Dependent personality, bpd or npd or a mix?

  • 9 Replies
  • 324 Views
*

Andromeda87

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 59
Dependent personality, bpd or npd or a mix?
« on: June 07, 2020, 09:55:21 PM »
My older sister definitely has some sort of pd but I can't figure out what.

She seems to take on the personality, likes , dislikes etc of whoever she is around. She has no sense of self.

We grew up with narcissistic parents, I was the scapegoat and she was the golden child. She therefore used to act extremely narcissistic but has since had many "realizations" and has changed her ways and cut contact with our parents ... The thing is, all of these "realizations" are things that either happened to me or that I was telling her for years and years and she literally dismissed or completely ignored me.

She dumps all of her feelings and issues on me , and treats me as a therapist . She acts like she wants help with her issues but really she just wants a sounding board.
She tells me so many intimate details about her husbands struggles and hers and even their sex life !!
She thinks our relationship is great and we are so close but I can't feel safe being myself around her.
She cannot make any decision without getting an insane amount of reassurance from everyone. She won't even buy a Christmas or bday gift without asking you first. But she is looking for a specific answer she wants you to affirm.

She expects me to actively listen and engage with her and help her but she refuses to do the same for me, even tho she thinks she is. She is super distracted the whole time I talk and barely responds.

She takes things that are mine. Like my ideas, my interior decorating ideas, my psychological disorders, my opinions. But acts like these are hers, and new and she's just thought of them !

It's a very one sided, draining, emotionally exhausting experience, and I am sick of the expectation that I will talk for hours about her problems.

She doesn't respect my boundaries. I tell her I have to get off the phone to care for my child and she will just keep talking and talking like I didn't say anything. But when she needs to go for her child she goes right away and I obviously let her.

She always has some sort of stress or issue or something she needs to talk to me about for hours and she only wants particular answers and ignores everything else.

The thing is sometimes she has extremely clear moments where she acts like a normal person. Where she is open and accepting. Where she seems to grow and change but she always ends up going right back to this dysfunction.

I don't know what to do anymore. I love and care about her and when it's good, it's great. But I can't keep having my boundaries stepped all over and my needs ignored.

What do y'all think?

*

Starboard Song

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 2579
  • Be good. Be strong.
Re: Dependent personality, bpd or npd or a mix?
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2020, 10:19:29 AM »
I think that when boundaries become inadministrable, we have no choice but to reduce / constrain contact. Reducing, to me, means less actual contact. Contraining, to me, means limiting the types of contact to those that prove less challenging.

We are NC only because it wasn't possible to erect boundaries. We had my MIL insisting for months on end that she wanted no relationship with us at all, which is not a good starting place for healing interactions.

If you've not studied careful, formal boundaries, do take the time to read about them on our Boundaries page. There are good books, too. It's important to do them right. Badly imposed boundaries are just bad behavior, while Good Boundaries I consider to be a high act of grace for you and your community. If you're already familiar with all that, though, and still nothing has worked, you do need to change something to provide yourself peace.

I encourage incremental changes until you find out what works, unless it becomes directly abusive.

Good luck. Be good. Be strong.
Radical Acceptance, by Brach   |   Self-Compassion, by Neff    |   Mindfulness, by Williams   |   The Book of Joy, by the Dalai Lama and Tutu
Healing From Family Rifts, by Sichel   |  Stop Walking on Egshells, by Mason    |    Emotional Blackmail, by Susan Forward

*

PeanutButter

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 895
Re: Dependent personality, bpd or npd or a mix?
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2020, 11:51:07 AM »
I think that when boundaries become inadministrable, we have no choice but to reduce / constrain contact. Reducing, to me, means less actual contact. Contraining, to me, means limiting the types of contact to those that prove less challenging.

We are NC only because it wasn't possible to erect boundaries. We had my MIL insisting for months on end that she wanted no relationship with us at all, which is not a good starting place for healing interactions.

If you've not studied careful, formal boundaries, do take the time to read about them on our Boundaries page. There are good books, too. It's important to do them right. Badly imposed boundaries are just bad behavior, while Good Boundaries I consider to be a high act of grace for you and your community. If you're already familiar with all that, though, and still nothing has worked, you do need to change something to provide yourself peace.

I encourage incremental changes until you find out what works, unless it becomes directly abusive.

Good luck. Be good. Be strong.
:yeahthat:

What stood out to me is this
Quote
I tell her I have to get off the phone to care for my child and she will just keep talking and talking like I didn't say anything. But when she needs to go for her child she goes right away and I obviously let her.

 Analize that statement you made imo: How do you 'let' her get off the phone? In what way does she prevent you from getting off the phone?

 It sounds to me the difference is that whan she says she is getting off the phone she then gets off the phone. You say you need to get off the phone and then wait for her to get off the phone?

