while they hold court...they will seethe and or rage. How dare I speak. I'm not even allowed to interrupt TO ASK FOR CLARIFICATION when they begin telling one of their long stories.  :aaauuugh:

It's infuriating how hypocritical BPD-sis and other siblings will throw a fit (sis) or seem outraged (NPD people) when they apply different etiquette rules to me, the SG.

I find myself growing increasingly hopeless about the future. Dealing with elderly Mom in the days, or years to come.

Mom's not getting any younger, my PD family is not getting any more self-aware. How can I gain control of my life while having to deal with this recurrent disrespectful infuriating behavior. 

P.S. Had I simply gotten off the phone, my mother would have scapegoated ME and engaging with BPD sis would have increased Mom's anxiety.

Thanks for those who read this far.  And any encouragement would be appreciated.

Exhaustedly yours,
SpringLight

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Joan

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Re: Help/support needed: rage attack by uBPD sis after ultra-stressful week.
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2016, 12:03:34 AM »
Hi SpringLight!

Im so sorry you are going through this. IŽd like to give you some advice, although Im sure others will be more detailed on the matter and have more knowledge on how to deal with her.

Im surprised you didnt hang up. I used to take all the abuse from my uPD relatives (I have a raging uBPD aunt). It was terrible. I disengaged. When they started to behave badly I usually left.

You are trying to protect your mom. I understand that. But she has to make her own choice and you are not her buffer. Its up to her to keep on listening to her daughter yell at her and give her orders.

Knowing what I know now, Id simply say something like "if you keep on yelling, I will hang up". Of course she wont stop, so you do it. You dont have to stay there quiet and take her abuse.

I know the chaos they can create. Specially during a health crisis. I believe its because they are not the center of attention. My uBPD aunt used to get frantic, histerical, etc. Or even behave inappropriately, trying to chit-chat with the doctor, instead of focusing on the patient... I really dont think she is worried about your mom at all. If she were, sheŽd be happy all is good and you managed to get her to the hospital, etc. Also, by yelling to your mom the next day just shows how little consideration she has for her...

Demanding to be phoned at the moment, in my opinion, just shows her need for control. Of course she would rage if she were contacted too. So, you did what was best for your mom, period.

I dont think you owe her any explanation and above all, you shouldnt be listening to her speak to you in such a disrespectful way.

Wish you luck!

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Daughter 15

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Re: Help/support needed: rage attack by uBPD sis after ultra-stressful week.
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2016, 12:34:50 AM »
Hi SpringLight!

Im so sorry you are going through this. IŽd like to give you some advice, although Im sure others will be more detailed on the matter and have more knowledge on how to deal with her.

Im surprised you didnt hang up. I used to take all the abuse from my uPD relatives (I have a raging uBPD aunt). It was terrible. I disengaged. When they started to behave badly I usually left.

You are trying to protect your mom. I understand that. But she has to make her own choice and you are not her buffer. Its up to her to keep on listening to her daughter yell at her and give her orders.

Knowing what I know now, Id simply say something like "if you keep on yelling, I will hang up". Of course she wont stop, so you do it. You dont have to stay there quiet and take her abuse.

I know the chaos they can create. Specially during a health crisis. I believe its because they are not the center of attention. My uBPD aunt used to get frantic, histerical, etc. Or even behave inappropriately, trying to chit-chat with the doctor, instead of focusing on the patient... I really dont think she is worried about your mom at all. If she were, sheŽd be happy all is good and you managed to get her to the hospital, etc. Also, by yelling to your mom the next day just shows how little consideration she has for her...

Demanding to be phoned at the moment, in my opinion, just shows her need for control. Of course she would rage if she were contacted too. So, you did what was best for your mom, period.

I dont think you owe her any explanation and above all, you shouldnt be listening to her speak to you in such a disrespectful way.

Wish you luck!

 :yeahthat: I agree 100%!  She had ZERO concern for your mother! Otherwise, she wouldn't have wanted to say anything to upset her. That was envy at its finest because she wasn't the center of attention so she had to create a huge scene so she could be!  I like the idea of calmly saying, " Calm your tone in order that  we can have a civil conversation. If you refuse to do so, I will hang up."  If she continues, hang up the phone. If your mom is also BPD, then she can handle herself.   Disengage and keep your sanity. I'm so sorry. Weeks like that are HORRIBLE!!!  Take a hot bath and try to relax. You've done what you can. Don't take on their mental issues.
You'll end up really disappointed if you expect people will do for you as you do for them. Not everyone has the same heart as you.

