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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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my sister has married a narcissist for over 22 yrs. They have

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my sister has married a narcissist for over 22 yrs. They have separeted at least three times and decided split at least 10 times but only in those 3 times husband has move out. The last "episode" happened last January 2012 when our baby sister died suddenly for heart attack. It was really hard for me and her family, my sister live 300 km away from us but she did came a lot and helped in funerals etc. during this time her husband did not support her in any way. He did mock her and told her she is patetic and bad person and my sister was crying many times for me on the phone about this how her husband did not show any support for her sorrow. He did not come to my sister funeral and did not send any condolence for our parents or my sister´s family even he has been in our family married over 20 yrs. My sister manage to split him once again after all this horrible times and she even bought a new flat just for her and their children but then: he is back in her life and house! He is again king of the house and he AGAIN bought some jewelry for my sister and she is giggling and talking AGAIN like the man is a prince or more! The problem here is that I don´t want to see that man at all, I don´t care if my sister loves him again even I know they will split again before Christmas.... there was a situation where my sister was coming with her family and I said that I am not sure if her husband is welcome to visit our family and she went ballistic and mad asking what do I mean??? why wouldn´t he be welcome! I did not say anything cause I did not know what to say all I can think how this selfish man make my sister cry when she should got support from him, not rude words. I feel she has alienated from all of us, I feel she don´t share my grief or talk about our baby sister and I have thought it is because of her husband who wants to be the number one in that family all the time. What should I do? Should I "stand" that man cause she is my sister husband ? My mother won´t see him either. Why this has to be so complicated? My sisters death has been so hard to all of us I don´t need any monsters in our lives..... Thanks, Mary
Hello Mary, I would like to help you with your question.

You are caught in a difficult situation. On one hand, you see your sister's husband for what he is and you also feel for her and the pain he causes her. Leaving him would be a healthy move to make on her part. However, she then goes back to him and expects you to support that decision even when it goes against what you feel about him and what he has done to your sister and your family.

It sounds like your sister is caught in an abusive relationship. And it is normal for someone in an abusive relationship to get to the point they see the abusive person for who they are and want to make them leave. But because of insecurity and the manipulative nature of the abuser, the person then accepts them back, believing the promises that all will be different and they can love each other normally. However, the cycle then begins again, just as you mentioned, and the person is hurt again by the abuser. The abuser usually demands so much attention that all other needs are blocked out, including your baby sister's death.

The key here in this situation is to support your sister. If she wants to bring her husband with her to visit, let her. But that does not mean you have to deal with any abuse from him. If he tries to hurt you or your family, you have a right to ask him to leave. Your sister will need to decide how she wants to respond to that. But if it does come to that, explain to your sister that you love her, but that you will not accept being abused by her husband.

Also, try to talk to your sister about getting help. Maybe a family session with a therapist (even without her but hopefully with her), or suggest she talk to her pastor if she attends church. Suggest she can come to you anytime she is hurt or needs to talk.

You can also learn more about abusive relationships so you can help her. Here are some resources to help you:


The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists: Coping with the One-Way Relationship in Work, Love, and Family by Eleanor D. Payson

Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed by Wendy T. Behary

The Object of My Affection Is in My Reflection: Coping with Narcissists by Rokelle Lerner

See if your sister is willing to look at these resources. It may help her, espeically when her husband begins to hurt her again.

I hope this has helped you,

May I please request that if you find the service I provided helpful at all that you rate me with three or above? Your rating is the only way I am reimbursed for my answer. Thank you so much!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi! Your answer seems to be right and wise. But but... my sister and her husband are both psyciatric-nurse so they both are "professional" so as you can image they do know everything about this kind of things and they treat people who suffer in this kind of relationships. But as they say : "shoemaker´s children has no shoes" they don´t see anything wrong in their relationship. It feels that I´m stepping her professional pride if I ask anything even little about her husbands behaviour or she explains it in someway that even I know it isn´t right. I try to keep my mouth shut and keep supporting my sister....



Thank you for the additional information. I can see what you mean. And I agree, telling them about something they already know would not help. They are going to be resistant to that.

In that case, it is best to support your sister. You do not have to support her husband. Try to tolerate what you can from him, but always keep in mind that you don't have to accept abuse, no matter what your sister says. Create that boundary for yourself. You are seeing this in a healthy way and she is not. She will need to deal with the consequences of her decision to stay with him, unfortunately. Hopefully, it will help her see the situation she is in and maybe nudge her to move on from this marriage.

TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you very much for the positive rating and bonus. I appreciate it!

My best to you and your family,

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