Talking politics with my BPD sister

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Saidl

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Talking politics with my BPD sister
« on: June 07, 2020, 06:52:49 AM »
(I hope there isnít a rule against politics here. Please donít ban me already!)

My sister is in her early 20s (Iím 5 years older) but the wide consensus among people who know her is that she is emotionally still a teen and she lacks a lot of awareness about world social issues. For example, over the course of quarantine my mother and I have had to explain the following to her: prostitution, Boris Johnson, Harvey Weinstein, racism.

We are (White) European but she has been posting on social media all about whatís happening in the States this week. She is pro-BLM as am I and is still getting over the shock that racism is a thing today. She is coming at it from a place of empathy and horror at the injustices of society.

However (thereís always a however right)
 
Recently she was talking to me about people she knows who are racist and kept repeating the n word (like pronouncing the full word). I told her that wasnít cool and it made me uncomfortable but she kept doing it throughout conversation. She then got very offended saying ďyouíre making me feel bad and think Iím a racist, Iím just repeating it because other people said it, this is a private conversation etc etcĒ.

It escalated into an argument and I tried to explain that being an ally is about learning to do better and educating yourself on whatís okay, looking at the unconscious bias you have and apologising when you mess up. Frankly I laughed that she was offended that I pointed out she was being offensive.

But since then sheís been crying to my mum on the phone about how I talked to her and hurt her. I can be a know at all about social issues, itís in my educational background and Iím passionate about it. I wish I could be more tolerant that she is behind on things for her age. I know she is coming from the right place on this issue but it set me off hearing her keep saying that word so much with everything that is going on.

I want to make up with her and be more tolerant but itís very emotionally taxing to have to self-regulate everything to take account of her sensitivities. I donít know if her childlike qualities (for lack of a better description) acts as a disability of sorts, which makes me feel like a horrible person for speaking down to her. I wanna do better but Iím not sure if itís right to shape myself around her needs entirely either. Sheís ultimately an adult who will have to take responsibility for herself in life beyond the family.

Input from a community with experience in this is greatly appreciated, thank you for reading!!

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moglow

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Re: Talking politics with my BPD sister
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2020, 09:48:33 AM »
Hello and welcome to OotF! Just to address your opening statement, we make it a practice to not discuss politics here. That's not what our forum is for and there are plenty of others out there for that purpose.

We're here to support those with a loved one who has/presumed to have a personality disorder, and all discussions should center around *that*, not someone's political beliefs.

From our guidelines (posted here:  https://www.outofthefog.net/forum/index.php?topic=30.0):
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We are a diverse community, comprising many races, religions, value systems, and beliefs.  Sometimes people of certain religions or of a particular political persuasion assume that everyone shares their values & beliefs or want to impose these beliefs on everyone.  Feel free to speak about what's important to you and how your values and beliefs affect your situation but please don't assume that everyone else is the same.  Degrading comments about groups of people are subject to removal.

We have created a number of different forums to make OOTF a safe and encouraging place for a diverse group of people. Members who are committed to a relationship sometimes feel uncomfortable with comments which advocate immediate separation or "no contact". Members who have exited an abusive relationship often feel uncomfortable with statements which advocate unconditional commitment. All members have a responsibility to be sensitive to the needs of other members. Comments which are submitted in an inappropriate forum or insensitive way are subject to removal and repeat offenders will be asked to leave.

That said, you can be as passionate about issues as you like, but you have to understand she's not. Sounds like your sister doesn't get it and isn't likely to - its also possible she does this because she knows how you feel. You don't have to pander to her "sensitivities" but neither do you have to argue the point then take on the complaints and whining that follows. That's her stuff.

Honestly holding her hand and patting her on the head is pretty much enabling a sense of victimhood. Sometimes we all have to agree to disagree, knowing that some subjects fall on deaf ears.

Me, I'd shut it down going forward - that's what I do with certain people in my life. She can feel and believe however she feels, and I wouldn't have to subject myself to it. You might want to visit our Toolbox (https://outofthefog.website/toolbox-intro/) for helpful tips on what to fo/not do in dealing with PD individual in your life.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2020, 09:53:52 AM by moglow »
ďNothing exposes our true self more than how we treat each other in the home.Ē  ~ Joseph B. Wirthlin

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Bloomie

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Re: Talking politics with my BPD sister
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2020, 12:36:31 PM »
Hi there! Just responded to your Welcome Mat post and wanted to pop in here to say it might be really helpful to learn about something called the drama triangle or another term for the model is Kauffman's triangle.

Here is a really good article that goes over the tendency to triangulate by some families and by some people. Learning about this dynamic was a game changer for me and maybe something you already are aware of, but if not: https://www.lynneforrest.com/articles/2008/06/the-faces-of-victim/

Learning to recognize when this pattern of communication is in play, what our starting gate position tends to be or is in a given situation, and stepping off or out of that role and not engaging in the looping communication can be such an empowering development in our relationships and lives I have found.

You said what you needed to say to your sister and she rejected your perspective and kept her own. That's her right to do and most likely if she continues to engage using that language - no matter the context - with others, she will have a painful lesson from someone else that may be the thing that educates her.

I don't know if your mom gets involved between you both, but as a grown adult you do not have to justify, argue, defend or explain your interactions with another grown adult to your mother. You can set a kind boundary that the conversation was between you and your sister and you do not want to talk about it with anyone but your sister because that is respectful and the least divisive thing one can do in these matters.

"You can understand and have compassion for someone and still not want a relationship with them."
Amanda E. White, LPC @therapyforwomen

Bloomie 🌸

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Saidl

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Re: Talking politics with my BPD sister
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2020, 08:55:30 PM »
Hi @moglow, thank you for clarifying about politics, I wasn't planning to go into it anymore than I mentioned, I was feeling very anxious about posting in general and just hoped the context wouldn't be a problem. I've been dropping in and out of the toolbox here for a year or two but it's very hard for the concepts to stick!! My own ways of dealing are second nature, even though I know they haven't worked!I Need to constantly refresh, maybe I need to test myself once a week like spellings in school haha.

Thank you @bloomie for that link, I've been working through it over the last few days (a lot of information!). I'm a 'starting gate rescuer' for sure. We are in a pretty typical triangle from what I've read so far. As each other's support network and confidants I'm finding it difficult to visualise a life where our conflicts aren't passed around between us with sides taken, divergent perspectives, details manipulated ... It would be a world without war ;D But how would we cope individually? (I'll have to keep reading!)