(Closed) Falling out with a manipulative family member. :( (long…)

posted 7 years ago in Family
Post # 3
Member
2063 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

First of all, I wouldn’t invite her until the issue is resolved, which may or may not happen until after the wedding. Your wedding is your day and I certainly want to chance the airport issue to surface at just the wrong moment.

With that being said, I know how you feel. My grandmother is a generally wonderful woman but her gifts are never just gifts. If you accept, then you must comply with all of the conditions that come with the gift. If you decline, then you must deal with all of the guilt trips and lectures that come with turning the gift down. Unfortunately, this obviously someone you care very much about and, the relationship has gone astray. I would reach out to her, apologize for what you are genuinely sorry for and hope that it can resolve itself (at least IN PART) before the wedding so that she is able to attend. 

Post # 5
Member
14656 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

Wow.  What a tough situation.  Gosh, I cant imagine having to deal with that.  However, I think I would try to be the bigger person and invite her anyways.  As evil as her ways are, she did help you out a lot, and to not invite her would really be the finishing blow imo.  If there’s to be a civil relationship at all, I think she has to be invited… that way you throw the ball back in her court and at least show you are open to making up.  Also, I think it would just make you look worse, on top of whatever crap is she is spewing about you to the family if you dont invite her.  Maybe send the invite, and perhaps a hand written note to her before or after with something along the lines that you hope you guys can make up since youre family and that it’d mean a lot if she would be there on such a meaningful day so show you’ve made your move and its up to her.  … this is of course if you want to bother to have her in your life.

Post # 6
Member
804 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Oh man.  One of my best friends was taken in by her aunt and uncle because her mother had similar problems, and they always made it quite clear that she owed so much to them because they were so “generous” with her.

That’s screwed up, imo.  You help people because you love them.  You do not help people because you want them to be obligated to you.  My mom uses money to control people too. It’s getting very old, very fast.

I agree with aliavenue that you need to resolve things with her before you invite her.  Pinkshoes is right that it’ll make you look worse to not invite her.

Can you have a sit-down with your aunt and your uncle and your Fiance and say that you don’t want things to be the way they are, that you are absolutely not asking for things, and that you want her to know that when you do things for her it is because you love her and not because you owe her for all that she did for you?  As far as you’re concerned, family helps eachother and she gave you a very generous gift, but now you want to show that you love her even when money’s not involved.  At the same time, you’re an adult and you are living your own life and juggling your own obligations and you aren’t at a point in your life where you can jump as soon as someone says to, but that you will always do your very best to do what you can for her and that when she reacted the way she did it really hurt you, but that you will always love her and always appreciate what she did for you?

If your uncle’s there for this conversation, she can’t really twist it.  You could even bring in another family member if you want.  If you have a conversation with her though, you need to be as calm as you can and not get drawn into an emotional fight.

If she goes to your wedding, be prepared for her to critisize it, especially if you’re not taking her money to help pay for it (which I’m assuming you aren’t).

I think you need to try and resolve this because you love her, and as manipulative as she is, she loves you too.  But if she’s going to continue to be toxic, you need to cut ties with her I think.  And if you cut ties with her, it’s up to her to come back to you, not for you to keep being treated poorly.

Post # 9
Member
6 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: August 2012

Hmm I don’t know. If you don’t invite her, that’s really declaring the relationship dead. It will be hard for your relationship with her to recover from that.

It’s a chance for you to take the high road and be a gracious person, by inviting her. I would hope that if you invite her she takes this as the kind gesture that it is and behaves accordingly… but of course you know her best!

Good luck!

Post # 10
Member
111 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

Sorry your having to deal with this issue!! I completely get where your coming from as I have a similar situation with my aunt. The difference with me is that she helped me get into college by basically guiding me through the application process and let me live with her for the first few years while my parents paid her for my part of the groceries and rent. However she completely took advantage of me…Cinderella style. We ended up having a huge fight and I stood up for my self and moved home. I commuted to school about an hour each way several times a week for the rest of my college career. As I grew older we never were able to mend our relationship fully because she always used her “help” as an excuse to treat me however she wanted. I always give her credit for the help she gave me and I’ve thanked her a thousand times over.

Much like your aunt she never gave me credit where credit was due and always judged my decisions on everything from car buying to dating & living with Darling Husband before we were engaged/married. Darling Husband (at the time BF) helped me get a new car and she told me I would never be able to afford it, have an apartment, the life I wanted etc. Everything she told me I couldn’t do I looked at as a challenge and proved her wrong each and every time.  

At one point a few years ago we had another huge blow out and I told her that our relationship would be cordial at best and that I would be respectful but we cannot have an aunt-niece relationship…essentially we have to agree to disagree. It worked for a while but just recently our relationship has come to a point where we don’t speak at all. I cut her out of my life for several reasons way to many to list here.

My advice to you is this…try your best to be the bigger person and reach out because she probably won’t change even if you explain yourself. Try to mend the fence because she clearly does mean a lot to you. I’m sure you would hate to not have her there for your big day. Do what you can to mend the fence and if she doesn’t accept then it’s on her.

