5 Signs You Are Having A Narcissistic Sibling

What Is It Like To Have A Narcissistic Sibling ?

I have written lots on what it is like to be a child, lover or work colleague of someone who has NPD, but what is it like being a brother or sister ? Every behaviour a narcissist commonly displays in the wider world: a need for attention, fragile ego, raging and manipulation, are all there but up close, loud and very personal. During childhood, it is very difficult to escape the effects of a narcissistic sibling but as an adult some distance may be achieved, but that comes at a price, a broken, disjointed family and difficult family gatherings.

Joe and Bob are now in their 70’s but Bob remembers with pain what it’s like to have an older brother who is a narcissist. At every family gathering, Joe likes to hold court and when everyone has a drink in their hands he dominates the conversation tells the same stories over again. How the young Robbie, as he was known in the family wet his trousers at school and the older Joe had to take him home; how he would have to communicate for Robbie who was a late talker and who had a speech impediment and how he and the rest of the family never thought he would ever marry, let alone have two lovely daughters one of whom became a doctor and the other a librarian. Jo would never let anyone change the subject when he was “on a roll” and would completely ignore any attempt to but in until he had completely embarrassed his younger brother who was taller, better looking and smarter.

This ritual had been enacted many times over and will probably continue until one of them dies. Quiet by nature, Bob would never challenge his brother in such gatherings nor let on how much it hurt. At home however he like to smile and tell the story of 7-year-old Joe, some two years older than, walking along the riverbank, boasting of how he could swim. After several days of this Bob had had enough and pushed Joe in saying “Let’s see how you do it then !”Joe, who could not swim, nearly drowned and a neighbour heard his cries and pulled him out. Bob said the good hiding he got was worth it…

The problem is for a sibling of a narcissist, there is no escape and the sibling may never realise that the problems they have experienced in their lives are not of their own making but that of their sibling and possibly their parents too. So what are the signs that your sibling is a narcissist ?

1. You must hide your successes

It is normal to want to share any success with your family. Passing an exam with a good grade, being picked for a team, orchestra or college production are all normal things to be proud of. But if you are the sibling of a narcissist, you dare not share. Your sibling will rage against you, belittling your achievement in comparison to something of his own. In some cases, the narcissistic sibling may even steal or damage any award but do it in such a sneaky way that their crime is undetectable to anyone but you.

2. They tell your parents (and anyone else) about every mistake you make

For example if you were at the same school and you sibling noticed that you were reprimanded for a bad behaviour not serious enough for home contact, the sibling would let parents know and even helpfully suggest an appropriate sanction. Similarly, if you went about with undesirable people, kissed a girl, did anything embarrassing, your parents would find out and you would never be allowed to forget it. In the same circumstances you probably said nothing, or if you did, you would be labelled as a tale tell or petty. There would be no way of winning this battle.

3. They steal your friends or your girl/boy friend

A narcissistic sibling would not be able to allow you to have independent friends or leave you alone when your friends called around. In fact, an older narcissist would design the pretend game, cast himself in the lead role and make up all the rules. In team sports, he or his team would have to win. If the narcissistic sibling was older one of two things might happen. Friends would either look up to him and perhaps swap allegiances or, more likely stop coming around because he cramped their style. Parents may be manipulated to order you to include your brother or sister with your friends

In later years, your narcissistic sibling might try to steal your love interest. This could be by playing a seemingly innocent gooseberry, just happening to be around and join in. Or more malevolently, undermine you in their eyes and then do something noble to try to gain favour. Once again, criticising a sibling for their seemingly innocent behaviour could seem churlish.

4. They are overly competitive

They will challenge you to feats to prove who is stronger, better or smarter, but only if they have a clear advantage. For example, challenging you to a feat of physical endurance whilst you are recovering from a bout of lurgy. At another occasion, they might train furiously behind the scenes to ensure victory.

In a test of intelligence or ability, they will frankly cheat!
In terms of family love, they will out manoeuvre you at every turn. Even if you are seriously ill, they will manage somehow to be needier than you, either via a competing illness or making your parent choose between you.

5. You have been their stooge or the but of their jokes

Like Joe and Bob, they will use every bit of knowledge they have, to make you look small. Nothing will be kept private if it can earn them attention and feed their narcissistic supply.

