Saturday, 23 July 2011

Manipulation and deceipt: you don't expect it from your brother

Hello virtual friends, I have just paused to say hello as I have been a bit distant lately from my blog (might not be reflected in the number of posts by us). I've had another really busy week. I'm starting to realise my work is never actually going to ease off; there is always going to be more to do than I have time to fit in. It stresses me out. I feel it may build up to a great big mountain of jobs not done and then I'll get fired. I need to draw up a timetable of what I have been doing each day over the last few months and a list of all the things I still need to do that haven't been done and take it to management to show that it's not my fault deadlines aren't being met, before they come to me. The problem is: I don't have the time to do that! Ptssh!

I've had a lot to do in the evenings too which is not good because usually I am fit for nothing in the evenings at the best of times. On Thursday, my brother in law asked me and Adam if we would babysit in the evening. I was already knackered after a full day of seeing patients and was just about ready to drive home from work and get into my jammies, but I agreed as babysitting just involves watching TV while the baby sleeps, so I thought it wouldn't be too bad. WRONG! 

It turned out that he obviously just blatantly lied to us to get us to come over as when we arrived we realised he actually wanted us to help them move house! I was so angry. I was really physically exhausted and the last thing I had the energy for was packing and moving furniture. He started delegating jobs as soon as we got there. I hadn't even eaten any dinner yet and we weren't offered anything. Eventually I had to just bite the bullet and say that I needed to get some food immediately, so Adam went off to the Chinese to get us some food which his brother managed to subtly express was inconvenient for him because there was so much to do. What added to my fury was that I had made it clear that I needed to leave at 9pm as I had my own things to do (the things included a whole lot of shaving for a hospital appointment the next day and getting an early night). 

At 10pm we were still helping (well by this stage I was lying on the floor because I was too physically exhausted to help anymore and 'on the floor' because the sofa had been moved out) when Adams brother came up to me to acknowledge that I'd said I needed to get away but to ask if I minded if they continue to move furniture. I said: “well I have things I need to do” and he just re-emphasized that he wanted to get the furniture moved. I felt so awkward. I hate confrontations and I had already made it clear at the start that I needed to get home no later than nine. If it wasn't bad enough that he had completely manipulated us into helping them move, he was now completely disrespecting my wishes. I didn't know what to say. Obviously he wanted me to say that I didn't mind, but I did mind. So I said: “I'll leave it up to Adam” hoping that Adam would have more balls than I did to tell him we needed to go, but he came back with: “Well Adam doesn't mind staying but he said you wanted to get away to do some things.” He then had the cheek to ask me outright exactly what it was I needed to do! 

Sorry, but is it just me that finds all of this really rude, inappropriate, disrespectful and manipulative? Am I overreacting? You don't ask someone if they can babysit when you actually mean 'can you help us move house?'! The only reason I can think of as to why he did that is because he knew that we wouldn't have come if we'd known what we were in for. 

It was so embarrassing for me to have to eventually refuse to help because I was so tired. Generally I just try to get on with things but with the way I have been feeling in recent months, often I don't actually have any physical energy left to move. I am actually going to the doctors on Monday about the problem as I've been starting to realise how bad it really is. I'm worried I might have a bit of chronic fatigue. 

I can't stop feeling really annoyed with Adam's brother and I wish I had had the confidence to say so to his face on Thursday. I'm wondering now if I should contact him by email to explain how difficult it was for me and that he can't do things like that in future. I know that he WILL do things like that again. I know why he does it; his mother (my mother in law) is exactly the same. She deceives people and manipulates them in the nicest ways possible in order to get what she wants. It pisses me off because Adam's brother gets angry with her for doing it to him yet he is exactly the same. 

So I don't know if I'll confront (or email, less confrontational) Adam's brother or not. I know Adam won't want me to, but yet I feel in not doing anything, it's letting others take advantage and giving them permission to do it again. People who want to control, need to know their boundaries. 

Any opinions welcome...


JustEliza said...

I prefer face-to-face confrontation now, because people are more respectful and careful of their words. They can be held accountable for noticing or not noticing your emotionally authentic reaction to their words... whereas email is devoid of all of that content.

Does Adam understand how you feel? Does he support you? Can you ask him for help in talking with his brother?

What would have happened had you said something to your BIL when you discovered that you would not be babysitting but indeed be helping him move house? You had a right to be angry; it's called bait and switch, and it is illegal for a reason. One expects one's family not to use such disrespectful methods on us.

The problem here isn't the BIL, as I see it. The problem is you setting boundaries and then respecting them enough to say NO. You need to have that confidence. You need to be okay with letting people down, especially disrespectful people! He took advantage of you and now you are left with the anger (which I reckon contains a lot of Self-Anger). I am sorry Adam didn't support you in setting those boundaries. I hope he realises in the future how important it is, especially to your therapy.

