Are you the scapegoat for a PD sibling? Would love to hear your experience.

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IAmReady

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My uPD sister began devaluing me 7 years ago, mostly in the form of making herself difficult, cold, guarded, petty, extremely selfish and unavailable for any sort of intimacy or closeness. We used to be tight. She referred to us as "best friends" and "soul mates." Those days are long over, and I've had the hardest time getting it through my thick skull, because I didn't have an explanation for why she flipped on me. I still on some level blamed myself for her coldness and disregard.

We live only a couple of miles from each other, but she is rarely available to get together. Things have deteriorated to such an extent that she takes ages to respond to text messages, and phone calls are very infrequent, never initiated by her. I feel like I'm being slowly and incrementally iced out of her life.

Our father is uNPD and we were raised in a narcissistic household that revolved around him and his needs. My mother was his primary enabler and flying monkey. These are realizations that I've come to over the past year, and I've shared some of what I've learned with my sister. She is a therapist, so you would think this subject would really pique her interest, but that has not been the case. She's done zero reading about PDs, or about narcissism, other than what's in the DSM, and yet, in spite of her lack of knowledge on the subject, has been dismissive of the idea that our father is NPD.

In fact, while I've been having all of these life changing realizations about my FOO and the toxic dynamics we grew up with, my sister has been trying to get closer to my parents. She announced recently that she and her new husband are going there for the holidays (our parents live across the country).

My mother texted me tonight to let me know that the plans are changing for Christmas. Now, they are going to be travelling (along with my sister and her husband) to visit my favorite aunt & uncle, who live a six hour drive from my parents. Apparently these plans were far enough in the works that my father was looking for a hotel in the area where everyone could stay. My parents have invited me to come down as well, but I wasn't interested because my father can't maintain his mask for more than 2 or 3 days. His bullying and toxic personality, and my parents' selfish ways, can make visiting them tense and unpleasant. At my aunt and uncle's place, however, it's a different story. He is much better behaved and there are so many other people around it's easy to keep my distance from him.

I asked my mother, "Whose idea was it to visit [aunt & uncle]?" She said, "Your sister's." I felt my heart sink. Just knowing that my sister was making all of these plans with my parents, and that she made no effort to keep me in the loop, and in fact my mother is the one who thought to tell to tell me what was going on... this was painful, and just further confirmation that I am no longer welcome in my sister's inner circle.

Then I asked my mother, "Do you text with [sister] regularly?" And she said, "Yes, almost every day." Hearing this was like a punch in the gut, because my sister only responds sparingly, if at all, to my texts. If I get a response, it's brief. Knowing that she is making herself so available to my mother (the woman who participated in all of my father's abuse when we were kids, and backed him up always), while shunning me... this was a hard pill to swallow.

It finally hit me tonight for the first time, that I am my sister's scapegoat. That is the role I play in her life, and have for 7 years. I've been reading a memoir written by a woman who was raised by a narcissist mother. She was her mother's scapegoat. The way she describes how that dynamic played out throughout her life, how her mother basically iced the author out of her affections, and treated her with disdain, and viewed everything the author did or said through a critical lens... this really spoke to me, because it reminded me of how my sister treats me. It also explains why my sister has never been able to identify a reason for her altered feelings towards me - any attempt I've made to understand her has led nowhere.

All I know is, my best friend became cold, distant, critical, contemptuous and hostile, and apparently is nursing a huge grudge, but she can't communicate what is wrong, what I did, or what I said to p*ss her off. She just becomes more and more remote and unreachable. Having to accept that she is gone and not coming back... this has probably been the most painful experience of my life. And considering it's been 7 years now that I've been the scapegoat, apparently I am a slow learner.

Are you the scapegoat for one or more of your siblings? I would love to hear about your experience.








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Menopause Barbie

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Wow, IAmReady, your post helps me! I never considered that a sibling could make another sibling a scapegoat, but that dynamic explains so much about our relationship and her inability to express what I had said or done to make her pull away from me. I think I have been her scapegoat since I was born, blowing her monopoly on my PD parents' very limited attention. My working hypothesis had been that she was jealous, but the scapegoat thing adds a subtle nuance to the jealousy thing. Her jealousy and resentment caused her to make me her scapegoat, and now, in her head, I AM that scapegoat. I have become, in her mind, this flawed person to be irrationally blamed and avoided.

