My Hell in Paradise – Part II (My Sister the Hostess)

I hope in my retelling this story to give others an insight into the actions and thought processes of a narcissist – how cold, unreasonable, crafty, and “all about them” they are.  All the words and actions of my sister have a breezy and haughty air about them, so it’d be best to read that into the parts where I’m describing her actions.

My sister was ready to go in for the kill during the vacation my parents invited me on.  The opportunity was ripe due to my illness and for the fact that my parents would never defend me.  In fact, they joined the gleefully joined the attack.

Before the vacation I had warned my parents that I would be exhausted during the travel and upon arrival and would need time to recuperate in order to feel normal again.  I don’t mean regular travel exhaustion, as I had that before I got sick.  I mean Chronic Fatigue Syndrome exhaustion, where your body literally starts to shut down.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to make decisions quickly nor think quickly during this shut down, and would need the opportunity to get some deep uninterrupted sleep to recover.  So I was hoping they would please understand and not ask too much of me during this short time slot until I could recoup (just one good night of sleep).  They seemed to have heard me, so no problem.

We left extremely early in the morning for the airport after me only having a few hours sleep.  Part of the itinerary was that we would meet my older sister in her city for a three-day layover before going to Mexico.  I would stay in her condo with her and my parents would be staying in the condo’s guest room.  As soon as my parents left to go their room my sister began on me.

I am completely exhausted and was in a small room housing my luggage (I was sleeping in the living room) to find something.  My sister called me out into the kitchen to ask me about tea or something and we got to talking a little.  “Out” of the room literally meant two steps as it’s a small condo and this room was almost attached to the kitchen.  After a few minutes she puffs up and mutters, “Don’t you turn lights off?” as she reached past me to turn off the light of the room I hadn’t even finished doing what I was in there for yet.  Who does that to a guest?  Who does that to even someone else living with them?  I had only stepped out to chat for a few minutes, on her invite.

Please keep in mind while I recount these events that she was in no grief whatsoever, even though her boyfriend died a week and a half before.  Not repressed grief – NO grief.  Again, that will be written of in another post.

She had in her condo a couch she had bought on impulse a few days before but had already called the store she bought it from to come pick it up for a return (she does these compulsive things often and then just expects other people, stores, etc. to accommodate her change of mind).  The condo had a raised section of the living room that this particular couch and the TV was on.  Late one evening she was on the couch watching TV, even though I was shutting down and needed to sleep.  I don’t usually watch TV but decided to join her because she was the host and that’s what she was doing, and also because there was nothing else to do since I couldn’t sleep on the cot in the living room while that was going on.  So I went to sit down with her and she told me I couldn’t because she was returning the couch and wanted it in perfect condition.

Just in case there’s the question, I’ll answer it right away – I’m obviously extremely clean and I tend to be one of those well-groomed sorts.  Not being clean would never in a million years be why she said that.  She said that because in her head it made perfect sense that she wanted the couch to be returned but her body would magically not have an affect on it but other people’s bodies magically would.  In reality, of course, neither of us would have made a difference by sitting on it that night before they picked it up.  It’s why the store even has a return policy – they assume people have sat on their furniture before the return and know it makes no real difference in the product.

That wasn’t a normal response to me so I mentioned I would put a throw down where I was going to sit.  She deemed that would be okay.  Inwardly I was starting to break down from lack of sleep, her lack of hospitality and insulting behaviour, but I was a guest and said nothing.  It never occurred to me to tell my parents as they have never in my life taken my side in anything, nor would they tolerate me saying anything bad about my sister, and that’s exactly how they would have seen the situation.  I didn’t need to give them a chance to see their reaction, I know this from almost fifty years with them.

By the next morning my skin, due to my illness and exhaustion began to fall apart.  What happens when your body only has so much energy is that it begins to perform triage on what organs it will divest what little there is to.  Your skin is the last organ it cares about when it has to give what it can to your heart, liver, etc.  With me I know I’ve gone too far because I wake up with ‘scratches’ that came out of no where due to skin that suddenly looks and feels paper thin.  That is how I woke up the next morning.  I was so tired in my illness that I couldn’t even finish a sentence and I wasn’t getting much sleep at night.

