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Heavily Suspect Verbal Abuse, Gaslighting, and Emotional Duress


Vambress3
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I believe that I have been gaslighted, verbally abused, and subjected to emotional duress. I will tell the full story here and you be the judge.

 

In early 2019, I had told my mother my wishes for leaving university because I felt that it wouldn’t help me achieve my career goal of becoming an entrepreneur.

 

Initially, she said that she would support me no matter what, but when I told her what my career goal was (build a business through blogging and then investing in rental property real estate), she condescended to me. As a result, I felt uncomfortable talking to her about this further. 

 

She said that blogging was a viable career path, but later turned around and said that it wasn’t. I felt she contradicted herself here. 

 

She’d make me have multiple “meetings” with her from time to time (I have 2 of these meetings recorded), only to be critiqued and condescended for pursuing my career path. This gave me a feeling of walking on eggshells when speaking with her.

 

For at least one time, she yelled at me to complete things and called me names like “helper” and “chauffeur” when she was on the phone with my aunt. Of course, I felt condescended and, frankly, picked on (even though she apologized for the name-calling).

 

On October 7th, 2021, I had walked away from her to charge up my electric toothbrush after she yelled at me and said “You’re doing it wrong” when I was trying to zip up her dress. She then asked why I walked away from her every time she tries to talk to me. I answered with “Because she doesn’t support my career goals.”

 

She immediately summoned me to meet with her in the living room, where she asked me to tell her what I wanted, which was to build a business and invest the money I earn in real estate (I had been building the business for over 3 years with minimal results; of course I understand the objection to doing it since entrepreneurship involves a lot of uncertainty and a lot of failures).

 

Afterward, she asked me how I would describe her. After thinking about an appropriate word for a few seconds, I came up with repulsive based on how she treated me in the past.

 

Granted, I wasn’t trying to critique her, I was simply answering her question from a neutral vantage point, even though it seemed to come across as a critique.

 

She then went on a rant on how I was being “disrespectful,” how I was verbally abusing her and that she wouldn’t put up with my s***.

 

Immediately, I was shocked that she said these things because I never intend to treat people like that. Additionally, when I heard these comments, those were the exact words that I was thinking of when reflecting on how she treated me with my career situation (except the word s***). 

 

Right then and there, I suspected that she might be gaslighting to gain manipulative control of the situation by paying for my living expenses.

 

After she concluded the meeting, she yelled at me to find her phone. For the record, I never yelled nor cursed at her at all.

 

The next day, she summoned me to the living room to tell me that she was requiring me to pay living expenses and that I had to pay for my food since I am an adult.

 

Granted, I am an adult and technically she has the legal right to impose living expenses as a result of living in her house (even though she technically doesn’t own the house; she’s head of household), but the fact that she is making me do it at a time when I was cooperating in doing what I needed to do to obtain full-time employment (it’s the better economic outcome for me at the moment) and working over 70 hours per week to do so raised eyebrows in my mind as to her intentions.

 

She also said that I wasn’t appreciative of her and hence, why she is making me pay for living expenses.

 

The truth is that I am appreciative of her for paying for living expenses while I was in college and cooking my meals (I reflected on this before the incident and felt very fortunate for this).

 

I am not appreciative of the fact that she condescended and criticized me about my career goals, even though I was only making an active effort to resolve the situation cooperatively.

 

On either that evening or the next, I was writing a summary of what happened to report to an abuse hotline to seek help. When I went out for my walk, my mother went into my office and discovered the summary, even though in the past, she said that she would never snoop around through my stuff.

 

She then summoned me to another meeting where she made me rip up the summary I had written. She then said I wasn’t allowed to ask for help in this situation and that she can snoop through my stuff since it’s her house. Also, she said that the whole family was in “shock” at my behavior. After doing some research, I suspected gaslighting since a statement like that is intended to get me to question my reality.

