Narcissistic/Sociopathic Siblings—Forever Cruel

One would think that if you share the same DNA with your brother or sister the two of you would hold many similar human values: capacity and demonstration of empathy and kindness, having a well developed conscience, being respectful to other human beings and thinking of the needs of others rather than total self absorption.

This is not the case with narcissistic siblings whether they are golden children or not. If you look back you can tell that this brother or sister was dominating and intimidating you from the beginning. Remember the pinching of your little hands and arms, stomping on your feet, the pulling of your hair, the ugly frightening words that scared you into doing everything their way. Many parents are oblivious to these cruelties. Some mothers and fathers are narcissists. They adore the golden child torturer and don’t give a damn what this cruel cunning beast does to you. Their focus is on the perfect chosen one that acts as a narcissistic supply and impeccable mirror to keep their egos fully inflated.

The following is a true example of what I witnessed over time in a household where the golden child ruled like the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland. Those of you who have been tyrannized by a sibling of this kind understand all too well. From early childhood this daughter was allowed by her parents to demand, scream, bribe, cajole and threaten her younger brother and sister. If they didn’t cave in to her wishes all hell broke loose.  The parents were terrified of “upsetting” their little darling and capitulated to her wishes. This relinquishing of their roles was pivotal in creating a narcissistic personality disorder.With a sense of no limits, “You can do nothing wrong attitude”, “we are afraid to impose respectful behavior on you”—she grew in outrageous demands and reprehensible behavior.   When the parents were out of sight, she was free to shove, push, squeeze and hit them. The secret threat to the terrified child was: “If you say one word to mom or dad—I will hit you even harder. They love and believe me not you. Shut your mouth, don’t say a word–If you disobey me, you will be very sorry.”

For you to heal from this abuse requires the recognition that you were victimized by a very disturbed human being. You are not weak. Your sibling is a severe narcissistic personality disorder and in some cases, a socialized sociopath. If you haven’t already, go no contact with this narcissistic scourge. Taking this step, you are renewing your own life, valuing yourself as a unique individual and gaining a sense of respite and inner peace that you deserve. Do this for yourself. Do not be concerned what other family members think or say. This is your business not theirs. If mother and father are perplexed about your decision that is their issue. They never protected you.

You can heal from the narcissistic and/or sociopathic  sister or brother who caused you horrendous pain and fear. For some, working with a highly qualified and empathic therapist is part of the process. Be sure you research and interview psychotherapists. It is well worth it. Many therapists are fine and qualified but there are others who are focusing on the business side of therapy and some psychotherapists are narcissistic personalities.

Learning how to calm your body and mind through guided meditation, gentle hatha yoga and other healing modalities gets you in touch with that interior part of yourself that learns to experience inner peace and security.

Healing and individuating out of your family of origin is a lifelong process. You will begin to value yourself as  a unique individual who has many creative gifts. You will find others with whom you can truly communicate and who have deep empathy. Your sense of humor will return. You will seek beauty in life whether it is in art or the natural world. Appreciating beauty on a deep level is essential to healing and a wonderful opportunity that we have to be completely human.

14 thoughts on “Narcissistic/Sociopathic Siblings—Forever Cruel”

  1. I have an older sister like this, she is about 10 years older than me. She was the tyrant of the family; her family nickname is that of an infamous European dictator (not kidding). From the beginning, it started with her treating me like a slave: fetching glasses of water for her, forcing me on shopping trips; always forcing me. She has a cruel streak a mile long, and wouldn’t hesitate to say cutting things to me (or to others, or about others). I was ashamed of some of the very evil things she said of others. I now avoid her as much as possible. When I do see her, I notice her sidelong looks checking me out. You can never expect a “how are you” from her. Her emails are curt and bossy (a running joke in our family). For a long, long time I defended her, until at least she went over the line with her insults. I realized too that she hadn’t ever really done a thing for me – just expected slavish devotion from me – from putting her fur coat in storage, cleaning for her, and more. Yes, all that.