Thank you for sharing this thought! It truly is not our faults if our sisters put us in this role. We did nothing to earn it--it is a mental game they played to justify their unfounded resentments--and since we did nothing to become scapegoats, it makes sense that nothing we do seems capable of UNbecoming scapegoats. Our crimes, trials, and sentences are all locked away in our sisters' heads and maybe they don't even know why they see us this way.


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IAmReady

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Wow, IAmReady, your post helps me! I never considered that a sibling could make another sibling a scapegoat, but that dynamic explains so much about our relationship and her inability to express what I had said or done to make her pull away from me. I think I have been her scapegoat since I was born, blowing her monopoly on my PD parents' very limited attention. My working hypothesis had been that she was jealous, but the scapegoat thing adds a subtle nuance to the jealousy thing. Her jealousy and resentment caused her to make me her scapegoat, and now, in her head, I AM that scapegoat. I have become, in her mind, this flawed person to be irrationally blamed and avoided.

Menopause Barbie,

My sister said once during an argument that I am someone she "has to set firm boundaries with." She also drove the knife in further by alluding to mysterious others she had consulted about me, who all felt the same. Just so so hurtful. But I felt like this one statement from her - that I am someone she "has to set firm boundaries with" - perfectly captures how she now views our relationship, and me. This is the exact kind of way a PD would characterize the scapegoat in their life.

My sister now behaves as though I am inappropriate and behaving unnaturally and wrong, for trying to have a normal, affectionate relationship with her. Sending her chatty text messages that she either ignores or is slow to respond to, is how things stand today. Over the last few years, I had a long mystery illness that landed me in the hospital (truly the most frightening experience of my life), and I ended up in a relationship with a uNPD/ASPD man. Not a happy time in my life, that's for sure!

I learned the hard way that leaning on my sister (who at the time was living a mile away) was not an option. She had no interest in being leaned on, even though she is my only family in the area. She went a step further by making me feel subtly shameful for being such a burden, as though I'm some drama queen whose always in a crisis. You would have thought from her attitude that she was my full time caregiver! In her mind, I am a hot mess wandering from crisis to crisis, whose problems will suck her into a black hole if she's not careful to distance herself ("set firm boundaries"). Mind you, she was the one who ended up in a cult for so many years, and not only did I not judge or shame her for this experience, I moved heaven & earth to get her out, and even let her move in with me and my fiance for two years once she left.

At this stage, I feel consumed with anger that I am being treated this way. Hearing that she texts almost every day with my mother, while I am lucky to get a response at all... This fills me with a cold indignation. I'm just having the hardest time, though, letting go of that pain and fury and dropping the rope. Almost every time I reach out to her and try to engage with her, she causes me pain by her lack of interest. It's almost like dating someone and you're way more into it than they are, and are continually disappointed by the crumbs of interest they toss your way.

Letting go, dropping the rope, this feels like the hardest thing I have ever done. I haven't ever been able to extinguish hope that something will change, that she will revert back to her old self. But I am so incredibly weary of being treated like I don't matter, like I am an insignificant afterthought who needs to be kept at arm's length.

We actually went to therapy together for a few sessions back in 2013, and I remember vividly sitting with her on the therapist's couch, and I was sharing my perspective and thoughts on whatever we were talking about that session. I was completely calm and speaking in a measured voice. My sister suddenly gestured disdainfully at me and, looking at the therapist, said, "Do you see what I'm dealing with here?" Her face was scornful. I remember thinking, "Huh??" I was just sitting there talking. I wasn't saying anything inflammatory. But it's almost like, whatever personality disorder is at work, it actually distorts her perceptions and puts me in this villainous frame, and then no matter what I do or say, or how I say it, or what my intent is, it gets put into that frame of "villain" because that is the only way she sees me now. I guess this is what they mean when they say that you get "painted black."

Letting her go has been incredibly hard, and accepting that this is not my fault has also been hard. I just instinctively blame myself and feel guilt. Which is ironic because one of my sister's accusations against me is that I never ever accept blame for anything, or see myself as being the one at fault. Actually the opposite is true. I often blame myself for other people's behavior, which I believe is part of being codependent. Her total lack of insight into my character, was surprising and hurtful.