Why dont you say "im getting off the phone to attend to my child; love you, bye" pause; if she doesnt say "bye" then reapeat "im getting off the phone to attend to my child; love, you bye" Then hang the phone up. She cannot stop you from doing that.

Put your childs needs above your Sis's needs EVERY time!

Quote
She expects me to actively listen and engage with her and help her but she refuses to do the same for me, even tho she thinks she is. She is super distracted the whole time I talk and barely responds. It's a very one sided, draining, emotionally exhausting experience, and I am sick of the expectation that I will talk for hours about her problems.

The priority ime is your feelings and reactions not her expectations. Let her worry about her stuff (dissappointment that her expectations arent being fulfilled). Imo you worry about your stuff. So if you need someone to listen and engage with you then find someone to do that. She is not capapble. If you are drained and emotionally exhausted then STOP and take care of yourself. She is not going to take care of you. She isnt even capable of taking care of herself it seems.

If there is a hidden seed of evil inside of children adults planted it there -LundyBancroft  Self-awareness is the ability to take an honest look at your life without any attachment to it being right or wrong good or bad -DebbieFord The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none -Thomas Carlyle

*

Andromeda87

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 59
Re: Dependent personality, bpd or npd or a mix?
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2020, 02:03:52 PM »
Thank you for both of your responses! I don't know how to quote stuff so I'll just address you both hah

I agree that I must be better at setting firm boundaries and I am working on this in therapy. These boundary issues have been in place since we were kids and used to be much worse. She believes the relationship is functioning well while I feel that it's very one sided.

When I try to put in gentle loving boundaries (ie I have to get off the phone, or , I'm sorry I don't have energy to talk about this today) she blatantly ignores them.

When I am more blunt and firm, ie just hang up the phone after saying goodbye several times or I point out to her how I don't feel listened to, she gets very very hurt and takes it extremely personally.

I care about her and I really do want to help her and for her to feel like she can rely on me, but I don't know how to properly assert the boundary to make this happen.

I feel as though I am enabling her. She comes to me to solve all her problems and to give her advice on all her issues. She looks to me for what book to read, what exercise program to do, how to decorate her house, what medicines to go on, how to raise her child, what direction to make in her career. But she doesn't actually acknowledge what I say and then just says it was her idea all along....

I feel like by helping her with alllll of this stuff I am not giving her the opportunity to figure this stuff out by herself and she probably needs that for growth. And I am doing the emotional / life work of two people and feeling exhausted and frustrated.

Perhaps like was suggested , if boundaries cannot be implemented then it's time to take a break and maybe give her space to grow. That is something my parents never allowed for her to have as the GC. She never developed her own identity really .. and I feel she's still looking for someone to dictate it to her! But I cannot be that person.

I have always felt responsible for her. That was my role as the SG in the family. Everything was my fault and I was responsible for everyone's feelings.
She's still stuck in that mindset , although she has grown in many other ways. So when she gets hurt and upset I still feel responsible. And I supposed some of my work will be unravelling that.




*

PeanutButter

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 895
Re: Dependent personality, bpd or npd or a mix?
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2020, 03:25:36 PM »
Quote
I have always felt responsible for her. That was my role as the SG in the family. Everything was my fault and I was responsible for everyone's feelings.
She's still stuck in that mindset , although she has grown in many other ways[/b]. So when she gets hurt and upset I still feel responsible. And I supposed some of my work will be unravelling that.

I had to read this several times. Im still confused though. Who is stuck in the mindset? You? Her? Both?

https://outofthefog.website/what-to-do-2/2015/12/3/the-50-rule
"in all our relationships, we are responsible for 50% of what happens. We're responsible for our own choices, our own behaviors, our own words and our own actions.
And that is why it is a good idea to stop and think about our own behavior whenever our focus tends to be predominantly on the other person's behavior. We are responsible for 100% of the choices that we make, the things we say and the things we do."


https://outofthefog.website/what-to-do-2/2015/12/3/understand-my-stuffyour-stuff
"My Stuff/Your Stuff is a thought technique of reminding yourself to separate what is really your responsibility, your concern and under your control and what is a personality-disordered individual's responsibility, concern and under their control....
...it's easy to become disorientated as you try to navigate through challenges such as mood swings, projection, mirroring, dependency, engulfment etc...
...One of the things that tends to result is that the non-personality-disordered individual may subconsciously or unwittingly begin to take personal responsibility for problems and concerns over which they have little or no control or ability to influence. In doing so they may be denying the person who suffers from the personality disorder the opportunity to clean up their own messes, learn from their own mistakes and work towards a more healthy lifestyle, This is sometimes called enabling and can perpetuate a dysfunctional situation."