Indeed, we have already established that a narcissist needs their supply – adulation, attention, compliments, devotion or even the fear of what they may do. Siblings are a ke6y source of narcissistic supply, during childhood at least. This is especially so if they are older than you.

It is important that you recover as you grow. You may need some counselling to help you realise the degree of abuse you may have suffered. Put a distance between you, preferably physically, but if circumstances don’t allow it, cast yourself free emotionally. Practicing any mindfulness technique which works for you but seeking treatment, where necessary for the trauma of your childhood.

About Alexander Burgemeester

10 Responses to “5 Signs You Are Having A Narcissistic Sibling”

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  1. Elisa says:

    My sister fits the majority of the above categories.

    It is weired, in that my whole family is geared towards normalizing her behaviour. I am (one of) the scapegoats, and tend to be seen as “guilty until (through near-miracle proportion strength) proven innocent”.

    As I get older and have psychologically been able to get more free from them, I realize how unhealthy they are. And above all, how goddamned BITCHY.

    I am just sick of it.

    And I am sick of having such pressure from all of them for me to be upstanding, whilst they all band together and make excuses for their own AWFUL behaviours and attitutes.

    And it fucks with your head: because they are a GROUP and they are one’s FAMILY.

    I f*****g hate them.

    • Neb says:

      OMG it feels so good not being alone in this. My family are the same, and from an outside perspective they’re batshit crazy and enable one another. I also wondered why I was the only to develop anxieties about it, but it’s because they’re narcissists and sociopaths. My mother goes ape s**t and threatens to kill me over the little things, and my brother convinces cold callers to kill themselves, he also cuts the Wi-Fi when he doesn’t get his own way.

    • Cray Tubbe says:

      I understand i am going through the same thing. My sister has abused me so many times and the rest of my family is pretty much dedicated to drinking and gossip so having me as the scapegoat is perfect for them. I have made the difficult decision to move on. I hope that you can move on in peace as well.

    • R says:

      WE ARE NOT ALONE.

      My brother used to ramp up the emotion in the room until my father got his belt. My brother is a monster and looking back on it, my father should have known better than to beat on his sons with a belt.

      I appreciate the part where we see Bob is taller, smarter, and better looking. The more I outpaced my brother, the crueler he became.

      Hang in there fellow survivors!

  2. mj grant says:

    hi everyone,I have to get this out because I had a run in with my ns last nite.I was surprised that my heart did flip-flops when I saw her after about 4 months.Three different times I had to say good-bye to her because she made life unbearable for me.I tried all my life to get along with her but just impossible.She has all the signs that I have read.she is sooo jealous of people who do well.She always tries to bring up painful memories of our parents-both decessed.Or laughing at me as I go by from her window.(we live in small town and she lives in same complex as I do)Now I know for sure that it wasn’t me.thanks for this website.It helps believe me.Have a great day everyone.

  3. Susan Jelleberg says:

    I have been looking for an article like this for awhile. My older sister has had to be in control of everything and everyone. She can’t be not on stage. When we were adults living in the same town I told her I wasn’t going to play the siblings game where the oldest is the one who makes all the decisions. She didn’t talk to me for thee years. I developed clinical depression and anxiety later in life. She ignores that but when I had 2 books published none of my three sibling congraduated me or bought the book. The oldest sister got mad at me because Mom was showing it to everyone even if she was around, taking the attention away from her. She tells have truths where it looks like I’m the bad one. She moved back to the hometown and now has my other siblings not speaking to me. This is going on the third year.Mom knows what is going on with them but refuses to intervene. I moved away. It is now 2. Years since this silent treatment has started. I can’t be around them without having an attack because none of them talk to me or even acknowledge that am there. Last week was a BD party for one. I was in my room working and was not invited to join them for cake. Today everything started to fall in place and I called Mom to tell her I probably will never come back because the house isn’t a safe place for me. She blamed it all on FB and said I was posting things. I have never posting anything on it in reference to the oldest unless she send something first. I told mom I wasn’t friends with them on there and had blocked them. Mom was still trying to find ways to blame all this on me and I said goodbye and hung up. I should mention that in our twenties the older sister did nasty putdowns at me whenthe whole family was there and no one intervened. Seven years later she told me she was jealous because I had nice things and was skinny, -all of which I worked for. So I am going to try to put my life together without all of them. This weekend those that can will be going to my ex-stepdaughter’s wedding. They all have said I was rude to her and our bad relationship was my fault even though the daughter has a felony (I’m to blame for that,) has been in trouble with the law, doing drugs and having a party at my house where the guys were lined up to her bedroom. again, I am in a bad place. I told mom I’m not coming back for a long time, probably never. When my folks pass, I won’t go to the funerals because I have no idea what they will do then. Thinking back, in grade school I had straight As on my report card and Dad gave me $5. She didn’t have the straight As so she was trying to make it sound like there was a mistake. Last year mom said she got mad at mom because mom wouldn’t say she was the most favorite child. I don’t know if that was true but I did she her stomping out of the house and all the way to her own house. I put the oldest as a narcissist towards me. And then there’s my brother who will inherit the family business worth millions with no plans to share any of it with us girls. But my sisters don’t see anything wrong with this. My brother will sell the farm or rent it out once my folks pass as none of his kids want to take over. I have said enough.

