There are many secrets held in families about sibling psychological abuse. Each child in a dysfunctional family is trying to survive. In a narcissistic family when a mother or father has NPD it is very difficult. When you combine this with a narcissistic abusive sibling, it is much more difficult.
From the beginning of there lives there are brothers and sisters who have to withstand their narcissistic sibling’s torturous acts, cruelties that go on every day. The narcissistic sibling constantly threatens them with physical harm, or says that they will get her brother or sister physically beaten or psychologically shamed by telling on them. Often this telling is a lie that the narcissistic sibling uses to erode and destroy the innocent sibling’s relationship with mother or father. Often the narcissistic mother and the sibling collude to victimize the chosen scapegoated child. This can take a form of torture to the point where the victim feels like he or she can be annihilated at any time. It is terrifying to grow up in these circumstances. The other parent is useless in standing up for this innocent child. The parent is oblivious or gone all of the time, or completely caught up in their own private world that has nothing to do with his/her children.
The abusing sibling is often chosen as the Golden Child who can do no wrong. These siblings perpetrate horrendous deeds on their brothers and sisters. When the parents are absent they bring their friends into the house to terrorize the already frightened child. They make him or her drink something that is putrid. They tie the child up for hours. They make him wet himself. They scare him to death, telling stories that they are about to kidnap him. And any other horrendous idea you can imagine. I know about these abominations from those who write to me and share their life stories. It can be hard to imagine that these cruelties take place. Believe me, they are happening and being repeated day after day and during the night. They are never ending. Children who grow up in these circumstances often develop post traumatic stress disorder. The narcissistic parent ignores her child’s symptoms–night terrors, recurrent horror dreams, anxiety attacks, agoraphobia, physical symptoms of extreme distress. Narcissistic mom thinks it is all so humorous and overblown. “You have a wild imagination and are making this up to get attention.” “Shut up and do your school work and don’t talk about this again. I am sick of your lies.” Among themselves the narcissistic sibling and the mother make fun of the child who is being severely abused. They are purposely perpetrating these cruelties upon this child.
Never underestimate the psychological damage that a narcissistic sibling in collusion with a narcissistic parent can and will do. Remember there is no conscience with these people. Some narcissistic siblings are highly sadistic and get pleasure from harming their brothers and sisters.
Those who remain silent–adults who know the truth–need to speak up an stop this horrendous cycle of abuse and torture. If you do now speak out and intervene, no one else will. Much of human nature has a distinctively dark side. Don’t brush this truth away. Use you knowledge to alleviate the suffering of others who have been through these psychological hells of childhood. Many of these children survive to tell their stories. They are inspiring and redemptive. They are our heroes.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.