If there is a hidden seed of evil inside of children adults planted it there -LundyBancroft  Self-awareness is the ability to take an honest look at your life without any attachment to it being right or wrong good or bad -DebbieFord The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none -Thomas Carlyle

*

Starboard Song

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 2579
  • Be good. Be strong.
Re: Dependent personality, bpd or npd or a mix?
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2020, 06:06:24 PM »
PeanutButter is telling you the good news: we don't actually have to fix the other person, and don't even have to control them, to improve our condition. I am a big fan of the My Stuff - Your Stuff concept, and the 50% Rule that PeanutButter shared.

But please be careful. These rules are not meant to say that it is your fault you feel bad: you are not weak, or crazy, or stupid. You certainly aren't half to blame. It is decent and kind to feel close empathy with family members. To feel stress, say, if a sibling were unemployed. It is also decent and kind to feel like all problems are yours to solve. So please go gentle on yourself as you read these pages and begin to try to change those ways of thinking.

Recognizing that other people may be agitated or upset, may even be very angry at you, and that that is Their Stuff to be enraged about, is very liberating. You can still be kind and engaging, and do your best to calm them. But with this concept fresh in your head, by practicing, many find that they don't themselves need to be enraged. And taking ownership of your half is meant to be empowering, not blaming. You have the right to not engage with or sponsor bad behavior.

Good luck! You are on the journey!
« Last Edit: June 08, 2020, 06:09:14 PM by Starboard Song »
Radical Acceptance, by Brach   |   Self-Compassion, by Neff    |   Mindfulness, by Williams   |   The Book of Joy, by the Dalai Lama and Tutu
Healing From Family Rifts, by Sichel   |  Stop Walking on Egshells, by Mason    |    Emotional Blackmail, by Susan Forward

*

PeanutButter

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 895
Re: Dependent personality, bpd or npd or a mix?
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2020, 03:57:02 AM »
PeanutButter is telling you the good news: we don't actually have to fix the other person, and don't even have to control them, to improve our condition. I am a big fan of the My Stuff - Your Stuff concept, and the 50% Rule that PeanutButter shared.

But please be careful. These rules are not meant to say that it is your fault you feel bad: you are not weak, or crazy, or stupid. You certainly aren't half to blame. It is decent and kind to feel close empathy with family members. To feel stress, say, if a sibling were unemployed. It is also decent and kind to feel like all problems are yours to solve. So please go gentle on yourself as you read these pages and begin to try to change those ways of thinking.

Recognizing that other people may be agitated or upset, may even be very angry at you, and that that is Their Stuff to be enraged about, is very liberating. You can still be kind and engaging, and do your best to calm them. But with this concept fresh in your head, by practicing, many find that they don't themselves need to be enraged. And taking ownership of your half is meant to be empowering, not blaming. You have the right to not engage with or sponsor bad behavior.

Good luck! You are on the journey!
Decent and kind people wish they could solve all the worlds problems.
However its important recognising that we MUST tend to ourselves first or we cannot even support our loved ones in a healthy way when they have problems. That definately includes the emotions of others. Trying to prevent someone we care about from feeling the emotions they are feeling because of the emotions it causes in us is exhausting and doesnt work.
If there is a hidden seed of evil inside of children adults planted it there -LundyBancroft  Self-awareness is the ability to take an honest look at your life without any attachment to it being right or wrong good or bad -DebbieFord The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none -Thomas Carlyle

*

Bloomie

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 13266
Re: Dependent personality, bpd or npd or a mix?
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2020, 11:09:49 AM »
Andromeda87 - It is hard and complicated work to change patterns of relating with a beloved family member that were established before we were old enough to even recognize how unhealthy they are I have found. Untangling these relationships and replacing communication and emotional patterns that no longer work for you requires a great deal of patience with yourself and the other involved.

It sounds like you and your sister love each other a lot. Your insights that your sister doesn't have a stable self image or concept must go a long way in helping you understand what seems to be an emotionally immature worldview much of the time. Your compassion for her is understandable and commendable. And most likely for years things went along okay, but then we begin to mature and outgrow the old roles from our FOO as you have.

A simple thought that I go back to often being one who has to be very mindful of codependent thinking and tendencies in my own life is that feelings are not = to facts. In my own FOO system when certain people had big, negative feelings the entire system went into high alert to 'make them feel better' or find a scapegoat for the feelings. :no:

So, the blame for and the solution to managing big feelings were always seen as outside of the person when in fact, our feelings are ours to own, honor, manage, and process.

You feel responsible if your sister feels and responds badly when you set a healthy boundary around how often you chat and the level of detail you are willing to go into with your sister. But, you are not actually responsible and in reality, do not have superpowers to be responsible for another person's feelings. Only to respond to them compassionately and that includes limiting how exposed we are to the big out of control emotions that they attempt to spill all over us and leave with us.

It may sound kinda strange or even hard hearted, but I have had to learn to reign in the intensity of the empathetic responses I give certain people as a healthy limit for both them and myself. I was too quick and too open to certain people that I love dearly and it was not serving them or myself well. We both were expecting too much of me and in time it posed a real threat to the relationship.

