Occupational Therapist (OT), struggling with family deceit (long)

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Signorina, May 12, 2013.

  1. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Occupational Therapist (OT),and not SA or difficult child but you guys are my family and I am struggling so. (Long)

    I know I've hinted at problems in my family's business; my non working, 75 yo mom owns 88% , my brothers and I own 4% each. I work with both my older bros; the family black sheep bro Oldest) & the seemingly normal one (older) whom I really trusted. I've recently re-entered the business nearly full time despite it being 90 miles away - after taking an 18 year backseat to raise my family. But truthfully- I fled in 1995 because the family dynamic was destroying me.

    My brothers are 53 & 52. OldEST brother was a rebellious teen and the family black sheep. He's a Harley driving, "tell it like it is" guy. Just after difficult child went off the rails in 2011, I posted here frantically bc I saw his number on difficult child's phone records and I couldn't imagine he would say anything helpful and I panicked bc I thought he would encourage more rebellion. I was wrong. He reached out to difficult child, he deserves a lot of credit for difficult child's positive growth and his actions were incredibly kind. Frankly I didn't deserve his kindness after years of having a arms length relationship with him. Long story short, we grew close and I am overjoyed to have my brother in my life again.

    My oldER brother is the Brooks Brother type, a pseudo intellectual. It is his wife who is my evil sister in law - the one who insisted on being FB bffs with difficult child's girlfriend even after I begged her to cool it. She defriended me & created a huge family schism over it. I trusted oldER brother, he's been running the family biz & I thought we were AOK despite a few bumps .

    We have 3 high volume retail stores, 1 city store & 2 suburban. OldEST runs the city store, oldER runs the 'burbs. The stores share a central back office (staff) located in a 'burb store. Last year, we had an issue with our 401k plan that led to oldEST bro asking me to look into the plan & later some accounting snafus which is how I came back to work. OldER bro had essentially isolated oldEST bro from all back office activity & staff supposedly due to oldEST's volatility, which seemed credible at the time.

    It turned out that oldER had steadily been increasing his pay since my dad died 5 yrs ago- resulting in a huge pay gap between the two equal partners. OLDer had also messed up our 401k plan tremendously due to neglecting his administrative fiduciary duty. (I cleaned it up but never held him accountable).The original issue was just pure negligence but the resulting major issue was a CYA. It appears at 2nd glance that some of the suburban stores expenses had been shifted to the city store -to make it less profitable & make the 'burbs more profitable ie- make oldER's stores seem more successful.

    In Nov, we had an AR hiccup (city store customer) that raised red embezzling flags & oldEST's concern. Bookeeper blamed computer software, software ppl said "not us", CPA couldn't make sense of it. By Feb, it still couldn't be verified and at oldESTs urging, I hired a Loss Prevention company to perform full risk assessments on all 3 stores with my mom's blessing & oldERS knowledge.

    Turns out it WAS a software issue. False alarm. Phew! But it shook everyone up. OldER stormed out of the results meeting because he took some of the professional's overall loss prevention recommendations as personal attacks.

    3 weeks later, I field a phone call from olDER brother alleging that oldEST bro called 3 of "his" suburban employees (true) and attacked, harassed & verbally abused them over the phone.(false) All 3 made complaints. (False)He went on to state that the female employee had complained that oldEST bro made sexually inappropriate comments in person during an earlier encounter. He said that all 3 STATED they would quit if they ever had to speak to oldEST again & may be considering legal action. What oldER bro didn't know is that I had been present with oldEST bro during the calls & the meetings so I knew with certainty that oldER was lying. I was dumbfounded. OldER had made similar claims against oldEST many times in the past, plus other alleged misconduct- they were always believed by me, & my parents & that's the reason oldEST was still the black sheep & had been basically isolated to the city store & cut off from most business communications.

    Long story, but I rehired the Loss prevention expert to investigate the harassment claims. He interviewed everyone involved & verified that no one reported ANY harassment & that none took place. Furthermore, OldER brother denied calling me about it & now claims that I fabricated the entire harassment story report to make him look bad and to get close to my mom so I could gain the family business. While the Loss Prevention investigator believes me & actually said "your brother is a sociopathic liar", his written report only states that he cannot verify the source of the false allegations, he can only verify that no harassment took place. Its my word against oldER bro. I got the report on Fri.

