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Linda D.
Linda D., Psychotherapist, LMSW, CASAC
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 668
Experience:  LMSW, CASAC
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My youngest sister constantly undermines her older sisters

Customer Question

My youngest sister constantly undermines her older sisters and twists our words to our widowed,elderly mother. An example, our mother's memory is not so great short term, turns into her claiming we said she has dementia to our mother. Which of course worries and upsets our mom. Why does she do these things?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Linda D. replied 1 year ago.

Hello Melanie, my name is ***** ***** I am a licensed psychotherapist in private practice in New York State. Thank you for reaching out to Just Answer with your concerns about your younger sister. Firstly, it sounds like she has terrible boundaries regarding your mother's rights and her other's sister's rights. Can you please tell me ho wold she is and a little bit more about her? Does she live with your mom, does she work, is she in a relationship, does she have any personal issues she struggles with, etc. Thank you. The more you can share with me the more I can understand what she may be bringing to the family relationships and be able to guide you. I look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely, ***** ***** LMSW, CASAC

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She is 54, married with grown children. One of which lives with her as do his children. She has made up huge lies in her past, such as having cancer when she did not. I am certain she has low self esteem. She was a troubled teenager & young adult. Our mom will be 89 and lives independently. Our dad recently passed away unexpectedly.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have always been my parents power of attorney & executor of their estate. I am a middle child.
Expert:  Linda D. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the additional information and for waiting for my response. I am going to give you the criteria for Borderline Personality disorder and I am wondering if you could tell me if this sounds like she has some of these traits:

  • Extreme reactions—including panic, depression, rage, or frantic actions—to abandonment, whether real or perceived
  • A pattern of intense and stormy relationships with family, friends, and loved ones, often veering from extreme closeness and love (idealization) to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation)
  • Distorted and unstable self-image or sense of self, which can result in sudden changes in feelings, opinions, values, or plans and goals for the future (such as school or career choices)
  • Impulsive and often dangerous behaviors, such as spending sprees, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, and binge eating
  • Recurring suicidal behaviors or threats or self-harming behavior, such as cutting
  • Intense and highly changeable moods, with each episode lasting from a few hours to a few days
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness and/or boredom
  • Inappropriate, intense anger or problems controlling anger
  • Having stress-related paranoid thoughts or severe dissociative symptoms, such as feeling cut off from oneself, observing oneself from outside the body, or losing touch with reality.

Seemingly mundane events may trigger symptoms. For example, people with BPD may feel angry and distressed over minor separations—such as vacations, business trips, or sudden changes of plans—from people to whom they feel close. Studies show that people with this disorder may see anger in an emotionally neutral face and have a stronger reaction to words with negative meanings than people who do not have the disorder.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No, I don't see her displaying these traits.
Expert:  Linda D. replied 1 year ago.

Okay that is good, then given what you have said your sister may have really poor boundaries. Of course, it is impossible to diagnose a person without having several face to face sessions with them, but she does sound like she has very loose boundaries in her relationships. Individuals who have poor boundaries as adults are usually people who as children got lost in the family dynamics and did not develop a true sense of their own integrity, beliefs, values, etc. It is important that you or all of her sisters let her know that her behavior toward your mother is unacceptable to all of you, and the expectations you do have. She needs to hear this. If she can't accept it then you all have to come up with a plan to support your mother in dealing with what she does or says to her. Does this make sense?