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SpringLight

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Re: Help/support needed: rage attack by uBPD sis after ultra-stressful week.
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2016, 01:04:28 AM »
Hi SpringLight!

Im so sorry you are going through this. IŽd like to give you some advice, although Im sure others will be more detailed on the matter and have more knowledge on how to deal with her.

Im surprised you didnt hang up. I used to take all the abuse from my uPD relatives (I have a raging uBPD aunt). It was terrible. I disengaged. When they started to behave badly I usually left.

You are trying to protect your mom. I understand that. But she has to make her own choice and you are not her buffer. Its up to her to keep on listening to her daughter yell at her and give her orders.

Knowing what I know now, Id simply say something like "if you keep on yelling, I will hang up". Of course she wont stop, so you do it. You dont have to stay there quiet and take her abuse.

I know the chaos they can create. Specially during a health crisis. I believe its because they are not the center of attention. My uBPD aunt used to get frantic, histerical, etc. Or even behave inappropriately, trying to chit-chat with the doctor, instead of focusing on the patient... I really dont think she is worried about your mom at all. If she were, sheŽd be happy all is good and you managed to get her to the hospital, etc. Also, by yelling to your mom the next day just shows how little consideration she has for her...

Demanding to be phoned at the moment, in my opinion, just shows her need for control. Of course she would rage if she were contacted too. So, you did what was best for your mom, period.

I dont think you owe her any explanation and above all, you shouldnt be listening to her speak to you in such a disrespectful way.

Wish you luck!

 Hi, Joan:

Thanks so much for your response. Some wise advice and kind support.

I try my best NOT to copy the BPD bad behavior, responding rudely.  I hope I don't sound sanctimonious, but it is very difficult for me to be rude to anyone. Whereas my sis is very quick to anger, I am the opposite. I can certainly feel angry. even boiling mad, but I am not easily provoked. (As my family's SC, I'm not claiming that is a good quality all the time. On the contrary. )

I have experimented with "I will not tolerate you talking to me that way."  These self-protecting declarations seem to exacerbate her rage to the nth degree. The rage escalates, continues in one form or another and Mom ends up blaming me, for participating.  :doh: For me, it has been no-win, exhausting and ends up creating more chaos. (Probably because my mother is in the middle of our relationship at the present time. Were she no longer living, oh, what a different world that would be.)

Gray rock has been the most effective strategy. As adults, she has frequently come to me knowing that I am compassionate, caring and sensitive. She is fairly incapable of empathy, so I've learned not to share personal things with her.  But, I have had weak boundaries in the past.

Good point about the chaos they create in a health crisis. Hmmmm...yes, I think you're right. She feels neglected, has to be front and center. AND ALWAYS IN CONTROL. (She even alluded to the fact, at the end of the phone call...)

I hope I don't violate any board rules, but I'd like to copy what someone named "John" wrote on a BPD blog which I found extremely enlightening.  Thank you, John, wherever you are!

"One thing that is very difficult about living with a person with BPD is their expectation that a loved one will constantly be available to assist them to moderate their own emotional states.

 BPD person seems to perceive what others consider as basic emotional self-moderation processes as being “core needs” that others are required to “meet”, and that there is intense anger and frustration when others fail to meet the expectations of needs. The BPD sufferer seems chronically incapable or unwilling to moderate own emotional states. What people with BPD seem not to realise is that being available to assist with moderating emotional states is deeply, deeply exhausting. "


Eureka! That's it. She wants OTHERS to do her basic emotional self-moderation for her.  Until recently, she (who rages against me since my birth) comes to me when she needs emotional help!  I would be there, always ....until very recently. Still very new at implementing the OOF insights into real life. 

A big thank you and hug to all of you on this board.  :bighug:

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all4peace

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Re: Help/support needed: rage attack by uBPD sis after ultra-stressful week.
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2016, 01:10:07 AM »
Personally, I'd hang up on her. When she calls back, I'd tell her you'll only talk if she's not interrupting or shouting.

