I could have titled this post, Is my Selfish Sibling a Narcissist? Dr Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde, or
Identification = Transformation.
I just finished reading the two articles that CZ recommended. Great read. At WebofNarcissism.com there are a lot of great recommended material, but I must say that these two items should be on The Required Reading List.
Narcissism and Co-Narcissism by Gundren Zomerland
Alan Rappaport, Co-Narcissism: How We Accommodate to Narcissistic Parents
Here are the gems of knowledge that apply to my question, Is my Selfish Sibling a N?
Co-Narcissistic people automatically and unconsciously assume that everyone is narcissistic. Given that my sibling and I were born in the Land of Narcissism where there was the abuser & the abused, the dominator and the dominated, to admit that you need help from someone else was a sign of weakness and something one must neverdue or suffer the consequence of being used & abused. In the Land of Narcissism the motto was, use or be used. If you showed emotions, especially sadness, you were deemed weak. Those who are weak are viewed as inferior, not deserving respect, less-thans, powerless victims to be controlled & dominated. To do what someone said meant that you are forced into the role as being dominated & controlled. My S & I were victims on the same "inferior level" together in the Land of Narcissism and now I was changing my role and trying to be a helper, but she mistakenly perceived my helping as wanting to dominate her & express my superiority over her. When I tried to explain to my S the changes in my life that I made that are different from the ones we grew up with (no verbally abusing the ones you love) My S use to make comments to my H like, who does she think she is to judge us (her Nh & herself)? She thinks she is so better than us. My S could never appreciate nor accept my advise--all the degrees in the world would never make a bit of difference. I didn't see it then, but I do see it now. However, the same exact advise coming from my H to my S was valued & appreciated -- go figure!
When my sibling & I lived in the Land of Narcissism w/NP Compliance was a mech. of defense to avoid abuse from Nparent, which resulted in a loss of self, Co-Narcissism (CO-N). Once I exposed myself to truly loving people I realized that the abuse from NP was not normal and I rebelled against it. I would do whatever I needed to do to find out what real love was & meant and how I could both give it & receive it from others. I must admit Jesus was/is my best teacher. The close relationship I have w/Jesus broke me free from falling head first into C0-N. Don't get me wrong I definitely had the tendencies, but it is Christ who sent me a Life-Line, so that I didn't drown in Co-dependency or Co-N.
As Mr Rappaport states, "There are three common types of responses by children to the interpersonal problems
presented to them by their parents: identification, compliance, and rebellion (see Gootnick, 1997, for a more thorough
discussion of these phenomena)." Mr Rappaport does a great job identifying what happens to a person who is born in the Land of Narcissism or even marrying into the Land of Narcissism. What I would like to do it to take what he has said one step further and explain the dangers of Co-Narcissistic people in long-term interpersonal relationships. The constant & consistent compliance from the Co-N turns into Identification in long-term intimate interpersonal relationships as w/ a NParent and a NSpouse. In the Selfish Sibling Case she has had double dose of high level N's her entire life. She has been surrounded by them, and as the old saying goes, if you can't beat them join them, and that is what she has done. A person such as the Selfish Sibling may start off w/being a Co-N, but the desire to connect & deeply bond w/the N in a Nparent-child relationship and/or a NSpouse-Spouse relationship has consequently turned the Co-N/Selfish Sibling into a true N. The level of N is lower compared to the Nspouse or Nparent, but N none the less due to the evidence of D&D and lack of empathy. A Co-N has a hyper concern for the feelings & thoughts of others, so a D&D to a loved one (friend, sibling, or spouse, etc.) would not occur, especially for an extended amount of time (e.g., 5 years in this case). The main difference I see between N's and Co-N is how they value others. N's don't value others at all, where as Co-N are extreme people pleasers. They have a fear of rejection & abandonment. The mere thought of hurting somebody else causes great anxiety, discomfort & pain for the Co-N and s/he will avoid this at all costs, were as w/the N they actually find pleasure in the pain they cause others. Identification is a response to the Nparent seeing the child as a representation of him/herself, or the Nspouse seeing the other spouse as a representation of him/herself and is the price of connectedness with the Nparent or Nspouse, respectively. It results in the child or the spouse becoming a N him/herself. The need to comply, identify, connect, relate, and bond to the Nparent and the Nspouse over an extended amount of time can transform the Co-N person into a N. Unlike high level N's, low level N's who were once were Co-N have a chance to change, if they first recognize that there is a need to change and secondly that they will do what it takes to make permanent change. There is hope for the lower level N -- however, due to our history, I am not the one she will accept help from.
In conclusion, the evidence of D&D & the required lack of empathy to pull it off, Is the Litmus Test of a N!
Now to get out of my head and into my heart,
The fact that nS knows how it feels to be rejected & discarded and she not only does it to me/her Sister, and my H/her BIL, who has been there for her emotionally & financially, and most importantly that she knows that my D misses her & the cousins, especially the oldest who she got along well with, and she still D&D us -- yes, no way around it, excuses are all gone, Selfish Sibling has become calloused & a cold-hearted N herself!
To quote Anna, Narcissism Sucks! and destroys