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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi. This is a post not about me and my husband, but a relationship with my sister that I need help with. I was hoping someone could help me define a disorder I think she has. Maybe Borderline Personality Disorder, but I'm not sure. She doesn't exhibit all of those symptoms.

She is the kind of person who always has to create extra drama and make bad situations that people are already going through worse. For example...right now she has written all of her family members out of her life...recently me and my mother...because I posted on Facebook my father's condition in the hospital (for my other family members and friends who were concerned about him and wanted to know what was wrong...he's 80 and he has congestive heart failure) without calling and consulting her first. This was after she confessed in the hospital, with humor, that she leaves most of the care of our parents to me because it drives her crazy and she's sick of dealing with it. She doesn't deal with it...I've taken both parents to the hospital about six or seven times this year. They always call me even though she lives in the same city.

So this is her MO. Before this, a few months ago, she wrote our two brothers out of her life because one of them casually mentioned that he didn't believe in same sex marriage on Facebook. So she spewed a bunch of hatefulness on him in front of every one on Facebook and even went so far as to bring up things that he did that pissed her off when he was an 8 year old child...when they were children. She told him he was a prick even then. She called him a hater and bigot (even though she was being the same thing only on the opposite end of the spectrum) and said a bunch of cruel things to him and then said she didn't need him in her life and unfriended him and wrote him out. She couldn't just argue with him, she had to try to drag every one of her siblings into the argument in the meantime so our other brother said some things she didn't like so she did the same to him. Now she has done the same to me and it was something I did totally innocent by trying to share my father's medical condition with everyone...which everyone else was very appreciative for my having done that. She was pissed and made it seem like I was displaying all our private sad moments for the world to see (even though every time there's an argument with any of us she displays it on Facebook and puts us down and rallies all her friends behind her to say, "You're so right. You tell them girl! You don't need them!") So she's a hypocrite.

I just wonder what her deal is. I know she's an alcoholic. She drinks a lot, and I think when she called me five minutes after I put his condition on there bit*hing me out, then put a bunch of nasty comments on the post on facebook, that she was drunk. Ever since then she's been creating drama. For instance...my mother put on facebook (she's still friends with her...or was at the time) "I'm going to pick dad up from the hospital now to bring him home." (Keep in mind my sister LIVES on facebook. She's on there all the time...) then my sister decided to go on Facebook and start a bunch of crap about how she went up to the hospital and was so confused because when she went into his room he wasn't there and she went to the nurses station twice and they finally told her he was released...then she was mad at all of us for not calling her specifically to let her know and she went through all the trouble of going up there to visit him and he was home. She had her live-in boyfriend put that on facebook, who I'm still friends with on there, and I told him to cut out the extra drama already, nobody needs it right now. He was all "Thanks for letting US know." on my post, because I also posted about him getting out of the hospital.

It's just easier to post it for everyone to know...because everyone is on there, especially my sister. But she's all mad because I guess she wants a special call just for her, when everyone is busy with their lives and my mother doesn't have a very good memory anymore and just forgets stuff like that. So while my parents are going downhill and are sick all the time, my sister has to create all this extra drama because she isn't the center of it all...even though she put herself on the sidelines by ignoring most of the hospital trips and left all our parent's care up to me (she up and TOLD ME that) because she's tired of it...I don't get what's wrong with her.

My brother told me she's always been like that since she's been a kid. Everything always had to be all about her, and she was very self centered and selfish her whole life...but it's just gotten worse since she got older. I'm the youngest of six so by the time I was aware of my siblings, she was grown and out of the house.

I just want to know what's wrong with her. Narcissism? BPD? What kind of person has to create extra drama in an already sad and stressful dramatic situation to make it all about her?
 

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Sounds like a lot of mental issues but amplified by alcohol. She needs to get off the sauce and then see if things improve any.

Wishing you luck.
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You can never even remotely suggest she is wrong about anything. She blows up about the littlest things...things I've been shocked she got mad about. I've said stuff and gotten back a tirade of sh*t from her and been like, "What? Where did that all come from??" One second she'll be all like, "I love my family, my sweet sister and dearest brothers, so much! I'm so blessed to have them!" and then the next week she's disowning one or the other or all of us for silly stuff like that post. She goes from one extreme to the other. Everyone in the family thinks she is crazy. I'm actually relieved she doesn't want anything to do with me anymore. It's less drama and B.S. for me. I'm just not looking forward to my parents' deaths because if she's flipping out like this about hospital trips, she'll be over the edge when they pass away.
 