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leapsand bounds

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Re: Help/support needed: rage attack by uBPD sis after ultra-stressful week.
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2016, 01:29:39 AM »
From my experience, it seems the reason your family have you over a barrel is because they know you will take care of crises and other, more drawn-out, problematic situations, because they know they can rely own you, that you won't let them down.  The power balance could change rapidly, if they ever come to doubt that.

It strikes me as ironic that the SG is very often the go-to person for handling difficult situations and crises.  A few years ago, my family had a health crisis, and I spent a few months back in the heart of my family,  (I live almost as far away as is possible within the same country).  On this occasion, whenever family members started to manage their stress by scapegoating me, I walked away and spent time apart.  In that time I'd remember what I knew before I left my home, and the promise I'd made to myself: "if this doesn't stop I have no choice but to ring the airline, book a flight, pack, phone for a taxi and leave".  I had the advantage that it was the truth  My own health was poor. I wasn't sure I could manage the situation, but I knew that I definitely couldn't if I was belittled and vilified while I tried my best.   It was just a fact.

To my surprise, on my return it always did stop.  I had been planning the practicalities of leaving, only for the reason to evaporate. At first it took me by surprise, after a while it was just what I'd come to expect.  In fact, I don't think they had ever treated more respectfully.  I didn't say a word, I wasn't angry, but they could read the shift in my body-language.  The thing is, they needed me.  I didn't need them. Sometimes I think we convey our acceptance of our status within our family in the attitude we project with our bodies.

I don't think there is anything that will change my SG status in my FOO.  It plays out in a myriad of ways, and was set in motion in all of our formative years.  The assumptions and reactions run too deep.  But if they ever need me, it goes, or I go.  That's a newer, unspoken, collective assumption that runs just as deep.  I don't think there is anything deliberate or conscious in this dynamic in my family.  My siblings are not PDs.  It's just part of the damage of growing up in a PD-controlled family.  I can change myself, I can't change the way my family operates when we are together as a family.


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SpringLight

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Re: Help/support needed: rage attack by uBPD sis after ultra-stressful week.
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2016, 01:33:08 AM »
Hi, Daughter 15:

You are right! 

I have been living with this problem for so damn long, I often fail to see the obvious.

Thank you for seconding that observation.

Mom has tried (usually) to be fair to both her daughters, but every once in a while, she'll concede..."wow, she really has no empathy." But, RARELY will she do this, because BPDsis does her share of "good deeds" for Mom, so Mom is reluctant to complain.  Mom is not BPD. But a big enabler. Sis used to be the GC, until the brothers came along.  She is still madly seeking Mom's approval...To be honest, so am I, I suppose.

 I really find myself tongue-tied with PD people. Like a deer in the headlights. So I always appreciate when OOF provides sample wording for the verbally challenged among us.  ;D

 I do like this phrase you included. I added a 'PLEASE' to soften it.  :bigwink:
Please calm your tone in order that  we can have a civil conversation.
If you refuse to do so, I will hang up."


I like it!  :righton:

P.S. By the way, I DID take a hot bath! Very soothing. Never fails to take the edge off!

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all4peace

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Re: Help/support needed: rage attack by uBPD sis after ultra-stressful week.
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2016, 01:40:49 AM »
Does your sister text? If so, if you can't get a word in edgewise while she is on a rampage, just hang up and text the sample sentences to her instead. Of course it will enrage her. Oh well. She's being obnoxious and incredibly rude and needs to learn that it's not going to be tolerated anymore.

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Joan

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Re: Help/support needed: rage attack by uBPD sis after ultra-stressful week.
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2016, 08:29:13 AM »
Hi SpringLight, you are welcome!

I am the SG in my family too. My mom is not PD, but the whole family enabled her 2 uBPD sisters. Its really ironic as they come to us for help, specially after ignoring us or treating us so disrespectfully.

At some point I got myself yelling back at one of them when she phoned me with orders. But I dont want to be that person. Also, I was unbalanced for 2 or 3 days after the episode and Im sure they were calm and relieved.... What worked for me was screening calls. They only called when they needed something. Amazing moment when I realized they needed me but I dont need them.

This uPD raging aunt phoned me all sweet and phony.... Needed me to solver her a problem but she is so proud she couldnt say it straight, she just tried to make it sound I needed to go for my own benefit... It was easy to say I was good.... LOL. Next time she was more direct and I refused anyway. She doesnt rage when she needs something, she can control herself pretty well.

