Narcissists aren’t just parents and children; they’re siblings too. As such, they can undermine the integrity of the family unit and destroy relationships between other siblings and between children and their parents. A narcissistic sister can create chaos between you and other family members.
She can also erode your self-confidence and make you doubt your own intuition. What’s more, she can ruin your relationships with your friends, and the damage she causes can have lifelong effects. So how can you protect yourself from a narcissistic sister?
As with any other narcissist, you start with maintaining solid boundaries, but it’s also important to boost your own self-confidence. Avoid using labels, and don’t justify your actions or argue with her. Focus on making the best choices for yourself, and if necessary, seek out professional therapy.
As someone with a narcissistic mother, I understand how profoundly disappointing it can be when such a close relationship doesn’t measure up to cultural expectations. Like the mother-daughter bond, our culture views the bond with a sister as a loving, lifelong friendship.
Your sister is supposed to be someone to whom you can turn in times of crisis. But a narcissistic sister is little more than a fount of toxicity. She can’t focus on your problems or offer empathy, and she will ultimately shift the focus back to her life, which is truly where her focus lies. It’s valuable to understand how she behaves so that you can develop the best strategies to protect yourself from her venom.
What are the Characteristics of a Narcissistic Sister?
A narcissistic sister has many qualities that help you identify her as a toxic sibling. These ultimately derive from the fact that, for various reasons, she was never able to develop a healthy sense of self.
She instead constructed a false sense of self to interact with the world around her, but it’s not capable of supporting the grandiose egoic ideals she created. She needs other people to do that, and she has learned to manipulate the people around her to get them to comply.
Because she lives in constant fear that her flawed true self will be exposed, she is hypervigilant for anything that might be a threat, and she must focus all of her attention on her own needs. This situation generates a number of character traits that are designed to get her the narcissistic supply she needs and protect her true self from exposure. Here are some of those character traits.
A narcissistic sister will always need to be the center of attention. Narcissists hate being ignored, as the video below explains in great detail.
Your sister needs to show everyone how superior she is so that they will feed her the adulation she craves.
“Have you ever been in a relationship with an individual who demands your attention incessantly and becomes depressed, sulky, and even full of rage if your attention goes elsewhere? This is one of the earliest warning signs of a narcissist.”
— Melanie Tonia Evans, Narcissism Recovery Expert
If a moment comes when it’s your turn to be in the spotlight, she will develop some medical problem or some other reason why the attention needs to be on her. You’ll also likely notice significantly increased anxiety prior to any events focused on you.
Narcissists don’t like it when someone else is in the spotlight. They feel as if it is taking something away from them for the spotlight to be on someone else in the family. There are even some narcissists who will go to extremes to get attention back.
Sees Herself as More Important
Your narcissistic sister quite simply feels as though she is more important than you are in the family. The nature of the disorder is such that she feels superior, and that includes in comparison to her siblings.
She sees her needs as being more important and urgent than yours. She also feels that way about what she deserves to get out of life. In her mind, everything she needs and wants takes priority over what you need and want.
Because of this, she will do almost anything to draw attention from your parents and other siblings away from you and onto her. She’ll do the same with other family members as well, and she’ll employ various manipulation techniques to get her way.
The way she expresses this may come in the form of jokes about how she is better at a particular sport than you are and how she is more intelligent. To prove her point, she will turn everything into a competition and brag incessantly if she wins.
She Feels Entitled
Because she has painted herself as the superior sibling, she feels she deserves the best of everything. That includes all of your parents’ attention, a better job, a better family, and so on. She may even decide to fight you for a bigger share of any inheritance your parents might leave to you.
When you were young, this behavior may have manifested in the form of her taking something you had already picked out for yourself. If you challenged her, she likely threw a fit until she got her way. Now that you’re older, she demonstrates her entitlement in different ways.
She monopolizes the conversation, so everyone will see she is superior, and no matter what you’re talking about, she will find a way to pull the conversation back to something about her.
It’s not unusual for siblings of a narcissistic sister to buy into the idea that the narcissist deserves more. You might, for example, start to feel as though you do somehow owe her something. Of course, she will exploit that kind of thinking.
The reality is you don’t owe her anything, but she has been effectively grooming you your entire life to believe that she is superior. It’s not surprising that you might accept that idea as true.
She is a Pathological Liar
Like any narcissist, your narcissistic sister is a pathological liar. She will lie about anything and everything as she seeks to manipulate and control you and other people in her life.
Narcissists are focused on one objective, which is to get the narcissistic supply they need to feel good about themselves and protect their true self from being exposed to the world. They have very little in the way of a moral compass to guide them.
