Note: This article will discuss unfortunate circumstances that some readers may find disturbing. References to explicit child abuse have been removed but we recognize that anything abnormal can have long-lasting effects similar to abuse.
We all hope that our children will treat each other with kindness and respect. Unfortunately some children, mostly due to their upbringing, become violet and rebellious at a young age and this spreads to the rest of the family. It's depressing to see the actions of one child echo through the entire family, especially when the safety of siblings or other family members is questioned.
Siblings of sociopaths or narcissists were asked: "When did you realize something was abnormal?" These are some of the most insightful answers.
My brother always seemed different. When we were little he made up this game called "Joey and the wimp" which was really just boys wrestling. But it wasn't just boys wrestling. It was all about power and control. He would have is forearm pressing down on my neck and whisper things like "someday I'm going to kill you and nobody will do anything about it because I'll plead insanity." He would also talk about how he would kill me in my sleep. I've woken up a few times and he was just standing there in the dark looking at me. Once my dad coughs him in the middle of the night getting a kitchen knife. "I have to kill (me)." He was six.
At sixteen he and his buddy did a home invasion on me and my friend. I had to go to the hospital. He beat up our mother. He broke her arm. Then he was going to stab me. I got chased a half mile through the woods till he tripped and I got away. He was going to shoot my dad when he was seventeen. He said he borrowed the gun from a neighbor. I saw it. It was a 38. A couple friends talked him out of it. He has been on disability since he was maybe twenty. I stopped interacting with him when I went to college many years ago. To this day I suspect he will come and try to make good on his desire to murder me thinking he'll get off for insanity. It's been years but even just the other night I had a dream he was trying to kill me. I don't like knowing that someday I will likely have to try to kill him in self defense.
My oldest sister...
I'm the youngest of three girls and we grew up fairly poor so both parents were out of home a lot working to give us the basics. Because of this my oldest sister "looked after" us. My earliest memories involve me running through the kitchen in a diaper feeling so so scared trying to get away from her.
Anything and everything set her off. If attention was not 100% on her she would flip out, scratching, kicking, hair pulling. My parents were pretty oblivious to all this, or more my dad was also unstable (BPD who frequently went off meds) and my mum was too emotionally abused to do anything to help. She had to have presents on everyone elses birthday, had to have the same presents as everyone else on christmas, or better ones.
As I was 4 years younger I was much smaller than her and easy to catch. From my toddler years to 16 I had crescent scars all over my arms and ankles because she would dig her nails into my skin drawing blood.
The very first time it clicked in my head that no one would ever help and she could manipulate her way out of everything is when she stabbed me in the shoulder with a pen. I was about 8 years old. She had yanked out a chunk of my hair so I told her to "[get] off!" The look on her face was horrifying because she looked so happy because my dad had been sleeping and woke up to me swearing which was strictly not allowed. She knew I was going to be in trouble so she grabbed the pen off the table and stabbed me then yanked it back out. I ran upstairs to get away from my dad, which was a whole different scary experience and he wouldn't believe that she had hurt me.
I came downstairs a few hours later when he "allowed" it, with blood all over my shirt. My aunt was staying with us and saw it, pointed it out to my dad and they still believed my sister hadn't done it. I gave up all hope for help after that.
That turned into 8 years of her scarring any exposed skin, pulling out my hair, cornering me and screaming about how disgusting I was, throwing things at me, telling me men will only like me because they're chubby chasers, etc. I am more of an extrovert than most of my family so I always had a lot of friends and "boyfriends" in elementary school and than actual boyfriends in highschool.
When she went away to university my mother thought it would be a great idea for me to visit her there. A whole weekend being alone in her dorm with her. She spent the first day reminding me how disgusting I was, then acted all nice until the evening. She wanted me to watch "West Side Story", I think, it's the one with the opening scene of the two gangs finger snapping down the street. Me being 16 thought it was funny so I laughed. Wrong move. She started screaming, threw out all the food, cornered me and let me know how no one in my life actually likes me and they're all just putting up with me because they don't know any better, I'll only ever be in abusive relationships, I don't deserve anything better than that, etc. Then she kicked me out and made our mother pick me up a day early.
Mid year she was home and in a rare moment of civility she wanted to "talk". She asked me how you're supposed to feel sorry for other people. As in how do you feel empathy? She couldn't figure it out when her profs talked about it. I carefully got out of that conversation. Later that day after she'd done her usual "you're disgusting" rant I decided to turn my back on her and not engage. She picked up a text book and hit me as hard she could over the head with it, yanked me by the back of my head and pushed me in the cupboards, to let me know "you're not allowed to ignore me".
I have not spoken to her since that day, I'm now 26 and she's 30. She's still living off my mother and has zero social skills. The last time I saw her she had drank a bottle of wine on christmas eve 2011 and she just laid on the living room floor for the day.
