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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My older sister has always been like this. It was much worse when we were young, so much so that we actually haven't had a "sister-friend" relationship up until rather recently now that she's in college. She knows that I prefer to avoid conflict and on numerous occasions she's used that to her advantage to get something from me, whether its making me do stuff for her (which she should be doing) or actually getting things from me such as a game, clothes etc.

Some examples of things she'd do is hit you really hard, and then when you tell her that hurt she'd tell you she was just kidding, and not to make such a big deal/dont get so upset. Or she asks you to get the remote for her even though its literally 5ft from her, and you're way further than her. Or when you ask her to turn down the volume on her music, she'll turn it down one notch but when you have music on loud she gets really upset and will keep bothering you until you turn it down.


She also has a habit of intentionally agitating someone just to get a reaction out of them. I'm learning how not to have such a huge reaction, because she clearly is having fun with that. She does this at her worst with the family. When with friends she does this in a more "toned down" version but is quicker to listen when the friend tells her to cut it out than if she was with family. (Especially me) And she tends to be more "aggressive" with me because she knows she's both stronger and louder than me. ( = ___ = )

She's always been insecure as well. Several times a day she'd ask if she looks okay or if certain features need to be changed about her or if she looked ugly or not, etc. Sometimes she legitimately gets upset over how she looks, even to the point of breaking down and crying. She is a pretty girl and really, in my eyes, has nothing wrong with her looks but despite her getting compliments from people she still doesnt see that.

Don't get me wrong, she has her moments of being a cool person to hang around, but often times these other things overshadow her good qualities.

Then there are times where she does things without thinking and gets herself into trouble. She did confide in me one time and I told her straight what she needed to do. I gave her the whole and hard truth and she admitted she did need to think before she acts. She still doesn't though. It's frustrating for me because I do want to help her, but she doesnt seem to want to change. Then again she gets upset sometimes because she feels that us (the immediate family) "dont like her" but she knows how she intentionally irritates us all and tends to be rude with us too.

So if she knows she's like this, and that it only hurts her and causes her trouble and pain why does she continue on like this? It really baffles me. Any thoughts~?
 

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My thoughts, as always with these threads: say everything you've said here to her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Both me and my mom have told her about this multiple times. She seems to tune us out or play it off like its nothing when we do this. Later she's exactly the same (sometimes she's nice for a little while but then reverts back)

It's a lot harder to distance myself from her now that she's home from college. Even hanging out at a friend's house isnt that much fun anymore :'/
 

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My family is a lot like this. It's a family system thing, not just a single person thing. The whole system is enabling this kind of behavior in her, and if you can look honestly at yourself, you'll find complementary dysfunctions. Sounds like the whole family would benefit from learning about boundaries...how to own what's your choice, and not try to fix what is someone else's choice.

Instead of trying to fix her, look for areas in yourself that are dysfunctional/enmeshed/codependent, and work on those in yourself. It will throw the whole system out of balance, and other family members will either start to see their own issues and work on those, or blame you for all of their problems. Either way, you'll have the opportunity to become a healthier person before you settle down building a family of your own.

At the same time, what has helped me is working to understand different types of people, like through MBTI or socionics or enneagrams or whatever other theoretical framework clicks. That way I can understand that the other people in my family aren't supposed to act like me--what is healthy for them might look very different than what is healthy for me. So whereas fishing for compliments on the way I look or whatever might indicate a severe insecurity issue in me, it comes very natural for my girly-girl daughter who simply wants to share with someone the experience of trying different outfits to see what clicks best, similarly to how I might discuss different personality types and psychological issues...not to label people, but to understand them and myself better.
 

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This sounds like typical sibling crap to me.

Insecurity and fear surrounding ones physical appearance is really common in people. More so in women but also occurs in men. It's not an attractive quality in either gender.

I do it a lot. The "Do I look weird?", "Is my nose ugly?" thing. But I am trying to stop as I know it's distressing for people who care for you to hear stuff like that. I'm getting old enough to realise you don't need to actually say everything you're feeling and that's it's better to look for internal validation instead.
 

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Your sister has some growing up to do at the very least. Maybe since she's back from college, it'll begin to happen. Maybe she needs therapy? She also might be annoyed to be living at home (is that correct?), and needs to find a job and move out asap. That step alone can mature people quite a bit.

When she tries one of these annoying behaviors, point it out, then leave the situation. Get together with your other family members and discuss them doing the same. You could also put all of your thoughts into a letter, and present that to her.

I'm glad that at least you are able to talk to her about it, and that she acknowledges it. Her behaviors are probably so ingrained that she doesn't realize when she's doing it. As for the insecurity thing, I went through that too, although it was more of trading one issue (anxiety) for another (poor self-image). I needed a friend to not-so-politely call BS on it, maybe she needs that too :).
 

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That person does sound quite manipulative/abusive, and it's nice that you're trying to help out, but as other people have mentioned, this isn't something you can resolve on your own (though you can certainly start the process, in terms of convincing her that she'll be happier if she corrects some of her ways of thinking, which will probably make her less likely to act out).

I think a good start would just be establishing your own boundaries first. Conflict-avoidant, yes, but something as simple as "You can get it yourself" is fine for that slightly insulting request you mentioned. You'll be learning a really helpful life skill, getting some control over the immediate situation (though possibly not without some resistance from her) and your sister will be gaining some valuable experience in treating others properly. Following from that, once she gains a little more respect from you standing up for yourself, I think your conversations with her will be much more effectual/on even grounds.
 
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