They don’t have the capacity for any kind of healthy empathy, so they don’t understand how their actions affect other people. They are solely focused on getting their needs met, no matter what they need to do to achieve that end.
They also like to create drama, and they will make things up just to get a reaction out of the people around them. They will tell lies to sow the seeds of distrust between you and other family members. It can be a very effective technique for them to use.
She is Jealous of You
Research conducted by a psychologist at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands found that jealousy is linked to attachment style. Specifically, people with anxious or avoidant attachment styles are more jealous than those with a secure attachment style.
Narcissists have anxious or avoidant attachment styles, and they are often exceptionally jealous. Narcissistic siblings are no exception to this pattern. If you achieve something, it threatens to take the spotlight off of them. That’s when they can show you just how jealous they are.
|Signs Your Narcissistic Sister is Jealous of You…|
She Changes Her Behavior Around Different People
Narcissists are chameleons. They change their behavior around different people as a form of manipulation. Your narcissistic sister might, for example, be sugary sweet to your parents but a veritable demon when the two of you are alone.
This is particularly true when she’s trying to paint the picture that you are the one who has a problem or who is jealous of her. Narcissists learn early in life how to manipulate people to get what they want, and they will use any tactic they can to paint themselves as a victim.
The empathy they can get from other people is a form of narcissistic supply that boosts their ego. They also play the long game. They realize that if they can portray themselves in a certain light, it can help them later when they need something specific.
If your sister can convince your parents that you are the manipulative one, that may play in her favor when it comes time to ask for her own room. Narcissists are always thinking ahead to ensure they will have a secure flow of narcissistic supply and get everything they believe they are entitled to have.
She Tries to Alienate You with Triangulation
One of the favorite tactics of a narcissist is something called triangulation. This is a particularly destructive form of manipulation. It can completely destroy what would have been otherwise very close relationships.
Triangulation is when the narcissist tells one person one thing and another something entirely different. The goal is to sow mistrust and make you doubt your other family members and friends. It’s a great way to create drama in a family, and it makes the narcissist feel powerful to know they were able to disrupt those relationships.
“Triangulation is the way the narcissist maintains control and keeps you in check – you’re so busy competing for his or her attention that you’re less likely to be focusing on the red flags within the relationship or looking for ways to get out of the relationship.”
— Shahida Arabi, Psychologist, Sociologist, and Author
The result of triangulation can be the complete destruction of the family dynamic. Once trust between family members is destroyed, it’s extremely difficult to get it back.
She Doesn’t Respect Your Feelings
The narcissist is solely focused on her own agenda, and she is unable to consider or empathize with your feelings. In fact, she has little interest in hearing about them.
If you begin to talk about yourself or something you’ve gone through recently, she will respond by acting bored or redirecting the conversation to something that’s about her. Moreover, if you express a strong emotion about something, you can be certain your narcissistic sister will note that and use it against you at some point in time.
She is only concerned about your feelings insofar as they can benefit her. She will push your buttons once she knows what gets a rise out of you, and she will use those emotional triggers to manipulate you into doing things she wants you to do.
Without any sort of healthy empathy, a narcissist simply can’t put themselves in your shoes. They can’t understand why you feel a certain way, and they don’t want to understand. They only want to know how they can use that knowledge to their own benefit.
In a healthy sibling relationship, your sister would be respectful of your feelings and care about upsetting you, but a narcissist is not a healthy person. They don’t have the ability to consider how their actions might affect you.
It really has little to do with you and more to do with their need to focus on their own sense of shame and self-loathing. That is what is behind their actions and how they interact with other people.
How Can You Protect Yourself from a Narcissistic Sister?
Although we think of sibling relationships as close, lifelong relationships, the truth is that some siblings are toxic. If you have a narcissistic sister, you have to know what you can do to protect yourself from her manipulation and attempts to control you.
If you don’t take the appropriate actions, she can undermine significant relationships in your life, erode your self-esteem, and prevent you from achieving your full potential. Narcissistic abuse that starts early in life, such as with a sibling, can have lifelong adverse effects on your quality of life.
While your sister may not be as influential as a parent, she’s still someone you’ve spent a lot of your life with, and her actions can affect your own development. So how can you protect yourself from a narcissistic sister? Here are several things you can do to prevent her from manipulating and controlling you.
Don’t Label Her
If you call out your sister as a narcissist, it won’t do any good. The following video explains exactly what kind of a response you can expect when you confront a narcissist with the truth. It will create a rift between the two of you that will prevent any more constructive interactions.
Narcissists don’t have the capacity to self-reflect, so she won’t be able to consider in a meaningful way what you have said. Instead, she will likely use another favorite manipulation tactic, projection.