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One second she'll be all like, "I love my family, my sweet sister and dearest brothers, so much! I'm so blessed to have them!" and then the next week she's disowning one or the other or all of us for silly stuff.
DayDream, the behavior you are describing is called "black-white thinking." This all-or-nothing thinking will be evident in the way she frequently uses the extreme expressions "you always" and "you never." It also will be evident in the way she categorizes everyone as "all good" or "all bad" -- and will recategorize someone, in a few seconds, from one polar extreme to the other based solely on a minor comment or infraction (real or imagined).

Yes, B-W thinking is a trait of both NPD and BPD, as you suspect. Yet, she would have to exhibit many other traits to have a strong pattern of NPD or BPD traits. Moreover, you will not be able to determine whether her traits are so severe as to meet 100% of the diagnostic criteria. Only professionals can do that. On the other hand, simply spotting the red flags is not difficult because there is nothing subtle about traits such as selfishness, verbal abuse, temper tantrums, and rapid flips from adoring you to devaluing you.

I therefore suggest you read about these behavioral traits to see if most of them sound very familiar. You will find a good overview of narcissism in Kathy Batesell's article at Narcissism: Recognizing, Coping With, and Treating It. And I provide a brief overview of BPD traits in Maybe's thread at http://talkaboutmarriage.com/general-relationship-discussion/33734-my-list-hell.html#post473522. If either of those descriptions rings a bell, I would be glad to discuss it with you. Perhaps Kathy will too. Take care, DayDream.
 

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You can never even remotely suggest she is wrong about anything. She blows up about the littlest things...things I've been shocked she got mad about. I've said stuff and gotten back a tirade of sh*t from her and been like, "What? Where did that all come from??" One second she'll be all like, "I love my family, my sweet sister and dearest brothers, so much! I'm so blessed to have them!" and then the next week she's disowning one or the other or all of us for silly stuff like that post. She goes from one extreme to the other. Everyone in the family thinks she is crazy. I'm actually relieved she doesn't want anything to do with me anymore. It's less drama and B.S. for me. I'm just not looking forward to my parents' deaths because if she's flipping out like this about hospital trips, she'll be over the edge when they pass away.
Maybe I am old fashioned but that is shocking to me. I cannot imagine not wanting to be part of a parent's final days, whether helping with hospitalizations or nursing homes or their funerals.

Are these hormonal issues? Is she a substance abuser? Possibly BPD? I ask this because you seem like a truly caring person. Personally I think one of the main things that sets us apart from barbarism is the way we treat our elders.
 

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Maybe I am old fashioned but that is shocking to me. I cannot imagine not wanting to be part of a parent's final days, whether helping with hospitalizations or nursing homes or their funerals.

Are these hormonal issues? Is she a substance abuser? Possibly BPD? I ask this because you seem like a truly caring person. Personally I think one of the main things that sets us apart from barbarism is the way we treat our elders.
Sometimes people fabricate drama to avoid being involved in the final days... they can be very painful.


Families can sometimes act very oddly during these times.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
She went so far as to post a big rant on our aunt's facebook post that was supposed to be a joke, that my mother commented on, about no wonder why our brother killed himself, to get away from the family drama. She said that knowing my mother would read that...knowing my mother and father have been blaming themselves for his death. I've been working with my parents for four years since he died trying to convince them it wasn't their fault.

I honestly wanted to smash her face in when I read that last night...along with a bunch of other pscyho-babble of hers.
 

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I just wonder what her deal is. I know she's an alcoholic. She drinks a lot, and I think when she called me five minutes after I put his condition on there bit*hing me out, then put a bunch of nasty comments on the post on facebook, that she was drunk. Ever since then she's been creating drama.
DayDream,

There you have it, if drunkenness is involved there is no reason to look any further. The AA people have a "big book" that describes in detail the internal state of the alcoholic. You don't have to be in recovery to read it for yourself. I promise it will answer all your questions.
 

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Her alcohol dependence is enough to cause this kind of behavior. Many, many alcoholics and codependents engage in this kind of attention-seeking.

