my little brother, fresh off the boat from his year in israel intense brainwashing, wrote something about how he's a republican now (he was super liberal before he left). So I write something on facebook like "wow you're a republican now? They totally brainwashed you, aye?"
Apparently that hit a nerve, cause this is what I got back:
"You want to know why?
You've been trying to convince me to be like you for a long time, so I looked at you and quite frankly you strike me as a person who's bitter and miserable all the time.
Why would I want to be like this? The beliefs and life style I've adopted makes me feel much better and happier emotionaly, physicaly and spiritualy.
So I'm joining the "other side". You enjoy your life. I'll enjoy mine."
Here's what I wrote back via email:
Wow your beliefs and lifestyle you've adopted may make you happy, but it sure has made you into kind of an asshole. Is that part of your beliefs? To try and publically humiiate your sister by leaving obnoxious public messages on her facebook page? I'm sure god would be very approving of that. Sounds like something that's sure to get you into heaven. Oh wait, didn't god say something like that embarrassing someone is worse than murder? I guess that only applies to people who are exactly like you; if not, god must be cool with treating them like shit!
Listen [Brother's name], we don't know each other that well. I moved out of our parent's house when you were 13 or 14, and I'm sad to say that I never really got to know you that well as a result. This is partially my fault, and partially yours. Neither of us have really made an effort to know each other.
You see a very small part of my life - the part when I am at home with our parents. For a variety of reasons I'm not going to get into, me and them don't get along very well. Clearly. As a result I'm usually pretty stressed out and upset when I go home. Yes, I'm bitter- about the way I was raised. You didn't notice most of what went on in our house probably, but I cannot forgive our parents for the way I was treated, and continue to be treated, simply because our belief's were different.
Did you know that mom told me that I shouldn't talk to you anymore so that I wouldn't 'corrupt' you? Several years ago? Out of respect for her wishes, and out of an effort not to antagonize mom anymore than necessary, I respected her wishes and stayed away. Then when I came home to visit a couple of years ago and we went to Aunt E's house for purim, we got to talking and I thought you were pretty cool. I became friends with you on facebook because I wanted to get to know you better. I thought you were turning out pretty cool, and was happy that I had reconnected with you.
However, you seem to interpret everything I ever said to you as a personal attack. Maybe that is partially my fault. Although I remember taking your side against [other brother] several times when we were kids, I'm sure you interpreted me and [other brother] as ganging up on you. With [other brother], we used to fight a lot as kids, but then when we were both growing up we eventually made up and became friends. I didn't really have that chance with you, as I moved out when you still probably saw me as a bully, and I've never really had a chance to change your perception of me.
I know we will probably never be close the way we could have been if I had lived at home for longer. However, I was very hurt to read what you wrote on my wall.."You enjoy your life. I'll enjoy mine" it seems you are disavowing me because my beliefs are different than yours. I'm not sure if part of your belief system is to not talk to your sister because she is an atheist and you are religious. And as for the brainwashing comment, I wasn't referring to your religious beliefs, just your political ones, when you said you were a republican. However I seem to have hit a nerve.
From my outsiders perspective, it looks to me like you have changed ALL of your beliefs in the past year. I'm worried that you will be giving up things you have always wanted to do because you were in an intense environment for a year, where you were told that you will be happier if you act a certain way. I saw a lot of people act like this after coming home from israel for a year, and I worry that you will not be happy with this lifestyle.
I don't think I've been trying to convince you to be like me. If you've interpreted my actions (and my tendency to be pretty argumentative when at home) in that way, then you have misinterpreted my intentions. I just was trying to find some common ground with you.
If you want to 'live your life and i'll live mine" or whatever, that's fine with me. I just hope that one day you'll wake up and let go of whatever past hurts you are harboring, and reconnect with me. I would really like to know my little brother.
Anyways, I hope you are happy with your life, and even though you think I am bitter (probably cause I get all bitter whenever I'm home), I assure you I've in a very happy place in my life right now. B just moved in with me, and we are planning on getting married at some point in a year or two. In fact, I'm pretty much more happier in my life right now that I have ever been before. Probably because I have complete control over my life, and am able to live the lifestyle I want. If you cannot have a relationship with me becasue of my lifestyle, then that is your issue, and not mine. I am always open to being closer with you, and I hope that one day we can be as close as me and [other brother]. I know that if that ever happens, it will take years to come to pass, but I would very much like it to.
I will probably not be coming home to visit our parents again for a very long time. Going home makes me too upset, and I don't really think our parents want me to go home anymore. Partially because they don't want me talking to you, as they make clear every time I am there. I also was invited to go to chicago and meet B's extended family for thanksgiving. However, you are always welcome to come visit me in [city], even if you just drive down for an afternoon. If you want to come to a festival or go camping sometime, I would really like that too. Not because I want you to be more like me, but because I want to get to know you better.
Meanwhile, That "the beliefs and lifestyle" line sounds like it's straight of the brainwashing textbook. Am I bitter? Definitely when I go home/write this blog. Sigh. Meanwhile, I guess that's just one less reason to ever go to my parent's house.