Projection is where the narcissist accuses you of something of which they are guilty. If you call your sister a narcissist, she will begin insisting it’s you who is narcissistic.
What’s more, because she will be insulted by your accusation, she will see you as her enemy, and once that happens, she won’t stop until she is able to crush you. Narcissists don’t just want to prove their enemies wrong; they want to destroy them.
That’s why calling out her narcissism will just make things worse, not better. Avoid those labels, and you can avoid having them come back to haunt you.
Make Good Choices for Yourself
One of the most important things you have to realize is that you don’t control your sister’s behavior. The only person whose behavior you control is you. Don’t waste your time trying to manipulate or control your sister.
Make good choices for yourself instead. This may mean limiting the amount of time you spend with your sister, and that includes the possibility that you could choose to go no contact with her. That may be the best choice for you.
You can also choose when, how, and about what you will communicate with her. Some topics may be off-limits, and if she persists in trying to bring those up, you can choose to end the conversation or cut off the contact.
Don’t Bother Arguing
There is no reason to argue with a narcissist because they are not interested in resolving the situation. They won’t be able to take any personal responsibility for anything they have done, and they will lay the blame for everything at your feet.
|Arguing with a narcissist is a waste of time…|
• They will talk in circles in order to confuse you,
• They will bring up the past to divert,
• They will interrupt and talk over you,
• They will never be accountable,
• They will talk down to you and insult you,
• They have no interest in resolving anything,
• They don’t care how you feel,
• They will trick you,
• They will flip and turn the conversation until you are being attacked and are on defense,
• They will storm off or stare at you blankly.
– @narcaway, narcissistic abuse survivor
What’s more, when you argue with them, they see that as a weakness. In their mind, you wouldn’t have to argue if your argument was really strong.
Additionally, when you respond by arguing, you let the narcissist know that it matters to you. They will use that against you if they can.
Don’t Justify Your Actions
Trying to justify your actions is similar to arguing with a narcissist. It does no good whatsoever, and they see your need to justify as a form of weakness.
It’s important to realize that when you’re dealing with a narcissistic sister, you’re not dealing with someone who thinks in a logical, healthy way. You’re dealing with someone who sees the world through a severely distorted lens.
That prevents them from interacting with you in a way that will seem logical to you. They don’t think like you because of their personality disorder. When you try to justify your actions, you may think you’re simply explaining why you did something, but to them, you’re admitting that you’re uncertain about whether what you did was the correct thing to do or not.
They will never see it your way, either. So don’t bother with justification. You know why you do the things you do, and that’s all the justification you need.
Know When It’s Time to Walk Away
Sometimes, you have to make the decision to walk away. This may mean walking away from a particular interaction or even walking away altogether.
When you’re simply not getting anywhere in an interaction with a narcissist, that’s when it’s time to walk away. You’re unlikely to change anything, so it’s better to cut your losses and prevent further frustration on your part.
Walk away, and you’ll feel better, if nothing else. That’s the most you can hope for since your narcissistic sister is unlikely to change in any meaningful way without intense psychotherapy.
Build Your Own Self-Confidence
It’s also important to build up your own self-confidence. Whenever you’re dealing with a narcissistic family member, it’s likely your confidence and self-esteem will take a hit.
A big part of recovering from narcissistic abuse is to take the necessary steps to build up your own self-confidence and restore your self-esteem. This can be accomplished in different ways for different people, but it may involve seeking out professional therapy.
I know from personal experience just how corrosive narcissistic abuse is, and it takes a lot of work to recover. It can even be a challenge to just acknowledge you’ve suffered from abuse. It takes courage to do so and to then take the appropriate steps toward recovery.
Your healing journey has already begun with the acknowledgment that you may have a narcissistic family member. That’s the first step, but don’t stop here. Make sure you seek out the appropriate help for your situation so that you can fully recover.
No matter what form narcissistic abuse takes, it’s always damaging to your own self-esteem. One of the many ways a narcissistic sister abuses you is to take advantage of any emotional wounds you might have and the triggers associated with those wounds. They have an uncanny ability to push your buttons, and they use those triggers to do so.
I’ve created a 5-Step Roadmap to Heal Emotional Triggers to help you identify and heal emotional wounds that narcissists can use to manipulate and control you. The guide is free, and it provides you with a step-by-step process for identifying your emotional triggers, defusing them, and healing the underlying wounds.
If you would like a copy, just visit this page, and I’ll send it directly to your inbox so you can get started on stopping the abuse.
If you want more tips for dealing with narcissists, setting boundaries, and managing emotional triggers, make sure you subscribe to my youtube channel