How to deal with a narcissistic sibling?


This aspect of my parent's care bothers me more than it should. Myself and my younger sister have POA and FPOA for our parents. Since their health has been declining, we have been working together to be in charge with their care. Our parents are now in a SNF together, but we're the ones visiting, handling calls and concerns, taking care of their finances, bills, taxes and buying anything they need, etc. We have an estranged sibling. This one has her own family and we understand she's busy. Early on when our parents started their quick decline, I sent updates to this sibling. She in turn threatened to file a report against our sister because she had heard that she raised her voice at Mom. (This estranged sibling rarely visits and is never involved in decision making so she doesn't know how stressful this all can be!) I don't agree that my sis yelled at our mother, but again... emotions run high for everyone during this time of our life. Mom and my sis have since moved past this. I've tried to include the estranged sibling. Such as when my parents needed to move out of their ASF to a SNF, my parents agreed that estranged sibling should arrange to pick up the furniture they want to keep. Sibling came by, left a single note on what she wanted and that was it. Never came back. Baffled Mom and Dad. Come move out day, all of the furniture was still there. Being on a time crunch, we moved the furniture to storage. It's ridiculous. Anyway, the updates I sent to my estranged sibling are never acknowledged with any concern or discussion so I stopped sending them from my personal number or email. Under my father's advice, I started sending updates through my Dad's email instead. (Of course, this sibling has a problem with Dad too. And never responds.) This sibling has made some questionable decisions in the past that makes everyone wary of her. She's got an unpredictable personality and temper. I know she's busy with her own family but I know she's close to Mom. Mom's health is declining quickly. Other than my sneaky emails with Dad, I don't know how else to reach out. This sibling is always defensive and she believes everyone thinks she's crazy. I decided to not talk to her when I see her in person because she can always mis-interpret your well-wishing or just doesn't trust what you say anyway. I've tried to make amends and every single time it blows up in my face. My partner has long since advised to let it go. It's such a sad mess. I guess writing it out helps give me perspective in knowing that Mom and Dad's care is the top priority. But I can't help that this sibling might be feeling abandoned... but then she doesn't make it easy for anyone to talk to her. (Back when we were on speaking terms, she only ever talked about herself. And it was always to complain or drag up her own grudges that the family has long since moved on from. She would talk about her hateful grudges over and over again at every conversation! In the end, I stopped calling and taking her calls. I told her she needed a therapist.) Anyway, I'm afraid of what will happen when our parents pass on. Answers will only come from communication, but it's like talking to an angry wall and I want to protect myself and my own loved ones.

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essomd, you say this sister is close to your Mom. Doesn't sound like it from what you related. Anyway, I've experienced all of what you have described and I don't think a narcissist ever changes their stripes. All you can do is change the way you deal with them. After my Mom passed, I suddenly didn't care what anyone in my family thought. I buried the hatchet with my narc sister while Mom was still living but after Mom died, I didn't feel the need to keep my feelings under wraps anymore. I called my sis on her sh*t and after some time passed we went for dinner and now have an understanding of sorts. She knows I won't just let things go anymore and so we keep our distance.

My suggestion to you is keep doing what you can to keep your sister informed of your Mom's progress and then it's really up to her what she does with that. If she wants to be part of your Mom's life she will make the effort. It sounds like you are trying to protect her from the regret she will feel if she doesn't but you can't save her from herself.
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essomd: You make a perfect comment about "It's like having a worry underneath another worry". It helped me A LOT to stop trying to do all the work to make the relationships between me and my sisters work. Narcs won't allow you to win. Please consider stopping looking to see if she sent an email or called. For your benefit, put up an emotional wall. Make her contact you. From your original post, I doubt that she will, in which case that'll just make your life easier. I hope when it's time for a memorial or funeral perhaps if she comprehends she's no longer being kowtowed to she might be more quiet. Good luck.
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Thanks MountainMoose. I'm sorry you're going through that too. It's like having a worry underneath another worry. I guess we can't all have picture perfect families gathered at Mom and Dad's bedside.

I was hoping that maybe there's some tactic I haven't thought of to appease both sides but you're right... if she hasn't tried to reach out, then what good is it. I'll check my messages and my email for any sort of inquiry from her and nada.

I'm worried how she'll react at say a memorial or funeral one day. Some blow-up or fight in an inappropriate time/place just churns my stomach. I wouldn't put it past my siblings to start something, seriously. Ugh... I was hoping for peace now for peace later but for our family, maybe that's too much to ask for.
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I hear you, essomd. Last month--because of this site--I did some research on narcissism and learned I have two sisters that way, though one can be reasoned with. I've learned they can turn on me in a millisecond. Nothing makes them happier than to be outraged. Long story short, I've distanced myself from them. I tell them nothing about me personally and just focus on Mom. I deal with facts only then walk away or disconnect.

If your sister were another of my sisters, I'd distant myself too and stop passing on information. Since all communication is from you to her and she makes no effort to contact you, I'd just stop. If she's interested in her parents' welfare, she can contact you or your sister. I wouldn't ask about how she's doing. I'd only deal with the parents' facts and ring off. Frankly, once Mom passes, I'd likely never contact any of them again.
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