    • Nancy says:

      What is so awful about this, and I share this with you, is that the entire family is under the spell of the narcissistic one and has no idea they are so deceived. I am the second of seven and we are now in our 60’s and 50’s and the narcissistic abuse has not been cranked up so high because I am not staying silent when someone insults me or I find they are gossiping about me behind my back.
      Just to share a story or two…years ago my sister did not invite me to her daughter’s confirmation or the party/dinner afterwards although she lives a mile from me and my mother and my one sister were invited. I stopped by the house because my mother had a table for me to borrow in the trunk of her car and I was setting up for my own daughter’s first communion the next day. I didn’t realize the confirmation was at noon, thought it was later in the day and was unloading the table from my mom’s trunk when the sister came up to me all dressed up and asked me if I wanted to stop by later as their was food and the party was larger than she expected. I was in sweat pants and working hard for the next day so had no time and did not want to accept a late last minute guilt driven invitation and politely said no thank you. I told her I was busy setting up and I’d see her tomorrow at my party. She persisted on trying to encourage me to come back later and I continued to say thanks but no. Really, had I been invited with everyone else I would have arranged my day to attend. After repeated begging me to come, motivated only by the imagined questions she thought would be raised by her inlaws or others about why I was not there, I sighed, tried to escape and just go home. I was mortified at having arrived at her house as they were leaving for the church. I realized I shouldn’t be there and was just trying to get the heck out of there when she started her ‘kind’ invitation. I finally was annoyed and said, “You really should have invited me three months ago if you really wanted me here.” So, she burst into tears and ran into the house and told this story to other family members as though I had come over just to ruin my niece’s day and hers. Years later, my mother brought this up to me and said, “well you came to Katie’s confirmation just to ruin it for Carol.” This is classic gas lighting and triangulation. Creating a problem and projecting it onto me. This is just an example of the continuation of the narcissistic abuse I suffered as a teen and 20 something. She had constantly called me names, ridiculed me, refused to acknowledge me at our high school, walked past me in the halls like I was a stranger, all the while forming a best friend relationship with the younger sister I had been so close to in childhood and leaving me out of everything to the point where I wasn’t allowed to walk to school with them (and my mother allowed it, saying, ‘you’re different from them, go make friends of your own.’ So, the younger siblings also followed suit with the insults and social ostracizing of me and it continues to this day. I have the deepest sympathy for you in your family situation. Take comfort from the knowledge you have that by accident of birth you ended up in such a family and look to your friends who value you and love you for the connection and love your family is too broken to share with you. Also be glad you are sensitive enough now to others to never repeat this sort of abuse to another.

    • DreamyJ says:

