Narcissists are famous for being self-absorbed and lacking empathy. It’s not unusual for people to wonder if they even have the capacity to love anyone. Siblings are generally very close in a family as they bond with each other over the course of their lives. But what about the siblings of a narcissist? Do narcissists love their siblings?
Siblings are great sources of narcissistic supply to a narcissist. Siblings can provide that steady flow of adoration, but the narcissist manipulates them to get it. The narcissist will also compete with their siblings and smear them to their parents. This treatment usually doesn’t feel like love.
While you can’t know what someone is really feeling in their heart, you can assess whether the way they treat you feels like love. For the siblings of a narcissist, life can be difficult. They are frequently manipulated and smeared, and they may also be the victims of the same abuse the narcissist suffered. Let’s take a look at what the relationship between siblings and a narcissist is like and whether or not it feels like love.
Does a Narcissist Really Love Their Siblings?
You can’t know what someone really feels deep inside, but you can know how they treat you. When we think about love, we associate that with caring, supportive behaviors. We also tend to think that someone who loves us will be honest with us.
These are not the qualities that a narcissist has, and it’s not the way that they treat people. For a narcissist, people are extensions of their own identity. They need them to supply them with the constant flow of adoration known as narcissistic supply.
This is how they are able to support the grandiose ideas they’ve infused onto their false sense of self. To get people to adore them and prop up their self-esteem, they manipulate them. They use lies, gaslighting, triangulation, and other tactics to get people to notice them and see them as superior.
Siblings often take the brunt of this bad behavior in the family. Narcissists will strive to demonstrate their superiority over their siblings. To do that, they will lie and gaslight their brothers and sisters. They may bully their siblings and then tell them it was only a joke, and they may also outright lie to get them in trouble.
They will also use triangulation to play their siblings against each other and against their parents. Their behavior undermines their siblings’ self-esteem and can do lasting damage. Oftentimes, the siblings of narcissists will become codependent as they try to please the various members of their dysfunctional family.
Siblings of narcissists often become extremely shy and introverted after years of damaging treatment from their narcissistic brother or sister. This can lead to self-blaming and avoidant attachment behaviors. In short, the narcissist has several negative effects on the lives of their siblings.
How Does a Narcissist Affect Their Siblings’ Personality?
There are several ways a narcissist can affect the personality of their siblings. Their constant manipulation, arrogance, and need to be in the limelight can have grave detrimental effects on their brothers and sisters.
Here are a couple of ways that siblings can be affected:
They Can Develop Codependency
Codependency is where you disregard your own needs in order to try to please the other people in your life. Codependents are focused on the needs of everyone around them sometimes to the complete exclusion of their own needs.
Codependents tend to enable the bad behaviors of abusive people like narcissists because they help ‘clean up’ any negative effects. For example, they may help their narcissistic sibling hide something they’ve done wrong. They may even take the blame. This pattern of codependency most often continues into their adult relationships.
They are Riddled with Self-Doubt
After years of gaslighting and devaluation from their narcissistic sibling, the brothers and sisters of a narcissist often have cripplingly low self-esteem. This can affect their adult relationships and even their careers.
They may not think they can accomplish tasks associated with certain types of work even though they may want to do that kind of job. They may doubt their abilities in every part of their life which can dramatically affect their happiness.
They Have Difficulty Setting Boundaries
The siblings of a narcissist don’t really know what boundaries are because their narcissistic brother or sister has never recognized them. Because narcissism usually results from abusive parenting styles, these children have also likely suffered from that type of abuse.
This makes them unable to set appropriate boundaries in their personal and professional lives. They don’t know how to say no which can lead to further abuse and manipulation as adults.
They Suffer from Learned Helplessness and Unhealthy Submission
The siblings of a narcissist have learned throughout their lives that they don’t get the recognition and help they need in their family. They feel as if they don’t matter given how their narcissistic sibling, and often their parents, treat them. As nurse Colleen L. Ponce-Enrile states, “They (narcissists) view others as ‘appliances’…or just things to use like ‘tools in a box.’”
The siblings of a narcissist can easily adopt this kind of thinking about themselves. They then take this attitude with them into adulthood, and as a result, they respond to what happens to them with an unhealthy submission. They accept their role as a ‘tool’ to be used by the people around them.
They don’t believe any relationship will ever be different, and they have given up trying to make things different. They have learned they cannot make a difference because of the way their narcissistic sibling and parents responded to their needs as a child.
Do Siblings of a Narcissist Get Scapegoated?
This is another strategy the narcissist uses with their siblings. Narcissists cannot take responsibility for anything they have done wrong, and they will typically blame other people. In childhood, this means their siblings get the blame for everything.
Since their parents may either enable the narcissist’s behavior or engage in abusive behavior themselves, the sibling of the narcissist has nowhere to turn. They take the blame for whatever happens, and this further diminishes their self-esteem.
It’s a no-win situation for these children. They can’t turn to their parents for any loving resolution of the conflict created by the narcissist. They find themselves drowning in a sea of drama, blame-shifting, and rejection. It’s no wonder it can dramatically impact the rest of their life.
What Can the Siblings of Narcissists Do to Heal?
As you might imagine, the damage done by a narcissist to their siblings is extensive. Moreover, because they have been conditioned to ignore their own needs and the abuse they’ve suffered, the siblings of a narcissist may not even recognize their need to heal.
But that’s not all the narcissist has done. Their siblings are accustomed to all the attention being on their narcissistic sibling. They may think of them as the one who needs help, but the truth is that this narcissistic abuse has caused multiple layers of trauma for everyone in the family.
To truly heal, it usually requires help from a qualified professional therapist, and it can also mean years of intensive therapy. The goal is for siblings affected by narcissistic abuse to regain a sense of self-worth and adopt more healthy coping strategies so they might live a fulfilling life.
The path to healing your narcissistic abuse is a long one, but it will bring you a much happier, more fulfilling life. Healing is possible and worth the time, however, as siblings are truly the innocent victims of a dysfunctional family system.
Narcissists don’t treat their siblings as if they love them no matter what they might really feel. They lie, triangulate, and gaslight their siblings on a regular basis. Their abuse causes their siblings to have problems for the rest of their life with low self-esteem, codependency, and other often lifelong problems. Help is possible, but the first step is recognizing that they have also been damaged by their narcissistic sibling’s behavior.
My 5 Step Roadmap to Heal Emotional Triggers can help the siblings of a narcissist to heal emotional triggers and stop that emotional abuse. The roadmap will help you get your own emotions under your own control so they won’t be so easily manipulated. To start this healing today, just click on this link, and I’ll send a free copy directly to your inbox.
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