 

She then said that if I called for help, my life would change forever and that she would do what she needed to do to protect herself and that she was tired of walking on eggshells with me.

 

The next day, I had drafted 2 emails so that I can get help with this situation. She asked if I had drafted emails to anyone asking for help. Since I don’t intend to lie, I said yes and she made me delete them.

 

Right away, I thought that I might’ve been subjected to emotional duress.

 

After talking to a 3rd party regarding the situation, he said that neither I nor my mother was right or wrong and that there was a miscommunication and a misunderstanding. As far as the misunderstanding is concerned, I agreed since many families tend to misunderstand the career ambitions of prospective entrepreneurs, which leads to a values difference and hence, conflict.

 

I never intend to create conflict I was only seeking cooperative support to resolve a major issue in finding and obtaining the right resources to help me achieve my goal of being an entrepreneur. Of course, for any mistakes I make, I take full responsibility for those mistakes and shift the blame on no one.

 

As a result of feeling pressure to apologize often and getting a feeling of being ashamed of the situation, I suspect that I have been subjected to gaslighting, verbal abuse, and, quite possibly, emotional duress.

 

Any outside input on the situation is greatly appreciated and I would genuinely appreciate it if you can tell me what I should do next (aside from getting a job; got that message).

 

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hello @Vambress3

Welcome to our community and thank you for telling us about what's going on for you. I think that it sounds like you're both having issues with each other at the moment, and that there has been a breakdown in communication. I think that your mother may be trying to just make sure that you make the right decision, and you are then becoming frustrated by her doing this. What do you think? I'm wondering, if your friend was in the exact same situation as you, what would you tell them/what advice would you give? 

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Hi Monsoon, thanks for your reply. Yes, the issue is that there is a values difference in how I should approach achieving self-sufficiency. Basically, she wants me to get a job while I would prefer building a business. Because she doesn't understand where I am coming from, that's where the conflict is arising.

Regarding your second point, I wouldn't say that I am frustrated by her doing this, I am frustrated by how she is doing it. It comes across in a condescending way without recognizing the work I've put in already. She's not a mean person; she just critiques in a way that condescends me and, as you can see, makes me walk on eggshells just to talk to her about my career goals.

As for your last question, I would tell them to get a job for the moment (which I was working on since I realized the reality) and then work on the business as a side thing.  Of course, the way that I would approach telling this person would be far different than how my mother is approaching it.  I would sympathize with him and tell him that I'm proud of what he has done and then make the suggestion for getting the job since it would facilitate his ability to build a business (with this I would show stats to prove my point versus those who try to build a business without jobs).  Then, I would tell him that I was proud of him.

If he still refused to get a job,  if he were living with me and it's evident that he is really committed to it, I would help him find a good program/mentor to follow without condescending him or shouting at him in any way.

Would you say that verbal abuse or gaslighting occurred?

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Hey,

Yeah, I can totally see why it does come across as condescending which mustn't be a helpful nor encouraging experience for you. I think that it might have to be that you just don't speak to her about your career for a while, and if you can, try to get some space from each other because it's sounds like you're both irritated at the moment. What do you think? 

From what you've said, I wouldn't class this as verbal abuse or gaslighting, but maybe someone who knows your situation in more detail would be able to provide a more informed opinion. Speak soon. 

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I do agree about the space. I don't know about you, but I think a 3rd party might be necessary in order to us to come up with a fair solution for both sides.

If she really wants the best for me, I don't think imposing living expenses would be an effective thing to do since, before this incident, I was working at least 65 hours per week to develop the skills necessary to get jobs, so I know it's worth it for her to pay the expenses until I get a job. Do you agree and, if so, what 3rd party do you suggest I bring in?

And was I being the verbally abusive one? I certainly wasn't intending to be.

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Hey there,

I think that it's important to unpick why your mother wants the living expenses. I think that if she is doing it to prove a point, then it's unnecessary, but if it's because she needs it, then that's fair. What do you think? I think a 3rd party would be good to help resolve the conflict; is there another family member that could be neutral and help bring you together? Also, how would you define verbal abuse? 

