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Sister with issues

Hey RO

My 16 year old sister has serious mental health issues and has gone to hospital multiple times to be treated. While her condition is more serious, I know what it's like to have serious depression.
However, I find it really hard to sympathise with her. She's extremely self-centred and her personality seems to be border on narcissism. She displays "princess" behaviour and seems to think that everyone around her is below her and that she's the smartest person in the world and constantly think she's in the right and that everything bad is the product of other people (She seems to think she knows more than her psychiatrist). She is quite disrespectful to my parents, which I hate watching, and has frequently says "I didn't choose to be born," which seems to be her completely disregarding all that my parents have done for her (They have gone into serious debt through hospital bills, new schools and holidays).
She likes to brag about her abilities to manipulate people and sees no fault in doing so or others doing so, and I have seen her manipulate people, including my parents.
Sometimes I want to just scream at her and tell her to grow up and get over herself and sometimes I just can't be in the same room as her. Even small things like demanding someone bring her a towel that is less then two metres away because she'll get cold can make me seethe.

While I understand that she has serious mental problems and that may have some effects on her personality, a lot of this had existed for a while and I cannot stand narcissistic behaviour. I just can't feel anything good about someone who thinks that everything they say, however misinformed, is gospel. I just don't see how I can feel compassion for someone whose personality I despise. She can be nice and I have seen her and its lovely, but most of the time I wish I could just scream at her to shut up.

What can I do RO? Am I a bad person for feeling like this? I just can't wrangle any sympathy together and find it hard to remain patient.


Re: Sister with issues

Hey @drhalloween, thanks for jumping on ReachOut and sharing your story Smiley Happy  I am sure someone out there will connect with this journey.


First off this is such a challenging situation, and must be quite tiring at times. You're obviously super caring and have noted that you're aware mental health conditions are hard, it sounds like you have dealt with some mental health symptoms yourself? I definitely think it's ok to struggle to have sympathy for loved ones at times, it's a very normal emotion from my own experience. 


I certainly do not think you are a bad person at all! Sometimes we can become very fatigued by our brothers and sisters, especially when it's shifting our parents attention away as well. Do you sometimes feel being resilient drains you a bit?


I am just wondering have you spoken to your parents or a peer about how much the situation is hurting you? How do you think that conversation would go?


Re: Sister with issues

You aren't alone in this @drhalloween. I can completely sympathise with what you're feeling. My brother, while not as serious as your sister, has sufferred from some mental health issues and is incredibly selfish. You're not a bad person for feeling this way. It can be difficult living with someone who struggled with mental health issues but you don't have to step around them and do whatever they ask, that is not your job.

Do you think talking to your parents is something that you could try?

Re: Sister with issues

@drhalloween I can really sympathise where you are coming from. Your sister sounds a lot like my older brother, although my brother hasnt been diagnosed with a mental illness because he is too stubborn to go to a doctor.


It is extremely difficult to be around a person whose personality and values are so different from yours, it can be extremely challanging and also make you feel like the bad person in the situation.


I will be completely honest with you, I have been trying for years to try and relate or understand my brothers behaviour but I still have not come up with a solution.


I realise that my answer really hasnt helped you at all but maybe just knowing that you arent going through the struggle alone may help.


If you ever need to talk or vent and get stuff off of your chest I am always hear to listen (look) as I partly understand what you are going through


Re: Sister with issues


How are you feeling today @drhalloween?




Re: Sister with issues

Hey @drhalloween I totally feel where you're coming from. My relationship with my sister sounds spookily similar to yours. Eventually I had to get help from a counsellor which was tough but so worth it. So you might consider that to be an option for you.



I believe it's important to help others where you can, but that it's really important that you take care of yourself too. 


You might find it helpful to think about your boundaries with her and whether they need some boosting up.


Are you giving yourself space to process your emotions?

Are you giving yourself breaks when you need them?

Do you ever talk about your feelings towards your sister with anyone IRL?


No matter how tough things get, try not to be any tougher on yourself. Mental illness is a factor that both you and your sister have to battle with and that makes the game of life harder to play at times.