Also, I was so tired I simply didn’t have the emotional regulation to deal with her constant barbs and insults.  There were constant swipes and sneers to me all through the three days I was there.  She figuratively had me by the neck.  She never said anything until my parents were away and then began to snipe at me.  First, I was a guest and I was not going to argue with her.   Also, I had no where else to go.  I almost never cry, though I very much wanted to, and later did involuntarily in public when I physically couldn’t take it anymore.  I wanted to just go home, feeling the foreboding of spending more time with her in a location where she didn’t feel she even had to be a hostess anymore.

During our traipsing around the city sight-seeing, I wanted to go into a certain store.  My sister said for me to go in myself and that she and my parents would wait for me in the car.  I knew she was going to say something to them.  Something made up.  I later found out what it was while they attacked me in Mexico.

Whatever it was she said, it was arranged for me to spend the last night before we left in the guest room with my parents, which I was grateful for.  I hadn’t gotten enough sleep even for even someone without CFS who had been traveling and needed to get away from her.  I’m feeling outrage right now because I know what she lied about to get me out and for the fact that my parents would permit it and conspire behind my back.

I’m going to leave this again for another part as it’s getting too long.  But I wanted to share a few things I observed in her while at her condo that gave me some insight in how her mind works, which was interesting to me since I hadn’t seen her for so many years.

First of all, she showed me a recent picture of my nephews who are in their 30’s.  One of them looks exactly like their father, my sister’s ex-husband, did years ago.  And I mean, I would have thought it was her ex if not for my nephew obviously looking younger than his father is. So I mentioned it because he was so stunningly a look-a-like.  She was mad.  She said her son would not like to hear that at all, implying that her sons hated their own father.  They spend time with him all the time.  I was thinking it was HER that didn’t want to hear that.  But it was her OUTRAGE that someone should say that her son looked like his father.  Why wouldn’t he look like his dad?  Her reaction was unreasonable for the situation and innocent comment.

She also told me a story that I think was supposed to make me know how good of a person she is.  She’s the type where being ‘good’ is part of the facade she makes sure you are aware of.  Of course, none of her do-gooding actually takes any effort, nor would she actually rub elbows with actual people with needs.  And she has this little story that I later doubted actually happened, since it seems such a strange way for her and the other person in the story to behave.

In the story she said she was walking home later than usual from work down a street at night.  Alone.  She said a man called out to her from a balcony, saying he was needing to walk somewhere the same way and he’ll come down and join her. (I know the oddness of the story is already beginning to show but I’ll address it later).  She was telling the story like she thought this was normal and friendly of him and they began to walk together down the street.  He began to tell her that he was new in town and needed money to stay somewhere.  I don’t remember what she said about who’s balcony he was on but apparently it wasn’t a place he could stay at any longer or something.  She felt sorry for him so she gave him some money.  She then said she later recounted this story to someone at her office and the office friend said she thinks she met and gave money to the same guy because the M.O. was the same, so she’s worried she may have been scammed.

I actually believed the story at the time so I told her that wasn’t a good thing nor appropriate for a man to approach a woman walking alone at night.  Men with good intentions would never do that. She said there was nothing wrong with it, that this city was a friendly city (which is nonsense, it’s a city like any other).  I also questioned why, if he didn’t have money nor anywhere to stay, that he didn’t find a shelter.  She said he probably didn’t know where they were.  I told her that if he was really a man in a strange city he would ask the police where there was a shelter, or other guys or people like the ones who owned the apartment he was staying at that he called down to her from.  I told her I was concerned because these were all huge red flag danger signals for a possible rape situation that he would want to walk with her alone at night.  She seemed perplexed by that.

She kept telling me, in a haughty boasting manner, that “I help people, that’s the kind of person I am.”  I now realize that she must have made up this story for people to be amazed at how randomly charitable she is, to a fault.  She gets to be a hero and a victim all in the same story.

I encountered her propensity several times to announce big plans to do things that you know she’ll never do.  She was going to buy a little gift shop of some sort out in the country (that was dropped).  She was going to make things and sell them at a booth at Christmas fairs (she doesn’t make any crafts, never did).  Then after the trip, doing a 180, she was going to buy a condo on the other side of the country where two of her adult sons lived but then was turned down by the bank (she’s just retired and already owns a condo, plus got her boyfriend’s one from his will and obviously too property-heavy with now only a pension).  I can go on.

