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bizarre behavior in sister.

697 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  perl
I think my sister has an undiagnosed issue. I don't know what it is, so maybe if someone reads this description it will sound familiar to them.
she is now 19 yrs old.
she was described as an easy infant by my mom and Nanna. but once she figured out how to get mobile, she was hell on wheels. a very, very busy toddler, never happy unless constantly on the go- sure, many toddlers are like this. but this was almost to the point of strange. if you put food in front of her, it couldn't be touched or she'd throw it to the floor and scream. as a child, she was insecure, someone needed to go to kindergarten with her every day for the first 6 months for at least part of the day because she was fearful/unhappy/insecure.
all this could be within the range of normal. but it ties into the bigger picture-

my parents divorced when I was 11 and she was 7. a lot of her behavior is blamed on this. yes, divorce is hard for kids, but we still saw my dad on a regular basis. she still insists on callling him "Daddy", buys him presents that he doesn't want- like she buys him anything and everything from the movie "Nightmare Before Christmas" just because he took us to see it when it came out and thought it was kinda funny. she is 19 years old and still complains if her time with him is not "alone time" like if she is over his house and I go over- even though she won't actually spend time with him, just watch tv or go online.

her relationships with *everyone* are very strained and unnatural. she holds hostility, anger, and resentment from things that happened many years ago. things she should have either forgotten about or be able to laugh about by now (like me not wanting her to buy a Donald Duck hat at Disney 11 years ago). a huge problem is that she blurts out EXTREMELY inappropriate comments no matter who she is around. her behavior could be described as bizarre, selfish, hostile, and immature. she will do things like pick up her cats or dog and hold them upside down for extended periods, thinking it is funny and refusing to acknowledge that the animal doesn't like this treatment.

I have never in my life met anyone who acts like her. everyone must walk on pins and needles to avoid saying the wrong thing resulting in her unleashing a torrent of negative emotion and insults. she takes no pride in her appearance, wearing clothing that does not fit, and has refused to change her hairstyle which is the same one she's had since she was two years old (this is all tied into her obsession with her childhood). abuse was not a factor, we had an idyllic childhood besides the divorce. she has not matured socially at all- I've met five year olds who have a better understanding of tact and conversational skils.

my parents are either oblivious to this problem or in denial. my grandmother totally agrees with me. right now my sister is living by herself, going to art school and has already failed two classes. I am wondering if this sounds to anyone like some disorder or illness that I could possibly print info out for my grandmother and I to read and see if there is something we can do to help.
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I replied to this in both forums. I just wanted to make sure you saw it. I think I crossposted with the Moderator.

Anyhow here is my reply..........I'm not one to diagnose things as illnesses very often but this one I read and think it could be either a low level bi-polar disorder or turrets. It could be an unattended inferiority complex. It could be A LOT of things really. I would maybe invite her to family counseling between the both of you at the very least. It would get her in front of a professional for observational diagnosis purposes and offer her an outlet for her anger frustrations and aggressions. Sending family healing vibes your way. (((((HUGS)))))
I'm not really an expert, so I don't know what this could be, but I wanted to say that I don't think you have to have a specific condition to benefit from therapy. Obviously she has some issues in terms of fitting into society and whether she fits a definite disorder or not she could benefit from talking to someone. The problem is that any therapy is something she will have to participate in - if she doesn't think she needs it and is hostile about it, it isn't going to help her. Can you try to talk her into going to someone on her own? In trying to convince her of this, I would focus on the things she is unhappy with rather than the ones you are - if you can convince her that therapy would help her with the parts of her life she is unhappy with, then maybe that might be the foot in the door so to speak.

Good luck!
thanks for the responses!

she has been involved in therapy since she was about 9, however, these doctors were usually chosen by my mother, who happens to be a pediatrician. I was also briefly in therapy as a teen and my mom has a tendency to interfere negatively in this type of treatment. she is unwilling to assume any responsibility or admit any wrongdoing of any sort and always ends up screwing up therapy situations by making the doctors question what is reality and what isn't. now that my sister lives several states away, she is still in therapy AND has been on medication for years (paxil, 60 mg I believe).
it concerns me that no diagnosis has been even attempted- I feel it is impossible for a therapist to truly understand the depth of these problems, because my sister is not in a position to articulate all of what's wrong- in fact, if she was actually able to verbalize what was wrong with her, that would solve a huge part of the problem! but her thinking has always been that the world is against her, I am against her, our family is against her, etc. Unless this therapist were actually able to observe her objectively- that is, without input from my mother, and in a natural environment, like a family gathering, going out to eat at a restaurant, or some other social situation that required a modicum of pleasantry or etiquette, they could not possibly see the real issue.

I should have made myself more clear about the inappropriate outbursts- I don't mean the type characterized by Tourette's- just that she will say things that are CLEARLY embarassing, inappropriate, or private no matter whose company she is in. like revealing an intimate detail one would only relate to a best friend in secrecy, she will instead announce it loudly at a table with people she barely knows. yk?
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Has she ever gone to a psychiatrist or has it always been a therapist/counselor. There is a difference in approach and problem solving avenues.

With your second post in mind it sounds like a surveillance video would be good then call an intervention without you mother. Sounds like your Mother may be causing some of the issue. I know a couple that dealt with this for years. They didn't send their DD in for help because they were afraid they would be blamed.

I know this may not be an idea you want to hear or it may not be the case but often drug users act this way as well. I am NOT insinuating she is using drugs but I know that can be a side effect.
yes, she has also been to psychiatrists. that is who prescribed the paxil.

I agree with you that many of these symptoms mimic those of drug users, but I am quite sure it is not that. Unfortunately I do have experience with drug addicts on DH's side of the family. She has been this way her whole life. She went to a small town private school and was not exposed to much drinking or drugs, and never got drunk until she went to college (and immediately called me the next day to "brag" about it). If anything she is very naive about drugs and afraid of them.

I agree that my mother is causing some of the issue, or at the very least making the situation worse than it has to be. I cannot imagine making the same choices for my daughter that my mom has made for my sister. I feel she is in deep denial because her life is all about creating a perfect image to her siblings and extended family.
Hmmm, could be anything from mental illness, a neurogical/developmental disorder (that your mom can't acknowledge?), a personality disorder, a combination of the above, who knows? Are other family members willing or able to enter therapy with her? During a family session, the therapist is able to see how members of the family interact with each other and can help to figure out how the family members relate to the world in general.

I hate to consider this but it's remotely possible that she is experiencing the prodrome of a serious mental illness. People with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders are often perceived by others as "strange" or "off" for quite some time before the illness manifests. This may not be the case for your sister but it's another good reason for her to keep in close contact with a therapist/psychiatrist. Please let us know how she's doing -
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