I had the surprise of my life yesterday when I got home from work and played the message on my machine. It was one of my five brothers. All of whom I havent spoken to but a handful of times over the years. This particular brother though was df'd as a teenager and left our home upon graduation from high school. That was about 8 or so years ago and I havent really talked to him since except on rare occasion. Growing up we were not close as he was
rebellious at times and angry and in my opinion, back then when I was a jw, he was 'wordly'. He was of the 'leading a double life' class and I was not and therefore I resented him and if it was ever within my power to expose something he was doing or did lets just say I took the opportunity.
Anyway, since I left the jw mentality over the past year or so I have become friends with his girlfriend, the mother of my niece. Their daughter is now two and a sweetie pie. I have talked to her on a couple of occasions about how we grew up and found out that all she knew was that he used to be a Jehovahs Witness. She knew OF JW's but like a lot of people did not know anything ABOUT JW's.
I talked to her a bit about it and was surprised that she said my brother after they have been together about three years has never talked to her about any of this 'stuff'. I felt a little uncomfortable about talking to her more about everything though...you know that feeling you get talking to non ex jw's. that they just dont 'get' it? I felt like I was overwhelming her with too much too fast especially when we started talking about my family. She started talking about how much she liked my family and how nice they always are to her and my niece. A far contrast from her own mother who is a pretty bad and sick person. I started in one conversation to tell her that they were only so sweet to her because there is always hope in their mind that she could come into the organization and that she could get my brother back in. I told her that if she ever said something against their religion they would drop her like a bad habit. I dont think she believed me but she didnt say so.
I was content to not talk about this stuff with her I was more interested in being her friend and just hanging out or chatting. If her and my brother were content and she was happy with her relationship with my family that was fine with me. And so it has been for the past months. I chat with her on occasion by phone and before I moved with went to her daughters birthday party and she came to my sons and we've had a nice time. Unfortunately we
didnt have a lot of time to get to know each other before I moved.
Anyway, she and my brother have always had a rocky relationship with him treating not treating her well. Not physical abuse or anything but just not communicating with her about anything, never going out with her, not doing
anything around the house, not being a father to their daughter. The last time I spoke to her she was all upset about a fight they had and was telling me some of the things he was doing and I said something like 'geez he sounds
so much like my father'.
Finally after having put up with enough she decided she was going to leave him.Shes been making plans for the past several months to find a job and a place to live, which she has done. My brother finally seemed to realize that she was serious and started talking to her more. Finally after trying to make excuses for their relationship falling apart he finally admitted that he basically has been tormented with thoughts about his former religion. There isnt a day that he doesnt think about it and stress about it. He started telling her things similar to what I had started telling her and he realized what a giant relief it was to get those words out of his mouth.
He also told her that my father, the bastard as I like to call him, pulled him aside at my grandmas funeral a few months back. My brother has been very sick the past couple of years with what we believe is Lupus. He hasnt been taking care of himself and pretty much refuses to go to the doctors and now I know it was because he thought that it was pointless. So my father pulls him aside and says 'i hear youve been pretty sick' and then proceeded to give him a long 'talk' about this being his last chance to come back to the organization. He said in way too many words that by brothers daughters death at armageddon would be on his hands if he didnt get back in. To this day he doesnt remember what his response was as he was so shocked and disgusted by this. He was upset not just with what my father said but the fact that he never asked how he was feeling or what was wrong with him although my brother has lost tons of weight and looks very sick due to the skin problems associated with his illness. He also said that years ago after he moved out and needed to move back for a while because he didnt have a place to live my father refused to even look at him ever but out of visible hate told him that he was the sole reason for him being removed as an elder and that he had to get out. 'I couldnt beleive how much he hated me' is what he said. I assured him that it wasnt just him. I have sat in disbelief about it too many times. Hes a sick bastard.
So he tells her this among other thoughts and feelings hes been keeping in since he left the org as a teenager. She told him that I had talked to her about some of the same things and his reaction was that he for the first time realized that he wasnt crazy. At her suggestion, he called me and we talked for a long time. He was just like I was a year ago or so when I realized that so many of my years were wasted in a lie. He seemed really excited, as was I, to be talking about it to an actual family member.
I am hoping I didnt ramble on and on too much. I tried to contain myself but it was difficult considering this came out of the blue and I didnt have much time to think of the right way to talk to him. He remembered Ray Franz's name and asked me for his and other book recommendations. I am hoping some of you may have suggestions for the best way to direct him. Basically what I wanted him to know last night is that we were raised in a cult and Mom and Dad and the rest of them are brainwashed. I emailed something to her to give to him which lists the characteristics of cults and when I find it I'm going to send him the book on mind control that Steve Hassan wrote. When I said brainwashed he said 'thats exactly how I feel, like I am brainwashed because I dont want to believe this crap but it stays in my head and tortures me.'
I think hes on the right path and its really cool. Maybe after all these years I'll have a real relationship with one of my own family members! I'm not getting too overly optimistic because things have a way of turning around quick but it would be very cool if it worked out that he got past all this and his girlfriend stayed with him. She said shes not sure, right now she just wants him to get better for himself.