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forgiving or ignoring a narcissist

Question:

Hi,

there’s a lot of background to this question that’s nec. to show where I’m coming from for, so PLS read it all first! the question(s) is at the end.
Thank you very very much!

Hi, Sorry for the long question but it’s a lot of background, that’s nec. to show where I’m coming from for my question!

One of my brothers is a narcissist, who has behaved in a really terrible way for a long time towards me, specially trying to hurt me through verbal thrusts, terrible name-calling and speaking against me in shocking terms very often, constantly criticizing me or telling me off on even very petty things (like that I shouldn’t sing a certain song because it doesn’t have anything Jewish, even though there’s nothing necessarily non-Jewish in it! ). He also doesn’t behave in a considerate way and would keep on disturbing me every night for ages, just because he wanted to enjoy himself. He said that he would only stop if I ask him nicely every night (because I didn’t speak to him during that period) and otherwise, was extremely inflexible (if I wanted to go to sleep earlier than the time my parents had set for it to be quiet at home) and wouldn’t stop until either my parents would need to ask on my behalf, or until he himself went to bed. Before I used to ask him and speak with him, and try and get him to see how his behaviour was highly disturbing. But instead, all he did was make an enormous fuss over very minimal things that I did, and call me names and explode in anger, blaming everything on me and saying how shocking I behaved. Bechasdei Hashem, I finally realized that he was trying to control me with all the disturbing he’d do at night until that time precisely and baruch Hashem, I think my father spoke with him, because now it’s stopped! But I really felt that I didn’t want to have anything to do with him and that that was the best way to deal with a person such as he (who, for the past number of years hasn’t expressed any genuine remorse for any behaviour of his and constantly shifted the blame onto others), so for now I’m still ignoring him. I find that the criticizing has basically stopped and so has the telling off in general, although he still speaks against me sometimes. On erev yom kippur he wrote me a note asking me to write down the points that he upset me and also letting me know that he feels very hurt by the ignoring, I think. It really should have been extremely obvious to him, as it would to any other person!

(I asked my mother to read it and tell me the gist of it, because I was completely disinterested in reading it myself.)

Due to the fact that I already understand bh that he’s a narcissist and that he anyways doesn’t feel sorry(if I were to ask him if he does, I’m quite certain he’d project the main blame on me) and that he’s only asking (as far as I know) in order that I’ll speak with him again, and not from any feelings of remorse, I still don’t forgive him, nor do I speak to him.

I find it emotionally healthier for me that way and better so that I don’t get into his ‘clutches’ again.

But I just want to make sure that it’s ok according to halocha to do this. I don’t know how long for, because he’ll probably remain in the same way, ( a very argumentative and inconsiderate person) I still plan to daven for him that Hashem cure him of his narcissism disorder.

Please note that he’s the same type of person for years, and speaking with him doesn’t help. I’ve gone through the same pattern of fighting with him about this and that, feeling very hurt or angry and him not taking any responsibility for his actions and projecting all the blame on me instead. Then, after showing him my displeasure at his behaviour, we start again until the next time. I think it’s better that I try to have as least to do with him as possible (acc. to research I’ve done on narcissism disorder and how to deal with those who have it), however I want to make sure that I’m not actually doing any aveiroh by ignoring him, so that’s my actual question, wherever, according to the background and circumstances I’ve given, I’m actually doing anything wrong?

Please let me know if it’s ok to just ignore him or what I should do otherwise (since he anyways won’t show any signs of true repentance for anything he’s done) and I do hope to daven for him too.

As a sideline, my mother has signs of narcissism too, which present untold conflict in my parents’ marriage. Although they have tried to go for counselling, nothing has helped. What do you think my father could do in this case please, or would it be best for them to divorce chas vesholom? Thank you very very much!

Answer:

Hi,

After reading your letter, there are a number of things here that I have to verify.

First of all how old are you, and your brother, and from which age is this going on?

It does seems that your brother has done things that are inconsiderate, but giving the term narcissist, means that you are saying that it isn’t just immaturity, or a need to work on his middos. You are saying that he is mentally sick, with a mental disorder! This is a very serious accusation, and we would need to have backing, from a professional, or someone else to determine that this term is indeed the severity or the situation.

The fact that he stopped (at least some) of negative behaviour, is a very positive sign. Additionally the fact that he wants to know what he did wrong to you, seems to be a positive sign. do yo feel that my letting him know what he has done wrong to you will help for the future? I mean to let him know that he has hurt you numerous times and therefore you feel the best thing is for you to go your own way, because the relationship with him is hurtful?  What do you think will be his reaction to hearing something like this? Additionally if you let him know this, you can see from his reaction, if he seems sorry for what he did that is great, but if not, then you know that he indeed doesn’t feel sorry for what was done.

Regarding your mother, there is no way I can comment about her, her marriage, and if they should get divorced, in such a venue.

Everyone has personality faults, including myself, yourself, and if you aren’t married yet, your future husband. There is a rule in life, there is no such things as a relationship between two people, especially if it will be close one, that the other person is not going to inconvenience each other. Everyone has character faults, and they will bother their spouse, but partof out nisayon in life is to deal with those difficulties.

Please get back to me so I can understand things better.

Thanks

 

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