We have all been with our siblings for the better part of our childhood years. Since we shared our formative days, we know each other more than anyone else. Our relationships with our siblings can be unique, especially when growing up in healthy families.
Nevertheless, growing up with a narcissistic sibling can be a nightmare. A self-centered sibling can subject you and other siblings to emotional abuse. Narcissistic siblings can lead to lifelong rivalry and downplay family dynamics. They can also affect other siblings’ personalities, particularly their sister’s personality.
How Can I Tell I Have a Narcissist Sibling?
To outsiders, a narcissistic sibling seems like a decent person. They may show good attributes like generosity, altruism, and humor to appear good to the world and garner approval. However, self-centered siblings are challenging to deal with because they will make you feel anger and betrayal while you struggle to retain feelings of love and compassion for them.
We feel guilty to think of the people we grew up with as narcissists. It helps to look for tendencies in your siblings to establish whether they have this personality disorder and accord help where possible. Below are some narcissist sibling traits to help you determine whether you have a narcissistic sister or a narcissistic brother.
Playing Their Siblings Against Parents
Narcissist siblings are manipulators who set family members and relatives against each other. They thrive on playing their siblings against their parents. These kids usually lie to their parents about their siblings to make parents angry at the innocent kids. Narcissistic brothers and sisters are pathological liars seeking to force parents to react to their lies.
They Secretly Blame Their Siblings
This is among the most common narcissist sibling traits. These siblings can’t take the blame or accept their mistakes. They praise their siblings to their face but secretly blame and criticize them. A narcissistic sister or brother will blame you for betraying them and abandoning them when they need you most. They will seldom attack you and other siblings on their faces. Interestingly, they will also praise or compliment you for what they secretly criticize of you.
Faking friendship is among the common narcissistic sister traits. Your self-centered sister will pretend to be your closest friend to gain your loyalty and trust. She will do everything to show and convince you what a friend you are to her. She may text or call you to show concern about you. She may even send you gifts purporting to appreciate your friendship. Narcissists fake friendships to manipulate or even abuse their siblings and other family members.
Create False Memories
Narcissist siblings are good at fashioning false memories of their shared childhood. They conjure memories of neglect and abuse during this phase of their lives. Your narcissist sibling will capitalize on your shared childhood memories and try to force you to accept their fiction. It’s their ingenious way of manipulation.
How a Narcissistic Sibling Affects Their Sister’s Personality
There is sufficient information out there about narcissist sister traits. Nonetheless, there is very little information on how a narcissistic sibling can affect their sister’s personality. Below, we’ve compiled a series of effects common to sisters having to deal with these individuals:
Lifelong Feelings of Shame and Guilt
A narcissistic sibling affects their sister’s personality and impacts the family structure by subjecting those close to them to persistent narcissistic abuse. Like all narcissists, a self-centered sibling will force their sister to be self-blaming, subjecting them to lifelong vulnerability and excessive shame and guilt.
Creating Feelings of Low Self-Worth
A narcissist sibling masters the art of casting shame and blame, ultimately withholding love and sowing doubts in them. A narcissistic kid can be the worst thing for their sister. They instill a sense of low self-esteem, making the sister feel flawed and awkwardly different from other girls. The deep sense of low self-worth can subject the sister to multiple psychological problems, including anxiety, depression, or even ADHD.
Strive to Be People Pleasers
Victims of narcissistic siblings develop a fear of being judged. A narcissistic sibling will force their sister into a situation where they will always agree with them and others for fear of judgment. The sister may develop a lifelong inability to set boundaries. Instead, she will be excessively people-pleasing.
Make Victims Develop a Fear of Dependence
Narcissists subject their victims to a fear of depending on others. Victims also develop a fear of vulnerability. Those who grew up with narcissistic siblings may have an avoidant personality disorder in their adulthood because of developing distrust in relationships. Since narcissist siblings act in distrustful ways, their sibling sisters resort to self-protection to guard their emotions. Signs of self-protection show up in many ways, including fear of seeking help, excessive self-protection, and fear of exploitation.
Hypersensitivity to Criticism
A narcissistic sibling will make their sister always concerned about how others will perceive and judge her. The sister will develop hypersensitivity to criticism in the long run. She will hesitate to make choices for fear of what others think. The pattern will lead to self-blaming as the sister attempts to rectify faults to avoid criticism and shame. Women who grew up with narcissists may exhibit problems such as anxiety, obsessions, and compulsions in their adulthood.
Encourage Learned Helplessness
Narcissists expose people to emotional abuse. They convince everyone their opinions about them are paramount and that the victims shouldn’t attempt to challenge their views. Girls bear the brunt of emotional abuse by their narcissistic siblings. Growing up with narcissistic brothers or sisters can make you develop a tendency to depend on others for emotional comfort and support. Years of living with a self-centered sibling can lead to a vicious cycle of learned helplessness, unhealthy submission, tolerance of abuse, and self-sacrificing behaviors.
Dealing With a Narcissistic Sibling
Living with a narcissistic sibling can have lasting and profound impacts on your life. Siblings with narcissistic tendencies can complicate family dynamics and cause lifelong sibling rivalry. As problematic as living with these individuals is, you can still coexist peacefully with your siblings if they are narcissists or exhibit narcissistic symptoms. Check these ideas below:
- Set Boundaries: Setting boundaries is vital when dealing with a narcissistic sibling. Boundaries will help you maintain integrity and respect when handling your manipulative loved one. They will act as a defense against your sibling’s harmful narcissistic behaviors. Communicate your boundaries to the sibling to help them understand your limits. For instance, let them know you won’t allow them to disrespect you.
- Try Emphatic Communication: Narcissists have a weird perception of reality. Understanding this can help you handle conversations with your narcissistic sibling with empathy. Communicate your needs and feelings to your sibling emphatically. Let them know how their behaviors affect you.
- Avoid Being Manipulative: Narcissists are highly resistant to change. They can’t revise themselves regardless of what you do to make them change. Attempting to manipulate or transform them can be disastrous. Trying to be manipulative can make things between you and your narcissistic sibling more complicated. Try changing yourself to accommodate your loved one rather than expecting them to change.
- Seek Support: Dealing with a narcissistic sibling can be exhausting. After all, they have a way of manipulating conversations and disregarding others’ feelings. It helps to seek support to help you navigate your relationship with your sibling. Professional therapists and counselors can help you handle complex narcissistic relationships.
We may find ourselves dealing with narcissistic siblings at some point. Since we can’t cut them off from our families, we must coexist with them however we can. Seeking professional help will make things easy when dealing with a narcissistic sibling, so consider that approach if you believe things may not bode well in the long run.