It took me years of practice, it all depends on how fed up you are with the situation (not to mention how much FOG there is). I had to go to her home because of a document regarding a family property. I dont like being alone with her, I dont trust her. I didnt even sit down, which upset her, she wanted me to stay there for hours listening to her problems. So she was fine at first but rapidly begain raising her voice. I told her we could have a respectful talk or no talk at all. She was surprised and didnt rage. But the moment I opened the door to leave, a neighbour came by and she began to sob as if I was mistreating her.... LOL. She is almost 90 yo! The neighbour kept asking me why she was crying! She has an entourage of enablers and flying monkeys.

That was the last time I had contact, I swore to myself I wouldnt put myself in that position again.

Just keep in mind they dont change and its "normal" that your sister behaved worse when you created a boundary. She has been enabled her whole life, so she wont tolerate any kind of limit, specially coming from you. She is emotionally like a 2 yo. But in my opinion, thats the only way for you. I personally dont think gray rock works when they are raging. The level of disrespect is too much, we just have to leave.

Besides, what else can she do? It helped me thinking whats the worse that can happen. Ok, they yell and rage and throw fits... so what? They are used to make us complay cause of fear. Let her rage! But dont be an audience. If your mom blames you, then I guess you mom needs boundaries too. Im assuming saying something to her like "mom, sis behavior is unaccepatble to me and I wont tolerate it". If she answers "oh, but thats how she is" you can add "well, thats her problem, not mine".

Keep in mind you are not responsible for their feelings or their happiness. This has helped me tremendously. Besides, everything in life has consequences! Its time they begi n to rip what they sow.... Its a simple thought but it has given me a lot of peace and detachement!

Wish it helps you too!

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Candywarhol

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Re: Help/support needed: rage attack by uBPD sis after ultra-stressful week.
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2016, 11:30:16 AM »
I would agree with what other have said, Springlight: If your sister has any concern for your mother, it's definitely not as
great as her need to control, be seen and throw her weight around.
She'd probably love to have other family members and friends laud praise on her for how good she is to her mother but as
she's too far away, can't be in the spotlight. The fact that you are is vinegar in that wound.
Her behaviour towards you is shameless and you take on toxic shame at the prospect of your mother scapegoating you for your sister's bad behaviour. Effed up!
I'd write her an email to the tune that: you know she's concerned about your mom, but it's stressful for both you and
your mother being yelled at. You agree with a lot of what she's saying and she needs to trust that you will do the best by your mom.
You've had a very trying time of late and won't be yelled at or treated shamelessly. For that reason you will hang up the phone should she use that tone on you again, after all you have the same goal, which is to see your mom is properly, lovingly and calmly cared for!


I would also try some sort of visualisation (not everyone's thing, I know), especially when it kicks off with the rage, where you see a divide between you and your mother and you and your sister to keep their dysfunctional sh** off you. This has helped me a lot! The Bachflowers, (also not everyone's thing, but just in case ;) ) walnut, centaury and crab apple used together are very good at keeping other people's energies separate from our own.

I wish you all the strength you need, dear Springlight :bighug:

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SpringLight

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Re: Help/support needed: rage attack by uBPD sis after ultra-stressful week.
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2016, 01:38:14 PM »
Does your sister text? If so, if you can't get a word in edgewise while she is on a rampage, just hang up and text the sample sentences to her instead. Of course it will enrage her. Oh well. She's being obnoxious and incredibly rude and needs to learn that it's not going to be tolerated anymore.

Hi, all4peace:

Thanks for your input.

THIS would be a good strategy, except she doesn't do texts. There's a reason for that, which I actually DO understand, (having to do with previous communication misunderstandings.) 

While she was ranting, I later learned my mother was exasperated by her lecture, but didn't want to even think about it/discuss it much.
I think at her age she's learned to tune out a lot of things. A kind of unintentional quiet gray rock.  Furthermore, she had the medical problem on her mind, she's not feeling well, and I think she's losing her hearing. (And NOW I understand WHY she doesn't WANT to get a hearing aide. WHO could blame her? LOL.

When BPD sis, the controller in chief shut me up with the fourth or fifth, "WOULD YOU  STOP INTERRUPTING AND LET ME FINISH!!!."
Mom and I BOTH became rather unresponsive. She always have the arrogance to think what she had to say was original and THE ANSWER, but of course it wasn't anything we didn't already know.  She can not tolerate ambiguity.  There MUST be a cure, an answer, and it must be found THIS VERY MINUTE. She can't take nuance, watchful waiting, thoughtful examination of a problem.

