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Old 04-26-12, 09:24 PM
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I want to understand my sister

My sister has Bipolar and OCD, both unmedicated because she has denied her diagnosis'. I think one reason was because when she was on medication she became suicidal.

I think her living without any medications for these disorders is causing a dis-communication and relationship problems in the family.

She is very controlling. The worst time for me was when I had bed bugs infested in my room. She got very angry and controlling. I had to be out of my room for 8 days. Then she was changing my bedroom around and telling me carelessly to throw out my books (which is the greatest sin to me - some of those books I'm attached to and are used for research) and to put my sci-fi collections away. I'm autistic so I'm attached to things like toys and clothes more than I am people. I worked tirelessy to 'save' my favourite jackets from being thrown away too.

Eventually though I did have a meltdown and tried to run away. She thought it was completely normal behaviour but when she brings it up calls it a tantrum which vexes me because it's an incorrect term.

I won't allow anyone to control me. I have Pathological Demand Avoidance syndrome which is pathological avoidance to follow any order unless you agree with it. I'm getting better at dealing with it but having someone take over you room and just try to tell you to do things their way is too much for me. I was an expert avoider in my childhood, even went non verbal and immobile to get out of doing things.
I also have mild ODD which I try to suppress. But I just think one day it's going to get out of control.

Now she is threatening about cutting off ties with her daughter who is 18 and dating a 30 year old. She wants her to break up with him or she'll refuse to speak to her. I keep thinking maybe the 30 year old isn't so creepy. Maybe my niece lied about her age or witheld it. The way I see it adolescence goes well into the mid 20s anyway so there's less a divide between early adulthood and 30.
Right now it seems the man is banned from coming into the house.
Yesterday though she was getting really angry and crying when her mum was trying to reason with her. She's also had a lot of phone calls that end up in her verbally abusing people and threatening to call the police.

And once when deciding to see my other sister on her birthday which is progress for me because my sister is really bossy, she accused me of turning my sister against her - this was just because she booked a table already and my sister didn't get to come. To be fair, I wanted a break from her but I did ask my sister to book for one more person.

Does this behaviour sound like Bipolar?

I realise she has OCD so I try to do the best I can to keep the house in order. I like things clean too. I don't know much about Bipolar. I read about some people with it and have come across some articles on pop science sites. But I want to understand how the symptoms happen (in the brain and mind) and what people do to deal with the symptoms.
I'm a solutions person and I want to see if I can make things easier for my sister and make sure her family doesn't fall apart too. I've had enough of family conflicts. I haven't enough communicative skills to be able to know what to say and do in certain situations.

My sister does understand my sensory issues though and that I don't like sudden change. She lets me be me so I think it's only fair to let her be her as long as it doesn't hurt people. I would even if she didn't try to understand me.
Sorry if this sounds kind of self-centred. It's very hard for me to describe things another way. The whole family is hurting but just ignoring my sister's behaviour. I think the way she's treating her daughter is really unfair.
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Old 04-27-12, 02:07 AM
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Re: I want to understand my sister

Quote:
Originally Posted by fracturedstory View Post
Now she is threatening about cutting off ties with her daughter who is 18 and dating a 30 year old. She wants her to break up with him or she'll refuse to speak to her. I keep thinking maybe the 30 year old isn't so creepy. Maybe my niece lied about her age or witheld it. The way I see it adolescence goes well into the mid 20s anyway so there's less a divide between early adulthood and 30.
Is his age an issue or is it something else? I don't really see a problem with an 18 year old woman dating a 30 year old man if he has a career and can provide for her.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fracturedstory View Post
I realise she has OCD so I try to do the best I can to keep the house in order. I like things clean too.
OCD is an anxiety disorder. This sounds more like OCPD.
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Old 04-27-12, 03:23 AM
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Re: I want to understand my sister

I thought it was called pure 'O' without the rituals. I'll have a look into OCPD. I've read about it before and related to a couple of symptoms but couldn't remember the information I couldn't relate to.

All she's said is it's the age difference. She's said she's known people in the past who would pick up young girls and then drop them after they got what they wanted from them. I think the guy is intelligent, kind and they seem to really get along.
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Old 05-13-12, 07:17 PM
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Re: I want to understand my sister

To be completely honest, I think you and your sister both have your own independent issues that you need to address on your own. If your sister does have untreated bipolar disorder, it will ruin her family, absolutely. Bipolar runs in my family (I myself have it as well) and I've seen first-hand what refusal of treatment can do to the family structure, as well as the individual themselves.

