Family resistance to going low-ish contact with my NPD sister

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My parents are freaking out that I'm going low-ish contact with my NPD (not fully sure but she has very many NPD traits) sister. I haven't yet told any other family members but I expect them to freak out too.

I'm not even saying I don't want to see her, I'm just saying I want to be the one to dictate when I see her, instead of always giving in to her demands (she's extremely attention seeking and demands that I - and our other siblings visit - her often). My parents are in no way NPD and probably don't really understand it. But surprisingly they know full well that she's unpleasant. They told me they can see that she's selfish, manipulative and immature. My parents also say that it's really hard for them because she is constantly nasty to them. I told my parents that they should stop giving into her demands because it's enabling. They told me that I'm unloving for not trying to maintain a close relationship with her because I can influence her to become a better person by "setting a good example". My parents are now disappointed in me because I'm not being selfless enough. Oh and they are trying to convince me to talk to her about her behavior directly and to "sort things out" so we can be close again. Because how can you know she won't change unless you try?

Is this a common reaction from family when you try and set some boundaries? I feel like they are virtue signaling to others - basically saying - look how I love my really nasty daughter, aren't I a good person! Are there any resources available especially for parents of NPD children to try and convince them that their strategy is an awful idea? I know that there are many great info pages on this website but I wonder whether something geared towards parents might be more effective. I mean, parents generally want to think the best of their children. Moving forward, I'm really tired of trying to explain to them (especially when they've already established the pattern of behavior of spoiling her and people rarely change a firmly established habit). I'm predicting that I'm just going to have to be the "bad guy" and accept whatever they might call me. What was your experience?
« Last Edit: April 19, 2021, 11:50:09 PM by stowaway77 »



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Re: Family resistance to going low-ish contact with my NPD sister
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2021, 11:43:04 PM »
Stop trying, essentially. They don't need to know what you've decided regarding your adult relationships, and their opinion (if they're going to knowingly cater to this bad behavior) no longer matters.

Boundaries are something you live, rather than something you state, although stating them to yourself and even writing them down can be excellent for helping you remember and ingrain them into your mind. So when they say "You should really visit your sister!" You would reply something noncommittal like "Yeah, I should sometime," then change the topic. If they demand a time and place, do not give it. "I'm sorry, things are busy right now and I can't give you that." Change the topic.

If they push, your best option is to remove yourself from the situation. Call the visit short, find a way off the phone, ignore the offending messages, etc.

We all start out trying to change the people around us. But ultimately, they must choose to do the work. All we can do is work on ourselves and improve our own health. But you could hand them a library on NPD and they'd justify her behavior, dismiss your concerns out of hand, make excuses, or state "But she's FaaaaMMMiiiiiLLLLLYYYYY!" Sarcasm intended. So, in the end, if they want to freak out, then that's the reaction they have chosen.
Remember, that there are no real deadlines for life, just society's pressures.      - Anonymous



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Re: Family resistance to going low-ish contact with my NPD sister
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2021, 01:28:23 AM »
I'm sorry you're going through this OP.
It's hard enough to go NC with a family member and made worse when it seems nobody is really supportive of that.

In my family, the guilt trips from my mom and denial of reality from my brother worked in tandem to minimize the legitimate fear and pain I felt dealing with my BPD sister who I went NC with. It's been 2 years now. Even though my mother was there for the event that solidified my NC (sister attacked me while I was about 7 months pregnant) and went with me to the ER, she continues to minimize my fear and push me to "make amends" with her.
Sadly, family that are enabling are really reticent to come OOF in my experience. The disordered relative puts pressure on them to wear down your boundaries by proxy, so you have to go broken record and stand firm in your decision.


Thru the Rain

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Re: Family resistance to going low-ish contact with my NPD sister
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2021, 05:21:22 AM »
You can't be responsible for making your sister a better person. Your parents weren't able to accomplish that - and this is their child!

You aren't responsible for your sister's happiness. You aren't responsible for your parent's happiness. You aren't responsible to single-handedly "save" your sister from herself.

My advise is to make your own life full of your own activities - work, friends, romantic relationships, hobbies, vacations. Just immerse yourself in your own life.

I had a similar situation with my older sister when we were both young adults. She wanted to retain the competitive and hate-filled relationship we had as children. I just proceeded with my life plans - university, job, marriage, travel. Eventually she was having a childish competition all on her own.



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Re: Family resistance to going low-ish contact with my NPD sister
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2021, 01:36:42 PM »
So much wisdom in the responses so far.

