Need help breaking free from addiction?
1-888-993-3112
Call 24/7 for treatment options. Ad Info & Options

Bipolar Sister, Narcissist Boyfriend

Question:

My sister who has been diagnosed with Bipolar came to live with me and my boyfriend of 4 years. She has been in trouble financially for many years. For many years my family and myself have helped her with thousands of dollars and time. Enough is enough we thought, I chose to take her in, to see what in the name of hell is going on with her. I spent countless hours and hundreds of dollars ready for her arrival. She was moving from Tx to Ct and I was preparing her room with a tv, computer, bed… etc. Family helped get her 12 year old daughter, her three pets (needed vet checked, kennels, airline tickets) to Ct. We went thru chaos getting her out of being homeless basically, but we were so happy she was finally safe with me in Ct. I was so very happy when she arrived. Two weeks later she and my boyfriend are in love? I get kicked out of my home (boyfriend’s house in his name). I stayed on purpose for a month preparing to leave because I got word that boyfriend is indeed a Narcissist (explained a lot while living with him) and I wanted to witness the works of these two ‘evil’ beings. Make no mistake, shell shocked, battered by my pain and barely standing, literally, I could not believe what I saw in that house. My mother, daughter, my girl friends were there in the house helping ME stay sane while preparing to move out. I could care less about the boyfriend. WHAT in Gods name would compel my sister to do this to me? I could almost understand, but I have helped her incredibly in her worst time of need. Thank you Dr. Schwartz.

This Disclaimer applies to the Answer Below
  • Dr. Schwartz responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
  • Dr. Schwartz intends his responses to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
  • Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
  • No correspondence takes place.
  • No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by Dr. Schwartz to people submitting questions.
  • Dr. Schwartz, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. Dr. Schwartz and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
  • Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.
Answer:

I must admit that this is a horrible story. Who can blame you for feeling betrayed and confused. 

Perhaps it would help to try and think of it this way: "It could be worse, You could be married to him." In other words, you are fortunate to be out of that relationship and away from him. As for your sister, that is a lot more complicated.

You and your family had good intentions towards your sister. Well, do you remember the old saying that "Hell is paved with good intentions?" Unfortunately, it is true. Another way of stating this concept is to use the term "Enabling."  In other words, by attempting to help your sister the entire family has made it easy for her to be irresponsible.

It is true that she has a Bipolar Disorder and that is serious. Of course, there are varying levels of severity for that disorder. If she her mood swings are accompanied by audio visual hallucinations then we refer to the illness as Bipolar with Psychotic features or Schizoaffective Disorder. Either way, those symptoms are extremely serious. That is not to minimize the impact of Bipolar Disorder without psychotic features as the Mania and the Depression can be extremely dangerous.

There is help for your sister in the mental health community without you and your family expending huge sums of your money to support her. A diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder usually qualifies a person for Social Security Income (SSI). SSI would qualify her for Medicare and Medicaid, both of which would cover her treatment for this psychiatric condition.

If she refuses this type of help then the consequences need to be her own. I sense that it was with some naivete that you and your family thought that it would be wonderful to help her. Having a Bipolar Disorder does not prevent a person from being manipulative and selfish. In fact, having that disorder often means that the person carries a personality disorder diagnosis.

I regret the fact that you have been badly hurt by your sister but I hope that it has helped you learn a lesson about "good intentions." She has a mental illness, perhaps does not take her medication, and may have a personality disorder by whose nature motivates her to manipulate people to her own purposes.

Next time do not help, do not enable and do not pave hell with good intentions. There is plenty of help for your sister in the mental health community and I have a hunch, based on experience, that she is well aware of this.

Sorry for your pain and best of luck to you.

More "Ask Dr. Schwartz" View Columnists

Comments
  • John

    My family has suffered with Bi Polar for years ,My grandad had it,and my sister has it,she is not long out of hospital with her worst break down yet,she was sectioned under the mental heath act,in a hi security mental ward.She had no problems at all for the past four years ,even longer.living a life with no episodes.We have learnt alot over the years about mental heath,I must admit we were pushed in the deep end,with not knowing a thing about mental heath

    She has little money herself and is single with a kid,she relies completley on the sickness benefit .It has torn our family apart,mum and I have finally talked about our feelings towards manic depression this time very openly and have supported each other and not done it on our own,as my sisters illness can be manipultive and distrutive which had made mum and I pushed away from each other for many years,Mum has coped much better this time around,with our frank talk about our feelings,and of course I have grown up a bit in the last few years too.It's not all about my sister,as the rest of the family are living their lifes too,I have another wonderful sister and a Alcoholic brother (laugh out loud) and a great Dad.Unfortunately mum and I have been in the cross fire all these years and it has effected my other sister too,I think mum and I have suffered the most,Oh and also my sister with Bi polar,when she goes into hospital she comes out not remembering alot,and she is actually quite funny in there.I always treat her as a person except when I think she is being too paranoid then I'll let her know.

    I have managed to have a close relationship with my sister,she has been very unlucky in her life and I have been through the bad times with her,She is never boring and is great with art (a good artist) .I don't like her Ilness and she has tried other drugs through her life especially when she was a teenager,I don't see her much any moreand only contact her by phone very rarely,letting her make her own mistakes,and supporting mum whenever there is an episode

Close

Call the Helpline Toll-FREE

To Get Treatment Options Now.

1-888-993-3112 100% Confidential

Get Help For You or a Loved One Here...

Click Here for More Info.

Close

Call The Toll-FREE Helpline 24/7 To Get Treatment Options Now.

100% Confidential
Get Treatment Options From Your Phone... Tap to Expand