    And more: the pinching, grabbing me with her nails, and once, even in a slap in the face when I didn’t want to go in on a Christmas gift with her (we were adults at the time). She has temper tantrums like a three-year-old when she doesn’t get her way.

    Also, thank you for your blog, Dr. Martinez. If people never experience narcissistic sociopaths, it’s hard to believe they exist. But they certainly do.

  2. Hi everyone, I am very happy to have found people that had to be with NP and siblings too. My story is a little different from what I hear here. Not sure where I stand cause I was the tool my mom used to hurt my other siblings. I was the golden child that was doing everything she wanted because I was so scared of her. I was also a doormat fir her and did not complain and attach her like my van there narcissistic selling. I was stuck in the middle of a mom who used me and siblings who hate me. I try to move far away from it all but my sisters always followed me everywhere. The relationship in my family was like a cult and my older sister kept away from us for a long time after she moved out at 18. But, I was living the fake life and after a life time I finally wake-up with the help of my older sister and I realised my mom and 3 of my sibling are narcissists. For the last 12 years I was very closed to my older sister and cut contact with my others sisters. But, my best friend and only close sister passed 3 months ago and my mom since is doing everything she can to hurt my others sisters by using my help and compassion for her to hurt them. I am suicidal and very depressed and trying to get out of her claws. I have no supports and always kept from having a spouse since I alway attract the same NP men has my mom. So after several bad relationships I am afraid to meet someone, cause I don’t truss I can find a good person.
    I am a very sensitive person and easy to manipulate and I am trying to find a way to cut all contacts with my mom too. I still do not have contact with my 3 other sisters. So, if I cut contact with my mom, I am totally disconnect with my mom’s family.
    I myself have 2 wonderful children and since I did cut contact with my mom for 3 to 4 months at a time a few time already, I know I am better if without her.
    My big problem is that she is old and need supports. I don’t know how to let her alone and feel responsible for her. It pain me to not being able to help her and feel stuck cause I also can’t live with her constant unsensitive way and harsh attitudes. She do not care about anyone life, feeling or needs, hers is the only thing that is important. Even my sister passing and my brother, she did not come to the their services, what kind of mom do not even go to their child service?
    I have been in depression and severe panic attacks for 3 years now and I can see now that it is mostly cause by this family narcissistic problem.
    I am still not sure where I am fitting in this situation cause by my mom using me and me accepting her ways and hurting my siblings, I feel they are narcissists too but I may be too and I feel bad that I have been the cause of their pain too and vis-versa. If anyone has some kind of ideas how I can start living my life without guilt and pain and start healing, I like to hear from you. Thanks to all for sharing

  3. Dear Linda Martinez-Lewi,

    I found your book “Freeing yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life” very insightful and of great help. Thank you. To tell you a little about myself, I had a narcissistic father, and my mother was the enabler. They have both passed away now, and for me I was a great relief when they passed away as I cared for them both, firstly caring for my father then my mother. I have been in therapy for many years now, but have been lucky to have found a therapist who has helped me enormously, recognising I was a victim of narcissism and helping me put my life back together again. I have two brothers, who are both narcissistic, but to a lesser extent.

    I now have a healthier relationship with them both, one because the fear I always felt has now fortunately left me, but also I understand what happened to me, and am very aware if they try to draw me back into game play,I won’t go there again. My adult ego state is now much more in evidence when we meet, and there is far less of the scared child. As you can see, I go to a transactional analyst.

    I hope you don’t mind me contacting you, even though I have a trained therapist, but I would value your advice, as you are an expert in this area. The problem I have at the moment is that both my brothers are blissfully unaware of why I have been in therapy, and have never asked me why, even though I have been in therapy for many years. One of my brothers is less narcisstic now, or appears to be, and part of me wants to tell him what happened to me. But I think he, like my other brother really loved their father, and would find what I had to say very difficult. My other brother, I am sure who is more narcissistic, would deny everything, and probably look at me with that look in his eye, which used to terrify me, especially when it came from my father.

