Guy Admits To Prank That Left His Brother In Debt, And He Doesn't Know If He Can Accept The Apology


Family matters can be a touchy subject no matter how small the issue is. When it involves being put in debt by a family member, it just doesn't seem right.

Redditor u/haden4times tells us, "My brother admitted to a "prank" that drastically changed my life 7 years ago." and this is how it all went down:

7 years ago when I [17M] was preparing for college at 17 I was trying to find scholarships. I applied to a scholarship run by a local family using money from a man in the family who was very wealthy. They eventually announced that a girl from our town had won and I thought nothing of it.

My brother [27M] is now in AA and is "making amends." He admitted to me that I won the contest. He said that an old teacher of his was on the scholarship board and saw him at the store, and brought it up to him assuming we knew. But we didn't know as the letter hadn't come in the mail yet. But after she said something he knew, and when the letter came he took it.

He was mad at me at the time (now he doesn't even remember why) and says that he responded to the letter thanking them but telling them I had received a full ride scholarship to the school of my choice and no longer needed funding. He gave them his own cell phone number and said they could call him with any questions. He says they did and he just convinced them I didn't need the scholarship and they should give it to someone else, so they did.

He admits it was shitty of him but doesn't seem to think it was a big deal. He doesn't even see the value of the money lost because I still got to go to college, but the difference was that I ended up 40k in debt with student loans. I still owe 35k and the interest is counting. The scholarship would have paid out a total of 45k over the course of my college education as long as I maintained minimum grades.

His prank cost me tens of thousands of dollars. I know he's in AA and the goal is to make amends and fix relationships, but this honestly makes me never want to see him again. I spent college SO incredibly stressed over money and this could have solved so much of it, and he did this over something he can't even remember now.

Where do I go from here? Am I "supposed to" let this go? Sorry this is kind of a rant, I don't really know what I'm asking other than just general advice of how this should affect my relationship with him. I feel like I don't want any relationship with him at all now but I know I might regret that years down the road.

tl;dr: My brother was mad at me and did something that caused me to lose tens of thousands of dollars. He's admitting it now as part of AA. How do I keep a relationship with him when I've never been more angry with someone in my life? Should I even try?

He should step up and own is actions


What he did was awful, but what sticks out for me is that he doesn't seem to care how it's affected you, nor can he even remember what "provoked" him. Your brother owes you, in the very least, a real apology, one which acknowledges how his actions seriously affected you and your future.


Getting past the denial is key


He's not actually trying to make amends - that involves accepting the damage he caused. He is still in denial and minimizing his behavior.

Don't even consider forgiving him until he actually takes responsibility. Send him back to his sponsor for further discussion.


Show him the money


He didn't make amends. He got a f*** up off his chest. When you make amends, you take full responsibility for your actions and truly recognize and own up to the ramifications. Then you attempt to set it right. In your case, he'd at the very least contribute to paying off your loans. He followed his admission by rationalizing why it "isn't a big deal." Worst 9th step ever.


It's not really a prank


That's not a prank. That is freaking fraud with the intent on ruining your financial life. I'm in AA. Amends also end with how can I make this up to you? It's up to you what you want to do. I had 2 people say thanks but no thanks. I left them alone. One came back into my life and one did not. It's okay to cut him off. I would because he can't make it up to you.


Straight up


Your brother owes you $40K. That's the cost of his "prank".


He just doesn't care


That is going way too far. At 20, he knew what he was doing. I doubt he's ever lost a wink of sleep over it.


Tough love


There is absolutely a way he can make amends: he can pay off the student loans that his actions forced you to incur.

If he's unwilling/unable to do that, you are completely free to choose not to have a relationship with him for as long as you want.


A healthy step forward


I'm a recovering alcoholic/addict.

The step in question is Step 9: "Made amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others."

The key part here is the word "amend", which means to change, adjust so that something that was broken is made whole (or as whole as it can be).

If he's not intending to pay for your student loans (including interest), he really shouldn't have told you, because they it's just making the relationship worse. Not that it would have been OK not to tell you. My understanding of the program is such that he should be willing to pay you back. Even for lump sum amounts we who are recovering should be willing to pay interest, if we want to recover.

However, at the end of the day we do step 9 for our own sake, not for that it others. I need to make amends, because if I don't, I'll drink, and if I drink, I'll die. I don't want to die, so I make amends. That's the logic.

But not all people in recovery treat their program the same way. Many cut corners or do just the bits they like. They end up relapsing.


It's not about him


It sounds like he apologized for himself, not you. And by all means, if you can't do it, you don't need to see him. If he can truly own up and take accountability, that would be one thing (that you still would have no obligation to continue a relationship with him), but it sounds like this apology was to make him feel better- not you. That's not what amends are all about.


Fixing the issue little by little


Recovering addict here:

Making amends is difficult, and we are well aware that our amends may not be met with forgiveness. There is nothing saying that you have to forgive him. So don't think that you have to forgive him because he told you he was sorry. That's up to you to decide.

Part of the the amends are that he should be trying to pay you back, if he is in any shape to do so. I wouldn't expect him to pay it all on the spot, but there could be some monthly payment worked out, even if it is small.


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