In 2010, after a call from her apartment manager, I found my sister wandering the property barefoot in the snow, talking to people I couldn’t see. She had left the stove on in her kitchen and a burner glowed orange in the dark. The place smelled as if she’d not taken Max, the wonder dog, out in days. As I started to straighten up the place I found pills tucked in unusual places, evidence she’d not been taking her medication. Obviously she needed help that she couldn’t get from anyone else in our family. You see, I’m the only one who believes in mental illness.

Clearly the mental health system where she lived was failing her and I couldn’t possibly navigate it from where I lived 100 miles away. So I packed up her belongings, rented a storage unit, and moved her to my town.

I’m not a mental health professional. I’m a marketing director at a pharmaceutical company that doesn’t even specialize in neuro products. And I’m not a pharmacist. I probably understand a little more about medications than the average gal on the street because of where I work but that’s not saying much. Simply put, I’m a sister trying to hold a sister’s hand. Trophy Daughter is a blog to share my experiences as I do just that. It’s the perspective of a sister, a caregiver, and a mental health champion. Please take this into account as you respond to my posts and be gentle!  I have way more questions than I have answers so please, please, please share your insights.


12 Comments on “About”

  1. waywardweed says:

    I have nominated you for the Liebster Award. You can check it out under “Awards” in my blog if you are interested. In the meantime keep on writing and enlightening people about mental illness. Stay well. Nancy (Waywardweed).

  2. warmginger says:

    Thank you for nominating me for the ‘Lobster’! 😉 I’m very flattered and I really appreciate that you gave it along with an ignore the rules policy.

    It is very difficult to make other people understand dysfunctional parents and the whole self-protection thing. I made a decision nearly seven years ago to refuse to engage with my father unless he tackled his alcoholism. I don’t feel guilty at all – it is more important to me to protect my children and myself from the nastiness that goes along with his drinking.

    I’m afraid I don’t have any answers or experience to help you with your sister, but my heart goes out to you both. I know how deep your bond must be and she is blessed to have you in her life. x

  3. Hi Trophy, thanks for the follow. I’ve read some of your posts and in your last one you ask for objective remarks. Hummm … just two observations. The first one is that I believe that you should go see your dad. You shouldn’t base your standards of behaviour on what he and your mom have modelled. Remember, you are an adult and you can choose to be or not be whatever you want. Is there a support person – a good friend, maybe – who will go with you and help you to stay strong as you negotiate the minefield that is your family?

    Secondly, I see a tremendous amount of anger. I recognize that dislodging this anger is partially what your bog is for but you also might want some independent counselling (maybe you are doing that – I haven’t read all of your posts). During my divorce from my ex-narcissist I found a good counsellor who helped enormously – I felt that I couldn’t trust my own judgement any more and needed help with that. I vividly remember the session when he told me that I didn’t need to see him again. I knew it too and also knew that I had my life back – there’s no better feeling.

    Good luck and take care – you really have a lot on your plate.

    • Lynette – your observations are well taken. I am an adult, true, but, I morph into a child, a chicken-fried baby, at the very thought of seeing my parents, particularly my mom, face-to-face. I’m not proud of this. She is very difficult to stand up to, a master at manipulation, and it is usually days after the fact before I realize the damage sustained by the interaction. I’ve had therapists say she likely has NPD which is what led me to your blog originally. I’m in self-protection mode quite frankly. Having said that, my sister really wants to see Dad and as she has no good means of transportation, I may drive her one day. I’m considering it. I make no promises.

      Regarding therapy, agree it would be helpful. It’s incredibly difficult to find the right person. (Any pointers?) Jeff, who I saw last, was great with helping me deal with the huge change of moving Jerri to Durham; I don’t think he would be that helpful with the parents issue. Mainly because I tried to go there with him before and he would always skirt the conversation.

      • I can only think of one suggestion – you could contact Scott Williams who has a WP blog. He’s a Canadian therapist in Vancouver, I believe, but he might know of someone in your area or he might have another idea for finding a decent therapist.

