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What Are the Signs of a Narcissistic Sister?

By Debra Barnhart
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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It is not always easy to clearly recognize the signs of a narcissistic sister. Most people are capable of being a little narcissistic at times, and some entire countries have been accused of being narcissistic. Generally speaking, narcissists are people who do not have the same priorities as others when it comes to what is important in life. Sigmund Freud believed that healthy narcissism was key to full psychological development, but extreme narcissistic behavior could be a sign of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Some mental health specialists feel NPD is the result of unhealthy upbringing.

On occasion most people can display some narcissistic behavior, and selfish tendencies can be prevalent in many societies. The pursuit of wealth and belongings is often idolized in some countries like the U.S. Mass media and advertising often support narcissistic notions that success, social status, acquisition of expensive luxuries, and physical appearance are the most important parts of life.

Many people in the world might say that family, friends, health, spirituality, job security, shelter, peace and sufficient food are top priorities. The narcissist, however, has a different set of concerns. Physical appearance, wealth, acquiring luxury items, power and social status are priorities for the narcissist. These things might be nice, but most people do not necessarily need them to thrive and be happy.

The renowned psychiatrist, Sigmund Freud believed that “healthy” narcissism was necessary for complete human psychological development. Healthy narcissism consists of characteristics like high self-esteem based on realistic expectations. In addition, the healthy narcissist might appreciate power, but would not pursue it to the extent where it damages other people.

A few observations of behavior can help one distinguish between a little healthy narcissism and a narcissistic sister with a full-blown psychological disorder. The signs of NPD include an unreasonable sense of superiority and entitlement. A narcissistic sister with NPD does not have much regard for other people’s needs or their well-being. The pathologically ill narcissist cares about gaining power regardless of the consequences. Her real concern is with how she can manipulate other people to get what she wants and still look fabulous in the process.

People with NPD lack stable morals and values, and tend to drift between different relationships and interests. Putting other people down often makes narcissists feel better about themselves. Narcissists are more susceptible to feelings of shame and then guilt, because they care so much about what other people think. They change their minds a lot due to boredom and lack of interest. When narcissism is this severe, it impacts a person’s psychological health and chances for having a productive, happy life.

Some mental health experts feel that people with NPD have experienced an unhappy childhood and were not nurtured by their parents. Parents' inconsistent behavior and lack of emotional support can contribute to a child growing up to be a narcissist. In other words, parents who exhibit narcissistic behavior can create a narcissist child. If the adage, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” is true, a person who wonders about the signs of a narcissistic sister might be best advised to examine his or her own behavior as well.

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Discussion Comments

By anon1001608 — On May 22, 2019

My sister has really ruined my life. When she called CPS on me the fact that she wants me to be what she told them, I am starting to do by myself. I know that she would die if she were to be humiliated to look like a liar. She forms groups or gathers a people who will listen the hiss of her tongue only they don't hear it. She is the most evil person I hope I never meet. I would hate to meet another and I know they exist. I just want to give an example. She would argue with my niece when my niece was a toddler. She would make her cry. And over who mother my mother was. The can't be healthy in a sense that she should get help.

By anon997313 — On Dec 14, 2016

Theborgrote - Let us first understand that narcissists (cunning if not deliriously soul-less opportunists) do things which they expect to keep under the radar. They do elect to pose as sheep and not other creatures. That is their lifeblood. Establishing a false persona. In the case of a sibling they may actively prey on the parents to become ever the golden child. All of it works. Unless or until they are confronted or called on it. Some dots get connected over time.

But much much earlier in time, some trusting tool was was chosen as a scapegoat and misrepresented to the intended following or audience. Yes that is normally an individual who is by contrast not obsessed with presenting oneself as a mortally flawless one, but one who is instead (for years) more trusting that no narcissist could possible be throwing rocks at one's abode when one happened to or happens not to be there to see it.

Point is that by the time a/the scapegoat figures out what has been going on, one has to be almost as devious to reverse the distortions, if one happens to have been designated as that narcissists go to scapegoat.

This is why no contact is recommended. You are talking about people whose delusions are based on a perception that they have generally attained or been awarded at birth a special level of uncommon perfection, clarity and entitlement, all of it bordering on the psychotic.

Be careful out there.

By anon996264 — On Aug 02, 2016

The apple thing. So true! Unless you were the scapegoated person in your family and told you were basically nothing your entire life.

By anon991750 — On Jul 15, 2015

It is healthy to recognize extreme narcissism in a relationship so as to better deal with the fallout. The point is not to find fault with another, but to arm yourself and cope better if you are in a toxic relationship with someone who is narcissistic.

By Theborgrote — On Jan 03, 2014

This is an interesting article. I'm not sure that I agree with the statement that "Most people are capable of being a little narcissistic at times." I know lots of people who are incredibly humble and completely unwilling to draw attention to themselves.

However, I do like the last sentence - "If the adage, 'The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,' is true, a person who wonders about the signs of a narcissistic sister might be best advised to examine his or her own behavior as well." Reminds of the biblical verse - "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

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