Back in high school my mom bought me several new books. One of them was Gathering Blue and the other one I read about about a girl who had a very mean sister and she was abusive. She was even abusive towards her parents and towards her own mother and towards the girl’s friends she would scare them away. The mean sister’s name was Pamela. I forgot what the protagonist’s name was. But then their mother dies and Pamela didn’t like the rules her dad was setting so she runs away and talks her younger sister into running away with her. She would act nice at times but she would also act like a real bitch. But because she was so mean, she was declared disabled by the state so she got disability while the younger sister worked. The protagonist had this nice cat sweater that belonged to her mother and one day it disappeared. Pamela didn’t know where the sweater went. I suspected in the book she took it and probably threw it out because she was mean and not supportive and didn’t care about anyone. She would put anyone down and spit. She was a bully. If I remembered the title of it, I would read it again to refresh my memory.
But in the book Pamela dies I forgot by what but she died and I don’t even remember how the younger sister took it or how she reacted but I remembered if I were her I would have been so happy she was gone because there would be no more abuse. And she did find her sweater. it was locked away in the kitchen cupboard and it had a bunch of holes in the sweater from moths. I knew Pamela took it. I always wondered why the parents let her get away with it and not punish her every time she is mean and they made it a disability for her. I thought she should have just suffered and be homeless until she learns to be nice to people. But it was a book and it never specified what disorder she had so maybe the author made the illness up in the book. What if being mean to people and a bully was a disorder and they really couldn’t help it because it was the way their brains were wired? They were unable to act nice so therefore it was a disorder. You can make up any disorder in a book and the readers or the audience is left guessing what could be wrong with them and sometimes they do use a specific disorder and it’s very obvious what they have because they give them textbook symptoms or the stereotypes and sometimes they only give them some symptoms and the audience will still armchair diagnose them. based on a few symptoms they see. In Benny & Joon, one thing that was a dead giveaway was when Benny told Sam that she sometimes hears voices and that told me she was a schizophrenic. Other people guessed Bipolar because they can also hear voices. But then she is with Sam and all of a sudden she is “normal” because she isn’t acting too different anymore like she was at the beginning of the movie. Then when Benny took him away by kicking him out of their house, she was back to acting different again. With Sam you could see his writing and know he is a dyslexic and he had a hard time with writing because Joon had to help him. Jerry called him an idiot lol and said that wasn’t dyslexia because he didn’t have any letters spelled backwards or out of place. He only had misspelled words. Talk about stereotypes. My husband also has it and he doesn’t spell anything backwards or letters but he does have a hard time with spelling. He hates reading so he doesn’t read books unless it’s something that really interests him like outer space just like how Sam would read about Buster Keaton so obviously he could read. Jerry would probably call him an idiot too.
So back to the book, I wonder if such disorder really exists where someone is unable to act nice. Even narcissists can act nice. Ted Bundy sure acted nice but yet he is still diagnosed as having NPD and ASPD by professionals. I don’t think he was ever given the diagnoses to his face nor did he had it on record but those were the labels that had been given to him after his execution. I don’t know if they were given to him in prison while he was still on death row. He lived a double life before he was caught. There is a difference between being a nice person and acting nice. just as long as someone is able to act nice, they are not impaired by their meanness. But if their meanness gets in the way where they can act nice enough for it to not impact their life, they have a disorder. I wonder if such thing exists. Pamela’s meanness was very pervasive because she was mean to everyone; her sister, her parents, her sister’s friends, other adults, etc. that she had to be on disability. No one would tolerate the abuse from her and her bullying and her disrespect. Even I wouldn’t want to be around her so I couldn’t understand why the younger sister ran away from home with her but Pamela had convinced her to come, perhaps she manipulated her younger sister to run away with her by saying things about their father and convincing her it was all true. That time she acted supportive and nice but I think it might have been manipulation. God what was the name of that book?
I realize now she might have had an illness where she was unable to be nice to people so her parents punishing her wouldn’t have made her good. When her dad did set limits and rules, she runs away and talks her little sister into doing it. Anyone reading this might be thinking of disorders like borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, oppositional defiant disorder. But I think none of that. She just acted like a bully and seemed to like picking on anyone and just saying mean things to anyone to make them feel bad and she didn’t show any other signs like fear of abandonment or self harm or suicidal or low self image of herself or high ego or exaggeration of accomplishments, she wasn’t impulsive, etc. I kept thinking of my elementary school years where kids would call me names and put me down and every time I imagined what Pamela looked like, I kept picturing my old friend Jennifer who was also mean to me so I imagined the little sister always had Jennifer with her but it was 24/7 instead of only 45 minutes a day, five days a week because I only saw her on the playground in 5th grade and then her family moved so she was gone. But if I were to read the book again I could change my mind because I might not remember any other stuff about Pamela except for her meanness and bullying and the put downs and I can’t remember any specific ones she has done except taking the sweater and lying about it.