Dear Dr. Archer,
I think my sister might be narcissistic. I searched the symptoms on the Internet and I see that she has many of the traits, though not all. Since she has returned from college she's been worse than ever, and can't bear any kind of authority.
She has mood swings where she comes home and she's already angry at something or someone and takes all that anger out on one of us. She never does anything at home for herself or our parents, even like getting water if she's thirsty. I feel she'd rather die of thirst than get it herself as long as there is a single person around.
If she asks you to give or do something and you refuse, she gets unreasonably angry, even refusing to talk to you until the next time she might want something. It's like you have no right to refuse to her.
If she wants money from our parents and they refuse, she gets very angry, throws any money she might already have and refuses to use it at all. She thinks she's the best and she got that because she was always good in studies, so our parents ignored her laziness and didn't mind her stubbornness.
She is so spoiled that if she irritates me and I complain, they tell me not to get irritated! I believe she doesn't understand how the other person is feeling. Only on rare occasions does she actually say something nice. And she's so sweet to her friends! She gives them lovely gifts, too.
Everyone else loves her but all that charm and sweetness doesn't extend to family, and especially not to me. She's rude and disrespectful to family, including our parents. I'd like to know if she's really narcissistic or just plain selfish. Please tell us how to deal with her. What she does hurts us so much.
In order to deal with her, you must realize that you can’t change her or your parents, but you can change yourself. From here on out simply STOP playing by her rules. Don’t be mean or ugly, be assertive. If she asks you to get her a glass of water, politely refuse. If she throws a tantrum ignore her. Only interact on an adult level and when she acts like a child then walk away.
Believe me, once she sees that her games don’t make her the center of attention with you, it will make her pause and think. In the meantime, remember that she will be going back to college soon, so you won’t have to deal with this non-stop. Also, be the best you can be, now that you see how NOT to behave. Good luck!