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hoping for wise words, or at least confirmation.


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I just wanted to lay a story out there and know what other people think, those that have seen similar things, those that know how it feels, those who can suggest a plan or simply offer a confirmation or compassion.

My sister has not spoken to anyone in the family for over a year and a half. She broke down after her boyfriend moved out and got on a plane back to his home in Europe. She had been in a bad place emotionally for a long time (even before that particular relationship) and we had seen it develop but didn't know how bad. I talked with my other sister about how the real issue behind all the complaining and anger about life was serious depression. But this breakdown seemed to be something more. I flew out to see her immediately to keep her calm and found myself feeding her yogurt in bed and listening to her cry and scream for a few days. She told me about the physical fights she and her boyfriend had. She showed me where she had punched in their wall. We hunted though the house for a kitchen knife since he had hidden them all before he bolted (while she lay in a drunken stupor, half-alive on their floor -- my mother vows to let him have it if she ever hears from him again). By the time I left she seemed like maybe she could manage, but my mom followed for a few more days of comforting and encouraging. After that our other sister took her turn flying out and trying to keep her on track, but it turned bad. At one point in a seemingly calm conversation the one sister physically attacked the other and they ended up wrestling on the floor. 911 was called, and my sister was taken to a mental hospital (only to be let home the next morning). My other sister quickly flew back home that night, terrified and angry at what had happened.

What happened then was a string of angry emails to me and my mom about how we couldn't be trusted any more, filled with vicious language and rage. My mother was heartbroken, as was I. I still am. The last email we heard (she never responded to our phone calls) was threatening to disappear from our lives, and indeed we have heard nothing (but at least we know she is alive, thanks to the Internet...). I have read a little about BPD and it seems like a good case... but what I can't figure out is why she wouldn't have figured that out with her therapist yet and been able to get to a place where she can speak to any of us, even after a year and a half? My sister is a brilliant, intellectual woman with, I thought, more strength than anyone and more determination to be a good person. She is very involved in Buddhism, yet complains sometimes that it has taught her nothing...

I have lost a sister, so it appears. I have been trying to deal. I saw a therapist for a while after it happened. Can I expect to ever have her back? I got together with my mom and other sister recently, but the other name was never mentioned, the situation wasn't even brought up, we are trying so hard to move on and not be torn down by the loss... Many families have similar situations, I know it's not the first or last time it's ever happened. But more than just being angry at us for a solid reason, she seems to have sincerely lost her mind and lashed out at those who were closest. My (sane) sister will be married soon, and it is clear that it will be only my mom and me to be invited.

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Wow, that's rough. I can see why your mother would be upset at the now departed B/F, however, risking drawing your anger and ire, I'd have to place myself in the B/F's shoes as much as possible. If your sister has been drinking a lot and having wild emotional outbursts that include punching holes in the walls, he may have left to preserve his sanity.

If your sister was releasd from the mental unit at the local hospital, then she's evidently lucid enough to prevent the professionals from knowing the depth of her illness(es). I take it she has no children to care for? Without kids, thank God!, there's not a lot you can do to force anything to be done. Especially if she isn't harming herself or others. As difficult as this may be, you will need to emotionally seperate yourself as much as possible to protect yourself. You and your mother/sister will need to depend on each other during this time.

Unfortunately, it has been my experience that many people have to left alone until they get miserable enough to do something on their own to get better. The whole "You can lead a horse to water" thing. You've already led her to water. She will need to drink on her own.

I'm sorry, I know that sucks as advice. But from expereinces of my own, this is the only way I know how to handle it. Just be there for her if she calls on you, but the more you try to force her at this point, the further she will move away from you. And the more you try to force your concerns on her, the more likely she is to act out and reject those concerns. It's hard as hell to cut someone out of your life like what I'm suggesting, but sometimes, it all comes down to protecting your sanity.

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