I don't have much to add except a hug.   I have a sister that's not as bad as yours but I've still had to go LC.   My parents witnessed "the final straw" and don't blame me for my decision.   They've lived with her rages for decades.   So I'm lucky they don't push me to have contact.   That being said, they still don't "get it" in terms of this being a persistent character trait of hers.   They keep trying to explain it away as being due to circumstances.
They maintain a good relationship with her.  Ironically I do believe her rages at me are displaced anger at my parents for their shortcomings as parents.  They indulged her as a teen because she was so rebellious that they said things they shouldn't have, and they felt guilty.  So they went the opposite way and spoiled her by allowing rages.  So now I guess she feels fully entitled to them.   That's what happens when nobody, including your parents, tell you "no".
My parents are elderly and uPD sis depends on them a bit financially, and plus she really loves them.  That I know for sure.   I believe it's easier for her to be angry at me than at them, and frankly if it has to me or them, I'd rather it be me.
I would hate for their relationship to be bad with her in their final years.
And, I also need to protect myself.

So my parents know there will be no more "family sleepovers" with all of us under one roof.   I will stay in a hotel on group visits.
I will not meet in a place where I have no escape.  I will not share a kitchen with her.  I will walk out of the room at any time, no explanation required.  I will make any situation "awkward" without apology.

I'm lucky that my parents sort of understand.  And I'm sorry yours don't.   The denial is powerful.

I did show my mom some Dr. Ramani videos, which helped her understand this PD stuff really is "a thing".    But that's as far as it goes.   My dad refuses to entertain any dialogue about it.   I could be angry at him for that, as it's not supportive of me, but I've chosen to understand he is not emotionally in touch and never has been, and this stuff is very scary for him.   He's limited.   In fact, as you've discovered, very few people in the general world understand this stuff or bother to even try.   Even some of my therapists don't get it   :doh:

That's why we're here.  To keep each other sane.  Keep posting, and good luck.   :bighug:



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Re: Family resistance to going low-ish contact with my NPD sister
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2021, 10:17:21 PM »
Yes, this reaction in common. It is tough and I'm sorry you have to go through this.

Maybe they won't see it this way, but you are setting a good example. Setting boundaries, living a healthy life, self-care is how to be a good example. It is not your fault that they don't appreciate what you are doing.

My experience after going NC (never went LC...just went straight to NC) was that I was ruining the family. After some time, my (enabler) parents calmed down and accepted that this was how things were going to be. Even many years on, I need to constantly re-affirm my boundaries. FOO will always try to get you back in the fold. You have to stay strong.


Call Me Cordelia

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Re: Family resistance to going low-ish contact with my NPD sister
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2021, 10:28:30 PM »
Iím sorry. I went straight to NC with my parents, intending it to be temporary. My siblings were at first supportive, but after only a couple of weeks they got tired of my parentsí drama over it and were over being supportive. The pressure was on to ďget back to normal.Ē

I wonder if thatís a dynamic also at play here somewhat. Your FOO sees what youíre going through, but they have a way of dealing with it thatís been comfortable. At least comfortable enough for them to not change it. Youíre rocking the boat and making everyone uncomfortable. Youíre doing things a different way, but they might not be ready to accept that things CAN be different.

Iíve been in the enabler position as well. At the time it just didnít occur to me that I did not have to ďkeep the peaceĒ in between other family members. Itís a pattern thatís been a lifetime in the making, and itís really hard to break it. I agree that you ARE setting a good example!



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Re: Family resistance to going low-ish contact with my NPD sister
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2021, 09:25:03 AM »
You're still trying to get love and approval from your PD parents by informing them about your decision to go LC with PD sister. I used to do this as well-there was nothing that I did that wasn't first filtered by my PD parent's approval. I felt as if everything I decide and do needs that approval stamp.
 :stars: :stars: :stars: :stars:

I have recently gone NC with my PD brother and no one in the family knows and I am not planning on telling them. If they ask, I'll just say that we don't have time to talk or something like that.
It is my life and whatever I decide it is because I know it is good for me and I always know what is good for me. Also, no on in the family needs to know what the heck I do (because, they won't approve it anyway so why bother telling them anything).

I want you to know that YOU matter and you ARE indeed your own person. No one owns your mind or your ability to decide. It is your life and whatever decision you take is the best decision (you know better how to care for yourself ).
« Last Edit: April 30, 2021, 09:27:10 AM by MarlenaEve »