Dear Snarky – I Was Gaslighted On My Vacay

Dear Snarky,

Families suck! I just got back from what I thought was a great and successful vacation with my brother and his family. We aren’t that close and recently out of the blue he contacted me and said he had a “sweet beach house rental” that he would like to share with me and my family for a long weekend.

I was hesitant because over the years my brother has been difficult (bad temper, mean etc), but he said he had been in therapy and wanted to make amends with his family and wanted his kids to get to know their cousins.

I thought hard about it but because the trip was only for three days and two nights and I could drive there in one day (in case I needed to make a hasty exit) I agreed.

I also offered to split the cost of the beach house with him several times and even have texts to prove it. But he insisted that it was “his treat.”

During the mini vacation since my brother was covering the cost of the beach house I paid for everything else – food, entertainment, eating out for everyone etc. 

I thought both families had a really good time and I was pumped that my brother was back in my life and seemed stable and happy.

But then the day I arrived home I got a bill sent certified mail requesting that I pay for half of the beach house immediately via Venmo. I called my brother and asked why he sent me a bill since he repeatedly said he was paying for the beach house and why did he send it certified mail like I was deadbeat or something.

He yelled and cursed at me that I should have known he was “just kidding about the beach house” and I was “stupid” and a “moron” to think that we shouldn’t split the price of the house since I “make way more money than him.” He then continued to send me rage texts at the rate of 20 per hour.

Right now I’m hurt and feel like what I thought was a fresh start with my brother was all a scam. Do I pay the bill and give into my brother and his insults or just go back to pretending that I don’t have a sibling?

Signed, Devastated

Dear Devastated,

Let me tell you straight up I don’t like your brother. I’m guessing this family reunion was all a joke for him and the entire time he was probably taking great delight in knowing he was going to go all Jekyll and Hyde on you as soon as it was over.

It also sounds like he either lied about being in therapy or he needs a whole lot more of it. Here you were with your kids thinking happy thoughts that your brother was in a good place and then you get bitch slapped with a certified letter as soon as you arrive home that you owe him money. 

This means he had to mail the letter before you even left the beach house. So the creep level is raised exponentially. Now add in that he yelled/cursed at you over the phone, denigrated your intelligence and harassed you via text. This tells me that you have a situation where your brother needs to be aggressively avoided.

My advice is to pay for half of the beach house. I know some people will disagree since you picked up the tab for everything else but this is the most expedient way to get this loser out of your life. Sure, you could not pay but I think that’s what your brother wants so he can keep on harassing you via mail. (Because I sure hope by this time you have blocked him on your phone and email.)

In terms of emotional turmoil it’s going to be far less costly to your mental health if you pay. Is it fair? No, but sometimes you need to think big picture and your big picture should be not having to deal with your brother.

I would send him a certified check (just to make him have to hassle with a check) via registered mail and include a little note that you consider this matter closed and if and when you want to have further contact with him you’ll be the one to reach out.


Dear Snarky,

The writer of this blog won’t quit promoting her books. How do I deal with this?

Signed, Weary

Dear Weary,

Alas, this poor woman has to constantly plug her books because that is the only way they will sell and trust me it’s no picnic for her to have to keep on doing shout outs. The only thing keeping her going is that she knows/hopes/prays that her Snarky friends will indulge her and cut her slack because they enjoy her blog posts so much. 😉

Now that we’ve got that out of the way here’s – you guessed it – another plug.

I’ve got an amazing sale on Kindle right now for all by books. Click here for one way ticket to Amazon.

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