    There is a part of me that says who cares if your brothers know or not, you have come a long way, and if they never know, it doesn’t matter. So in a sense it isn’t really a problem, but part of me wants them to know the awful hurt I have been through, and why I have never married, although it may still happen, you never know. As a victim of narcissistic abuse, is it really that important to tell them one day ? It sounds as if I am still a little afraid of them, but I don’t think I am, I just don’t want it all to come to them as a great shock. Perhaps I am guilty of not acknowledging their behaviour to me in the past, which was more subtle that overt, as in my older brother in the past not really taking me seriously and seeming to slightly laugh at me at times, as if he was thinking”Poor little Peter, he never seems to get it quite right.” When I look back, I remember both my brothers were encouraged to laugh at me a little, and not take me too seriously.

    Having a therapist now I can talk to, I feel uncomfortable and think it’s wrong I should talk to you about these things, (which I will no doubt talk to my therapist about), but as you are an expert on this disorder, I wonder if you could find the time to write back. I understand you are very busy, and there are other people who probably don’t have therapists and are more deserving cases than mine, but if you could find a moment to write back, I would very much appreciate it.

    Kind regards,

    Peter McIlwee.



    I am in a no way out situation. My younger brother is a narcissist and I didn’t know. He, my mother and sisters live overseas. My sister throw my mother (78 yo) to his arms since he was her golden boy and my sister got sick of it. (Both, the sister who lived with her and the one who is married, kids and independent household).

    Living overseas and didn’t know the real problem, I took side by my mother and brother and recriminated my sisters. I am paying for my mother housing and food and my N-brother is taking care of her since he “can’t afford” a caretaker.

    I went to expend time with them, back in January and February and I did notice a kind abuse from him (Non considerate and non-respectful) with both of us, my mother and me even sabotaging our telephone conversations.

    I was in disbelief when I realized but all the articles and books I read gave him 8.5 out of 10 possibilities he is a Narcissist.

    I am emotionally drained dealing with him by phone and he even steal money that I send to my mother for various expenses. (He is a lawyer but he argues he doesn’t have much work and he can’t even buy the newspaper for Mom). He has sued my sisters to collect money from them to help taking care of my mother. (My mother just suffer of high blood pressure and losing her memory as a 78 y.o. lady, for the rest she is fine).

    I don’t know how to deal with his abusive behavior and my sisters doesn’t want to know anything about the situation. I am in his hands but, most terrible, is my mother.
    I would like to have some tips on how to deal with this psycho. I have explaining him and beg him, to behave and to do it for our Mother but he is incapable of feelings, remorse or guilt. He denies the most evident facts, he can even put the shame on my mother, etc. (It is just so hurtful for me).

    My salary doesn’t permit me to pay a psychologist.

    Please provide some guidelines.

    Thank you,


  5. Although I strongly believe my sister is a narcissist, our family situation is a bit different. I’m the oldest. I think my sister’s personality traits have come from my mom, who pretty much was a “single” married mom while my dad sat back and didn’t play a significant role. I see soooo much on my mom in my sister’s personality. It’s scary. I hate to see history repeating itself.

  6. MNF – my narcissist sister is the “baby princess”. It’s amazing to see the youngest turn out to be so manipulative from an early age. Now that she’s an adult the damage is even greater.

  7. Dr Martinez-Lewis, in response to your blog, I would like to ask you please if you could change the wording from ‘older’ to older/younger sibling. This is because my younger sister was the narcissist, and so it quite painful and triggering that you have written ‘older’. My sister and my father used the fact that I was older in itself to justify their physical and verbal abuse of me; my father used to throw me around screaming abuse at me if I had a quarrel with my sister, as sisters do, and tell other people and her that I was the bully. Instead of talking to us both nicely and sorting out our little quarrel he poisoned my sister against me, took out all his anger on me, and basically taught her that I was ‘evil’ and deserved to be abused.