It is sometimes possible to conduct a supervised intervention to persuade a loved one to get into recovery, but family members and friends may be reluctant because they already know that it will produce more drama and they don't feel strong enough to confront the alcoholic, especially when getting cut out of her life and facing that kind of rejection and character assassination seems inevitable.

If you believe that your family members would be interested in holding an intervention, I'd encourage seeking out a drug and alcohol counselor who is highly experienced in conducting them. There are many factors that have to be considered when preparing for an intervention, such as ensuring safety (both physical and emotional), preparing the participants to communicate without judgment and blame, but still requiring the alcoholic to be accountable for their behaviors, and to have an immediate option for treatment available in a way that doesn't harm the alcoholic's job status, child care options, and so on. I wouldn't leave this to a counselor who does not have at least half a dozen interventions under his/her belt.
 

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Sounds like a lot of mental issues but amplified by alcohol. She needs to get off the sauce and then see if things improve any.

Wishing you luck.
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The problem is that for sis, alcohol is *not* a problem. It's a solution. Everyone else is the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The problem is that for sis, alcohol is *not* a problem. It's a solution. Everyone else is the problem.
EXACTLY!!!! At what point do you look in the mirror and say, "You know what? Maybe it isn't everybody else. Maybe it's me."

I just don't think an intervention will help either. Every single one of us who was close to her have tried to take different approaches to talk to her about her drinking problem. If you're too nice about it, it goes right in one ear and out the other. If you're more firm about it, you're an a$$hole who is just trying to bring her down and make her out to be an evil person and she don't need you in her life.

"I'm just going to surround myself with people and things that make me feel good about myself for the rest of my life. I don't need or want anything else in my life but that!" (that was to me, before she then turned on me as well)

Then when my brothers pushed the issue too much, she said she was writing them out of her life before she puts a gun in her mouth and kills herself just like our brother did! So WTF?
 

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EXACTLY!!!! At what point do you look in the mirror and say, "You know what? Maybe it isn't everybody else. Maybe it's me."

I just don't think an intervention will help either. Every single one of us who was close to her have tried to take different approaches to talk to her about her drinking problem. If you're too nice about it, it goes right in one ear and out the other. If you're more firm about it, you're an a$$hole who is just trying to bring her down and make her out to be an evil person and she don't need you in her life.

"I'm just going to surround myself with people and things that make me feel good about myself for the rest of my life. I don't need or want anything else in my life but that!" (that was to me, before she then turned on me as well)

Then when my brothers pushed the issue too much, she said she was writing them out of her life before she puts a gun in her mouth and kills herself just like our brother did! So WTF?
Well, the things you've said here are the exact reason why interventions DO work. What happens is that MANY people who love the alcoholic all come together at the same time. When there are MANY people all saying that alcohol, not the loved one, has caused them pain, it's tough for the alcoholic to maintain their denial at that moment. Add in a counselor trained to sensitively confront denial and strip it of its power to sway others' perceptions.

During that teeny tiny moment of reality (or weakness, in the eyes of the addict), the alcoholic may agree to get treatment. The interventionist will have transportation ready to take them RIGHT NOW, and will have the alcoholic agree to contract with the loved ones to complete the treatment. By going straight from the intervention to an intensive treatment program where denial doesn't work anyway, the alcoholic stands the best chance of succeeding.

Upon completion, those same family members and loved ones must be willing to hold the alcoholic accountable and not do things that can encourage a relapse.

Even a period of an hour or two will let denial reassert itself. This leads to anger in the alcoholic and can prompt a lashing out where she resorts to the "everyone else is the problem" state of mind, or they may get on their "poor me pity pot" instead. Getting straight from the intervention to the treatment program is very important. That's why one person here or there talking to her will never be effective. It's necessary to force a crisis that makes her believe she's at or near "rock bottom" before she will want to change. Interventions facilitate the crisis by letting the alcoholic glimpse a life where all the love they crave could vanish completely, because of an addiction that they *can* change, and to see that the alternative is to feel like it's their own fault for the rest of their lives if they don't do something right now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
DayDream,

There you have it, if drunkenness is involved there is no reason to look any further. The AA people have a "big book" that describes in detail the internal state of the alcoholic. You don't have to be in recovery to read it for yourself. I promise it will answer all your questions.
AH...another book to read. :rolleyes: I'll add it to the list.
 