That being said, you can't force treatment or medication compliance on anyone, ever. The only setting in which you can do that is an inpatient hospital. If your sister doesn't want to get treatment for her illness, then that's it. It's her choice, period. You can try to give her an ultimatum, such as saying that you will cut ties with her if she does not seek treatment because you feel that her disorder is causing major problems with your family, but that's really your only playing card. And she may bitterly resent you for that and choose not to speak to you anymore anyway.

It sounds like you are sharing a dwelling, since you talked about keeping the house clean and her being in your room. If this is the case then I am sorry, because it is incredibly difficult to live with someone who has such a profound and untreated mental illness. But like I said... you can't make her seek treatment. You can tell her that you love her and you want her to be well and happy, but you can't make her do anything.

What you can do is find ways to minimize the impact of her mental illness on YOUR mental illness. You can't do anything to change the relationship with her daughter. If she's going to damage that relationship, there's not much you can do. You can try to intercede on your niece's behalf and give her some support, but mom will make her decision probably without regard to your feelings about it. I personally think it's weird for an 18 year old and a 30 year old to be in a relationship, those two stages in life are waaaay different and I don't see what a 30 year old has in common with an 18 year old at all. But that's my personal feeling, it's irrelevant.

My point being, you need to focus on you. Voice your feelings to your sister, and your concern for her and her personal issues, but know that you can't make her do anything. What you can do is make your own life better by addressing your own issues. If you think you have symptoms of OCD, see a counselor to learn coping mechanisms to help you manage those symptoms. If living in a toxic environment with your sister is too much, then move out, find some other sort of living arrangement. Ask if she will consider family counseling to get you all on the same page together.

Ultimately, you can't make her do anything or change her. If she's going to refuse treatment for her illness, then that's all there is to it. You can voice concern and love to her, and let her know how it's negatively impacting the family, but that's the extent of your ability to intercede in the situation. Focus on your own issues, and extricate yourself from her toxicity as much as possible at the moment.
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Old 05-16-12, 06:33 AM
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Re: I want to understand my sister

Where did I say I think I have OCD? I've only related to two symptoms of OCPD in my life and they're pretty mild. I have autism and ADHD but no mental illness. Some slight social anxiety but who doesn't? There's severe PMS but I can control that too.
I'm not the type of person to let an anxiety disorder overtake me. I have my own CBT book. I'm all about improving my life.

My sister has backed right off from deciding what goes on in my bedroom. She might need to control but I won't allow anyone to control me. Her meltdowns are very frustrating but I know she can't control them.

There's a part of me that doesn't want to give in to some of her demands, as if I'm refusing to do it because I've been yelled at so much. Well, I'm more in the room while she is yelling at other people. I'm detached and keep to myself. But then I think that will make things worse.

It must hurt though, being that angry all the time and having little things get to you. I wish she could make for herself some coping methods because I've found they work well for me.

I'm not the best at talking to people, or even saying I love them and making it seem real. It is real but when I talk about personal things I go monotone. In another thread someone was talking about her boyfriend shutting down when it came to talking about emotional things. Yep, that's me. I don't think anything I'd say would get through to her. I can pick up black/white thinking when I see it.

I think avoidance is working out for me. I'm not a social person to begin with so I have an advantage over the other two in the house.

On the whole 18 year old dating a 30 old thing: not everyone that shares a common interest will be around the same age. I get along with 60 year old physicists, not that I'd ever date them but I'd prefer to talk to them than other 26 year olds.
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Old 05-17-12, 05:20 PM
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Re: I want to understand my sister

My apologies, I read "I also have mild ODD" as OCD and thought that you said that you had OCD tendencies. Maybe it would help if I read a little more clearly.

But that aside, I'm very glad to hear that you have a book on CBT and that you're managing your own issues, that's great. CBT is super effective, it absolutely changed my life for the better. I wish more people knew about it and would give it a shot.

I'm also glad that your sister is backing off from trying to micromanage your bedroom. That must be a huge relief for you. Are you sure your sister can't control her meltdowns, or she doesn't want to? Since you engage in CBT, you know just like I do that we are in control of the overwhelming majority of our behavior. Does someone in the midst of a bipolar episode have control? No, not really. But unless she's in the throws of a major manic or mixed episode, she's in control and she's responsible for her behavior. Don't let her off the hook too easily and say that she can't control herself... unless she's in one of those severe mood states, she can control herself, she's just choosing not to. All comes back to personal responsibility.