I will write more in another part.  For anyone who reads this, I hope my story is not tiresome to others who read it.  The details matter for me to organize how I was treated by her and my parents because it was a microcosm of what I’ve gone through my whole life.

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14 thoughts on “My Hell in Paradise – Part II (My Sister the Hostess)

  1. The word sister actually makes me cringe. The whole scenario of a sister assessing your mental health to report to your parents, as if there is this agreed upon narrative of who you are is very familiar to me. It is a method of diminishing you. I can see why it is so very frustrating. They can even compliment you in a diminishing paternalistic way. My sister once found an earlier blog I wrote that was solely meditations not mentioning my past. She contacted me after 2 years of silence and said “I read your blog, you demonstrated insight you must have grown” The 2 years of silence was the narc silent treatment in which they suddenly absolutely cut you off with no explanation at all.

    “You display insight” is therapy speak used when someone is standing above you as the judge with superior knowledge of what “insight” is. I thought ruefully that I’ve always had insight, but I must have said something that agreed with a view she had, thus I suddenly have it. I decided to take it is a compliment, after 2 years of silence I thought it was an invitation to communicate. I warmly thanked her to which she replied via email “don’t mistakenly believe that I have any interest in a relationship with you, I simply commented on a piece you wrote, otherwise I don’t want to know you”

    Touche. Dragged into her orbit so she could thump me on the head…. I always took her back before this, I always let my guard down and responded with civility only to get a smack in the head. My response was to take down that website and disappear off the internet for a few years.

    Yes, and vacation, the one that doesn’t get to go, I know the longing to travel when it seems a hopeless dream. But I’ve found too if I’m in anyway beholden to the narc family and without my own transportation they are going to take that opportunity to abuse me. Its the point of the trip actually….

    Liked by 3 people

    • You nailed the purpose of the trip, although I was so hoping it would turn out okay. It was a snare. My parents used it so that they wouldn’t look bad for never had taken me (it was near free for them, though I don’t discount that there still was some money put out from them) and to keep me “attached” in a way that they do. My sister – it was for purely kicking me around. I literally wanted to give up everything and just go home while at my sisters but I didn’t have any money nor the strength of escaping to get myself home again.

      The ensuring loyalty and attachment is the same as when by parents keep tabs on me but they don’t really care – it’s just so they won’t look bad for not knowing where I am. I hadn’t spoke to my parents in a month, which isn’t too abnormal, but I think they’ve been a little nervous after the Mexico trip. They know something changed in me after that. Just yesterday my mom sent me an email that said, “How are you? Time to check in.” What a strange thing to write – check in? And how terse and cold. It’s only been a month. And if she really cared on a personal level, wouldn’t she have phoned? It’s that constant control. I think control is the only attachment she’s capable of, and I’m starting to see it for what it is. It no longer gives me faint hope that she might be mellowing and starting to care, it now makes me feel pursued in a dark way.

      I’m quite frankly getting to the point where I just want to get away and forget any help from them. It’s not worth it.

      Liked by 3 people

      • This type of abuse doesn’t have a smoking gun, like a physical black eye, but it is 10000 paper cuts to your psyche which profoundly wounds. Yet, those that haven’t experienced it probably can’t quite comprehend how painful it is.
        That sort of abuse is rather like being repeatedly jabbed in the arm until the arm is so sensitive to jabs it has become quite painful. Therefore that “time to check in” remark is that sort of jab, just one more reminder that your dreams of what family should be, or could be are crushed.

        Grief is in order, grieving what we never and and honestly admitting there is no healing of this dysfunction when those that gain from it refuse to admit it.
        I’m sorry you are going through these death throes marking the end of your hope in these people. But that death is the birth of you as a whole complete person that no is no longer attached to those that repeatedly trample the pearls of your priceless self.

        Liked by 2 people

      • It is easier to see that someone else’s relatives are cruel and petty than embrace how cruel and petty our own are. But I think as we hear about the crap those petty people we see that it mirrors our own experience. It helps put in perspective that no one deserves that treatment. My sister is a respected therapist by the way, this might explain my aversion to therapyspeak!