« Last Edit: October 05, 2016, 11:02:31 AM by IAmReady »

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IAmReady

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One more thing, Menopause Barbie...

I know you shared in another thread that you are NC with your FOO. In my case, I don't wish to make this drastic a step, as there are extended family members I have a good relationship with that I would lose if I cut off my parents. If I visit my FOO in controlled settings, where there are other visitors and there's a party atmosphere, it's actually a lot of fun (my parents are always the life of the party! My father is a narc remember, so he can charm the room). But, what's going on with my sister... I don't know how I would ever go NC with her if I am still connected to so many people who are connected to her. We have many mutual friends. The sense of isolation that would result from this would be overwhelming and might cause a serious depression.

I'm thinking LC is the sane alternative. But even then, hearing about her comings & goings through our mutual friends and through our FOO... this would be awful, similar to how it would feel if I had to hear about my ex's new life after our breakup. I don't ever look at his social media, or his friend's social media, for a reason.

Letting go of my sister feels like a death. Especially since I am already dealing with the very recent breakup with my uNPD/ASPD ex. I went NC with him just over a month ago. They were the two people closest to me in the world, and by far the two people I loved the most.

Were you able to go NC with your FOO without the loss of many other relationships?

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Menopause Barbie

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No, IAmReady, I lost everyone, literally everyone in my FOO and also my husband's FOO when I stood up against abuse of my children by them. Good riddance is what I think now (on a good day), but I thought the pain and rejection would destroy me when it was fresh. You are wise to think things through carefully and do what works best for you. Do not feel pressured to go NC. It will be obvious if it is right for you.

 I exhausted every other option, and , with my FOO especially, I never would have had the guts to go NC if they hadn't forced me by attacking my daughter and following the attack with silent treatment to try to draw me back in. I was perfectly willing to grovel back into their good graces (as always) but this time, since they had gone after my daughter, my hand was actually forced by their actions. If I had gone back to them to make peace, it would've been a betrayal of my daughter.Nope.  :no_shake:

Even when NC started, I didn't realize that it was going to stick. I thought that, once  they realized how much they had hurt and were continuing to hurt me and my FOC, they would attempt to reconcile. I was very FOGgy for months after NC started.  :stars:  Their cruelty, back-stabbing, lying, selfishness, and a particularly vicious and overly-informed flying monkey sealed NC and helped me develop a backbone.

We joke that my children better find spouses with big families or their weddings are going to be very small affairs!   

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Gaining Clarity

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My situation is very similar to yours, IAmReady. So I sympathize with you. I have an uPD sister too that I "thought" I was close to for many years. However, over the last 10 years, she has exhibited many of the behaviors as those of your sister including leaving me out of plans and family decisions. My sister has taken it even farther though, verbally attacking me (unprovoked) on several occasions, once in front of my own son who was 13 at the time.

I lived in the FOG for many years until that one particular attack (she was screaming at me and wouldn't stop...acting wild and irrational) gave me a wake up call. I have had my FOC members --as well as people outside of the family who know all of my family members --tell me that my FOO is the problem. I've been told by some of them that "you're the only normal one in your family". There is generational PD and my mother is also uPD. I've come to realize that I have been the scapegoat all of these years. My mother and sister (her GC) are completely enmeshed. Both exhibit the same narcissistic, gas lighting, blaming, shaming, passive-aggressive tendencies. When two people are enmeshed in PD like that, they feed off of each other and actually become co-dependent in their shared dysfunction (i.e.-"If we're alike and get along, then we must not have the problem. Since we don't get along with her (scapegoat), then she's the problem.")

You said, "She is a therapist, so you would think this subject would really pique her interest, but that has not been the case. She's done zero reading about PDs, or about narcissism, other than what's in the DSM, and yet, in spite of her lack of knowledge on the subject, has been dismissive of the idea that our father is NPD. "

This really resonated with me because in talking with therapists and reading intensively on the subject of PD/Narcissism/Toxic Families, I've come to learn that people like this don't want understand the problem because then it would shine a spotlight on their own insecurities and suggest that they take responsibility for their behavior. Knowing that they are repulsed at the thought of having to examine their own behavior (not to mention that many are actually self-loathing), it makes sense that they want to project it onto to you, the scapegoat. If you take on those flaws, then they never have to take responsibility.