Candycan said...

You're very right, I have trouble with confrontation and I do feel angry with myself for not standing up for my own needs. Adam didn't cope very well with my anger afterwards. He agreed that it was wrong but he finds it hard to know what to say in response to me when its HIS family I'm annoyed with because he instinctivly wants to protect them. I asked him if he could speak to his brother but he went quiet and didn't say much at all to my rant in the car on the way home. He got angry (which for him means going silent and refusing to speak) and we didn't talk the rest of the night. I still don't really know why he was angry with me when he accepts that it was his brother in the wrong. So I can't rely on him to sort things out.
I know what you mean about an email but on the other hand, I am SO inarticulate when I'm nervouse and I just don't think I'd be able to get my point across well, or calmly, without seeming aggressive either.
Maybe I'll try talking to Adam again about it.
Thanks for your thoughts. I hope your positivity is still holding strong in your own life.

lindaandtherestofus said...

I think confrontation is good and healthy, it helps to have a "game plan", i'm in no way a professional or anything but maybe you struggle with other feelings of betrayal and you or an alter took such offense to this situation because of previous ones? just a thought..

Candycan said...

yes definitely lindaandtherest, i grew up never being able to have a say for myself or stand up for my rights. My whole life has been controlled and manipulated by authority and power crazy authority at that. It causes me to have a huge reaction to the slightest hints of anyone trying to control me now and it's hard to confront people about things because of bad experiences before when in other situations. But to me that's why it seems even more important that I learn to be able to do it.

lindaandtherestofus said...

i can completely relate. If you ever want to talk more feel free to email me at

JustEliza said...

Hi Candy,

It sounds like Adam is feeling overwhelmed by the emotions, if he goes silent rather than respond to you. Perhaps try talking to him again now that you are both more rested?

You can always write points down to share with someone in person. And do take time out if you need to think before responding. I know it is hard to overcome that 'flight/fight/frozen' trigger but most of the time if we do check the present situation, we are not in as much danger as we feel. I hope you find that sense of confidence and control, so that you can express yourself satisfactorily both to Adam and to his brother.

Sandy said...

All these comments are great ideas. I hope you are able to use these suggestions and your own skills to find a solution :) I would be irritated to. It is kinda like a trigger because it invites those helpless feelings.

Candycan said...

Hi everyone, thanks for all the advice. I decided I would speak to Adam again. I tried to word it in a very nice way and emphasized that I know it's difficult for him when it's his family but I explained why I felt it important to address it with his brother. I gave him the choice about who would do it and he said he would rather do it. He spoke to his brother today and explained how the way he acted had made things very difficult for us. Adam is the most diplomatic person in the world so he is good at getting across a point without getting someones back up! I feel relieved now that I have respected myself (and even more so that I didn't have to have a confrontation!) in raising the issue again.

JustEliza said...

I am so glad you've found a way to respect yourself and were able to speak with Adam and negotiate a compromise!

Hannah said...

hi candy, your blog has been quite insightful... i'm wondering if DID can be caused by traumatic events in teenage years? i have no memory of any trauma in my childhood (although given that people with DID often don't remember their childhood trauma i'm not ruling that out...) but my teenage years were extremely traumatic. my memory of my life before the age of 19 is very spotty. i don't know if i have DID but i'm feeling very confused right now (with a lot of stuff going on in my head that is making me feel very unhinged); i've been diagnosed with schizophrenia in the past but as i understand it people can be misdiagnosed. i especially found interesting your comments about generally feeling like you're the one in the driver's seat... well it sort of feels like that with me, i am usually aware of what is going on, only i will start to act in a way that i feel like i have no control over, saying stuff while thinking this isn't me, why am i talking like this.... anyway that's just one small thing, i was mostly wanting to know about the teenage trauma aspect.

Candycan said...

Hello Hannah. I am not an expert on mental health and most of what I know is just through my reading, but I've read a few times that DID is thought to be caused by trauma that occured in the early years, generally before/by the age of five years and that the trauma is usually severe and repetetive (ie not a one off event). HOWEVER, research in DID is still ongoing and I wouldn't be surprised if some of these general assumptions change in later years. Also, there are a number of dissociative disorders which can have overlapping symptoms and some dissociative disorders may develop from trauma at any age I think, so it may be worth reading about the different types e.g. depersonalisation disorder. There may be other disorders which overlap too (e.g. borderline personality disorder can have symptoms of inner voices and identity disturbance). Some people with DID are diagnosed incorrectly with schizophrenia, so it may be worth checking it out. Unfortunately DID is not well understood, even by many mental health professionals, so its sometimes the luck of the draw wether someone with DID will be correctly diagnosed or not. I suggest you read as much as you can and try to seek guidance from your GP or ask for referral to psychiatry, or go to a centre specialising in trauma.