She's pulled a knife on our other sister, she's been evicted for trashing apartments that are in my mother's name, had so many pets die "unexplainably", expects to be showered with gifts and attention by everyone around her, she will get angry if family are paying more attention to children than they are to her, she still has to refer to our mother as "mummy" and in that high pitched "muuuummmeeeeee" voice, she can't hold any platonic relationship, has never had a romantic ones and she still hates me viciously for being able to have relationships.
I will not be surprised if she ends up killing someone. She is the spitting image of our father in personality.
She lives in another province from me, is still in school, and my mother is smart enough to never let her know where I live. Those close to me know who/how she is and know not to give any information.
My brother and I were eating french fries, and he wanted some of mine. When I wouldn't give them to him, he tried to hit me in the back of the head with a cast iron skillet. If I hadn't heard him, I would have been dead. Up until that point, I had always known he was [awful], fake crying to get mom and dad to punish me, stealing my [stuff] and lying about it, but it wasn't until that moment when it really hit home.
This hits way too close to home. I can't really place the time and circumstance of my discovery of my brother being a sociopath, but suffice to say that it did not end well for him. He always did stupid [stuff] and took advantage of people. Things that even I, an admitted douchebag, took offense at. The problem was that he is smart. Owes me thousands and he burned every bridge he came across. He became addicted to meth and eventually turned to RC's to beat parole piss tests. He wrecked his apartment after prison and we had enough. A bus ticket five states over was in order.
He's doing better now. In a shelter and a program while trying to get [someone] pregnant. I need a drink.
My older brother isn't just a sociopath, he's a psychopath, even my parents are surprised he isn't in jail for murder yet, he's been evil as long as I can remember. Beat us all to pulps as kids for imagined slights against him and actually knocked my poor dad [with a disability] out on one occasion. He's been arrested a bunch of times and even after the most recent time a police officer (he had weapons bought from china stopped at customs) called to my mums a few days later and asked if they knew he may have some mental issues. She said yeah she knew but she doesn't believe anyone would have the balls to tell him that, the police officer agreed.
His favourite pass time recently is walking the streets with a signal jammer while people are trying to make calls or using it outside the fire/police station, finds it hilarious. He was banned from a local grocery store for threatening a staff member for apparently looking at him.
That's not even the tip of the iceberg of what that prick has done to our family.
She's two years older than me. She did stuff like-
When I was three she convinced me to pile as many blankets as we could on our sleeping little brother until our mom got back. I'll never forget my moms reaction when I excitedly told her about our hilarious prank. Luckily he was ok.
When I was about 7 daring little bro climbed high up a tall evergreen tree on our property and was hanging on a branch. He wasn't sure how to get down and I tried convincing him to hang on while i got our parents. My sister starting shaking the tree and yelling, "Fall! Fall! Fall!" He fell, yelling out on his way down and landed flat on his back. My sister ran away and my brother was unconscious for several of the most terrifying seconds of my life. Luckily he looked around and was fine. I got back and was bewildered to find out my sister hadn't told anyone, since I thought she must have ran to ask for help.
There were a ton of things, she was horrible to us (most often to me because im also female) our whole childhoods and enjoyed causing me as much suffering, helplessness and anger as she could to vent her own frustrations, but those are the only two times I look back and go, "wow, she actually wanted to kill us."
There were a ton of signs, no big realization until I became haunted by random anger attacks over childhood injustices, like her forcing me to destroy my art as a kid and my parents denying any wrongdoing on her end (but never allowing me any outlet for revenge because my mom was scared of her and made me be submissive to her every demand) all the time. Had to walk out of a Zootopia showing today because I couldn't get it out of my head and I was breathing heavily.
The reason I would categorize her as a grade A psycho is because she would actually pretend to be nice and use lies and manipulation and had no guilt about any of this. I was about sixteen when I finally refused to take the fall for something she did (even though I thought about it-- it took me a long time to see how evil she was). She was great at painting herself as a victim who just had to have me say I did it because I supposedly wouldn't get in as much trouble.
My (older) middle sister is a narcissist. I think she has borderline personality disorder. We've always know she wasn't normal. Even when she was a baby, my mom though she was off. When our oldest sister got pregnant, middle sister would throw hammers and punch my older sister. She's bitten a chunk out of my dads arm. Sometimes she's tolerable, but in a split second shell get pissed about something and take it out on others around her. So yeah. She's never been normal and I plan on cutting her out of my life until my nieces and nephew are 18.
I first realized when I was about 18 that my sister was the epitome of sociopathic and narcissistic. She was 14 at the time and got caught cheating at school. So, I didn't know everything that had happened, but she got sent to a psych facility for observation.
I drove an hour each day for a week to visit her and try to be a good brother. After a week I was informed that they'd stopped investigating me.