Good luck!!

Post # 11
Member
8 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: May 2012

Your aunt sounds exactly like my SO’s mother, so I know how difficult this must be and just how manipulative these sorts of people can be while posing as generous saviors. Here’s the thing – people as manipulative and conniving as your aunt don’t know how to relate to people that they can’t control. That’s why she’s trying to turn the rest of your family against you. You have to decide a few things. One – is the emotional pain of dealing with her worth what you get back from her emotionally? If it is you will need to start having some very firm boundaries with her, and she will test them repeatedly, which is stressful. Also, you have to figure out how to have a relationship with your other family members that does not involve your aunt. She is engaging in something called triangulation that is a hallmark of dysfunctional families and manipulative people by trying to turn them against you and telling them lies about you. If you want relationships with them, you are going to have to talk to them and it might be difficult to make them see the side of your aunt that they are not familiar with. The ugly doesn’t come out until a person is under complete control or is not complying with her wishes, so they probably don’t know how terrible she is. I wish you luck. My partner’s solution has been to cut off all contact with his mother, but this is a difficult choice to make and I don’t envy anyone in this sort of situation. I’m glad you have a Fiance that is so supportive and is willing to stand up for you when you didn’t know how.

Post # 12
Member
804 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@CrazyBeautiful1:  If she’s willing to do that, I would suggest something that is perhaps manipulative but may defend you a bit.

Get back in her good graces and then work hard on building up a relationship with your other relatives.  If you can get really close to a few of your key relatives on that side of the family, you’re kind of defending yourself from any attacks she might throw your way as far as trying to get you disowned by your family.  Especially if every now and then you say, “She made such a generous offer when she offered to pay for this…she’s always been so generous with me, so I think it’s important that I stand on my own two feet and show her that I love her even if she’s not giving me money,” during a heartfelt conversation about something.  It’s entirely honest, but it gives you a chance to talk to your family members.

She’s manipulated you with money and with affection from that side of the family; if her disapproval of you is the only thing that stands in the way of taking control of your relationship with them, you can always try and play nice and ignore when she’s a jerk to you.

But like I said, it’s a bit manipulative, and it also involves some “putting up with crud” from you.  If you’re not willing to deal with it anymore and your aunt will never change, I would just give her the ultimatum.  “I am grateful for all that you have done with me and can never thank you enough.  I love you and when I do things for you, I want to be clear that it’s out of love and not out of obligation.  Until you’re ready to treat me as if my time is mine to freely give and not owed to you, I can’t be in your life.  We would love to have you at our wedding, we would love to have you in our lives, but I want to be treated as an adult and not as someone who owes you a great debt.  I know exactly how much you’ve done for me, but if you don’t give me a chance to reciprocate on my terms, I can’t be in your life and I am sorry if it comes to that.”  And then send her an invitation to the wedding and if she goes and is a jerk about it, just ignore her.  Or don’t send her an invitation if you think she’ll cause too much drama.

I’m sorry you have to face this.  It’s an awful situation.

Post # 13
Member
5183 posts
Bee Keeper

I don’t mean to sound bitchy here and I am sure it will come across that way… But there are always 3 sides to a story. From what you tell us.. your aunt took you in, gave you shelter and provided for you (and loved you) like you were her own child for years. She took on the role of your mother and made sure that you were cared for and got an education. You yourself say that you most likely wouldn’t be in the position you are in now if it were not for her generosity. I can understand where you both are coming from.. it really struck me when you said your aunt said that she wishes you would not act so obligated when asked to help her out with something. You said that she basically forced you to go to this school.. etc.. but those are things that some mothers do. My own mother does that.. suggestions from some mothers are more like demands. If I took a child in that was not my own.. and then raised and loved her and sent her to college.. and after college that same child told me to “get the F out of my house” .. it would break my heart. Obviously communication is not your aunt’s strong point, but you do owe her a lot. 

Post # 14
Member
8 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: May 2012

@MrsNeutrino:  I respect and understand your opinion, but I don’t think you understand the type of person we are talking about here. People who act this way are bullies. They are used to having all the power and control, and when someone balks from that they respond in outrageous and sometimes malevolent ways. The OP said she tried to have a conversation with her aunt about the original issue and what happened is her aunt berated her, yelled at her, and said terrible things to her. That is what my SOs parents used to do to him for hours at a time. It’s emotionally abusive, but it’s done under the guise of “love” and “concern”. And then when the person being abused refuses to stand for the complete lack of respect or basic decency anymore, all of sudden the abuser has no idea why they are being cut off and talks to everyone that will listen about how they don’t understand and they were always so generous and that the abused person is just ungrateful and cruel.
OP, you might want to read a book called “If You Had Controlling Parents” by Dan Neuhart, I know she’s your aunt, but you said she filled in the role of a mother for a long time, so I think it would still be helpful to you.

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