  8. I was the golden child which just made my older sisters target. She sabotaged any friendship i tried to get telling me they hated me and then drilled in my head that i was a weird loner. No one knew what she was doing to me until recently when i blocked her out of my life for my daughters sake. She turned on my mam and other sibling and her own daughter to get her “kicks”. Its like she cant get to me anymore so shes hurting the people i care about to get to me. They blocked her out their lifes but now she is going to outer family members and cornering us by turning them on us. Im not sinking to her level and playing games or bad mouthing her but outer family keep telling me the drama is caused by me. It just seems unless i move away and lose all my family i cant protect my daughter. There is no escaping because there is npthing she wont do to keep her hold on me.

  9. As always, reading these blogs is like reading about my own life. I have the text book classic NPD Mother AND NPD twin brother AND the enabling father. I am now 55 and still have to read info on such strange concepts as how to be assertive. My entire life has been drama filled and I have clinical depression, anxiety etc. My anger still remains at not having a safe and happy childhood. I struggle even today with grasping reality. I am unable to talk to Normal grounded people as I cant relate to them at all. I am aware of these things and of course it is not as simple as saying just be assertive/normal as I don’t know how. The way I would explain this to someone is to say however much I would like to say, build a house, unless I have the training and tools, a desire to do something is not enough. That’s where I am at 55. I desire to be assertive, normal, spontaneous, happy etc, but, I don’t know how. NLP talks about reframing. For instance if I want to stop smoking, then I need to replace the desire to smoke with tools to improve health. This is quite easy as we would eat healthy, exercise etc so we are reframing unhealthy with healthy. Reframing the damage from living with two strong willed bullying family members with NPD is almost impossible. This is not meant to sound negative or defeatist. It means if I don’t have a reference point, such as knowing how to be a normal functioning adult in society, then how is it possible to change if I don’t even understand the concept of normal thoughts or ways of functioning?. I watch movies and try to get leads on how to BE normal. I know I come across as weird, because I am very intuitive and observant, like all of us who have been through abuse, it is a protective mechanism. Whilst I academically know I come across as weird, I still don’t know how to fix myself. I really cant face the prospect of years of therapy, I just want to live my life in mental peace. My default mechanism is to always say yes when I mean either no, or I need time to think. This creates a massive internal conflict as my brain washing has always been, if you dare say no, you will pay the price. To this day, I cant stand up for myself as I believe that my role in life is to do what others want me do even if it is against my own benefit. Even I know this is crazy, but I don’t have the fortitude to carry through with protecting myself. The even crazier part is, I am a mental and physical wreck, but the NPD in my family think everything is OK. I don’t need to give the thousands of examples of the abuse I have been though because you all get it anyway. I feel I am a non person, as I truly don’t know who I am, what I enjoy or don’t enjoy. My mind plays tricks on me constantly. My levels of guilt, about just existing as a human are beyond ridiculous. I never feel deserving of anything good, as I have been brain washed to believe that I am actually the selfish one. In fact my mother has told me I am a selfish exaggerating liar. My entire family don’t know me, don’t understand me and each time I dare to express myself I am attacked, invalidated and crushed. I have absolutely no effective way of emotionally protecting myself. I have been bullied at home, at school at work for so long, I do not know or understand what it means to be regarded in a good way. I have no real friends, no relationship all due to having two NPDs destroying me for my entire life. The one big thing that we all have in common, is when we are considered useful we are used up to the point of breakdown. Of course our families have no compassion for us, no empathy and simply don’t care. That has been very hard for me to realise, and hurts so much it is often unbearable. Anyway, thanks to those who read my post. At least I am not the only one in this position. As someone said to me recently, Look after number one.

