The P T A is Gaslighting Me
Hi All! This is semi-OT, but I'm posting here because I'm also definitely dealing with residual feelings of being gaslight when my WS was actively cheating.
Long story short, I was asked to apply for a job at my kid's school running their after school program. Over the course of 5 months, I uncovered alarming info such as the fact that they were operating the program with no liability insurance, and paying all after school staff as "independent contractors" to avoid paying taxes. There was a bunch of other sketchy stuff, too. Basically everyone involved with originally setting up the after school program was either incompetent, or a liar. I'm not sure which, and I'm also not sure which is worse.
It took months of digging and asking questions to find this information out. I called the IRS, the Department of Labor, spoke with a lawyer, spoke with two separate PTA advisory not-for-profits, spoke with other friends on PTAs at other schools, spoke with my boss who's been a local small business owner for since the 1990s, spoke with a teacher I know that teachers classes on how to start your own business.
EVERYONE I have spoken to has confirmed that the after school staff ARE employees, NOT independent contractors, and it's fraud to pay them as such AND not be paying into unemployment or have workers comp.
Everyone, except the PTA/after school committee. One person literally told me the information I found on the Department of Labor website was wrong, it's not black and white, there's a lot of gray area between who's an employee and who's an independent contractor.
Then they tried to flip it on me and say that if I didn't think I was the right person for the after school director job, that I should tell them, because they need to find someone that can handle it.
I asked them if they thought the person I spoke to on the phone at the Department of Labor was lying to me, and then angrily said I was 100% out and they should hire an outside company who knew what they were doing to run an afterschool program.
Well. They did not.
Afterschool registration opened up this past week. They're capping the number of kids due to covid protocols -- almost half as many spots as last year, yet only charging $2 more per child per day to attend.
This sounded completely suspicious to me, so I wrote a long email with my four main concerns, linked to the appropriate websites that discuss things like requiring I-9s for employees, and requiring all afterschool employees that work with children be fingerprinted for background checks, and the insurance company website they claimed to have a policy with that specifically stated they do NOT cover afterschool or enrichment programs, just PTA events like bake sales and movie nights, and also mentioned that if a child or employee is injured, the PTA could be sued/held liable.
I emailed the entire PTA and the SLT (school leadership team).
My conscience is clear. The issue is that, now they've asked me to meet with the PTA & the principal to address my concerns.
Last time we spoke, they were trying to convince me I was crazy, I didn't understand very, very clear IRS and DOL guidelines. I'm not crazy. I'm convinced, based on all my research, that I'm right and they just figured they could cut some corners and it would be okay, no one would ever know.
Now here's where the infidelity part comes in -- I'm having lots of flashbacks/memories to when my WS was actively cheating and made me feel insane. I would think I saw something on his phone, and he would disappear in the bathroom and let me check it a minute later and try to convince me I didn't just see his AP's name pop up on a notification. He would tell me I was imagining things, hearing things and overreacting. If I didn't have hard evidence in front of me, he would lie, deny, minimize and just make me feel like I was losing my mind.
So... I'm just feeling super, super crazy. Could I possibly be wrong about the afterschool program? Could all the websites I've researched and all the people I've talked to outside of school be wrong? Probably not. But having a committee of people insinuating I don't know what I'm talking about and I'm the one in the wrong here is making me feel like I'm losing my mind and giving me pre-d-day flashbacks and making me feel really emotional and weepy.
Maybe I am crazy. I don't know. I hate feeling fucked up by infidelity still.
8 comments posted: Sunday, August 22nd, 2021
Why do advice columnists insist on gaslighting BS?
I generally like to read advice columns, except for when the question is about cheating.
Today I was reading Dear Prudence, and someone wrote in worrying their spouse was having an emotional (or possibly physical) affair. They were texting a coworker nonstop, telling them personal things, out of nowhere announced that this coworker and their partner could join the advice-seeker and their spouse on vacation! The advice-seeker asked their spouse if they were having an affair, and their spouse told them that they were "just 'good friends.'" Of course that gave me chills.
And of course the (guest) columnist started blowing off their concerns, thought it was unreasonable that they asked their spouse if they were having an affair, etc. I stopped reading their "advice."
Similarly, any time I read an advice column and someone either suspects an affair and purposely checks their partner's texts/emails, or accidentally comes across them and finds some incriminating messages, 9/10 times the columnists excoriates them for violating privacy, rather than recognizing that most people only do this when they've finally hit a point where they can't ignore their gut or red flags anymore, and not because they're generally abusive or controlling partners (far from it!!).
I'm gonna sound like Carrie from SATC, but I can't help but wonder if there wasn't this societal gaslighting, what life would be like for more betrayed spouses? If it wasn't so frowned upon to go through a partner's phone, even after say... you find a condom wrapper in their car after they've been "working late," and their excuse that they must have dragged it in on their shoe rings false.