I also think your sister's coldness and distance towards you is really more about her than you. My sister does all of the same things you mention and is very resistant to being vulnerable, emotional or authentic. I've read that they perceive such qualities as weak and have a great fear of being perceived as weak. And they are truly afraid to feel true emotion. Like my sister and mother, many of them want complete control of every person and every situation around them. Often they are people with an external locus of control, believing that all events in their lives are caused by uncontrollable factors such as the environment and other people. So they want to control everything and everyone around them to ensure that their PD needs are met. Most of the people on this forum would likely be internal locus of control persons, since they are recognizing that they can't control others behavior but have the power to change their circumstances rather than the other way around.

I have a disabled sib, so I haven't gone NC yet. I'm LC for now. Getting distance, I finally came OOTF and recognized that many of the signs/red flags were there all along. I didn't see them because of the scapegoating, gas lighting, shaming and the fact that we think are family dynamics are normal until we experience other (more healthy) relationships.

I hope you find some peace and even more importantly, I truly want your sister, father, my sister and all the other people who have led us to this forum to find it as well.




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Menopause Barbie

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Quote from: Gaining Clarity
   Often they are people with an external locus of control, believing that all events in their lives are caused by uncontrollable factors such as the environment and other people. So they want to control everything and everyone around them to ensure that their PD needs are met.
  :like:

Wow! Another great insight for me to absorb! Thank you, Gaining Clarity

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Gaining Clarity

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Hope it helps, Menopause Barbie! My apologies that I didn't address you directly in my original post; though I also was responding to your original question. Take care!

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Sunshine days

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Interesting thread just as I am off to bed, going to read it tomorrow x

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Bloomie

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IAmReady - My heart goes out to you as you face some hard realities and things you cannot change in your relationship with your sister. Very painful indeed.

Something that has helped me let go, drop the rope, grieve this kind of loss - is to allow myself to lean into this as if it is a death, because it is on many levels a truly significant, life altering, devastating loss to slowly lose our dearest and most trusted family member to some unknowable force. It may simply be your sister is not emotionally equipped to have the kind of close, sweet sister relationship you are able to have and so long for.

Maybe it is time to step back and bit and give yourself some time and distance and an opportunity to process this and heal. Going toward someone who is treating your love and attempts to show interest and kindness toward them with disdain and hurtful disregard, is only opening up and deepening the wounds you do not deserve to be suffering from.

To build on this great insight from Gaining Clarity a bit:
Quote from: Gaining Clarity
   Often they are people with an external locus of control, believing that all events in their lives are caused by uncontrollable factors such as the environment and other people. So they want to control everything and everyone around them to ensure that their PD needs are met.
 

I agree wholeheartedly that there are people who are externally focused, emotions driven, and to take it further that are most often looking to someone or something else to blame for their problems and uncomfortable feelings, shift responsibility to, to intervene and make it better for them, and to reflect back to them what they need/want, literally take on, bear the burden for, or be the sacrificial lamb and/or SG, for their emotions and any issues that come up.

The situation you describe in therapy with your sister is a perfect demonstration of her shifting  her discomfort and negative behaviors onto you. Those that do have an external locus of control seem to not have a great deal of ability to self reflect and see their own destructive and divisive patterns, at least that is what I have observed in a similar situation with a sibling.

You have your own independent views. You are healthy and self reflective and curious and not afraid to address things and call them for what they are in your family system. It seems you are also willing to look internally and find solutions, offer support to others, love unconditionally, manage your part in things, and set healthy boundaries and limits on toxic behaviors.

You and your sister most likely have two very different world views that time and circumstances are exposing to you. You are willing to work through that, stay connected, keep trying. At this time, it doesn't sound like she is willing. I am very sorry! I know it really hurts to be discarded in this way.

A book that I want to recommend and believe it would be of great help to you is called "Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents" by Lindsay C. Gibson. Practical, a member who is very wise and active here, recommended it, and I have found it really helped me understand the dynamic in my parent's home and the differences between myself and my siblings and the fractures that developed with one sibling in particular. Well worth the time to read.

