Monday, March 2, 2009

Talked to Brother too

My youngest brother, the religious one, called to talk, because he realizes he has no relationship with me. Or something. Apparently he called my other brother with the same story last night. My brother thinks he went to a shiur where the rabbi said to be closer to his off the derech siblings so he can be mekarev us (try to make us more religious)

Over the course of the conversation I asked him if he was coming to my wedding. he responded with silence and then was like "Well that's a complicated question" and I was all "well it's not really a complicated question, either you're coming or you're not" and he was silent and kept not answering. It was awkward and weird.

Then like 10 minutes after we finished the convo and hung up, he called back and was like "the answer is no, I'm not coming to your wedding, but I still want to have a relationship with you. I was like "Um ok, well have a good night."

Well, on the bright side, at least I don't have to find kosher food for him for the wedding. Although I still have a friend I have to find kosher food for... Anyways, it's not like we are really close, I moved out when he was 14, and this conversation and the one a few weeks ago where he told me B would die if he didn't convert or break up with me was the first time we've really talked in the past 5 years or so. Other then some dumb messages on facebook. I haven't seen him in 2 years. Still, it would have been nice if he would have come...


  1. Oh Eden. Obviously what your family thinks is still very important to you. But like I've said before, you have to listen to what YOUR heart says. This is your life. You've made your choices. You can't expect everyone to agree with you. You have to nod and move on. There will be consequences to your decisions and you'll just have to accept that fact.

  2. ha you know i was talking to my other (non-religious) brother about this, and he was pointing out how they only have power over me because I care what they think...

    he also pointed out that now I get the boy AND lose the prejudiced closed minded family members. So really I win. :)

  3. It's not as easy as that to become indifferent to what your parents + next family think of you.

    It is a deep relationship that you cannot just "switch off", even if you would like to.

    It takes time, it goes in ups and downs, probably we will never become completely indifferent, but at least, time helping, it will become possible to live without suffering to much from it.

    But a hole in the heart remains, especially if there was once a time where we had a good relationship with them.

    So it's illusory to say "just forget about them, look forward". It's just not realistic.

    Having friends, being surrounded by nice people, being independent, working, is what helps most against "their attacks".

  4. Ms. Moon and Shoshi are making valid points.

    If you want to move forward with your life get some counseling. Otherwise this is going to permeate and poison your life and your marriage.

  5. wait, why should I go to counseling exactly? I'm not unhappy, this isn't interfering with my ability to enjoy life or to get stuff done that I need to get done (other then the time it takes to make the occasional blog post), so I don't see why I have to go to counseling or else my life and marriage will be poisoned...that's a pretty extreme statement, and it puts a lot of faith into the ability of counseling to magically fix everything if you go.

    What can a therapist do that I can't do by blogging, talking to my friends, and thinking critically about my situation? I'm not anti-therapy and I've been to therapy before, but I would only be going because that's something people in my situation usually do, not becuase I need to go.

  6. does your brother believe its halachically problematic to attend your wedding? if so, why do you sound bothered that he cant come? you can respect his choice to practice his religion and he can respect your choice not to have a religion.
    i know you question his motives and dont seem to have much interest in a relationship with him, but considering the fact that he did the opposite of what your mother did - which is threaten to end the relationship - i think it was nice of him to try, no?

  7. why would I be bothered that my little brother isn't coming to my wedding? Is that a serious question?

    I guess he has taken a different approach than my mother, but that doesn't mean I have to be falling down grateful because he deigns to have a relationship with me (and yet still won't come to my wedding).

  8. To answer your question about seeing a counselor; I don't think that you are unhappy, but from your blogging you seem overly concerned about yur relationship or lack thereof with your parents. And I am certain this issue(s)takes up more of your time then you realize.

    Blogging (and talking with friends) is not a substitute or an alternative to professional counseling. Blogging is like painting or drawing. You create a picture within which you portray or see an image. But those who view your art see what you want them to see but also see the subconscious image that you have created.

    You may deny it, the issue with your folks is bothering you and it will bother you more over time especially as B's family accepts you as part of their family. This will also be an issue when you have children, not having your Mom to speak to during pregnancy and after the baby's birth will be a hole that you will not be able to avoid or fill with friends or in-laws. Also, as the children grow they will be asking about your family and you will have a lot of explaining to do. It won't be comfortable.

    Deal with it now and you will be prepared for the future. You have many difficult roads to travel, many you can not even imagine. Have this dealt with so you can enjoy life to the fullest!!

  9. you're right, bothered wasnt the right word. of course it bothers you or makes you sad not to have your family there.
    i guess my question is, if this is something he can't do halachically and you want to respect his religious views, then what would be an outcome you could accept?
    even if you dont believe in halacha, im sure you can still respect that it's important to someone else (just like if someone isnt an atheist they can still respect your choice to live that way and not impose their choices on you)
    i guess im just curious about the thought process. in my lifetime i have had to - and will have to - deal with situations like this. it's important to me to try and hear how others feel and think.