      Really glad I found this article. The sad truth is my older, only sister is my worst enemy. She’s a nutjob who’s lost in her own little world. She treats me like garbage and only plays nice when she needs something. I’ve often been portrayed as the prettier, nicer “fair child”. Her jealousy issues are horrendous and she’ll stop at nothing to tarnish my reputation. I’ve been struggling for almost 30 years now…I was only 13 when she left me and my mother, who was ill at the time. She ran off to have a love child with her baby daddy even though I was still a child myself! When our mom got really ill, I spent 5 years of hell in “foster care” with this sister, thanks to Child Protective Services. The abuse drove me to suicide, I was uncomfortable in my own skin, and my nerves were fried. When our mom finally recovered, she continued being competitive, walking in my shadow as I got older and regained my self-worth. When I had my first child, she manipulated my mom into babysitting her children instead of assist me after my Maternity Leave. She caused a major fallout between me and our extended family by spreading lies and gossip about me. After a 2-year hiatus, she turned on the crocodile tears in order to “make amends” when I had my second child. Not long after that, she went back to her old ways again. Due to my own hardships, I’ve been walking in her shadow for the past 15 years. Now we’re at odds again after discovering, to my chagrin, that she’s stolen tens of thousands of dollars from me and my mom for the past 6 years! To add insult to the injury, I was subject to mockery and insults, to “justify” these ugly truths.

  4. lisaM says:

    My older brother fits this to a T. All my life he has never been the protective older brother I could confide in or go to advice for, or even just be a friend too. He’s always been very competitive with me ever since I could remember and would tattle tale on me to our mother for minor trivial things when we were kids. I blame my mother for not only the way he has turned out, but for the way he has always been, even since childhood. My mom is very narcissistic herself and I would guess she is either a borderline or has full blown narcissistic personality disorder. He has alway sheen her golden child. Now as an adult my brother has two young children that I am an aunt too. Unfortunately having a relationship with my niece and nephew has been next to impossible unless I put in all of the effort and then some. It is only met with criticism by my brother whom doesn’t get the fact that I put effort into seeing my niece and nephew because of them, not because of him. Even then it has become very hard and I have to be nice and ignore my brothers criticizing comments, trouble making, back stabbing and drama just in order to be their aunt. Weekly I have driven over an hour and a half each way to see my niece and nephew in order to spend time with them. My brother has never once been to my house my entire adult life. If I am 5 minutes late he will whine. If I am 5 minutes early he will make me wait to see my niece and nephew and say they are upstairs playing and cant come down until the correct time scheduled. He has never once called me to chat on the phone unless he needs something concerning our mother. Our family holidays have become a dreaded exhibit that seem to be a pathetic display of whom spends the most money and a competition of whom has the best job, the most money, nicest house, etc. There is a lot of backstabbing and bad talk that goes on afterward that I do not care to partake in. Sadly my brother is someone who is very hard to connect with. It is almost like there is something missing when you talk to him. He is married and him and his wife have a rocky relationship and a lot of debt which is no surprise. He has no real friends. Also its almost as if anything you say to him will be held against you in the court of law. You can say “The sky is blue” or “The weather is nice today” and he will laugh at you and mock you behind your back and lie and say you said “The sky is dreary” or “The weather sucks”. He is one odd dude and I am sad for him and his wife and kids as I could only imagine what being around that dysfunction is like 24/7 as I’ve lived it and thankfully I am not around it anymore other than once weekly in order to see my niece and nephew. His wife who suffered form shyness and social anxiety confided in my a couple of times how my brother has mocked her weight and looks and how unhappy she is. I try not to get involved as I dont want to be the bad guy. Its just a sad situation all around and I blame my mother for creating it.

  5. Maryb says:

    MaryB

    Two sisters who are both narcissistic. They learned this well from both parents. “Golden child” sister is hysterically funny, as she believes herself to be “shy”. She’s one of the most aggressive people I’ve every known. When I wanted to share that I was getting upper mouth implants after having good but crooked teeth, her reply was “Are they all decayed?” She knew they weren’t. She then proceeded to tell me I’d have to be hospitalized for this procedure (like she ever worked in the medical industry). When I told her the procedure is done in a sterile clinic in one day, she, God’s truth, proceeded to tell me I should be hospitalized “As least overnight.” Same sister told me only “two cents on the dollar” goes to the animals when I give my donation every month. Really? How much of her holier than thou money goes to the defense of pedophile priests in the Catholic Church? Haven’t talked to her in six months, won’t answer the calls, done.

    The other sister, who also despises the above sister, probably because they’re so much alike, is 80 years old and in dementia (at least memory wise). I was trying to thank her for taking me to a movie when I was a teenager and she denied this was ever done. Denial, lying, know-it-alls, ew, they both make me sick. Unfortunately, or fortunately sometimes, they’re the only close relatives I have left. Thanks for the opportunity to vent.

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