Gibson explores this idea of those that externalize - look outside of themselves to everyone else for their issues, and those that internalize - look inside themselves and are able to take responsibility for themselves. I cannot do the concept justice in a thread post, but here is an excerpt:

Quote
Children have different ways of reacting to emotionally immature parenting, but they all develop subconscious healing fantasies about how things could get better. If a childís true self isnít accepted, the child will also adopt a role-self as a way of having a valuable part to play in the family. In addition, children develop two main coping styles in response to emotionally immature parenting: externalizing or internalizing. Externalizers think the solutions to their problems will come from outside themselves, while internalizers tend to look within themselves to solve problems. Either style might be advantageous in the moment, but internalizing is far less likely to create conflict or subject other people to hardship. Instead, the internalizerís difficulties are much more likely to result in inner distress.

Gibson, Lindsay C. (2015-06-01). Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents (pp. 100-101). New Harbinger Publications. Kindle Edition.
 

While none of this will ease your hurting heart over this slow fade that your sister is doing from close contact, it may help to know that this is a common occurrence in adult children who have grown up in N (or immature) family systems and have developed two distinctly different ways of coping with the hardships in your FOO.

There are many people who would give just about anything to have a loving, forgiving, solid, loyal sister like you. It may be time to offer the beauty of who you are and all you have to give in friendship to someone who would cherish and treasure those things rather than toss them aside and take you for granted. It doesn't negate the loss, but it is possible to build deep, abiding relationships with other women that could be a great blessing to you. Strength and peace to you as you continue to find your truth and the best way to go forward in this painful situation. :hug:

« Last Edit: October 05, 2016, 09:59:45 PM by Bloomie »

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Artsy

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Iamready,

I definitely have a story that relates.

I've been grappling over my own responses and denial (now that the fog has cleared) and I continue to struggle with what I refused to see about my sister. I can honestly say that my narc sister (the one I thought was my only "normal" family member) was never actually loving, close, accessible, or anything less than competitive, scary, and critical.

But I would have TOLD you that she was years back, when I absolutely needed to believe she cared about me. It still boggles my mind that all the evidence was there, all the innuendos, the back biting, the put downs, all of it, and I just refused to see it. I cannot say, like with you and your sister, that we were ever really "friends" (and I don't think she has any). I can only say that I really really really wanted us to be.

I guess while she was projecting all her worst attributes onto me, I was projecting all my best attributes on her, and brainwashing myself into seeing what I wanted to see. Her projection protected her from facing herself, and mine protected me from facing that I really had no "normal" family member - not one.

I can say that I noticed a change some years before I went NC but it was only a change from stifled rejection to all out bullying. I racked my brain as to what I did that made her angry, and I'm guessing it was a couple disagreements we had over medical decisions that involved our aging father.

She was being dismissive, I was doing all the work, and I ended up being unacceptably RIGHT about the medical decisions being made. I didn't see her as a narcissist at the time, but once this happened (and given that our mother is clearly a PD/likely narcissist,) I realized she just couldn't take the fact that I was right about things, and that I was as close to my father as I was (she lives out of town and only came to visit every two years - what did she expect?)

The unreasonable belief that she should be as close to my father as I was when she saw him so little (plus her excessive and obvious outrage and competitiveness about it) was obviously PD, and the idea that my advocating for our father regarding his medical, was something that belittled HER (and justified gossip and triangulating) was madness that only Narcissism can explain.

I still find myself chastising myself for not being more gentle, not walking on those egg shells that I realized I always had walked on. But then I turn around and remind myself that our father was dying at the time and she was the only person who could make medical changes (POA). Besides, sisters argue, right?

All my siblings having had dumped my father's medical and caretaking needs on me as she "delegated" and treated me like an employee, his near death experience, and her dismissiveness led me to have to stop walking on egg shells for a minute, and here I am years later, iced out and completely smeared as a nut-case who hurts children and wants to be the center of attention (a spoiled brat). I remember resisting her dismissiveness and not allowing her to just wave me away when I said our father needed more care, and I've been punished ever since.

With all of that said, I cannot say definitely that THAT was the reason for her silent odd-girl-out treatment or not! I almost got one of her flying monkeys to tell me, but then I asked her not to because it would be too painful to hear it and not be able to defend myself, as if I confronted her, she would deny it as always.