        Liked by 2 people

        • You’re so right. And I also don’t like therapyspeak because I find it disingenuous and distance-making. It’s a way fumbling way to form words around concepts that many of the practitioner’s have never experienced. They’re foreign words for what is to them foreign experiences of the soul.

          Liked by 1 person

      • In my old days I would have responded with all sorts of irrational trauma infused reactions. This would have then given her ammunition to share with the whole family how “mentally ill” Katie is. Of course she wouldn’t have given the context of my response, and the family would then do an intervention of “don’t engage with her” which they would cc me about. Thus the perpetual set up to look like the crazy person.
        And it is sabotage of your stability when after 2 years of silence they come at you like that. I responded differently then my normal reaction, and refused to “engage” the way she hoped to snare me. The next time she did it, and it did happen again, I completely blocked her out of my life. I then breathed a huge sigh of relief, free at last of that craziness.

        Liked by 3 people

        • I am amazed by your ability to do that! To not engage, and then block her the next time. This is a huge thing, in my opinion. Because what she did was so trauma triggering. I would have reacted to her horrible hateful message, like she had just nuked me. I would have reacted to her evil baiting email, the way my combat veteran husband reacts when he hears fireworks going off!!

          How did you get to the place where you did not react like that? Maybe you could do a post on it, when you have the time?

          Liked by 2 people

          • Dear sister in this journey, I got here in part because previous suicide attempts over these types of baiting hostilities left me in hospitals were I experienced the worst inhumanity by “mental health practitioners”. It is a wonder I survived the “treatment”.
            In other words, I learned the hard way and through the grace of God that going down that bereft of hope path was going to put another nail in my coffin

            A cousin that befriended me with a similar family experience told me “your family wants you dead, they know that these things push you over the cliff and they get justification for their abuse if you acted on that suicidal impulse” A therapist told me once too that continuing a relationship with an abusive husband was suicidal and if I valued my life I’d get out.
            So, I look at interactions with these tools of satan as a death wish and since God is renewing my mind to want to live, I no longer want to interact with purveyors of death.
            Lastly, when I found myself feeling hatred toward my sister I realized she wasn’t going to be happy until I began to respond to her in the same dark manner she responded to me, I didn’t want to go there spiritually. Resisting temptation in my case meant feeling those that tempt me to become unhinged or respond in hatred. God alone gives us strength to do that and like you have recommended in the past renewing our minds with the word of God also helped me a great deal.

            Liked by 3 people

  2. Prarie Girl,
    I do so love your writing, its a pleasure to read:) Im a slow reader and I can easily see everything going on as you write about it. I saw the couch, I even have my own idea of what this older sister looks like, I imagine her to look like my momster! LoL

    Anyway, your sister is abusive and your parents allow it to go on and pitch in, thats awful, and Im sorry. This is what you get for being the pretty one who is well-behaved. Ive seen this happen before.

    I can tell you why your nephew probably looks like his Dad so much and that’s because like my own momster, I will bet, your sister has a lot of recessive genes(theres more info on that on google), so the dominant ones were expressed. For example, me and my bro look nothing alike, 2 different fathers, and neither me or him look like momster either.

    Your sisters story telling sounds like a make it up as she goes along because she has no life, she is an image. It can be dangerous to shatter that, I wouldn’t go there with her(Im sure you know this), just better to know otherwise for yourself. Maybe your parents go along with all she does because otherwise theres a hell to pay. Just a thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Like I said, Ruby, you give comments that are helpful to me.

      Yes, I now believe she does make it up as she goes. I thought her story was real when I was talking to her, which is why I challenged her choice to interact with this guy, out of concern for her safety (and I did think it was a bit weird). Now I know she had made it up for an image she wanted me to have of her. When I wasn’t impressed with it I think that’s when she wanted me out of her condo and to stay with our parents.

      You’ll see how dangerous and out-there she can be in part four.

      I’m not sure if my mom is scared of her as my mom is the exact same way. They almost seem like buddies at time, being that my older sister is her adopted daughter and only about 15 years difference between their ages.

      I’m so glad my writing doesn’t get in the way of people understanding the ideas I’m wanting to express. Thank you so much for the kind feedback!

      Liked by 1 person

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