All the time. I was either “too sensitive” or I was accused of being a “bully” who just wouldn’t “let things go” whenever I would mention some way I had been used or if ever I dared to say “no” to something. My baby brother, the golden-child prince, would then storm in and help her fight the battle, treating me like I was the wrongdoer (the scapegoat who was blamed for everything, even when it was clear it was not my fault or responsibility). Our mother would sniffle up a few fake tears to make herself look like the pitiable victim. She plays one really well. She would pit all of her kids against one another and say things like, “don’t tell [insert name here] about [insert situation she knew would insight a problem].” So she would train us to keep things from one another in order to fuel the success of her gaslighting, smear campaigns, and flying-monkey schemes later. She controlled the conversations between friends and siblings this way. Then, months later, you’d be blindsided by something someone would say — a complete falsification of events — where you are painted out in an unflattering way. She would do this to further fracture relationships, isolate, and manipulate to get her way. When she was ever confronted, she would launch into tears, silence, or some other way to deflect from the blame in order to avoid having to deal with or take responsibility for her abuse/wrongdoing. What I never got was how people would believe everything she said, without question. Yet if I dared waste my energy trying to explain how I had been lied about or abused, no one who she had gotten to first cared enough to listen.

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Technophobe Who Codes | UX Generalist | Freelance Writer | Egalitarian-Feminist | True-Crime/Forensics Enthusiast

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