  10. Hi…i have a similar story…it kind of follows almost word for word. I’m not even sure how to start or WHERE.

    So i think it mostly sticks out for when my brother started to become a firefighter. Normally i respect firefighters, but now i dont knowing some psychopaths actually work there for only reputation, status and respect from others. Since childhood I’ve always noticed he was the child that was allowed to break the rules and suffered no consequences. It was my oldest, second oldest(psycho), Me and my younger sister(who passed away 11 years ago at 14.) Whenever we would do chores, he was sitting doing absolutely nothing, playing video games and being served food (to him) instead of getting up…and its still that way. My oldest brother moved out and ended up with an equally psychotic bitch who i did get into one fight with because she was extremely disrespectful. Anyway, its hard to organize my thoughts lol
    So as i explained he got away with things like chores or being disciplined. He had gone to a psychiatrist for unknown reasons, my father claimed they told them he was a racist kid, but my brother mentioned something about being a sociopath or psychopath (creepy huh) He didnt take it serious though, i guess to him he thought it was bullshit. As kids we did get along but sometimes he would punch me hard if i snitched or did something that would upset him. He was often the favored sibling along with my other brother (especially by my mother), my sister was also a favored child. Yea… I was often bullied by my own mother, my aunt (her sister) and my cousin who at times felt like a bestfriend but she was more of a (ill do anything if it means i get more attention) Like bullying me when my mother found it funny, my aunt also laughed, until i was in tears and ran off to play with my seriously hurt me.. i can still remember crying on my top bunk bed and not wanting to talk to them even after they apologized and laughed and said they were joking. No, they were cruel. My mother, for some reason always showed some kind of resentment towards me (still unknown). Fast forward, my mothers side of the family always liked the psycho brother because he always just “fit in” with them, i guess they found him charming, my other siblings it was like regular interaction but with me it was like they didnt know how to speak to me.. basically everyone thought he and my other oldest brother were awesome and i was just an outcast and just someone who didnt matter. My parents often emotionally neglected me anyway, back then i didnt know what it meant to have anxiety which i do have along with graves disease. My parents also thought i was pregnant around the time i was diagnosed with it. (i was 22 and going to beauty school for hair and at the time introduced them to my boyfriend for the first time so they automatically thought i was pregnant even after they went to the doctor with me and the doctor said i had graves disease) ANYWAYYYYYYY.
    My mother cheated on my father(her whole family covered for her including that cousin i used to be close with.) They claimed they didnt , but its obvious they did. My brother (psycho) became a firefighter, mainly for the status and benefits but honestly, he lied on his evaluation test. So to them he’s amazing and went through these amazing things..meanwhile my father is getting older (currently 57 but he has alot of illnesses and has been suicidal because of things in life.) anyway a firefighter is supposed to be empathetic and he pretty much would tell my father (while we were having financial issues) that my father didnt need to get medications and should save money since he doesnt work anymore…WHO SAYS THAT SHIT?! He also thinks my graves disease is fake, and that i dont work because im lazy. trust me, i wish i could work but having random panic attacks that make me feel like i’ll die, or just the MANY symptoms that come with that is difficult to mange (im on treatment too) So it occured to me that he’s a psychopath because of that and the fact that he bought an engagement ring for his bitch of a girlfriend (shes extremely rude and shitty. ugly too.) Shes another psycho yet she’s a police officer. lol. The irony of powerful people being SHITTY and even if i were to expose people like my brother, the status and everything will make me look like a delusional nobody. I’m and artist (not an official one) but no one has ever been fascinated by anything i would do..I mean absolutely nothing. Everything was oh the fancy jobs are better. the only reason he’s a firefighter was being he joined the airforce in his words to get fast college credits without having to pay for school. SO he had the easy way out. He also lied on the evaluation test about being claustrophobic. He pretty much told me he had to lie or else they wouldnt hire him.
    So my brother bought an engagement ring when he and my father had an agreement to pay our past due rent, and if it hadnt been for my boyfriend lending my father money, we would’ve been homeless.

    I tried my best to skip over some less important details..although they are pretty important but in these situations they just stuck out the most.. I’m not the most talented writer..haha

  11. No disrespect or anything of that nature, but I spent my entire childhood going to church and praying to Jesus and I still believe in the almighty to a degree. However religious statements like this does not really help us abused children. It did not help me at the time and I doubt it is helping me now. When I come to read these blogs I find these religious statements offensive and out of place. Should I want religious help or advice or such statements I would seek it on a site or blog that provides this.
    Please bare in mind that religious coronations can be as offensive to some as blaspheming can be to you. Just a thought.

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