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Hi Monsoon,

I had a 3rd party intervene. The 3rd party said that there were faults on both sides and that the 3rd party (although a bit biased towards my mom's side)  would address this with my mom. Unfortunately, my mom didn't take any responsibility for her actions in a follow up conversation following our individual meetings with the 3rd party. She went on with critiques about how I approach things and that I "wasn't thinking clearly" and that "everything was given to you." With the last point, materially yes, but emotionally, no.  She also critiqued me for eating ham sandwiches instead of hot meals (with expenses, it's easy to overspend, so I'm starting low and focused on getting full time work. Then, I can get better food).

I can't confirm this for sure, but I heavily suspect that based on her wanting me to learn what it's like in the real world, I believe she is dropping living expenses to prove a point. The truth is that if she were to provide living expenses for one more month, that would give me enough time to finish developing the skills I need to go get higher paying jobs. Given that she wants me to be self-sufficient and the results I produce when given living expenses, the right training AND going after what I truly want, I personally don't see how not paying living expenses would achieve that goal.

I would define verbal abuse as any action where someone says something and it makes the other person feel emotionally ill, which would lead to mental health issues. In my case, I feel that was what happened to me because I felt very offended by the way she talked to me about the situation I described and she got very upset and depressed when I mentioned the word "repulsive." 

Granted, me saying repulsive wasn't meant as a critique; it was simply a neutral comment to answer her question. Of course, I stepped back and figured out that it wasn't the correct thing to say. I would also say that I am autistic, so sometimes, I might overreact and say something that could offend people without realizing it.

Based on what happened just a few minutes ago as of this writing, I feel there might need to be another way to resolve this to something both sides can agree on. I was hoping that my mother would take some responsibility for her actions (aside from the name calling), but she didn't.

Any ideas on what to do? Again, I genuinely appreciate your help.

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Hey there,

How are you feeling after all of this? It sounds like you didn't get the response you were looking for, particularly in terms of her taking responsibility. I think that it can be hard for people to hear this kind of feedback, and although she hasn't taken responsibility by saying it, maybe she has recognised that there is truth to it and will change her behaviours without actually acknowledging it verbally if you know what I mean? I'm wondering, could you both agree on 1 or 2 things that you can each do differently to make things better going forward? 

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Disappointed, misunderstood and somewhat neglected.  As far as the 1 or 2 things are concerned, great idea. I've thought about this myself and I have gone through a number of corrections myself that I am implementing and will implement when the situation arises. As far as her, I don't think it's good to tell her straight up because that can lead to an argument. Do you think I should bring in another 3rd party to resolve this?

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Hey,

Yeah, I totally get why you're feeling that way; I'm wondering, how do you think she feels? Also, I know that she didn't take responsibility by saying it, but the fact that she agreed to the mediation tells me that she recognised that there is a problem and wants to help fix it. I'm wondering, could you maybe share your corrections with her and ask if she might be able to do things differently going forward? She may not react well, but you might notice her changing some behaviours; it may be that she just doesn't feel like she can acknowledge responsibility to you directly, but may still make a change anyway. 

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Hi Monsoon,

Here's a letter to her that might open dialogue a bit.

One note: I am not asking for living expenses right away. I think it's more appropriate to rebuild rapport and trust before that ask is made.

Tell me what you think:

 

Mother,

 

We have disagreements.

 

We were not on the same page with where we should be going when it comes to self-sufficiency.

 

This has created conflict in the relationship between us.

 

It has led to criticizing and punishments, which makes things worse for everybody.

 

Your concerns are completely understandable. After all, anyone attempting to build a business goes down an uncertain path full of trial and error and you want what’s best for me.

 

In spite of this, I cannot thank you enough for what you did to get me through college. Your effort is to be commended.

