When people try to use blood relation as an excuse for forgiveness, my go-to response is, “Hitler had relatives. Being uncle Hitler doesn’t mean you have to love him.”
Not all our relatives are good. And not all our relatives are good to us. Some are selectively kind, some are backstabbers, and some are varying levels of predator hiding in plain sight; wolves in sheep clothing, if you will.
Some predators use good nature and innocence or good intentions as a weapon to their advantage. To pit people against each other. To manipulate. To get attention.
I have such a relative. Well, more than one, but one that is an extraordinarily vile bully in my life, who hides in plain sight convincing even my immediate and closest family that they are good and kind; by default making me the hysterical dramatic one. Until now, I had kept the stories of the bullying to myself as to not cause trouble because this person is so beloved in my family. But recent events, have made me relive the years of gaslighting by this person and my family, and I’m suffocating in the internalization of the painful memories that trigger my anxiety…
Some of the stories are long, so I will list the main pain points:
1. This person stated their parents couldn’t know they were my friend or speak to me since I am lgbtq+ and their immediate family is homophobic. Told me. Repeatedly. In detail how much I was hated.
2. When said person came out of the closet, they then told me more than once that their parents blamed me for my bad/lgbt influence and brainwashing of her with my queer agenda.
3. Said they could not be seen with me or admit to being my friend because of my negative impact on their life and appearance in society. Regularly.
4. This person knew I didn’t always have the best relationship with my mother but would tell me how close they were and how people even said they looked alike. Reveled in it.
5. Told me that their sibling saw my tattoos and ran to tell the whole family. The entire family then allegedly discussed how trashy I am, and that I was probably on drugs.
6. Their ex-partner dropped off some food to me once while I was at home depressed and drunk. Years (like over five years) later – while no longer with that partner, they accused me of some sort of sexual misconduct with said partner. Confused, I stated it never happened and they must be mistaken. They told me I was lying. This allegedly happened while I was drunk and sick… So at best, it was a blatant lie… At worst, they were telling me they were aware their partner sexually assaulted me while incapacitated. And it was my fault.
7. Was crass an inappropriate with their new partner in a public academic setting, and when I asked them to please stop, they began accusing me of being, “prude,” “stuck up,” a “snob”, and “full of myself”. Openly trash talking me in public in front of my colleagues.
8. In a professional capacity, their partner whom I barely knew at the time (same as the last point), screamed at me and another customer for a mistake they made. When I tried to diffuse the situation, they kept publicly berating me. When I complained to their supervisor, the relative and partner text and called me to tell me off for doing so.
9. They did not invite me to their wedding. Which was totally fine except then went the extra step of calling me to explicitly uninvite me and make sure that I did not attend, further explaining I was not welcomed.
10. Most recently, added me to a family group chat with other members whom do not have my phone number and whom I did not want to share my contact information with. When I respectfully requested to be removed – in a side conversation – my wishes were not (and continue to not be) respected.
Now, in this family group chat created, this person is making requests that presume participation without opt-out options. For example: instead if “can you do xyz,” it is “what time can you do xyz.”
This person has spent years bullying and gaslighting me with a smile on their face under the guise of being sincere and innocent. For the longest time, I tried to believed the con. I tried to believe they were coming to me with good intentions in hopes of having a genuine friendship. It wasn’t until I got older and wiser, that I saw them for who they really are. Someone who uses people to obtain pity and attention. Someone who plays victim so they can manipulate those and situations around them.
The worst part is, my family dismisses all of my concerns, anxiety, and pain. So I spend my time avoiding this person, hoping to never cross paths, while being treated like the bully and brat for not praising them as a saint. I kept it to myself while watching everyone else in my family, applaud them as kind, good natured, and lovely.
And now that I write this all out, it makes me realize it is part of why I resent my family sometimes, I have played human punching bag and been told I was crazy for being hurt – too many times. All the while being told I’m the crazy one. I’m the bully.
In case you ever wondered where Madadook and Babadook where born. This is a huge part of their origin story.