Author Topic: How to handle a tricky romance situation with my sister?  (Read 5786 times)

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EMuir

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Re: How to handle a tricky romance situation with my sister?
« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2013, 09:17:51 PM »
I actually agree with Ellen.  I have a sibling who I'm sure is a textbook sociopath.  They got the direct cut because being able to diagnose their behavior doesn't mean it's less hurtful.  Even if the OP's sister was loving and perfect, there's pretty much no way to convince someone that their boyfriend isn't good for them.

Nemesis

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Re: How to handle a tricky romance situation with my sister?
« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2013, 09:19:49 PM »
Dear OP
I am afraid to have to agree with other posters and say that you sister has to face the consequences of her decisions. There is nothing you cn do.

You see, I have the same sister. Her rages are out of control, and my life has been peaceful since she moved to London, far far away from me. Borderline personality means she can be so charming when she wants, and then suddenly turn around and rage on you, blaming everything wrong in her life on you.

 You KNOW what will happen if someone talks to Grace. She will rage. WHO ARE YOU TO TELL ME WHAT TO DO? Followed by YOU THINK YOUR LIFE IS SO GOOD, AND YOU DARE TO JUDGE ME??! and besides, it will have the opposite effect. She will insist on sticking to him "just to show you". Her stupid pride won't allow her to break up with him because then,you'll be right and she'll be wrong.

Do nothing. You know fully well that it will go sour on its own. Beatrice will do what she needs to do. Grace will survive. She will rage, but she will survive. And just emotionally prepare yourself for that depressed, panic attack, suicidal phone call. Or the raging phone call on how Beatrice betrayed her. Whichever comes first.

reflection5

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Re: How to handle a tricky romance situation with my sister?
« Reply #17 on: April 20, 2013, 09:36:47 PM »
EllenS - awesome post.   ;)

"Triangulating" - great word.  I've had some triangulators  >:( in my life, and, well, suffice to say they are no longer in my life (even though a couple are related to me).

Kendo_Bunny

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Re: How to handle a tricky romance situation with my sister?
« Reply #18 on: April 20, 2013, 09:45:40 PM »
EllenS - awesome post.   ;)

"Triangulating" - great word.  I've had some triangulators  >:( in my life, and, well, suffice to say they are no longer in my life (even though a couple are related to me).

Is it really gossip to check a reliable source when you know for a fact the primary source is unreliable? I didn't want a dishy scoop on how awful the guy was - I wanted to find out if my mentally ill sister was being taken advantage of by yet another creep who preys on emotionally vulnerable, mentally ill women. It looks like the answer is yes. She has gotten into some SERIOUSLY bad, and at times, dangerous situations because she can not distinguish these predators.

I know I can't say anything directly to her, because she will take it as a challenge. So I am trying to figure out how to be politely discreet about the information I received from Beatrice (whose arrangement is not fraudulent - her company offered it, though she is quite open about her relationship with Grace being completely platonic. They discussed it with her and went ahead anyway), while keeping my eyes open.

Nemesis

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Re: How to handle a tricky romance situation with my sister?
« Reply #19 on: April 20, 2013, 10:00:07 PM »
Honestly, I disagreed slightly with EllenS's post.

I don't think there is anything wrong with calling Beatrice for the objective side of the story.

I have done it myself. I used to be good friends with my sister's friend when she was living in Adelaide, and would call him up or email him to ask how she was. It wasn't gossip to me. My sister had problems, serious mental and personality problems. She wasn't going to ever tell me the truth. I was either getting phone calls about how wonderful life was (these calls are rare), or more often raging mad, panic attack, crying depressed, or drunk suicidal phone calls. Her side of the story is normally an insane mess on how awful everyone is, how crazy people around her are etc etc.

Calling her friend gave me peace of mind. At least I had an objective view on what was really going n. it helped me, emotionally, to deal with her. In some ways, I really wish I have a friend like that in London as well. But now that I have my own family, I have taken a backseat and let my parents deal with her.