 

When I said “repulsive,” I did not mean the dictionary definition of disgusting. What I meant was based on your behavior, you seemed unapproachable, which is not conducive to nurturing effective communication in the relationship.

 

It made me shy away from addressing problems in fear of punishment.

 

This left me disappointed, misunderstood, and discouraged.

 

I would genuinely appreciate it if you do the following:

 

  1. Don’t condescend to me when I say or present something. You mentioned that we are a team. Great team members do not put down one another when there are issues. They collaborate with one another in a civil matter to come up with an effective solution for resolving the issue and to achieve the common goal.

  2. Learn. I see you watching TV every night. I genuinely believe that your time might be better invested if instead, you read books that might open your eyes to what is possible like “How to Win Friends and Influence People” or “The Millionaire Fastlane” or articles on side hustles or real estate investing. 

 

Through these books and articles among many others, you can realize that what I was attempting to do was not far-fetched at all. Sure, it was executed incorrectly, but that is resolved with the correct training on the subject which can be identified through effective collaboration and program vetting.

 

If I’m wrong on anything, I take full responsibility for it. If calling you “repulsive” came across as disrespectful, I apologize for that. I never intend to disrespect anyone intentionally or otherwise. 

 

In this case, I didn’t intentionally disrespect you. I think what would be helpful for both of us is to define our definitions of respect and to set the appropriate boundaries for what is respectful and what isn’t respectful. 

 

It is a subjective term and one that needs to be clearly defined from both sides in order to achieve mutual understanding.

 

I think it would also be helpful if we clearly defined a method to resolve disagreements in a cooperative manner in a structured way so that a common goal can be achieved.

 

I appreciate you reading this letter.

 

With Great Respect,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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11 hours ago, Vambress3 said:

Hi Monsoon,

Here's a letter to her that might open dialogue a bit.

One note: I am not asking for living expenses right away. I think it's more appropriate to rebuild rapport and trust before that ask is made.

Tell me what you think:

Mother,

We have disagreements.

We were not on the same page with where we should be going when it comes to self-sufficiency.

This has created conflict in the relationship between us.

It has led to criticizing and punishments, which makes things worse for everybody.

Your concerns are completely understandable. After all, anyone attempting to build a business goes down an uncertain path full of trial and error and you want what’s best for me.

In spite of this, I cannot thank you enough for what you did to get me through college. Your effort is to be commended.

When I said “repulsive,” I did not mean the dictionary definition of disgusting. What I meant was based on your behavior, you seemed unapproachable, which is not conducive to nurturing effective communication in the relationship.

It made me shy away from addressing problems in fear of punishment.

This left me disappointed, misunderstood, and discouraged.

I would genuinely appreciate it if you do the following:

  1. Don’t condescend to me when I say or present something. You mentioned that we are a team. Great team members do not put down one another when there are issues. They collaborate with one another in a civil matter to come up with an effective solution for resolving the issue and to achieve the common goal.

  2. Learn. I see you watching TV every night. I genuinely believe that your time might be better invested if instead, you read books that might open your eyes to what is possible like “How to Win Friends and Influence People” or “The Millionaire Fastlane” or articles on side hustles or real estate investing. 

Through these books and articles among many others, you can realize that what I was attempting to do was not far-fetched at all. Sure, it was executed incorrectly, but that is resolved with the correct training on the subject which can be identified through effective collaboration and program vetting.

If I’m wrong on anything, I take full responsibility for it. If calling you “repulsive” came across as disrespectful, I apologize for that. I never intend to disrespect anyone intentionally or otherwise. 

In this case, I didn’t intentionally disrespect you. I think what would be helpful for both of us is to define our definitions of respect and to set the appropriate boundaries for what is respectful and what isn’t respectful. 

It is a subjective term and one that needs to be clearly defined from both sides in order to achieve mutual understanding.