    In essence, OldER has been talking trash about OldEST for 20+ years, triangulating our family & now I know it was all likely a manipulation to gain control of the business. He also effectively pushed me out 18 years ago. It's like the light finally turned on and now it all makes sense.

    So, basically OlDER threw me under the bus.

    OldEST & my mom swear they believe me, but there must be some doubt there. My mom doesn't know what to do, she won't fire oldER bro, and is considering turning over the business TO my brothers just to wash her hands of it. She actually told me today that she was comforted by oldER's call today telling her he loved her & always would no matter what. I replied very snarkily "love is a verb, it's an action; not a just a word." She was not too pleased with my words.

    OldEST thinks we can find a way to draw boundaries & work together, but I can't work with someone who lies that boldly just to make me look bad. Plus, he cannot be trusted whatsoever with the financials. Furthermore, oldER has taken his martyr story to his kids & wife. His kids(24,23,19) all cut me out of their lives- 2 on FB too, plus they won't talk to me in person & nephew & oldER are playing martyr & posting Koi platitudes about loyalty & truth as statuses on FB. Nephew just posted a happy mother's day to a list of women, every aunt but me which really hurt. I won't defriend him in hopes of not inflaming this further.(And I won't defriend oldER bro because he doesn't realize that he is automatically checking into places on FB which is how I know he is rarely at work LOL.)

    I am not looking for advice. I guess I needed to write it out. Coping skills & suggestions are welcome. I have a feeling this will get worse before better. While I bravely wear my invisible "warrior mom of a difficult child, so bring it on, I can handle it" attitude; inside I am a little sister who just found out that oldER bro IS the bogeyman. I am not able to rise above this.
    Lasted edited by : May 12, 2013
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Sig, I don't know if this will help you, but I wrote this recently and will relay my feelings about dysfunctional family members to you. Remember, the circumtances are different, but it's still about family dynamics. Hope I have a few crumbs you can take when you think about your family and deal with them. The whole story is on the Watercooler. Maybe you need to just accept that some members of your family are toxic to you and move from there. Is it good to be in business with them?:

    • Thank you. I am afraid too many people are brainwashed into thinking that just because people may share DNA that they have to include them in their lives. Many of the black sheep kids (like me) are the ones who, at a desperate attempt to be loved to the end, are the ones who take care of Mom when she is at the end of her life, even though she abused the person her entire life. I have sat in many group therapy sessions where members spoke of how they were the ones who stepped up to help when Mom was desperate and yet Mom still loved the other siblings more and abused them as they did their selfless caregiving.

      Some people will think this is horrible, but I don't care because I know it is right. When my mom had brain cancer, I did not go down to see her. At all. She had had a tumor in her brain at 67 and made everyone in the family not tell me. She finally did tell me a few years later as I always attempted to mend fences and kept calling her.I was so hurt when I found out that she hadn't allowed anyone to tell me she had a brain tumor. Eight years later when she had brain cancer, I had changed a lot and learned a lot about how to deal with people who don't care about you. Although Mom was feeble by then and wouldn't have known who I was, I didn't go. If she had been in her right mind, she wouldn't have wanted me there. Never once, in over ten years had she ever called me and she had never seen my youngest two children. She made it clear, we didn't matter. Not once did she even send any of us, grandkids included, a birthday card. Nothing.

      I let my sister do all the caregiving. She was the one who my mother had a relationship with so why should I drive down from WIsconsin and haul her back and forth to doctors and visit her at the nursing home? My sister was overstressed, but they had that connection that my mom didn't want to have with me. So she had to do it, since my brother lives in NJ.

      I did go to Mom's funeral, but I didn't feel sad. It was like a stranger had passed. I was mostly there to comfort those who had known Mom, like my nieces and nephews. I did not tell my children to go and they chose not to as they didn't know her. The last child she had seen was Julie at age six. She had called 35 and abused him several times over the phone when he was sixteen, her last contact with him. She had never seen Sonic and Jumper and had refused to go to my wedding with Tom.

      I feel sorry for the "black sheep, treated like dirt" who try to do the right thing and get loved until the very end. I understand their motives. But I think they are making choices that will only hurt them. I have told that to many people in my group therapy too. Sadly, we as a society keep insisting that DNA is the most important tie in the world, that blood is IT, that how you are treated by that blood is secondary...that friends who have stood by you through thick and thin are not as worthy as your DNA relatives who abuse you. It causes a lot of anguish and pain.