        If your mom is NPD, and it sounds like she is, then I understand your reservations. They are completely crazy-making. In the end, however, I was quite able to deal with my ex-narcissist when I firmly kept in mind that essentially, his emotional development was stopped and that I was dealing with a child. The more I continued to view him that way, the more easily I saw his infantile behaviours, manipulations and attempts at control. The other thing I did was to completely disengage from him as my spouse. Like the word “mother” or “parent”, the word “spouse” or “husband” carries an enormous emotional load and we feel cheated when the parent or spouse doesn’t live up the associations connected with the title.

        I understand where you’re coming from. You want your parents, especially your mom, to “parent” and you’re angry at them for not doing that, and you have a right to be. They won’t ever be “parents”, though, just as my spouse was unable to be a “husband”.

        I hope this helps. I hate to see anyone churning in the wake of a NPD person/people.

  4. You left a message about a Narcissist on a recent post of mine – I can’t respond there b/c I can’t say “My ex-husband has NPD” without catching hell (since he reads it regularly). He’d never get help, never admit that he needs it, would NEVER admit that his behavior is less than exemplary and is most likely bi-polar also. But, since this is my personal diagnoses, I have nothing concrete except for his abusive and erratic behavior. He is hurtful and manipulative and self-righteous and angry and accusatory and…I have to continue to deal with him b/c we have 2 teenage sons together. If we didn’t, I would vanish. His first wife disappeared without a trace – now I understand why. I don’t know if you feel the utter despair about your mother (and your sister) that I do, but I’ll bet you do. I read some of your posts – you are a good sister, Jerri is lucky to have someone who hasn’t completely given up. Your situation is SO similar to that of my best friend that it’s almost eerie. I would love to compare notes.
    Single in the Southwest

    • Suzanne, I would love to compare notes as well. If you want, email me at trophydaughter@nc.rr.com. You and your BF are why I have this blog. We can’t always change our situations but we can build a network of people who understand and we can help each other get through the rough times.

      I try not to feel utter despair about Jerri. I’m not always sure the docs have her diagnosis right but I do know she has a disorder. It helps to separate HER from her disorder-induced behavior. At times I get a glimpse of the sister she could be if she was free from whatever this thing is. Those moments are precious. Sadly, I don’t think she will ever be completely well and I’m not even sure she wants to be. I’d like her to thrive, not just survive, but she has to want that herself. The years of emotional abuse from our mom have also crippled her.

      Mom is a different story and that one does indeed feel hopeless. I don’t know if I will ever let her back into my life, not that she’s knocking on the door. I still struggle with my anger over what she has done to both of us. I still struggle to undo the damage in my own life on a daily basis. I still hope one day to forgive her because I know that is best for me. And I still grieve that I didn’t get the family that so many other people seem to have. Life is not fair but I am going to make the best of it. Because that’s all you can do really.

  5. solesister says:

    I like your latest blog and your final comment. You can’t control her, you can only control yourself. I too have been working on doing the same in caring for those around me. Primarily my mother. Sometimes those boundaries seem to get so blurred, but I have to stay healthy and strong so she can be healthy and strong. Good for you….Stay strong!

  6. Joan says:

    What a lovely header– nice blog you have here! I followed you over from Ellen’s, hope you don’t mind. I have no insights or experience to offer… My lovely trophy daughter is only 21 and newly diagnosed as bipolar. Trophy son is 23, they share an apartment, but I don’t ever want him to feel overwhelmed by responsibilities that shouldn’t be his to shoulder. There’s no telling how this story is going to play out, but I just thought I’d introduce myself and say thank-you for bloggin.

    • Joan, thanks for stopping by and for the kind comments. I hope you’ll visit frequently. It’s great your daughter has been diagnosed so young. Jerri wasn’t diagnosed until her 30’s and had suffered so much as a result. ‘Course times are different now. Send your son this way if he’s a blog reader. The more the merrier!!

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