I think it would also be helpful if we clearly defined a method to resolve disagreements in a cooperative manner in a structured way so that a common goal can be achieved.

I appreciate you reading this letter.

With Great Respect,

Hey Evan,

Thanks for sending this over. I really like how you addressed that there is conflict and where that came from, and I like that you apologised too. I think it's great that you have made your gratitude clear in this letter for putting you through college. I think that going forward, rather than describe what you don't want her to do, it could be useful to describe what you would like to see e.g., instead of saying don't condescend me, maybe describe how you would like her to speak to you.

With the apology, instead of saying 'If calling you "repulsive" came across as disrespectful...' I would say 'I can see that calling you repulsive came across as disrespectful and I'm sorry for that'. In addition, I think it would be good to mention a couple of things that you plan to do differently following the conflict. What do you think? 

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Hi Monsoon,

I just finished the 2nd draft with your suggestions. Tell me what you think. We will be meeting on Friday.

 

Mother,

 

We have disagreements.

 

We were not on the same page with where we should be going when it comes to self-sufficiency.

 

This has created conflict in the relationship between us.

 

It has led to criticizing and punishments, which makes things worse for everybody.

 

Your concerns are completely understandable. After all, anyone attempting to build a business goes down an uncertain path full of trial and error and you want what’s best for me.

 

In spite of this, I cannot thank you enough for what you did to get me through college. Your effort is to be commended.

 

When I said “repulsive,” I did not mean the dictionary definition of disgusting. What I meant was based on your behavior, you seemed unapproachable, which is not conducive to nurturing effective communication in the relationship.

 

It made me shy away from addressing problems in fear of punishment.

 

This left me disappointed, misunderstood, and discouraged.

 

I would genuinely appreciate it if you acknowledge the good things about anything that I do before giving constructive feedback. 

 

You mentioned that we are a team. 

 

Members of great teams do not put down one another when there are issues. They collaborate with one another in a civil matter to come up with an effective solution for resolving the issue and to achieve the common goal.

 

If I’m wrong on anything, I take full responsibility for it. I can see that calling you repulsive came across as disrespectful and I’m sorry for that. I never intend to disrespect anyone intentionally or otherwise. 

 

In this case, I didn’t intentionally disrespect you. I think what would be helpful for both of us is to define our definitions of respect and to set the appropriate boundaries for what is respectful and what isn’t respectful. 

 

It is a subjective term and one that needs to be clearly defined from both sides in order to achieve mutual understanding.

 

What I will do differently is not do anything deemed disrespectful and to focus exclusively on earning and maintaining a full-time job.

 

I think it would also be helpful if we clearly defined a method to resolve disagreements in a cooperative manner and in a structured way so that a common goal can be achieved.

 

I appreciate you reading this letter.

 

With Great Respect,

 

Evan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hey Evan,

Thank you for sending me your 2nd version. I really like it. I think that there is a strong message here which shows that you want to move forward and make things better for the both of you which is great. I think the only other couple of things I would do would be to maybe move the apology up to where you first mention repulsive, and then also maybe put the things you are going to do differently higher as well. What do you think? 

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Hi Monsoon,

Thanks for your feedback. Here's a 3rd draft. What do you think?

 

Mother,

 

We have disagreements.

 

We were not on the same page with where we should be going when it comes to self-sufficiency.

 

This has created conflict in the relationship between us.

 

It has led to criticizing and punishments, which makes things worse for everybody.

 

Your concerns are completely understandable. After all, anyone attempting to build a business goes down an uncertain path full of trial and error and you want what’s best for me.

 

In spite of this, I cannot thank you enough for what you did to get me through college. Your effort is to be commended.

 

I can see that calling you repulsive came across as disrespectful and I’m sorry for that. I never intend to disrespect anyone intentionally or otherwise. 

 

In this case, I didn’t intentionally disrespect you. I think what would be helpful for both of us is to define our definitions of respect and to set the appropriate boundaries for what is respectful and what isn’t respectful. 