What if advice columnists validated BS' concerns (while also pointing out that yes, the relationship probably has trust problems), but also acknowledged that an innocent partner would have nothing to hide and would probably ACTUALLY want to put their partner's fears at rest?
[This message edited by ibonnie at 1:35 PM, May 20th (Thursday)]
6 comments posted: Thursday, May 20th, 2021
Tell me everything I need to know about keeping (2? male?) guinea pigs as pets, please! 🐹🐖
14 comments posted: Tuesday, May 18th, 2021
I Hate My Brother's Girlfriend
I hate my brother's girlfriend, and I don't know what to do with these feelings. They've been dating 5ish years, and living together going on 4 years, and in that time, I've barely gotten to know her, because every effort has been rebuffed or ignored. My brother's behavior has definitely changed since they've been together (and I'm not the only person who has noticed or commented on this), and on the very rare occasions that we do see him (alone, because she almost never comes to any family or friend event she's been invited to), he makes remarks or complains about how she's lazy, bad with money, expects him to pay for everything, does zero housework or cooking, neglects to do any tasks he asks her to help with or do for him when he's away for work (which is often).
Specific things he's complained about include:
-paying hundreds of dollars for a pet because she wanted a specific color. He wanted to adopt one from a shelter.
-having all their furniture match the color of said pet. He brought one item of furniture into their apartment and had to fight for it because she didn't like that it didn't match the rest of her color scheme.
-insisting on a leather couch -- my brother is a sweaty guy and said that he didn't want to stick to a leather couch when the weather gets warm, and 2. the pet would ruin it (which it has).
-she's spent more on hair extensions in a month than her half of their shared rent and bills cost.
-and then would ask him to cover things like their groceries for the month because she was short on cash.
-but then would go shopping for bags and bags of new clothes.
-he's the only one that cooks, and she complained she's tired of his recipes so he needs to learn some new ones.
-gave him an STD after they had been together for years. Her doctor said that it could have been lying dormant, but... I am on this site for a reason and therefore my mind immediately goes to infidelity.
-he complains that she never leaves their apartment. (Yes, we're in a pandemic still, but he complained about this before 2020.)
-he bought a countertop dishwasher because he was tired of doing all the cooking AND always doing all the dishes.
-her family doesn't know he exists/they're dating because they wouldn't approve for religious reasons.
-he asked my mom to pet sit while he was on a business trip because there was some concern she wouldn't be able to handle their pet on her own. (It didn't end up happening though, but still...)
-one time he asked her to do his laundry for him (or at the very least, drop it off at the laundromat and pay for it to be done) because he had back-to-back business trips and would basically be home for less than a day and needed clean clothes to pack for his second trip, and whoops! She forgot.
He (and she) say they don't want kids (which is fine, I don't care either way), BUT he did say to me once that he wouldn't want to have a kid with her, because he already takes care of everything, so that would be like having two kids.
As for things that he hasn't complained about, but I've noticed first hand:
-my parents and WH helped them move in together. When they showed up at her apartment many years ago, she had not packed a single item, and it took all day to get her packed up and moved since nothing had been done beforehand. She didn't buy them dinner or drinks (idk about where you're from, but where we're from, if friends help you move, you pay for pizza + beer that night).
-she made a derogatory comment about our ethnic background at my LO's 1st birthday party because we had some white and red wine for guests to drink. We also had seltzer, juice, coffee and tea...
-my brother invited me to her birthday party years ago ON the afternoon of her party. Keep in mind, I have two kids, and WH already had plans that night, so I had to decline.
-I've never been invited to another birthday party for her.
-but I have always invited her to my birthday parties. The last one was in 2019 before... everything. I made a Facebook invite for pizza and beer on our roof. Super lowkey, about 10 friends, including my brother. She RSVPed yes, and my brother showed up solo that night. When I (casually) asked where she was, he said she was at dinner with friends.
-my dad has cancer. She didn't reach out to my parents once to offer any sort of help or condolences or well wishes. Nothing. Nada. Radio silence. (My brother was largely the same. No offers to help my mom out with anything. Never offered to meet them at the hospital to help him get home after surgery or keep my mom company. )
-we had my brother and his girlfriend over for a small big # birthday dinner during the pandemic. My brother kept saying he was so tired, just wanted to go home and go to bed. Girlfriend kept insisting they HAD to go to her friend's birthday party that night after they left. Turns out it was a surprise party FOR my brother. She didn't invite me, but she did invite one of my brother and I's best friend's (which is how I found out -- said friend asked me about the party, and I was like "What party?").
-she's never attended a family event with my brother, big or small. No holidays, no milestone occasions, not even a barbecue. They've lived together for years and almost no one, except for our immediate family has met her.
I could... go on. With more examples, more people that don't like her, etc.