Some people ask why don't we just walk away. She is an adult and can deal with this mess herself. Te answer is that she is my sister, and she will be all alone if we do. And that will probably send her into a spiral of destruction. We cannot bear to see that happen to someone we love. We try to protect them, or at least cushion their fall. Getting a raging phone call is still better an receiving one from the police or morgue.

reflection5

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Re: How to handle a tricky romance situation with my sister?
« Reply #20 on: April 20, 2013, 10:04:24 PM »
Quote
Is it really gossip

Well, *I* didn't say it was gossip.  Semantics aside, and regardless of the justification, such tactics (checking up on me and discussing my personal business with a third party behind my back) don't sit well with me.

Kendo_Bunny

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Re: How to handle a tricky romance situation with my sister?
« Reply #21 on: April 20, 2013, 11:08:34 PM »
Quote
Is it really gossip

Well, *I* didn't say it was gossip.  Semantics aside, and regardless of the justification, such tactics (checking up on me and discussing my personal business with a third party behind my back) don't sit well with me.

Presumably you're not very mentally ill and what you say can be trusted without getting a second opinion on certain matters.

reflection5

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Re: How to handle a tricky romance situation with my sister?
« Reply #22 on: April 20, 2013, 11:20:44 PM »
Opinions (about my mental health and trustworthiness) possibly differ.  Doesn't matter. 

Kendo_Bunny

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Re: How to handle a tricky romance situation with my sister?
« Reply #23 on: April 20, 2013, 11:54:52 PM »
This isn't an opinion. It is diagnosed medical fact. I know I can't make you understand what it's like living with a loved one who doesn't always live in reality, especially one who has a history of falling for people who use that to emotionally abuse her. You do what you can. I can't force her to see her therapist or to take her medication, nor can I force her not to see a creep, but I can start preparing myself for the inevitable fallout. I can tell our father that she is seeing a creep again, so he is not shocked when the weeping, suicidal calls start coming at 3 AM. I was able to tell our father that she has stopped seeing her therapist and taking her medication only because Beatrice alerted me to this fact: Grace has been making it out that she has been doing both.

EllenS

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Re: How to handle a tricky romance situation with my sister?
« Reply #24 on: April 21, 2013, 12:31:21 AM »
Kendo, I'm really sorry your sister becomes suicidal, that must be terrible to deal with.  That was not in your original post, so it sounded to me that what you were mostly worried about was her raging at you.  If you make your decisions based on fear of her moods, then she is controlling you and you need to take care of yourself.

I did not accuse you of gossiping.  Triangulating is a dysfunctional group/family dynamic where people try to solve the issues of a "problem" family member by teaming up behind their back to share information and strategies for "managing" the problem person.  It is not healthy and does not work - because nobody can solve someone else's issues.

None of this is about your sister being a bad person - my point was that you are trying to control things that you cannot control.  No matter how much information you get about the boyfriend, you cannot make your sister do what is good for her, all you can do is what is good for you.  If she is so very ill, trying to walk on eggshells to fake an "effusive" or otherwise acceptable reaction to avoid setting her off, is just going to wear you down with an impossible task.

As far as your original question, I am not even sure what you want to do.  Just conceal that you were talking to her friend? Please her in some way by faking enthusiasm for the boyfriend?  I don't know how to help on that.  I would just advise you to be as neutral as possible and listen to her.  And please, do take good care of yourself and get support.  Dealing with a severely ill relative - no matter what the illness - is draining and a good reason to get counselling to keep yourself healthy.

Kendo_Bunny

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Re: How to handle a tricky romance situation with my sister?
« Reply #25 on: April 21, 2013, 01:06:54 AM »
I see a therapist for my own issues, many of which stem from the abuse that my sister put me through as a child. I am just trying to get through the smiling and nodding bit for now - I am not going to hide that I've talked to Beatrice, as Grace knows that Beatrice is not a fan of New Man. For right now, I know it wouldn't help if I said "Well, Beatrice didn't think he was so wonderful", but I don't know how to be gracious about effusive praise from my sister, when Beatrice is telling me the exact opposite.

