Dealing with family betrayal and gaslighting

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GammaRayBob
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24 Jul 2023, 1:37 am

Recently my brother messaged me about a surprise gift he wanted to give our mother for her 80th birthday milestone: a certificate for a $500 donation to a certain charity in her honor. He contacted me at 2:30 am the day before her birthday, telling me that he and our two other siblings were arranging the gift and that they wanted to include my name on it and that he hoped I was ok with it. When I asked (later that day, as I felt it was too late/early to start talking to him at 2:30 am) why he was messaging me about this so late, he said that it was "a last minute rush job". I immediately thought this was odd... my brother, who's ALWAYS prompt, diligent and organized with just about everything and who would have known our mother's 80th birthday was coming up well in advance, is just planning this now, the day before? Something didn't make sense here.

So I started questioning him about it, specifically asking why so late, and the conversation very quickly turned into a stream of obvious lies and deflection, including him telling me that I wasn't being contacted later than our two siblings, even though he soon told me that he had already been in contact with them via a Whatsapp group. He also revealed that they had already agreed that the amount should be split 3 ways between them ($169 each), thus effectively leaving out my donation by default. As well, the certificate had apparently already been picked up that morning or afternoon, barring any possibility of adding my donation in equal measure with the others'.

When I asked why I wasn't included in the group since I was on WhatsApp, he basically said that he didn't think of it and joked that it was his "old age" that made it slip his mind. Of course. He then said I could give 'if I wanted to', and that our sister would be in touch with me about it (she never contacted me, big surprise).

Knowing that something was up, I called the donation place and they confirmed that my siblings had been planning the gift for at least a week in advance of when I was contacted by him. According to them, it would've been impossible for the certificate to be ready for pickup if it had been ordered the day before anyway, so it would have had to been ordered at least that long ago. When I told my brother that the place had confirmed that he was lying, his only response was "well, you're not on WhatsApp so I couldn't include you in our group." Uh-huh, and yet somehow he was able to message me the day before to tell me everything was already done. (Side note: the WhatsApp group referenced is one that was set up by him several years ago, which he invited everyone in the family to except me. The only reason I was even aware of its existence is because my mother brought it up in a conversation and I of course had no idea what she was talking about).

Needless to say, I was not only furious about this but completely fed up, as this kind of behavior towards me from my family had been going on for years, with zero admission or acknowledgement of it from them. Any time I suggest that I'm being excluded from certain things, my family gaslights me and says I'm paranoid delusional and projecting my feelings of my own inadequacies onto other people's behavior towards me. My mother was always the worst perpetrator of this, insisting that no one would ever treat me differently because they don't think of me as different, then when I effectively prove that it has been happening via specific examples, she responds with "well what do you expect, you refuse to act like everyone else." (She would later always deny that these conversations ever took place :| ).

Well, it happened again. I felt the need to bring up the situation to my parents and she reacted the same way, telling me "you've always believed you were different and you're still doing it." Great argument... logically, if I've always been complaining that something's been happening to me, that's proof that it's not. I showed her the actual messages between my brother and me and her reaction was to still say that I was probably misinterpreting everything because no way would my brother ever lie to me. I mean, she was denying what was right in front of her and she was expecting me to believe that I was imagining that I had been intentionally excluded.

This incident especially hurt because not only was I excluded from something important, and not only did my brother lie to me about it but my family actually thought it made perfect sense to exclude me from a donation in my own mother's name for her milestone, as though I wasn't even significant enough to be added as anything other than an afterthought (presumably so I wouldn't be surprised when I eventually saw it had my name on it).

The real pressing issue now is that I no longer feel I can trust anyone in my family and, unfortunately, they're all I currently have in my life. I know for a fact they don't respect me as an equal but on the other hand, it's not easy for me to make friends or get a job so it's not like I have anything else either. My family might "be there" for me but I don't see how I can feel comfortable around people who constantly insult my intelligence and patronize me because of my neurology, and then blame me for it.



PepponiSpaghetti
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24 Jul 2023, 5:06 am

I'm very sorry that you had to go through this.


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bee33
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25 Jul 2023, 12:27 am

I don't know your financial situation but if your siblings know or think that you don't have a lot of extra money, they might have thought it would be unfair to ask you to contribute? And then when they realized they shouldn't have left you out completely, they rushed to add you to the gift at the last minute. It sounds like they screwed up, perhaps unintentionally, perhaps thoughtlessly, or perhaps for the reasons you suspect: that they don't take you seriously.

But, regardless, it's awful that they have done this and that they are doing it all the time. I'm sorry that this is going on.