 

It is a subjective term and one that needs to be clearly defined from both sides in order to achieve mutual understanding.

 

When I said “repulsive,” I did not mean the dictionary definition of disgusting. What I meant was based on your behavior, you seemed unapproachable, which is not conducive to nurturing effective communication in the relationship.

 

It made me shy away from addressing problems in fear of punishment.

 

This left me disappointed, misunderstood, and discouraged.

 

I would genuinely appreciate it if you acknowledge the good things about anything that I do before giving constructive feedback. 

 

You mentioned that we are a team. 

 

Members of great teams do not put down one another when there are issues. They collaborate with one another in a civil matter to come up with an effective solution for resolving the issue and to achieve the common goal.

 

If I’m wrong on anything, I take full responsibility for it. 

 

What I will do differently is not do anything deemed disrespectful and to focus exclusively on earning and maintaining a full-time job.

 

I think it would also be helpful if we clearly defined a method to resolve disagreements in a cooperative manner and in a structured way so that a common goal can be achieved.

 

I appreciate you reading this letter.

 

With Great Respect,

 

Evan 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi Monsoon,

Thank you so much for editing the letter; I genuinely appreciate your help and with helping me resolve this situation. I showed it to her and unfortunately, she didn't resonate with it.

She kept on with more inconsiderate comments  like claiming I was playing "semantics" when I brought up the point about defining her meaning of respect and defining disrespectful. She said that disrespectful is not subjective and comments like "I am your mother and my respect should be up here compared to everyone else" and that my thoughts are "distorted." She did say one more thing at the start that wasn't pleasant, but I have to recall it and get back to you on that.

She, once again, said that I don't appreciate her and that I have to learn to appreciate, when in reality, my appreciation for her (aside from the treatment I elaborated about) is incredibly clear.

She even said that I should buy her gifts, even though I don't want to engage in flattery.

Comments like these make it very hard to answer questions because if answered truthfully, they can lead to arguments, which I made clear to avoid at all costs. 

For the record, the letter is the truth and anyone who is a decent person would've been more receptive to it than my mother was. This might've been a start towards something, but the conversation was more like her ruling over me and interrogating me versus an actual collaboration. Any suggestions on how to move forward? I was able to identify what she values and I can start with that. 

Still, great job editing the letter and thank you so much for doing it. I couldn't have asked for any better.

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The other comment popped into my mind. It was that she claimed that she was always emotionally supportive of me, which as you read, was not the case. This shows that she still hasn't reflected about the past and concerns me.

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Hello,

I'm sorry to hear that she didn't respond in the way that you had hoped. I think that it sounds like she isn't ready to explicitly acknowledge her contribution to the dynamic you find yourself in. But, as I've explained before, this doesn't mean that she hasn't acknowledged it to herself. So, going forward, I think the best thing to do is to make sure you make the changes you mentioned to her, and over time, you might see that she starts to respond differently to those behaviours. This situation is highly reactive, and by that, I mean that when someone changes their behaviours to be more positive, it can shift the whole situation. So, in a way, I guess you are the one driving the change here. It might take a while though, so it's important to be patient. What do you think? 

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Hello, unfortunately parents can be horrible to their children and it sounds like that what you told us is what is correct, sometimes our thoughts to think what's best for our children is to put a guard up and to say what we think about it all does that make sense? The way your mum spoke about it was not the correct way to say as it has hurt you and I don't think she meant to hurt you! How is everything now? Things seem really tough and I am super sending you hugs because you deserve to be happy 😊 Jess ( none of her behaviour is none of your fault ) 😊 

I'm not single! 🥺💖

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22 hours ago, Vambress3 said:

Hi Monsoon, 

Thanks for your reply. I agree. Change will take time and I will make sure I do my part. If anything transpires, I will be back for your help. Thanks a lot.

Hey,

No worries. Good luck with it all. 

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