I think this Telephone Conversation Gray Rock was bewildering for sis, who NEEDS to cope with her anxiety by blowing up at gentle, loyal people.  :-\ I think she finds any of my reactions to being verbally abused and the subsequent attempts by me to assert myself... cathartic for HER. After she dumps her negative emotions on us, she can recover and acts as if everything is fine. I, on the other hand suffer for days, if not weeks (And from what I know of PDs...this is CLASSIC. Yes, I have empathy for her PD. But my mistake has been making HER NEEDS far superior to mine, for DECADES.  Oh, OOF people, dont be like me!

I wonder if other SG's can identify with this: I have historically sabotaged myself. In school, in sports, at work, and in  my teens and early 20's...any of the silly adolescent "competition for men."  If I felt I was going to be the  best at something, or if I were the one chosen...I would screw up to make sure I was last or next to last.  I now realize that this wasn't  really SELF-HATE...it was just a bad attempt at self-preservation. Less threatening to sis meant less abuse for me.  It felt comfortable to be a sort of "useful idiot" (for lack of a better label) to various N's and a few BPDs I've encountered in my life.

Argh. I've exhausted myself just writing this out.

I plan to read the other responses and process the other replies soon, as my time/energy permits. Meantime, I thank all of you who responded. And to anyone who just read my lengthy posts.
For someone who has had a few wonderful friends, but never really discussed this with
anyone (the N family code of silence prevented me from doing so :-X) please know that reading and venting the unpleasant truths has been very liberating.

I have A LONG WAY TO GO. But at least I've started the journey.

More later.

P.S. BY THE WAY...I've found it very, very hard to "confront" sis or anyone about a rude/unpleasant/patronizing/cold  "tone." Especially among many of the PD people I have dealt with. What I hear back is FURIOUS DENIAL.  And a subsequent debate about MY interpretation problem... and "you're just plain wrong. I wasn't patronizing, I WAS WORRIED AS HELL. HOW DARE YOU CALL ME PATRONIZING, etc....." :sadno:

And yes, I have tried to make  those "I statements"..."Well, it felt patronizing to me...The way it made me feel was......xyz..."

What has been my experience about asking for better tone with un-self-aware PD's?

I can sum it up best with this emoticon...

:blowup:

Sending love and  :bighug: to all who suffer the slings and arrows of PD people!
« Last Edit: September 14, 2016, 01:40:36 PM by SpringLight »

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all4peace

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Re: Help/support needed: rage attack by uBPD sis after ultra-stressful week.
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2016, 01:48:46 PM »
Yes, I learned to make myself small and quiet to not inflame the envy of uNBPDmil. I'm still torn on being safe and being myself. You have to wonder about a situation in which you cannot be fully yourself, assuming "yourself" is a decent human.

I'm not sure you can ask for "better tone" with PDs. With a self-examining person, you could. With a PD, you know it's not going to go over well. You could try as many times as you need to in order to have done "your part," but then it becomes a matter of doing your OWN stuff (hanging up, refusing to be baited, etc.). You cannot change your sister, but you can let her know what you will no longer tolerate.

She has been trained for a very long time that she can behave this way because people have allowed her to. I understand why. I myself have walked on eggshells lest I wake the sleeping giant. I get it. But when you take a step back and look at it, that's kind of outrageous. She's behaving badly and you don't need to put up with being shouted at.

It's going to be hard and scary and loud, but you can do this.

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Muggins

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Re: Help/support needed: rage attack by uBPD sis after ultra-stressful week.
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2016, 03:16:06 PM »
You're old enough now that you can tell her you can't handle the adrenaline rush from the emotional overload. Tell her to call back when she's calm because you can't understand her otherwise. Then hang up. She's not going to calm down in the heat of her outburst.

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SpringLight

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Re: Help/support needed: rage attack by uBPD sis after ultra-stressful week.
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2016, 08:11:57 PM »
Thank you so much, leapsandbounds for sharing your thoughts and also for sharing your personal story.

YOU WROTE:
From my experience, it seems the reason your family have you over a barrel is because they know you will take care of crises and other, more drawn-out, problematic situations, because they know they can rely own you, that you won't let them down. The power balance could change rapidly, if they ever come to doubt that.