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AH...another book to read. :rolleyes: I'll add it to the list.
Eh, you don't really need to read it. Understanding how she thinks is not going to change her. You can probably attend an Al-Anon meeting or two and get more benefit by learning tools for YOU to cope with her behaviors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well, the things you've said here are the exact reason why interventions DO work. What happens is that MANY people who love the alcoholic all come together at the same time. When there are MANY people all saying that alcohol, not the loved one, has caused them pain, it's tough for the alcoholic to maintain their denial at that moment. Add in a counselor trained to sensitively confront denial and strip it of its power to sway others' perceptions.

During that teeny tiny moment of reality (or weakness, in the eyes of the addict), the alcoholic may agree to get treatment. The interventionist will have transportation ready to take them RIGHT NOW, and will have the alcoholic agree to contract with the loved ones to complete the treatment. By going straight from the intervention to an intensive treatment program where denial doesn't work anyway, the alcoholic stands the best chance of succeeding.

Upon completion, those same family members and loved ones must be willing to hold the alcoholic accountable and not do things that can encourage a relapse.

Even a period of an hour or two will let denial reassert itself. Getting straight from the intervention to the treatment program is very important. That's why one person here or there talking to her will never be effective. It's necessary to force a crisis that makes her believe she's at or near "rock bottom" before she will want to change. Interventions facilitate the crisis by letting the alcoholic glimpse a life where all the love they crave could vanish completely, because of an addiction that they *can* change, and to see that the alternative is to feel like it's their own fault for the rest of their lives if they don't do something right now.
I am close with my niece (her daughter, who is also concerned) and will discuss this with her. I've talked with hmy niece about intervention before, but things just keep escalating and now it's the holidays and she will spend them by herself mostly. Which is what she claims she wants anyway, but then why is she on Facebook blabbing about it on all these other posts that have nothing to do with it if she's getting what she wants? Why is she constantly bringing it up and going on and on about it with all these passive aggressive posts if she is truly "done" like she keeps saying she is? Because she's not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Eh, you don't really need to read it. Understanding how she thinks is not going to change her. You can probably attend an Al-Anon meeting or two and get more benefit by learning tools for YOU to cope with her behaviors.
I prefer reading. Maybe there is a Cliff-notes version somewhere. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Heh...my husband is still her friend on Facebook and he said after that long tirade on my aunt's post last night with all the passive-aggressive crap-talking about her family members, she then posts a separate post saying, "Good night to all my friends and family! I love you all so much!" It was like, Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde.
 

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Exactly.

In my experiences as a certified drug and alcohol counselor (I was not an interventionist, however), I found that people with addictions have the same needs as most of us.

They want to feel loved, worthwhile, and they want to have a sense of purpose and joy in their life. Many of them are among the most intelligent, witty people you've ever met.

However, their bodies handle alcohol differently than the so-called "normal drinkers." Instead of metabolizing the alcohol into vinegar and water that gets urinated out of the body, an alcoholic's body produces vinegar, water, and a by-product called THIQ (tetrahydroisoquinone) that is very similar to opium. Their bodies and their brains are tricked into some irrational, crazy thinking patterns that serve to protect the physical addiction. It's not just a matter of willpower, and it's not that the person is trying to be hurtful or unreasonable. They have very little control over their thought patterns, and while the solution is very simple (just don't drink) those thought patterns are designed to keep them coming back to their higher power - which happens to be alcohol when they're in the midst of their addiction.

P.S. I no longer work in the mental health field in any capacity and nothing I say should be construed as medical advice.
 

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I prefer reading. Maybe there is a Cliff-notes version somewhere. :)
Just google "alcoholic behavior" and you will find all you need to know in 20 minutes.

Because we protect people's right to engage in self destructive behavior, we allow considerably more damage than we can ever be aware of to occur in the name of self determination. I promise you, none of you can even imagine the scope of the damage already done to your niece.

An intervention may or may not be successful, but I have never seen anyone pull themselves out of this situation on their own without first experiencing some kind of extraordinary negative consequence. If they live though this maybe they straighten up. An outside intervention before something tragic happens is really their best chance because of the possibility that it may achieve a positive outcome come with the least amount of personal and collateral damage.
 
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