We know we can't control a single thing she does, but we do need to keep informed. I didn't know that Grace had dropped all psych care, nor did my father, but we know now. She has recently been running up huge bills - I have not yet asked Beatrice what that's about, because Grace simply asked our father for what was left of her college fund, but our father is extremely worried about her, especially now that he knows she is not seeing any therapist or taking any medication. I know I can't ask Grace, because I won't get a straight or an honest answer. Grace knows that Beatrice and I are friends in our own right, so she knows we talk sometimes.

Beatrice also recently thanked me for giving her a place to vent about Grace, because dealing with Grace can be so draining. You don't want to get too angry with her when she's being monstrously insensitive, or refusing point blank to deal with facts, or doing dangerous or downright stupid things (especially because she's really an incredibly intelligent person), because you know she can't help it to some extent, but sometimes steam needs to be blown off. I'm Beatrice's best valve, because I understand Grace as well as she does, and I know what living with her is like, though Grace has never beaten Beatrice.

*inviteseller

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Re: How to handle a tricky romance situation with my sister?
« Reply #26 on: April 21, 2013, 01:57:41 AM »
Kendo, I personally thank you and Beatrice, while frustrated are the best things to ever happen to your sister.  It is easy to walk away from people when they can't/won't control their illness, and I understand why people do, but I admire those who, no matter how many times you say "this is it, I quit"  still stick in there.  I think all you can do is prepare yourself for the inevitable fall when it happens.  ((((Hugs)))))))))  to you, your sister, your dd, and Beatrice.  I am rowing that boat next to you and know how frustrating it is.


eta it was late and I lost my ability to type
« Last Edit: April 21, 2013, 10:52:12 AM by *inviteseller »

Shortylicious

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Re: How to handle a tricky romance situation with my sister?
« Reply #27 on: April 21, 2013, 08:06:13 AM »
If you are concerned about talking to your sister about the information you learned from Beatrice can you visit with her and meet this guy face to face? Then you can address your concerns based on what you saw.
On an aside, I have to say that this Beatrice sounds like a very good person. I don't think I could ever be as patient and loyal as she. Your sister is very very lucky to have her in her life.

Shortylicious

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Re: How to handle a tricky romance situation with my sister?
« Reply #28 on: April 21, 2013, 08:10:41 AM »
Oh- sorry. Just reread your post and saw you are 800 miles away. At first I read 80. So I guess a visit anytime soon won't work.
Instead of focusing on the guy, can you focus on how your sister's behavior has changed? Is there anything first hand that your sister has told you that sends up red flags? I would hesitate to confront her with any second hand info you've obtained and would really try to get the info from her with strategic questions. She likes to talk about herself so see what you can get from her. Think about what kind of info you want to get and create leading questions to try to draw out the info. Then you could follow up with 'I've heard you say a,b,c and I'm concerned. Let's talk".
Good luck!

Dragonflymom

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Re: How to handle a tricky romance situation with my sister?
« Reply #29 on: April 21, 2013, 11:51:33 AM »
Something to consider as you are dealing with this is most borderlines, sociopaths, and narcissists will not seek the help they need for themselves until their actions give them enough consequences.  Even then it's iffy as to whether they will seek lasting help or not, and few will.  I work with survivors who have been abused by these disordered individuals, and many get trapped into feeling that they can somehow "fix" their disordered loved ones if they do "enough".  It's an easy trap to fall into, especially with the feeling of family obligation thrown into the mix.  It may actually be best for her in the long term, and push her to seek the help she desperately needs, if you can detach yourself a little from the feeling of needing to fix her and her relationships.

Best of luck to you, this is a tough situation.

This is an article that may give you some insights on what is going on with the men that your sister seeks out http://saferelationshipsmagazine.com/mutual-pathology-gasoline-and-fire-2

As far as the etiquette of this situation is concerned, you don't need to feign enthusiasm or tons of interest about your sister's new relationship in order to be polite.  You don't even need to get sucked into listening supportively to tons of angst all the time.  Etiquette likely requires that you avoid lecturing her about her choices, and avoid active hostility towards this guy if you meet him, but as long as you can remain polite and composed when dealing with him or discussing him with your sister, you are fine.
"By swallowing evil goats unsaid, no one has ever harmed his stomach"  Winston Churchill