It strikes me as ironic that the SG is very often the go-to person for handling difficult situations and crises.


Wow...your experience mirrors my own here. It's astonishing and sad how many of us can find a myriad of similarities in our PD stories.  And I'll bet this paragraph is as true for me as it is for many many other SG's...I'll bet it's  probably more the norm, than an exception.  I mean, the exploitation of the SG caregiver, mixed with a huge failure to see said person as anything other than the family caregiver.  I have and have had very critical health conditions. If I am ever asked about my health, I have learned to summarize it all in two sentences. So, I do just that. I'm never really sure whether I'm being listened to, so why waste the breath?

It's very hard to watch my mother treat my ("always-too-busy" self-involved) brothers as princes. At this time in her life, she is now  closest with me.

Yes, we have shared some precious close times, but because I am so close to her, I also must bear the worst aspects of caregiving.  She has lashed out at me, (nothing pathological, just her venting ) because SHE CAN. She knows that I will never desert her. From what I understand from others in my position, this is the way it is.

My two GC brothers, are so similar in age and behavior, they might as well be twins. Although they do love our mother... they have each expressed to me privately....a repugnance for illness and the whole aging process. (yes, they really believe they are unique in that way...Pffffft!) So...the Twin Princes keep so very busy with their glamorous careers. Nothing wrong with that. BUT, as any of you might guess, the Twin Princes are never too busy to take a few weeks of vacation to lovely destinations. Without ever consulting me or Mom.  Long weekends to interesting locations to have down time. That's fine...except I have had no time off in...I can't remember. One brother has said that he will never retire, but I think when Mom passes on, he'll suddenly discover...yes.... he wants to retire and have some "free time."  :-\

The way Mom excuses her sons' lapses is almost comical, if it weren't so aggravating and frustrating.

I don't think I grew up with male siblings having this kind of special status in our family--or did I?????...but in the past 15 or so years, without Dad, Mom definitely treats sons with such deference. She seems  so very afraid of alienating them.  In fact, she wanted to shield them from her latest health crisis. Why tell them? Better to burden the girls.  :stars:

YOU ALSO WROTE:
My own health was poor. I wasn't sure I could manage the situation, but I knew that I definitely couldn't if I was belittled and vilified while I tried my best.   It was just a fact.

Likewise here.  Even if the belittlement and vilification is intermittent...it's extremely toxic. In fact, I'd say...it's easier if the bad behavior is consistent.  I think, for most victims,  it's far more difficult when the abuse is intermittent. Crazymaking to the nth degree. 

The thing is, they needed me.  I didn't need them. Sometimes I think we convey our acceptance of our status within our family in the attitude we project with our bodies.

With our bodies, our expressions, our speech patterns... :-[

 But, you are right...I don't need my PD siblings. Never asked them for ANYTHING...no, wait. I once (15 or so years ago) asked my BPsis if I could borrow a paperback book she had just enjoyed and finished reading. This was just seconds  after she offered it to a third person, who declined to borrow said book. Sis had finished reading the book. Controlling BPD sis responded by refusing to lend it to me, when I made the mistake in asking. . Her excuse for her refusal?  "I was offering the book to K, not to you!" And...that was that. But, lesson learned!! With ME, BPD-sis hasn't progressed much beyond how she was as a toddler.

Do I retaliate with similar pettiness? No. I don't think I ever will, because it feels like a betrayal of myself, AND it's not productive to engage that way. She will ask from time to time and I will lend her things. FOR ME, IT WOULD BE SELF-BETRAYAL TO MIMIC HER BAD BEHAVIOR.  Your mileage may vary, as they say...


I don't think there is anything that will change my SG status in my FOO.  It plays out in a myriad of ways, and was set in motion in all of our formative years.  The assumptions and reactions run too deep.  But if they ever need me, it goes, or I go.  That's a newer, unspoken, collective assumption that runs just as deep.  I don't think there is anything deliberate or conscious in this dynamic in my family.  My siblings are not PDs.  It's just part of the damage of growing up in a PD-controlled family.  I can change myself, I can't change the way my family operates when we are together as a family.

I agree with everything you said. Although, unlike you,  my sibs are textbook (covert) N's and BP.