To my horror, I found out the whole story. My sister had been pulled in for cheating, and when asked why she hadn't just studied, she told them she couldn't because my dad had been beating her. So, they pull in child protective services who do a full physical and discover no signs of physical abuse. Two of my brothers were out of the question because they were in foreign countries or too young, but I was left squarely in the crosshairs.
So oblivious to what I've been accused of, I go every day to visit her. Their observations of me informed that I was 'unlikely' to have done it, so they decided, correctly, that it was all fabricated.
I had never so much as held a girl's hand, let alone kissed one at that point. 15 years later, I still won't be left alone in a room with her under any circumstances and grit my teeth that there is nothing I can do to prevent her from harming the literal dozens of other people she's now levelled similar accusations at either for attention or to get out of difficult situations.
She's a terrible person without any remorse for the damage she does to all around her.
I am 22 and my half sister is 27. One day she invited me to lunch which was unusual. Because she never really cares about how I'm doing. I asked her what was wrong and why she wanted to have lunch and she said "nothing, I just want to have lunch with you." We arrive and she waits until after the meal to tell me that my dad (not her biological dad) was arrested two days prior because he was addicted to meth.
I am currently on medication that can give me seizures if I drink alcohol with it and for my 22nd birthday her present to me was a large bottle of wine. When my brother in law saw the embarrassment and sadness in my face he asked me why I had that reaction. I told him about my medication and he was mortified because my sister never told him. From the moment she handed me the bag she was cackling to herself like she made the funniest joke in the world.
When we were much younger my sister and I shared a room. We had a metal framed bunk bed and she lifted up the mattress of the bottom bunk and told me to look under it. Being the 7 year old I was I obliged and once I stuck my head under she let the mattress go and it hit me with full force in the back of the head and my face hit metal bars. I started gushing blood and after I managed to get myself out I ran to my mom. My sister was pissing herself she was so entertained.
We also shared a bathroom. She locked me out of the bathroom and wouldn't let me use it to pee and my parent's room and bathroom were off limits. I could hear her laughing as I was begging to use it for two seconds to pee and started laughing harder when I pissed my pants.
When she was in middle school my parents allowed her to go to the movies with her friends if she brought me along. They bought tickets to Santa Clause 2 and snuck in a different theater to watch Ghost Ship. I watched until a super gruesome scene and then wanted to leave but she didn't. She had me go into the next theater alone and watch the end of Santa Clause 2. A man came and tried to talk to me and get me to come with him and wouldn't leave me alone until after I refused loudly and ran to a manager. On our way home my sister made me promise not to tell our parents about anything but I was so terrified of that entire day that as soon as we got back to the house and my mom asked "How was the movie?" I broke down and cried. Mind you I was 8 years old at this time.
My parents didn't help me pay for college because she dropped out. They didn't help me get a car or teach me how to drive because she was having sex and smoking weed in the car they helped her get.
I'm the youngest of three brothers. My middle brother and I get along great. The oldest, not so much.
When he was young, he used to run our brother's hand under hot water. Then he moved onto yelling at me, scaring me, threatening me with knives, and then he once tried to kill me. The moment I realized that he wasn't normal was when he told me, while holding a knife, that he didn't care if I lived or died.
All of that ended years ago, and now, he's apparently changed. He apologized profusely for what he did when I was a kid. I'm still not sure if I believe it.
Little sister was five or six and I asked if she'd miss me while I was away at summer camp. She replied that she never missed people when they left - she only missed the things they gave her.
Twenty years later, she hasn't changed much. Other people only exist when they have things she wants, or can help her get what she wants.
My little sister isn't for sure either of these but she's been not right since at least age 4. For context, she's nine years younger than me.
One day when she was 5, I was babysitting and we were having a good laugh together, she just stops and says "I'm going to kill you and hide you where mom and dad can't find you" before smiling and walking off. I told my parents but they didn't think anything of it. From then on, she would start small fights with me (or in some cases pin me by the throat to the wall and beat me-she's almost twice my weight and taller than me and has been since age 10) and then start sobbing and telling my parents I'd hit her or kicked her and she'd be so delighted when they smacked me for it when to this day I have never laid a hand on her.
Every time she talks to someone it's very calculated and fake, like you can tell she's saying it just to come off a certain way. She never would apologize for anything- I'm her half sister and when she found out she'd make fun of me nonstop until my mom told her to apologize. I said I only wanted a sincere one and my sister told me later that I'd never get a sincere apology from her about anything because she never felt sorry about being hurtful to others.
When she threw a cup of hot tea at my face because I refused to show her something on the computer. Or the time when she yelled at me for over an hour because I was really sick and had thrown up all over the bathroom sink. The same bathroom she had just cleaned.
I stopped speaking with her over 7 years ago.
