Gordon B. Stinky
Date: January 11, 2021 08:57PM
[This got really long (sorry), but I guess I needed to vent, especially to a group who are very likely to understand where I"m coming from.]
After shunning us for 7 years, my TBM brother deigned to include me on a "family" email a couple days ago in which he announced where he "may" be transferred next year, and that he's looking forward to family visits.
So, Cog Dis #1: I don't even know where he is NOW. Because he didn't tell me. Because he's shunning me. So why tell me where he MIGHT go next YEAR?
Cog Dis #2: One of his gripes 7 years ago was that I left him off "family" emails and texts (I generally include whomever I think is appropriate). Nevertheless, he has discluded me from almost all communication for the last 7 years.
Cog Dis #3: He's done some pretty $h|++y stuff in those 7 years. For example, the day my wife died (3.5 years ago), he posted a preposterous message on Facebook saying it was a big loss, he and his wife were grieving "with" us, and would "miss her smile" (can you miss someone, or be "with" people, whom you're actively shunning?). And then never even contacted us about her memorial service (let alone attend). There's way more to all this, and I've posted about it before, so I won't go into detail, except to say that in my wife's last 12 months they lived only 100 miles away and could easily have arranged a visit if they were so inclined.
I responded the way I always do when I get hoovering messages from anyone in my "family" (because I've estranged myself from them all after my wife died; they were all pretty $h|++y, and I've thrown in the towel after a lifetime of their antics):
"I've asked repeatedly to be left off these family emails. Please stop contacting me."
My brother responded the next day with some lofty baloney about although I don't claim any brothers, he does. But he's the one who cut me off. Decidedly, and concretely. In words that he claimed to have thought long and hard about before sending them to me. And now he implies that I don't have the right to do the same! What a self-important hypocrite! Narcissism runs deep in several members of my family (and probably why the MORmON "church" is such a good fit for him).
One way I Know I'm on the radar in my family is that I'll "randomly" hear from multiple people in quick succession.
Fast forward another day and I receive a profane, flame-throwing scorched-earth (PFTSE) email from my half-sister (who's been officially diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder, and is a textbook case thereof), including a screen shot of my mail with "please stop contacting me" circled and labeled "toxic," and ranting about all sorts of the usual stuff, but her b|+ching now has morphed over time to include me keeping my "lovely" wife and children away from them. I quote "lovely" not because it wasn't true (it most certainly was), but because she had sadly also been the recipient of many PFTSE emails (PFTSE is her vernacular, normal tone and intensity level), saying all sorts of horrible things, but the germane one here is that my wretched half-sister told my lovely wife that she wasn't "a member of the family", which hurt her tremendously.
I can't access my late wife's email, but all those years ago in an email titled "Stop Being A Jerk" my half-sister included the following comments to me and cc'ed my wife:
• "I absolutely CANNOT BELIEVE you & your wife have done such a shit job of remaining family after Daddy's death! You should be sooooo ashamed of yourselves ~ I've NEVER BEEN SO ANGRY AT YOU!!!!! Fuck ~ I never want you here in the home where I live everyday."
• "WAKE UP YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE YOURE BEING A DAMN JERK Anyways, don't think you'll be allowed to visit here now!"
• "I don't want to see you or your wife NO ONE wants to be around you"
This was just one of many such emails (and FB posts, and text messages, etc), and a Gmail search found it pretty quickly because I remembered the "home where I live" phrase,
but needless to say we weren't feeling the "love" at that point, or since (although, to be fair, it's thankfully been mostly silence for the last couple years).
Anyway, the above attitude has morphed into this bit of yesterday's PFTSE tirade:
"God’s GREATEST BLESSING OF A PERSON FOR YOU, stayed by your side (even though you were WRONG). WHAT DID YOU DO?! Keep her & the girls away from us BECAUSE WE LOVE & ACCEPT all family members-YOU KEPT HER AWAY & HID HER SICKNESS FROM ALL OF US UNTIL SHE WAS DEAD????!!! UNTIL SHE WAS DEAD, DUDE THAT’S SOOOO FUCKED UP! You are CRUEL for that~we ALL loved her too!! You USED to be a better “YOU.” That was a REALLY REALLY low thing to do to all of us who loved her dearly & thanked God for her union with you!!!!"
In other words, I'm all the more an "a$$hole" and she's in complete denial about all the many horrible things she said to my wife, like "you're not part of the family," "no one wants to see you," and don't come back. She burned the bridges, locked the doors and battened down the hatches. I'm not gonna lie and say we were anxious to return, but in other emails she literally "forbid" us to.
