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Seeking help for my own wellbeing as family member of someone who has BPD

Hi, I have an older sister who for at least two decades is volatile, up and down, switches between 5 personalities in 1 day, extremely aggressive, and recently confessed she thinks she has Borderline personality disorder. I find it extremely stressful and am the main person she does this to besides boyfriends.
She picks fights and sends us round and around in circles, never apologising or resolving anything. It’s as though she gets satisfaction out of fighting with me but no one believes me. She works herself up into tears or rage and I have had to call the police on her twice. When confronted she picks me apart and tries to make me apologise for things instead. She also lies. But the thing that bothers me the most is that she then goes around telling my family that it’s me with the problem and so no matter the distress she causes me, I too have to answer to everyone when all I do is try to reason with her or make her leave me alone.
I know it’s a loaded word and maybe not socially accepted anymore but for lack of a better word I guess it could be said that I am a ‘victim’ of her BPD.
It resonates in me as abuse, I feel like my personal space, feelings, mind and reputation are being violated. It puts me off eating or sleeping. I have sort out psychologists help just to deal with the anxiety she causes me. She refuses to get help for being the perpetrator and instead reads self help books. At this stage she is 36.
Trying to tell my family what she’s like is like trying to explain that the sky is blue to people who are colour blind. It’s the most frustrating and unfair experience.
What do I do?
Please help. All I can conclude at this stage is to never speak with her again, but that will just make me look like the bad guy which is exactly what she wants.
I don’t deserve any of this, I’ve never deserved it. How do I fix it? Particularly my reputation which she destroys with lies. I feel so let down by my family for not helping. They don’t get it. I don’t know what to do.

6 REPLIES 6

Re: Seeking help for my own wellbeing as family member of someone who has BPD

Hi @familymember

Sorry to read of your painful situation. I have experienced similar with a nasty family member who also could never admit fault and it was everyone else's fault except her own. The need to protect our own mental health in such a volatile situation is first and foremost and moving away from such toxic relationships is the only way.

I wouldn't be concerned what other members of the family think at this stage as they are not believing or respecting your concerns - I would be immediately concerned with preventing any more damage to my own mental health as no one else is going to intervene. You have done all you can for your sister at your own peril - it's now time for her to seek help elsewhere to help herself. Once you move away and your sister has no one to blame - her bad unstable behaviour will become more apparent to your family. Focus on self compassion for now - nurturing and healing yourself 😊

Re: Seeking help for my own wellbeing as family member of someone who has BPD

Hi -Enigma- thank you for your support and wise advice. You are right, I am worrying about what they think but the most important thing is my own well being and I should distance myself from her. I have done it before for almost a year but thought she was getting better as she bought a pet which shed never ever done before and was a step in the right direction for self nurture. Unfortunately, though she has made some small improvements she obviously cannot stop the insanity in her mind of me and boyfriends being the bad guys when all we do is try to make her treat us better.
But it’s not my priority anymore.
How did things turn out with the person you had similar troubles with? I hope you are ok and not still having to deal with them too much.

Re: Seeking help for my own wellbeing as family member of someone who has BPD

@Former-Member ^

Re: Seeking help for my own wellbeing as family member of someone who has BPD

Hi @familymember

Your welcome. Glad to read that you are choosing to protect your own mental health and well being as the priority. Wise. 

To answer your question - We cut ties permanently with the person myself and husband had similar problems with (his sister, and I treated her like my own sister). She had turned on us so many times for many years - the last time she crossed the line and we both decided for our own welfare "no more". She tried to get back into our lives but we stood firm for our own protection. We don't need that in our lives, we had enough to battle as it was. I will explain this more below.

In our sister's case, she was/is a toxic nasty person that made her unstable...her mother was always telling her to stop talking bad about people and being nasty. She kept her inline abit before she passed away. She got worse after that as no one kept her inline. Everyone stood back to keep the peace and protect themselves from becoming a target (sounds like your family may be doing the same?).

 She could never admit fault at all. That is the problem. She blamed everyone else for her own shortcomings and "anger" - she was always the victim according to her even though it was her own actions and words that caused the upset between those she was closest too. Being in such chosen denial she could never admit the reality that her actions were to blame for pushing others away as she was not humble enough, and it also made her feel better about herself to blame others (she felt inferior to them and wanted to bring them down); so would not ever admit she was the cause of her own pain and instability in the end. Her own husband told her this and she then blamed him! 

There is no getting through to someone like that. And they will never grow as individuals but stay stuck until they can admit and work on their own weaknesses and bad choices. The latter is the problem why some never change or heal whether others make progress. Choices. My SIL will never admit fault for the above reasons and will never change. So She remains too toxic to go near. She has been like this according to my husband all her life and he has had enough for this lifetime (and my husband is an angel !). 

In my lived experienced I have learned that we can't blame everything on mental illness which does create stigma - otherwise all mentally ill people would be the same:- abusive and nasty - and I can say without doubt they are not. We are all indivudals making individual choices and are different...mood swings can be controlled (I have a mood disorder - bi-polar, my daughter same through genetics together with the added diagnosis of borderline personality disorder - and she can control herself now because she has learned to respect us and others more and deal with her depression and anger issues better ).  That never use to be the case - we put our foot down with her. Then she realised what she had done, what she was losing and apologised, tried harder, and started respecting us. Her own mental health has vastly improved as a result. We are now closer than ever. The latter is what can make the difference between sustaining relationships when ill. 

 We are now also much happier without the constant attacks, put downs and being demeaned by the SIL that we put up with for years. I wish you and your boyfriend much happiness and peace together. The latter is priceless in today's hectic and sometimes cruel world.

 

 

Re: Seeking help for my own wellbeing as family member of someone who has BPD

@Former-Member I'm sorry to hear about what you've gone through with your SIL. It sounds like you guys have made the best decision in cutting all ties and I commend you for taking such a brave and necessary step. I feel that is the path I am now too.
My family are all a bit naive with the importance of setting boundaries, they just want everyone to get along and demand that forgiveness fix the issue, but they don't understand the issue, they don't get that it's not an issue about forgiveness it's about mental health and forgiving her doesn't stop her.

"There is no getting through to someone like that. And they will never grow as individuals but stay stuck until they can admit and work on their own weaknesses and bad choices."

- such true words.

I understand not all issues are the same and you're right, not everyone is nasty or so destructive.
It is very refreshing just to see someone else understand what I'm going through and say what you have said. You are literally the only person who's ever known what I'm talking about with her besides a friend of mine who can't stand her, though he thinks she's just mean, I don't think he attributes it to a health issue, but he at least admits that something is not right. Other than that, I've had no support in the world for 30 years.

Anyway, bless you and thank you again

Re: Seeking help for my own wellbeing as family member of someone who has BPD

I am hoping you you migth see my reply, I feel very strong about the feelings you have explained about your sister.
If i could copy and paste most of what you said i would insert my name where ever yours is.
My sister has been diagnosesd recently and does not acknowledge her actions before the diagosis.

My heart breaks for you, as mine does.

I will continue to read more of your posts.

From one sufferer to another, i feel your pain.  

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