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SpringLight

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Re: Help/support needed: rage attack by uBPD sis after ultra-stressful week.
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2016, 08:52:28 PM »
Hi, again, Joan! :wave:

Thanks again for sharing your experiences and thoughts, and your words of support.

Thanks to all of you: as you can tell by my verbosity :tongue2: I'm a wild ball of long-suppressed emotions! Thanks for wading through my long posts!

This topic is both fascinating and disturbing. Yes, I see that I'm not the only one to observe the ragers of our life end up "calm and relieved" as you said, whereas we feel...off-balance, depleted, bruised, traumatized,  kicked around.

For the record, sis has already sent me four emails. Generic info. but..she HAS TO reconnect because it feels familiar. I guess???

Yes, a big LOL  right back at you....re: how easy it is for BPD's to control themselves when they need our help. I am the designated family problem solver, too.  But only when they decide they need something from me.  Amazing self-control and self-restraint and manners when they need to.  :stars:

You are right. I know, at this point in life, there is no changing her. After all this time...I just don't have the energy, even if it WERE possible.

As for the effectiveness of Gray Rock...I don't know whether it would always work in these situations. But, because I was so physically and emotionally shattered (as was my mother), Sis barely got a response out of either of us.
"Are you there?!" she finally said when she paused a second.  I said. "Yes." But blandly, so blandly ...I surprised even myself!!

I think my lack of a real response out of me surprised her, because she began to soften just a bit. and lower the volume of her voice. Her voice was more relaxed, she slowed down... and she made an attempt at a stupid improvised joke. Because her raging  didn't get the reaction SHE wanted.  It wasn't funny and it was not well received, And what normal person can switch gears like that on command, so I sensed she then felt embarrassed at making the stupid comment/joke. But no critical tone from Mom or me, just responding with bland indifferent, statements.  The radio silence when she was expecting me to respond left her someone perplexed. She wanted to HAVE A FIGHT TO GAIN CONTROL. THIS TIME we BOTH gave it to her.  Here you go, sis. Then she realized...oh. Well, um.... With no desire to continue the boring conversation. If there is no one to fight with. So, time to END the tirade.

So, I think it was as if she realized she DID reap what she had sown. You command silence and you boss people around, you will get virtual silence.  Her tirade left us...speechless and unresponsive.  I didn't plan to do that, but I must say the marginally polite but dull, dull dull no personality Gray Rock was effective. THIS TIME, anyway!

More responses later!
« Last Edit: September 14, 2016, 08:55:23 PM by SpringLight »

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enufbs

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Re: Help/support needed: rage attack by uBPD sis after ultra-stressful week.
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2016, 07:32:09 PM »
Hi SpringLight. I also have a uBPDsis and EnM. EnM's presence measurably worsens uBPDsis's behavior because EnM is her "guard dog". So I have to manage them. I try to avoid being with the two of them, especially alone, if I can. And I no longer do any overnights with uBPDsis. This is a very effective strategy on my part that prevents me from getting abused.

I have also done the speaker-phone thing with uBPDsis and EnM. But I was one step ahead of them, so when I saw it going to a dark place, I ended the call by saying I had to go take care of some business. The group speaker phone thing is fine with normal people, but not the mentally ill.

I've also told my uBPDsis on various occasions to speak to me respectfully, and defended myself, all to no avail. And, it was on these occasions that my mother would butt in, telling ME to stop arguing! Her message to me was clear: "You have no voice. You should just take it."

One way to handle being summoned to the phone would be to say: "Tell her I'll call her back later." It really is that simple. Of course "later" can be whenever. And you can call or not call. Let HER sit in anticipation of YOUR call.

Just tell your sister "Yeah, if mom gets sick again, we'll call you." And leave it at that. And then get off the phone.

I also like the texting idea someone recommended. And she doesn't have to text (though I'm not sure I believe that she doesn't) for you to text her.


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SpringLight

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Re: Help/support needed: rage attack by uBPD sis after ultra-stressful week.
« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2016, 08:50:27 PM »
Hello, again Candywarhol :wave:

Thanks so much for your post. (I've enjoyed reading  a number of your posts, btw.)