I learned that she wasn't normal when she forced my younger sister (5) and I (7) to smoke a cigarette, she then started laughing because we where getting sick. It was either that or being forced to stand in the snow with my bare feet until my parents came home, so I chose to smoke the cigarette. Needless to say, that was the last time my parents allowed her to babysit us.
I realized my younger sister wasn't okay when from a very early age would abuse our pets. It started off with things that my mother played off as being accidental because of her age, like pulling the cats tail, or pouring harmful things into all the fishbowls. Then it escalated to shaving the cats, cutting off their whiskers, etc. Then I think my mom finally get her some attention when she cut the cats ear off. She did other things too like punching herself and scratching herself, pulling her own hair during tantrums. Kid's still not right even now in her teens.
My brother started throwing those metal toy tractors at me when he was four or five. A few years later, he'd chase me around the house with knives.
By the time he was in middle school, he was threatening me by pointing loaded guns at me (my dad had an arsenal in the basement, and he taught my brother how to use them all).
I wouldn't even start anything... he'd just get bored and decide to torture me. And I was left to babysit him because I was a few years older.
I think what really clued me in was how he'd always keep a loaded gun in the living room in case a small animal came near the house. One time, he shot a rabbit out the window and it didn't die. So he beat it to death with a shovel. My mom would get really defensive and yell at me if I suggested his behavior was sociopathic.
It got really bad when I moved back home for a semester during college. I'd done something to piss him off, apparently, or he was extra bored, and he decided to take some rope, tackle me to the ground, tie my hands and feet together, and throw me in a closet for hours. He only let me out because when my dad was on his way home from work. Now he claims he doesn't remember doing it.
I tried to tell my parents, but as usual, they said we both did stuff to provoke each other and I probably did something to deserve it. I signed up for an on-campus apartment the next day, and moved out of their house for good at the end of the summer.
They guilt trip me for never visiting. I hate my brother; I'm terrified of him. And I resent my parents for letting that happen under their roof and never disciplining him.
The weirdest thing about my oldest brother was that he did not seem to realize when he was giving his plans away. He'd come home from a stint of homelessness and very kindly say "wow, cool headphones," and two nights later after all the promises to turn his life around, he'd be gone, and so would my headphones. His sincere compliments became a pretty clear indicator of what he would steal later, and so we'd all hide whatever he admired. It's almost like he himself had no idea that he was going to rob us until it was happening.
He physically abused the whole family, and we basically understood that he was a piece of [crap]. Maybe one with poor social skills, maybe one who was incredibly self-centered, maybe one with no empathy, but to get a real answer he would have had to see a professional, which he was unwilling to do.
He was arrested for threatening to stab a homeless man. There was no evidence, no case, but my dad was going to get him a lawyer anyways, out of guilt for never being able to afford one for all his prior arrests. The case was dropped, thankfully, and as soon as he was released he gleefully told us all in the car that the charges had all been accurate. He was proud of himself. I think that's when it hit my dad. For me, it was when he literally hit my dad, repeatedly, with a phone, for trying to call the police. My dad refused to retaliate, just sat there sobbing.
I realized my sister wasn't normal & super narcissistic when everything about my wedding had to revolve around her. She made life a living hell on earth. My friends were so appalled at her behavior, I finally had to take a step back & realize her narcissistic behavior was ruining celebratory events. If she didn't get her way, the slew of gut wrenching insults came my way.
We're about 3 1/2 years apart & I am the oldest (she is the middle child). She has no empathy, she never apologizes, just says the worst things ever & "moves on" like I deserved her wrath. She has the temper of a 5 year old, blows up all the time & then makes everyone around her feel sorry for her. Now that I'm pregnant, it's only gotten worse. I've had to remove her from my life as it's one of the most toxic relationships I've ever experienced. But that's when I first realized that she may be a narcissist.
I think mostly, long before our parents noticed, unfortunately. Either because parents sometimes insist on being blind to the defects of their own children in order to avoid the pain, or because they both worked long hours and so I stayed alone with my younger brother a lot to take care of him.
One day I came back from my after-school job, and saw him standing above a big fire he'd lit in our front yard. I asked him politely and calmly to put it out, since I was horrified but also concerned about the garden in the yard and my family's rose bushes, the last remaining plant from my grandfather. He didn't say anything, but minutes later he came after me up the stairs and physically attacked me, the first major incident in a long line of physical altercations, with myself and the rest of our fam.
Then came the knife-throwing incident, the kicking our 60-year-old father in the stomach incident, the running away and threatening suicide, and the ultimate unveiling of his paranoid delusion (people are out to break into the house and poison him and the family dog, etc.) Our parents internalized our grim family reality only much, much later. He is in fact the reason I first left home, since even sleeping with a lock on my door didn't help me feel safe around him. I still worry for my parents, like one day I'm going to get that awful phone call that he did something to them.