GammaRayBob
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25 Jul 2023, 2:20 pm

bee33 wrote:
I don't know your financial situation but if your siblings know or think that you don't have a lot of extra money, they might have thought it would be unfair to ask you to contribute? And then when they realized they shouldn't have left you out completely, they rushed to add you to the gift at the last minute. It sounds like they screwed up, perhaps unintentionally, perhaps thoughtlessly, or perhaps for the reasons you suspect: that they don't take you seriously.

But, regardless, it's awful that they have done this and that they are doing it all the time. I'm sorry that this is going on.


Thanks... no, they're most likely aware that I have money, I have investments and money given to me by my parents, otherwise I wouldn't be able to live on my own without a job. Plus, I would only have to give $125, which really isn't very much at all. My sister hasn't worked in 17 years and he immediately included her and had her take care of the legwork, despite her claims of being so sick that she can't do anything (which is why she refuses to work). It seems they just don't want to include me in anything important that they plan together. I don't think I'm wrong in thinking they don't respect me.



VictorOfAveyron
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11 Feb 2024, 2:09 pm

here are takeaways from me based on the information provided. please see it as merely food for thought, i am not much more than guessing, and you will need to decide on conclusions yourself, obv.

* for certain reasons, your siblings did not need/want your input for the gift. the reasons for notifying you casually couldve been out of a feeling of guilt, spontaneous thought at the time, realisation its better for you to know now than find out the day after on the spot, whatever. doesnt really matter.
* they dont really tried to hide it. no one could. its just uncomfortable for them to talk about it. and so its even more uncomfortable for them when you're pressing them on it. why bother? you caught them lying. its not on you to disprove that, if anything its up to them. if they dont, you gotta live with it. some people are mature enough to face their actions. others just arent. you're not helping them by trying to talk it through, neither is it of service to you.
* we dont choose our family. we need to work with what we got. you will not go through with a marriage ceremony of sorts with any of them. if they could help you with something, let them. they are as they are. dont try to change them.
* i can relate very well with the description of your mother. i know the birthday is long gone, but heres my takeaway on it: 1) refuse to have your name put on the gift. you were not included in the making, it doesnt make sense. the excuses of your siblings are exactly that, excuses, and you know it. 2) it was the day before the birthday; if you had your own gift you wouldnt need to be on their gift; if you hadnt planned to gift anything you shouldnt want to be on their gift anyway. it shouldve been irrelevant to you from the getgo.
* the ND trait is to try beating the dead horse in the hopes it will be reborn as an ND horse. it wont, neither nor. imo, its not a bad trait at all, just learn to get the cues when its over



GammaRayBob
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Joined: 9 Oct 2017
Age: 43
Gender: Male
Posts: 107

09 May 2024, 11:01 pm

VictorOfAveyron wrote:
here are takeaways from me based on the information provided. please see it as merely food for thought, i am not much more than guessing, and you will need to decide on conclusions yourself, obv.

* for certain reasons, your siblings did not need/want your input for the gift. the reasons for notifying you casually couldve been out of a feeling of guilt, spontaneous thought at the time, realisation its better for you to know now than find out the day after on the spot, whatever. doesnt really matter.
* they dont really tried to hide it. no one could. its just uncomfortable for them to talk about it. and so its even more uncomfortable for them when you're pressing them on it. why bother? you caught them lying. its not on you to disprove that, if anything its up to them. if they dont, you gotta live with it. some people are mature enough to face their actions. others just arent. you're not helping them by trying to talk it through, neither is it of service to you.
* we dont choose our family. we need to work with what we got. you will not go through with a marriage ceremony of sorts with any of them. if they could help you with something, let them. they are as they are. dont try to change them.
* i can relate very well with the description of your mother. i know the birthday is long gone, but heres my takeaway on it: 1) refuse to have your name put on the gift. you were not included in the making, it doesnt make sense. the excuses of your siblings are exactly that, excuses, and you know it. 2) it was the day before the birthday; if you had your own gift you wouldnt need to be on their gift; if you hadnt planned to gift anything you shouldnt want to be on their gift anyway. it shouldve been irrelevant to you from the getgo.
* the ND trait is to try beating the dead horse in the hopes it will be reborn as an ND horse. it wont, neither nor. imo, its not a bad trait at all, just learn to get the cues when its over


Hi, thanks for your input, just seeing this now. Unfortunately by the time I was messaged my name had already been put on the certificate and was ready to be picked up, the message was just a formality like you said. Anyway I've just been avoiding my entire family since then since there's nothing left to discuss and nothing's going to change. I'm just assuming I'm doing the right thing because I can't imagine any other recourse.