Well, I can't argue with you about the effed up bit! ;D

However...I may not be portraying my BPD sis precisely. And I want to be honest about her. She actually DOES truly show that she has concern for Mom. As I do,  towards Mom. She "does" as much as she can do, and has always been very "giving" to Mom.  Mom HAS been bewildered, various times,  by sis's inability to empathize, at times.   And yet, to be fair...sis is MUCH MORE generous to Mom with time and with money than my two brothers put together times TEN! She has a great need to be appreciated for what she does. I, on the other hand, have learned LONG AGO not to expect anything when giving.

My feeling is...always give freely and expect nothing. If you can't do that....well, then, DON'T GIVE.  Sis does often...(always?) give with strings. She is still yearning for approval, love and validation from Mom.  And yes, so am I.

Sis can't really "do" empathy (unless she can immediately relate to the circumstance and is a decent mood.)  I, on the other hand seem to have acquired excessive empathy.  WHY ME????? Is it biological or did I learn it? Throughout life, I've had to discipline myself to rein in the empathy to appropriate levels and not to deplete myself being "empathetic" to people, while completely ignoring my own basic needs.  Both parents were very much oriented towards "do good unto others."  That was great. Except I didn't learn how to take care of myself, at the same time.

Parents were not hypocrites, they were very charitable people, but they knew how to take care of themselves at the same time.
Most of my life, I did not know how to do that.
This is in sharp contrast with my brothers who just merrily coast through life being extremely self-absorbed.

But, yes sis has a great need to control, be seen and throw her weight around as first born child. When we were small children, sis would block access to my mother. I didn't like it, but I accepted it,(as the youngest, what choice did I really have?) and often hung around my father and brothers, instead.

Candy, I DO think you nailed it when you said...she lives further away...she can't be in the spotlight. She can't control things. The woman can be delightful for short periods of time, but then she lashes out, no filters, says hurtful things.... :stars:

I like the visualization idea.  And really appreciate your good wishes.

Returning the  :bighug:  And once again...I am in awe at some of the insights I've gleaned on this board. 

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SpringLight

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Re: Help/support needed: rage attack by uBPD sis after ultra-stressful week.
« Reply #17 on: September 15, 2016, 09:00:22 PM »
Hello again to you, all4piece:

Ah, how I understand what it means to "make yourself small and quiet" so as not to inflame envy and or resentment.  I nodded in agreement here about everything you wrote. Thanks for the reality check. I may need to hear it again and again.  And not beat myself up when I cave in and go back to my unproductive doormat SG habit of responding...

Gotta strive for progress on this looooooooong and confusing journey, not PERFECTION.

As children, we 4 kids were all told to "strive for PERFECTION" in everything. no matter how trivial the action.... :stars: It's taken me DECADES to realize the damage of that in my upbringing, and even more years of my life to unlearn that!

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SpringLight

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Re: Help/support needed: rage attack by uBPD sis after ultra-stressful week.
« Reply #18 on: September 15, 2016, 09:05:40 PM »
You're old enough now that you can tell her you can't handle the adrenaline rush from the emotional overload. Tell her to call back when she's calm because you can't understand her otherwise. Then hang up. She's not going to calm down in the heat of her outburst.

You are right, Muggins.
I have chronic illnesses above and beyond the distressing stress-induced symptoms. I can't take this PHYSICALLY anymore.  She did call today about Mom and this time, she was "her delightful self." BUT-I've learned her moods are subject to change without notice. So, today, I remained quiet, informative and bland.  I didn't get sucked into a false sense of safety.

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SpringLight

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Re: Help/support needed: rage attack by uBPD sis after ultra-stressful week.
« Reply #19 on: September 15, 2016, 09:19:45 PM »
Thank you, enufbs. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

And boy, did you strike a chord with me when you wrote:
I've also told my uBPDsis on various occasions to speak to me respectfully, and defended myself, all to no avail. And, it was on these occasions that my mother would butt in, telling ME to stop arguing! Her message to me was clear: "You have no voice. You should just take it."    :-\

Wow...that's exactly it.

And yes, you are right. "Being summoned to the phone" doesn't mean I have to obey.  From time to time, I have HAD to use that strategy.  It works, but as you pointed out, an enMom like mine can get a bit irrational when talking to PD siblings. In expecting me to be available 24/7, whereas the other siblings ALWAYS have freedom to take care of their other pressing matters in life.

There can be a price to pay and need to argue to defend myself. Which can be energy-sapping.


How does your mother respond  when you point out her invalidation of you and your rights, as in the example you cited?