My sister actively fights to keep her secrets. She's been doing this for years, though I didn't want to see it. I can articulate her pattern now that the fog has cleared: 1.) get enraged about something. 2.) Send subtle and not so subtle messages that you are worthless. 3.) triangle someone else into it to gossip with and get angry on her behalf. 4.) dispatch said outsider to punish, reject, spread gossip, and to enjoy an extra special relationship with if they keep it up. 5.) Set you up in a no-win situation if she can. 6.) Act like she has no idea and is mortally wounded if you confront her.

She triangulated our BPD sister into her last game and she picked the wrong sister. This sister keeps no ones secrets. Enough information got back to me that I could confront the narc sis and guess what she did? She went back to our other sister and harassed her for telling me things. The facts about what she told me meant absolutely nothing and my narc sister ignored them completely. She will never admit or make amends for them, but she will shamelessly plug up any "leaks" as if it's her right to set people up, gossip, and create a mob against someone without ever telling them their crime. Communication messes up her punishing game and she feels no guilt about it.

Anyway, long rambling story, but that's some of it anyway. Yeah, totally get the sentence before trial by sister thing. Sorry that you too have to suffer that rejection. I wish I hadn't so desperately sought after this older sister for years, now that I'm truly clear on what she's about
"I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It's not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone." Robin Williams.

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IAmReady

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You said, "She is a therapist, so you would think this subject would really pique her interest, but that has not been the case. She's done zero reading about PDs, or about narcissism, other than what's in the DSM, and yet, in spite of her lack of knowledge on the subject, has been dismissive of the idea that our father is NPD. "

This really resonated with me because in talking with therapists and reading intensively on the subject of PD/Narcissism/Toxic Families, I've come to learn that people like this don't want understand the problem because then it would shine a spotlight on their own insecurities and suggest that they take responsibility for their behavior. Knowing that they are repulsed at the thought of having to examine their own behavior (not to mention that many are actually self-loathing), it makes sense that they want to project it onto to you, the scapegoat. If you take on those flaws, then they never have to take responsibility.

Very interesting. Thanks for sharing this!

Yes, I think by putting me in the role of scapegoat, my sister therefore externalizes the problem and makes the solution an easy one: just keep me at arm's length. Me the hot mess with all my drama. The "walking s**t show."

For those reading this who don't know, my sister was in a yoga cult for 7+ years, and even moved to Asia, where the cult is headquartered, in order to work for them. She lived in Asia for 6 years, most of her twenties. I found out some very damaging information about this group, in particular their guru, that set off major alarm bells. Really horrible accusations from former members, one of whom was my sister's roommate for a time in Asia. This roommate claimed that the guru had raped her, and it came out that he was a sexual predator who had sexually exploited hundreds of young women in the cult. Many former instructors filed a class action lawsuit against him, claiming that he used the profits he was making from donations to the cult to bankroll a luxury lifestyle.

This was the sort of thing that couldn't ignored. It'd be like finding out a friend's husband was listed as a violent offender on the sexual predator list and she had no idea. My sister had given her life to this group, and it was a total sham. No doubt the guru was a narcissist and sociopath. Cult leaders usually are.

However, she had been so brainwashed by the cult, that my attempts to share this information went nowhere - we just ended up in a screaming match. She wanted no part of it. It was then that I realized we would need professional help. With the help of family, my sister's close friends and former members of the cult who knew my sister well, we hired a professional deprogrammer and organized an intervention. Ultimately it was successful, and she left the cult and moved back to America. She moved in with my ex-fiance (not the narc) and me for two years.

It's not a happy ending though, because she began to change after I first approached her with what I knew about the cult. I began to notice little incidents popping up here and there of uncharacteristic pettiness and selfishness in her dealings with me. It really became clear that she was altered when she got off the plane from Asia - I had been relegated from the best friend/#1 confidante role to an annoying, needy acquaintance she keeps at a frosty distance.

And that's where we stand today. My sister spent 3 years working with a very mediocre therapist who had zero knowledge of cults and had never worked with an ex cult member. She only ended up with him because it was free through her health insurance. She has never done the work to heal from this experience, and doesn't seem interested in doing so. She's had some opportunities to really dive in and do the work (basically erasing all the cult's programming and reclaiming her brain space), but didn't take them.