      I refuse to share that pain or to ever buy that DNA argument ever again. And I'm glad I had learned enough not to be the one who run to Mom when she was so sick. My sister would have gladly let me do it...it was hard for her. But I didn't and I'm glad I didn't. It wasn't my place. In her heart, I really wasn't important to her. We had been estranged for a very long time and I'm glad I knew that nothing I did would change that. When I found out she had disinherited me, I was REALLY REALLY glad I had made the choice I had made.

      I have gone with Tom on mother's day to see his mother's grave and pray for her and put flowers on her grave. I never met her, but I know she would have loved me and she was good to Tom. I have never been back to see Mom. Or should I say, the woman who gave birth to me.​

      Me, over 21, mood disorder/anxiety--doing VERY well (paroxotene,clonazapan)​

      Re: Shocked at how good I've gotten at letting go without feeling devestated.

    • Dazed, thank you and peace to you as well. I hope many lurkers who are in our shoes, struggling with unloving parents who they want to please, read this post. You are worthwhile and wonderful whether your family can see it or not. Often, there is a person in a dysfunctional family who HAS to take on the role as everyone's black sheep. I was that person. None of them, the things that they said about me, were who I really was. They had their own versions of how they wanted me to be so that they could justify their meanness.

      I'm glad you figured out that your father was a sociopath. I don't think anyone in my family is that, but I do see lots of mental health issues and a sort of coldness in their veins. Except for my brother, they can all be incredibly mean.

      I like the bumper sticker: "Mean People Sock."​

      Me, over 21, mood disorder/anxiety--doing VERY well (paroxotene,clonazapan)
      Hub over 21, good hub, great father
      SportsFan#1 34, mood disorder, having hard time after divorce
      PastryChef#26 ex-drug addict, turned her life around
      Sonic 18 Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), adopted at age 2, super young man
      Jumper 15, ADD, friendly, great athlete, great kid
      easy child Dogs: shizu/chihuahua mix (Damian) and Yorkie/Bichon mix (Chloe)​
  3. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    It's definitely not good to be in business with them. I am prepared to walk away once again and am only back on because I have a moral obligation to my oldest bro, my mom and the people we employ . Additionally, I closed my husbands business in December specifically because I chose to work for my family business instead. (H got a new job in September & had to give up all activity associated with his former business. He had a few solid lines (sales rep) that I could've handled. I let them go to do this instead. Hindsight is always 20/20)

    I am struggling very much with the idea that I should walk away and basically give him the biz because of his misdeeds & misconduct. He's being a bully & HE needs to go. It won't happen. There's been some talk about making me the company president but I don't think my mom will follow thru. Even if she does, he will do his best to work against me. He has to go but there no way in hades that he will get fired. So, I will essentially be the one punished when I walk away. And he's the one who stole & lied.
    Lasted edited by : May 12, 2013
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Sig, and it's so unfair, but happens all the time in families (which is why I think family "love" is overrated). Moreoften there is fighting, jealousy, genuine dislike amongst some family members and out and out unfairness.

    But I learned that staying involved in the chaos is bad for my mental health and , let's face its, life and the people who live life are not fair. If you feel it is a worthy fight, by all means fight it. If you feel it is wearing you down and upsetting you because you can't control your family, consider letting the chips fall where they may in exchange for a more peaceful existence :))) Big hugs!!!!
  5. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You are certainy caught in the middle. Would you consider asking your mother for your share of the business now and selling it to the two brothers and let them fight it out?
  6. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    What is you take on 1 store yourself? Would that help?
  7. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    Being a daughter of a Aunt and Father who run a family business I can honestly say it has been difficult watching them fight. We have all had to chose sides at times and unfortunately people get hurt.

    in my humble opinion I would be tempted to call a family meeting and bring in all the proof of the financial theft. Let them know that out of respect for your brother and the family business you rectified the issue without placing blame. That you were more concerned with the business issue being fixed than with pointing fingers. However you feel that with the current issues and the previous theft that the brother in question should be removed from a position with any contact with money and employees. Possibly get him in a position as a buyer or representative for the business. Make sure all purchases are verified before hand and that all payments are handled by whomever currently pays the bills. Plus make him do/take all sales calls.

    It sounds like by covering for him the first time around you basically gave him a free pass. I am sure he knows you did it and now he is going to do anything he wants because you will give him another free pass.