Boundaries create space and the best hope that the relationship can mature and be sustaining for both of you. Keep working it through and sharing. You are making great progress and realizing important things in your relationship with your sister.
"You can understand and have compassion for someone and still not want a relationship with them."
Amanda E. White, LPC @therapyforwomen

Bloomie 🌸

*

Psuedonym

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 673
Re: Dependent personality, bpd or npd or a mix?
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2020, 03:39:36 PM »
Your post got to me, Andromeda87, because your sister sounds soooooo much like my M. Most of the behavior you described is identical.

I've come to realize that one of the most abusive things you can do to someone is to make them pity you. That's what my M did and what your sister is doing to you. When you pity someone, when you feel sorry for someone because of their helplessness/hopelessness/distress/incompetence/etc., when you don't help them out, you feel a soul crushing level of guilt. it's easy to say that you aren't responsible for someone else's feelings, but when you've had that drilled into your head since before you could identify what emotions were, it's almost impossible to do. It's like saying to an alcoholic 'just don't drink, problem solved!' Easier said than done.

Maybe this will help with your perspective. My M treated me exactly as your sister treats you. The only person she was more dependent/clingy with was my dad. I was convinced she was BPD at that point. When my dad died they were both in their late 80s at that point I thought 'well, she won't be around long. She's so dependent on him that she'll fall apart'. What I realized was that she actually didn't care. Sure she cared that she wasn't getting her supply any more, but she didn't care who it was coming from. When we went to see relatives a few weeks after his death, my aunt asked if she was in shock because she didn't seem at all like someone who's husband just died. She was being entertained by them at the time, so she was perfectly happy. At this point I began to expect that she was actually a covert narcissist (as well as possible BPD).

What eventually helped me and maybe this will help you was the realization that my M didn't actually NEED anything from me. She didn't like dealing with her own feelings and emotions, so she dumped them all on me because she thought that was MY JOB. She told me that was my job, that I owed her, and that I had to listen to her because she had NOBODY ELSE! It was pure bullshit of course. She could turn the whiny/waify thing on and off at any moment, she did the same thing with pretending to be sick. She thought she was entitled to special treatment; when you said no, that's when the rage came out. I suspect that you, like me, haven't really stood up to her, because you fear what will happen as a result. I. fully understand the 'not being able to get off the phone' thing. You had to literally hang up on my M to get off the phone. You couldn't do it politely, the same way you can't politely hang up on a telemarketer. They just keep talking. And if you did, holy shit would the rage show up.

I would start by trying to change the way you think about your sister's behavior. She doesn't need your attention, she's bullying you. That's what bullies do, make demands. She doesn't really care about your opinion, as you stated, she just wants you to validate what she's already saying or the choice she's already made. As you also mentioned, she doesn't seem to have any real interest in your as a person. That's most likely because she doesn't actually see you as a person, she sees you as a function. Your function is to make her feel better. Your thoughts on that subject are irrelevant. Yes, she may moments where she seems reasonable and lucid, but if she doesn't actually change her behavior, it doesn't mean anything.

This is purely based on my own experience, but in my opinion, some healthy anger can be your best friend right now. It's not your job to manage your sister's emotions for her, and it's abusive of her to demand that you do so. Don't expect her to respect your boundaries, if she truly has a PD, she won't. But they aren't for her, they're for you. Be prepared to enforce them. If you say stop calling me every day and she doesn't, then block her number for awhile. If you have to get off the phone and she won't listen, be prepared to hang up, and if she calls you back and rages out or gives you a guilt trip, be prepared to hang up again.

It won't be easy but, again in my opinion, it's the only way to get your life back. I've heard a few other people say on this forum, and I wholeheartedly agree, that the clingy/waify types of PDs are the absolute worst. An overt narcissist will rage out at you, dismiss you, and then *poof* you don't have to deal with them anymore. A covert one will rage out/claim to be the victim, and then demand you take care of them while continuing to bully you.

 :bighug:

*

PeanutButter

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 895
Re: Dependent personality, bpd or npd or a mix?
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2020, 04:07:18 PM »
Yes as Psuedonym mentions codependency is 'an addiction to relationships' just like alcoholics addicted to aclohol, drug addicts addicted to drugs, gambling, porn, and so forth. Imo

Bloomie is so wise. That has been my experience also. The recovery comes when you turn your focus inward. You have to go back to the beginning and rewrite over the false beliefs that were wrote on your clean slate as a child by your caretakers. IE "if Sis is mad I have to fix it" etc.
If there is a hidden seed of evil inside of children adults planted it there -LundyBancroft  Self-awareness is the ability to take an honest look at your life without any attachment to it being right or wrong good or bad -DebbieFord The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none -Thomas Carlyle