Instead, it was much easier for her to decide that I would be the scapegoat, because I am the one who organized the intervention and I am the one who directly challenged her false programming by the cult. No one else directly confronted her or tried to reason with her. By making me into the scapegoat, she essentially wiped her hands of the whole business, and made me the problem. Solution: keep me at an icy distance. Try to build a new life.

So... now she's gone to grad school to become a therapist. She's gotten married. She's gotten a very sweet dog. New life. I live only a couple of miles from her, but I am kept on the periphery of her life. She strongly rejects the idea that the cult is responsible for her change in attitude and behavior towards me. She will in fact became quite agitated if I say that it does. The last time I said this to her she blocked me on her phone.

Now I understand why the idea is so offensive to her. If the cult is responsible, then that means that the burden is on her to get help and address the root cause of our issues. Most importantly, if the cult is responsible, it means that I am blameless, and that is intolerable to her, because it would require an entire shift in her thinking. It would require her to stop externalizing her pain onto me, and to instead look inward for the solution. She is not interested in doing that at all. Me saying that the cult is responsible is a direct challenge to her primary coping mechanism for recovering from that trauma: making me the bad guy.

The PD part comes in because I have noticed very clearly that her animosity towards me since the intervention has been expressed in PD ways (turning the tables, projection, gaslighting, rewriting history, triangulation, etc.), which I have covered in former posts. Also, knowing her her entire life, there are parts of her life story that make this a real possibility, as well as the fact that PDs run in our family.

« Last Edit: October 06, 2016, 11:03:25 AM by IAmReady »

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Bloomie

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Quote from: IAmReady
So... now she's gone to grad school to become a therapist. She's gotten married. She's gotten a very sweet dog. New life. I live only a couple of miles from her, but I am kept on the periphery of her life. She strongly rejects the idea that the cult is responsible for her change in attitude and behavior towards me. She will in fact became quite agitated if I say that it does. The last time I said this to her she blocked me on her phone.

Now I understand why the idea is so offensive to her. If the cult is responsible, then that means that the burden is on her to get help and address the root cause of our issues. Most importantly, if the cult is responsible, it means that I am blameless, and that is intolerable to her, because it would require an entire shift in her thinking. It would require her to stop externalizing her pain onto me, and to instead look inward for the solution. She is not interested in doing that at all. Me saying that the cult is responsible is a direct challenge to her primary coping mechanism for recovering from that trauma: making me the bad guy.

This makes so much sense and is very insightful of you to put these pieces together to help you understand. Your willingness to go after your sister when she was lost in a cult, is a beautiful and sacrificial act. Sadly, it seems with certain PDs, that type of unselfish sacrifice can be viewed as exposing them - their weaknesses, mistakes, and can be viewed as us putting ourselves in a one up position and is often times resented. 

The old adage: No good deed goes unpunished - comes to mind as I read through and think about the lengths you have been willing to go to for your sister's safety and well being. I have found that in place of gratitude and this type of generosity on your part drawing you closer together and into a deeper bond, a highly defensive type of PD can actually build a great wall of resentment and distrust.

It is inexplicable and very painful when viewed as a non, but for a PD person it makes perfect sense that when we show generosity and are sacrificial toward them they may receive it as shaming and that we are self aggrandizing and attempting to put them in their place and expose them. That we are attempting to be "right" and for them to be "wrong".

It seems like your sister has built a highly respectable life that is a bit like a walled off fortress - not the same as strong boundaries at all. It doesn't sound like she has dealt with the past issues and taken responsibility for herself in important ways or allowed past mistakes to grow and mature her.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2016, 01:01:19 PM by Bloomie »

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Gaining Clarity

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Your advice is excellent, Bloomie! I, too, will vouch for the Gibson book. I've read it and found the advice to be very helpful in dealing with the emotionally immature people in my life. Forgive me if these books have been mentioned on this forum previously (I'm a newbie here and so happy to have found this site) but they have provided good advice in dealing with the toxics around me as well:

Who's Pulling Your Strings?: How to Break the Cycle of Manipulation and Regain Control of Your Life Paperback Ė September 12, 2004
by Harriet Braiker


Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You
Forward, Susan