Your sister CAN learn coping methods to deal with her outbursts and constant anger. CBT can be helpful for those with bipolar disorder too. I engaged in 2 years of CBT to learn how to effectively manage my mood episodes (along with mood stabilizers). Now I am considerably less impacted by the shifting tides of mood than I used to be, and I am in significantly greater control of my behavior and choices than I ever was before. I decided to take responsibility for myself because I wanted to live a productive and, above all, happy life; your sister has to decide to do the same.

I totally respect that you don't want to have that conversation with your sister, especially if she is that hard to talk to. Maybe you could write her a letter instead? Or maybe it is better for your relationship with her if you two just don't speak and stay away from each other as much as possible. Only you really know what will be the best for your family.
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Old 05-19-12, 02:28 AM
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Re: I want to understand my sister

Maybe she doesn't know that she can control them. Well, at times she has held back when around people that don't live with us. I used to see her behaviour around them as pretending everything is ok when it isn't. I suppose I still do.

All I'm doing now is ignoring her as much as possible now. She won't medicate nor does she listen to people, even when they are screaming at her. Nothing registers with her. I could be holding a knife up to my neck and she'll still want to get her own way. I won't do that though.
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Old 05-19-12, 07:59 AM
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Re: I want to understand my sister

My sister is like that, though she would never come into my room and rearrange it. She needs to control everything all the time, every calorie is counted, every penny is accounted for.

I used to live with her and I eventually had to move. She works a normal 9 to 5 job and while she seems to admire creative professionals, she could never accept my odd schedule, my random pay schedule, my lack of ability to plan for the future drove her nuts as well.

She has plenty of issues, so do I, but I can do something about mine not hers. Everyone in my family agrees she needs to see a psych, she's on wellbutrin rt now and used to be on paxil as well as various other antidepressants.

She's single (no surprise), but she's an adult and can take care of herself. She even admits to needing help with her issues, (such as taking out all her frustrations on her family members)... but says that therapy is too expensive. Which is bs since she has good insurance and barely has to pay anything out of pocket. My medical bills are at least a few hundred dollars every month for meds and psychiatrist appts. yet I pay them since I know I need them.

My point is that there's not much you can do to get someone help who doesn't want it. If their lack of treatment is tearing your family up and she still refuses to do nothing the best thing you can do is find a way out of there.

That's what I did, very recently actually. And the good thing is that our relationship is slowly healing, when we were sharing a place we were not on speaking terms and that's unhealthy. Family is often all we have in this world.

Wish you the best of luck, I know how the situation feels, hopefully someone else will chime in with better advice. It's impossible to diagnose someone without them seeing a professional, so while you may see Bipolar disorder I wouldn't mention it to your sister especially while you are living there.
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Old 05-19-12, 12:20 PM
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Re: I want to understand my sister

The one idea that came into my head was when you wrote of not being able to communicate verbally to your sister about how you feel, it feels fake .....


Fractured, I have been reading your posts for more than 2 years now, and there's one thing I can for sure tell you ....you write very well, and clearly ....I think maybe that writing her a letter, voicing your concerns, and in that letter you CAN tell you that you love her and want what's best for her .....


You just told us you did ....


all the stuff you write here, could you sit down and tell us about the same stuff ? ....I suspect not, ...but you can write it ....


sometimes I don't get it out when I write something, but usually I am a lot more clear about whta I am thinking if I write it down ....I have issues with talking to people too, I forget a lot of the most important things I want to say, so I write to people, when I am in Michigan, I'll write to Janet even though she is sittting at her computer about 4 feet away !


I do understand about not being able to speak of important things ....what I am trying to tell you is that it's ok to write it if you can't speak it.....the important thing is to communicate, in whatever manner you do best ....



sorry, didn't mean to beat that poor horse to death......
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Old 05-19-12, 09:58 PM
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Re: I want to understand my sister

She does know she has it but thinks she can control it. I think if she had something like Asperger's these meltdowns would be enough to get therapy. And on Risperidone.

I've kind of lived with Alpha females all my life. When I lived with my mum we wouldn't talk until I left, so I think it's the same here.

I think the family has had to deal with her problems in the past and I think they are just trying to accept her decision as best as they can.

I don't even think I could write a letter. I could only say these things in the moment, when frustrated but I just know she won't listen because anything I say that isn't related doesn't even get through to her.

I think I may eventually move out. I just moved from my mum's house and I don't think I'll be able to manage completely independently yet.
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