I didn't keep my wife away from anyone. My family is toxic, this half-sister in the EXTREME, and my wife asked me not to tell them when she was diagnosed. I simply respected her wishes. That said, it's also a lie that I kept it from them. As sad as this sounds, because her mother was suing all the children from my father's first marriage, our attorneys talked about it. I also spoke directly to her oldest brother about it, because he forced the issue when he found out. I don't claim that I wanted this sister to know, we weren't speaking, but if she didn't it's because her own mother and brother chose not to tell her (and, frankly, I can see where they would chose not to given how amped up she gets about things).
I don't claim to be an angel or saint. Family spats happen and escalate. But the thrust of this episode naturally revolved around mormonism. One thing was that my niece came to Christmas Eve services with us at an Episcopal Church where I sang in the choir for about a decade after college and before moving away from the hometown. For me, one of the pleasures of being home for the holidays was visiting, enjoying the Christmas music and seeing old friends.
We got home after midnight, and most folks had gone to bed. The house was dark, but we found my sister-in-law waiting up for us in the living room with just a reading lamp on, and we dropped into a sofa. Our girls and my niece were messing around somewhere else in the house, but after a while my niece burst into the room, and, clearly not seeing my wife and I, blurted out, "Oh mom, it's was like a cult. They walked around holding a book in the air," arms over her head like she was acting it out.
Her mom lightly scolded her, but it was clear that she felt very normal and matter-of-fact about belittling another church to her mother. And I've since been told that groups of Mormon youth will even visit other churches for the express purpose of criticizing them after the fact, like an official activity (is this correct?).
Anyway, after that I decided that I was done walking on eggshells about Mormonism, and politely avoiding it. Not that I went looking for a fight, but I wasn't going to treat it like an elephant in the room any more.
I have a different niece who in that period of time was at BYU, and she'd frequently post Mormon crap on FaceBook. I'm professor, so I routinely challenge college student's weak or bad ideas, encourage critical thinking, etc. So I started challenging her to think about what she was posting from different points of view. She unfriended me.
My sister-in-law had a habit of sending links to "great talks" to all the women in the family. The recipients griped about it to each other, but didn't push back.
Later she posted an essay on FB from a Mormon feminist, commenting how "smart" it was and tagging all the young ladies in the family, including my girls. The premise was that she was a feminist not in spite of being a Mormon, but BECAUSE she was a Mormon. This is going way back, but I posted something to the effect of feminism being about having options other than being barefoot and pregnant, and that eternal motherhood struck me as the antithesis of it.
The above resulted in a pile-on and circling of wagons by all her TBM Facebook friends. It escalated. Even my TBM brother acknowledged that their comments were uncalled for (or words to that effect). I admittedly said some regrettable things, for which I apologized.
So, my half-sister, blew it all out of proportion--these events that she didn't participate in and wasn't involved with or effected by--and made me out to be a monster. Our dad at times would get apoplectic about Mormons (also Catholics, since another brother married a Catholic girl). In a twisted attempt to preserve or revere her daddy's memory, or so it seems to me, has hung all this antimormonism on me, convinced my brother than I hate them, that I've never liked being around them, and that I don't want my kids affected by them, etc. My brother has chosen to accept this narrative, from a well-known liar, rather than deal with the hard questions in play. She ranted and raved about it then. She's ranting and raving about it again. And she's not even Mormon, but way over the top about it all to show that she's a "great person", and that I'm a "monster".
My brother has apparently had some weird pang of conscience, or made a "family-oriented" new year's resolution. But in my family, doing the "right thing" never includes admitting that you ever did the wrong thing. You just dummy up and pretend everything's normal. I am oh so done with that.
They treated me (and my wife) like crap for a long time. Without going into detail, because this is already way too long, they've been smug about ostracizing us (shunning in the TBMs case) for seven years. At first it bothered me a little, but when my wife died, and the burst of grandstanding antics ensued, I realized that I just didn't care any more. I'm better off without them.
The perverse thing is that I think they're shocked to discover that I really don't care, and they're actually offended now to realize that I really prefer it that way. I've been saying "leave me alone" since my wife died, but they're only now realizing that I really mean it. And as stupid as it sounds, they don't like it. They're "supposed" to blow me off. Not vice versa.
Ok, I'm out of steam.
Thanks for reading.