Narcissist : The Brother
I am Ashleigh´s younger brother.
I love my sister despite everything she has done to my family. I just want to help her, but she is utterly stubborn and absolutely refuses to listen. Well, no, actually, that is not quite correct, she listens but she never absorbs what one tells her.
I would like to see more of my sister and of course my niece and nephew or mini-Ashleigh and Christopher. I managed to coax Ashleigh to visit me at New Year with the children and both my wife and I were struck by how Amelia has been moulded in the image of my sister. I told Ashleigh this and she took it as a compliment, it was not meant as one.
My sister is a deeply troubled woman. She has serious psychological issues and she has always refused to countenance getting any help. I gave lost count of the number of times that we have been shunned, ignored and cut off. We try to talk to her about it but invariably we are met with rambling explanations about how she is busy being a successful banker, mother and trying to deal with a self-obsessed husband. I appreciate she has a lot on her plate, but she will never let us in to help her. It is as if she cannot see that what she does hurts other people.
I know deep down that she is a kind and caring person. I know that sits within her somewhere. She can be very affectionate but then, just when you think that everything is going well, that everything is calm, then along comes another crisis in the world of Ashleigh. My wife calls it the A-Bomb.
She seems to have a strange relationship with Peter. She complains about his behaviour but then never does anything to address it, but that is Ashleigh all over. She likes to complain and pass judgement on people, but when it comes to actually acting on what she says, she is like some will o´ the wisp and she just floats off to the next thing which is occupying her mind.
I think she has a problem being on her own. I remember when she was a teenager, she always had to have a boyfriend. One after the other after the other. There was always some new face trying to make friends with me and then just as I started to get to know this latest boyfriend, he would disappear and be replaced by somebody new. I used to ask Ashleigh why she could get them but not keep hold of them and she would tell me that you have to try all the sweets in the sweet shop before you settled on a favourite. Given that approach, I am surprised all her teeth have not rotted away. Mind you, she has been with Peter along time. I generally get on with Peter, he is a bit up himself, thinks he is some kind of wine tasting expert and always wants the best car, best sound system that kind of thing. He gets a bit worked up at things as well, but don´t we all at some point? On balance though I have never had any problem with him of course if I find out that he has hurt my sister, well then, he is in for it. Nobody hurts my sister and gets away with it. I am an army man and we have a certain code we abide by and that means doing the right and decent thing and I am certainly a subscriber to that.
I have spent quite a lot of time trying to work out what Ashleigh´s issue is and where it might have come from. They say a lot of your problems as an adult come from when you were a child, which has me a bit puzzled because as far as I can remember our childhood was pretty straight forward. Mum and dad both worked, we were not well off, but we were not running around with our arses hanging out. We were supported in our interests. I was pretty decent at football and Mum likes football, so she would often take me to my matches and tournaments. Dad is a little more highbrow, so he would be the one accompanying Ashleigh to her recitals and amateur dramatics. I sometimes have wondered whether she just loves the performance and having an approving crowd, that somehow, she got used to that with my father praising her performances and all the competitions she took part in. Maybe it was like a drug to her, the need to be on the stage, under the lights, being the one everybody was looking at and that has somehow transferred into her life as an adult, that she needs to be the centre of attention. I don´t see that there is anything particularly wrong with that if it is done in a healthy way, I mean, we need popstars, actors, sports people and so on don´t we? They are performers. I could not do it; I am not interested in the limelight. I like to help people and do the right thing, but I am not bothered about the applause. But Ashleigh is and it just saddens me that she goes about it in such a negative fashion, hurting Mum and Dad and me. We miss her and wish she would connect with us more often, but she seems to have created this bubble where it is her and Peter and now the children.
Admittedly, it is difficult because I am on the other side of the country, but they have plenty of money and they could easily visit more or ask us to come and stay, the house is big enough, but they never did. They just seem to be wrapped up in their own little world and every so often the pair of them would grant us, the people in the cheap seats, an audience with the Hoveniers. My wife would also joke about it being like a royal decree when there was a family event we were actually invited to.
What I do not understand is why she has to be so chaotic. It is draining at times. I have tried to get her to see what she does, but I end up tearing my hair out, she just does not see it and I cannot understand why that is. She is clearly being deliberately obtuse and just does not want to admit that she is in the wrong. I have been sympathetic, I have tried to approach her issues in a sensitive manner, I have even offered paid to have somebody speak to her, you know a therapist, but that just has her accusing me of trying to control her, I am not, I am trying to help. I just get told I am interfering, that I do not understand and when I ask her to help me to understand she will just start crying or she puts the phone down. I admit I do get annoyed with her and we have had some real ding dong arguments on the phone, but that is just the brother and sister dynamic isn´t it. You love them but by God, sometimes you just want to put a bullet in their heads! Family eh?
And then there is Ian. He seems to come out of nowhere, a bit like how all the boyfriends used to appear. If the marriage is over, well that is a shame, but it happens and maybe she will be happier with Ian. I don´t know, she does not tell me enough, I am always last to know. I get a call or message from my parents telling me that Ashleigh has done this or Ashleigh has had an accident. I was flying to the US when she had that car crash and I was worried sick about her, but typically Ashleigh she portrays it as an overreaction on my part and just brushes it off as if it was perfectly normal to crash your car and be arrested for drink driving.
What I do know is that she needs help, proper professional help and then these behaviours can be corrected. I just need to find a way to get through to her. My wife tells me to leave her be, that I waste too much time trying to “save my sister” but I care about her and I know I can get through to her and make her see the damage she is causing. I just need to work out how I can do it and then we can make some progress.
Do you know who the narcissist is?
Listen Narcissist : Seduction
Listen Narcissist: Ensnared