I don't know what to do. I feel so sad and angry about all of this. I miss my brother dearly. On the rare occasions I get to see him, I've mentioned that I miss him, and I'd love to hang out more, and he says he misses me, too. But on the occasions that she comes over with him, he's totally different -- they largely sit off to the side by themselves, she barely makes small talk with anyone, and he basically waits on her, bringing her food or drinks so she doesn't have to move from her seat.
Obviously the pandemic has made everything even more difficult, but before covid hit the US, I would reach out once every couple of months and invite him over for dinner or would see if he wanted to go do something, but he would usually be too busy.
After I found out about the surprise party, I directly messaged him and asking if I had done something wrong or offended them somehow that I wouldn't even get invited to my own brother's milestone birthday party, and he assured me no, it was just an oversight on his girlfriend's part.
But... I don't know what to do anymore. I miss my brother. I swear, I haven't mentioned any of these feelings I have about his girlfriend to him, and I've always done my best to keep reaching out to him and to invite them both to hang out and do things, and send her (thoughtful!) birthday presents but... I'm starting to hit a point where I just want to stop making any effort. I guess I worry that if I do 1. I really won't ever see him, and 2. I don't want to make him feel alienated or isolated if/when they ever do break up.
Any advice or how to proceed? How to stop loathing her? Or how to stop caring?
Edited to add: one of his best friends for the past 25+ years is also one of my closest friends. They don't like his girlfriend either, think he's totally different around her, and think it's weird that they've 1. never been invited to his apartment with her in the years they've been together AND 2. that he's never been to their new apartment in the 3 years they've lived there. For the record, the live about 20-30 minutes apart from each other via car.
[This message edited by ibonnie at 12:05 AM, March 15th (Monday)]
9 comments posted: Sunday, March 14th, 2021
TW: Suicidal Thoughts
Let me preface this by saying that I do not feel suicidal or have any intention to commit suicide. However, for as long as I can remember, I've had thoughts about dying/suicide. The first time I went to therapy was around 7/8ish when my teachers/parents discovered something I had written about wanting to die.
Anyways. I periodically have random thoughts about suicide. Mostly I either find myself thinking about how I would do it, OR a more persistent/annoying thought pops in my head like, "You should slit your wrists."
FWIW, I'm currently taking 25mg of sertraline (generic zoloft), and have been since my WH's A in late 2017. I started to wean off last March but stopped -- during a pandemic when we could hear ambulance sirens at all hours of the day and night was not the right time, I started having a lot of panicky episodes. I am not currently seeing a therapist.
Today has just been a day full of anxiety over, really, silly volunteer-y stuff at my 4yos school. I'm working virtually on a committee with a fellow mom that I loathe (she's pretty condescending and insufferable, but she gets stuff done for the school so 🤷♀️ ), and thought I was responsible for finding volunteers, and then passing them along to the rest of the committee to vet. I did not realize that I would have to do some zoom meetings with alumni parents and make small talk and schmooze and see if we can get them to do some volunteer work for the school. I hate small talk. I'm not good at schmoozing. I'm generally pretty quiet/shy/reserved and have found that keeping my mouth shut and my eyes open has served me better in life than trying to make awkward, uncomfortable chitchat.
So... pretty much nonstop today I've had this loop of annoying thoughts -- "You can't do this. You should go kill yourself. Why did you think you could do this? You should go slit your wrists."
Again, to be clear, I do not want to kill myself. What I want is for these thoughts to go away, or to figure out something better than hearing this loop in my head, catching myself, and trying to redirect my thoughts, only for the loop to start up again five minutes later.
Google is not much help, because it brings me to suicide hotlines, and I'm not worried that I'm actually going to do this. But man, this is not helping my anxiety, and definitely not going to help me muddle through virtual small talk with some people I haven't seen in nearly a decade.
I mentioned this to WH, and he was a little alarmed, rubbed my shoulders and neck (because I've been so tense today), and advised me to take a break from working, and go do some meditative breathing, which helped a little bit temporarily. I don't want to mention this to my IRL BFFs because... this is kind of a weird/jarring thing to say to people, and I don't want to alarm them.
Any tips/advice on how to get rid of these thoughts? Anyone else deal with thoughts of suicide, but don't have any desire or intentions to follow through?
[This message edited by ibonnie at 9:35 PM, February 5th (Friday)]
19 comments posted: Friday, February 5th, 2021
Watching The Handmaid's Tale
Warning-- spoilers ahead.
Anyone else watch? I'm having trouble believing it, mostly because I just can't believe they wouldn't have killed June yet, or at the very least cut out her tongue so she couldn't , so some other horrible punishment.
Also, I wish June would have stuck with Emily and crossed the border. Yes, she would have left Hannah behind, but in the long run I think she could have done more good speaking out as the Waterford's ex-handmaid in Canada. Not to mention how completely unrealistic it was to think she could break into another Commander's house and escape with her daughter, without any help, resources or knowledge of where to go.
3 comments posted: Saturday, June 8th, 2019