  10. Well, I think its nice that he still thinks of you. You ARE still his sister and he loves you. And he is not throwing you away. That doesn't count for nothing

  11. HH- Very true.

    Mookie- Hmm, well I guess I know from my brother's and parent's perspective my wedding is not halachicly valid. However, as far as I know, there is nothing that says you can't go to a non-jewish wedding, as long as it isn't in a church. And neither my parents nor my brother has mentioned anything about halachicly not being able to go. And if it's not a halchicly valid wedding, then what is the problem with going to it? There is not going to be any religious services of any kind that they would be at. Plenty of modern orthodox jews (including my parents) have gone to non-jewish weddings of coworkers, etc.

    So, why can't he come to the wedding, other than insular thinking? The only reason that I can see is that they don't want to show their 'support' for my actions because I am doing something that goes against their religious beliefs. However, I wish they would be supportive of ME and come anyways despite that, since they know they can't change my mind.

    Let me put it another way...I am really against shidduch dating (in the way my cousin's do it- where you meet like 3 times before you get married). I think it's a terrible system, that pressures people into getting married at a young age to someone they barely know, and I feel sorry for young men and women who then enter marriage with a stranger and have no idea what they are doing.

    However, when my cousin got married to a man she met through shidduch dating, who she had known about a month before they got engaged, I still went to the wedding. I may not support her decisions (or rather her parents decisions) to get married in that way, but I still support her as a person, which is why I went. I would never try to impose my personal beliefs about religion and shidduch dating by boycotting her wedding. To do so would be heartless and inhuman in my opinion, and would definitely not be respectful of her decisions.

  12. anon- this is a blog specifically about getting married, and my family's reaction to me getting married to a non jewish guy. Of course it would seem I'm "overly concerned" about it, becuase all my blog posts are on that one topic. :)

    Anyways, if I start getting upset when I'm pregnant and stuff, I can go see a therapist then. I'm not going in for 'preventative' therapy in anticipation of problems that may never come up! :)

  13. I don't think that AE is "overly concerned." I would think she would be cold or heartless if having your mother cut you off and not being able to have her parents share in her joy at getting married and having kids down the road didn't bother her. It's not as simple as just moving on. Some things take time. It sounds like AE is doing a great job of moving on with her life and career, but still trying to sort out the family stuff without it bogging her down.

  14. So are you saying that if your brother doesn't come to the wedding, then you won't accept his offer of having a relationship with you? It wasn't clear from your original post.

    If my interpretation is correct, then aren't you saying: "I will only have a relationship with you if you accept my approach to life"?

    Haven't we seen that approach, and seen it strongly condemned, earlier on this blog?

  15. um, no where did I say I would not have a relationship with my brother if he didn't come to the wedding.

    So way to assume wrong things about me, and then judge me for it. :)

  16. thanks so much for trying to get a little kosher food for me! i'm still excited to be at your wedding, even if you *did* totally upstage my birthday with it... :)

  17. The 10 minute delay might have been him calling his Rabbi to find out if he could get permission to go to your wedding and being told no. He's still guilty of not being able to think for himself, but he may have wanted to come.


  18. AE,
    Just wanted to let you know that I am tired of people advising you to seek "counseling." As a licensed clinical psychologist, I find people often assume that there is some magical wand that can be waved over emotional pain that somehow appears in a therapists office.

    What you would be doing in a therapist's office, as you noted here, is process your feelings and get some reality checks from, hopefully, a level headed outsider who is a professional at helping people understand their own behaviors, cognitions and feelings as well as those of others. You seem to do a great job here and on your own.

    In fact your processing your brother's comment about how your family has power over you because of the way you look at things is precisely the kind of conversation you would have in a cognitive-behavioral therapist's office.

    So you go girl Keeping working through.

  19. Anon says "He's still guilty of not being able to think for himself"

    Guilty of asking advice from someone wiser?

    Am I guilty of not thinking for myself when I ask a doctor what medicine to take?

  20. Sorry Tikkun Olam, but I have to respectfully disagree with your professional opinion. I've been following AE's blog for quite awhile, and while it's true she is working out her issues with her parents on the blog, there are many times she's just not all that honest with herself about what is going on. Many commenters have tried point things out to her and it's never clear whether she's heard it and processed it or just ignored it.

    Having had one great therapy experience myself, I'd say the "magic" of therapy is thoroughly confronting difficult, hurtful and emotionally traumatic situations in your life thoroughly with a sensitive yet honest person (in person) so that the hurt doesn't drag down other relationships in your life.

    AE: Pregnancy, with its rage of hormones and physical stresses, is really not the time to sit down and really deal with the emotional aftermath of your mom disowning you.

    I don't think a blog or a diary or even talking to friends can really replace this experience, because none of these listeners can be as honest as a good therapist. Therapy is not necessarily the same thing as comforting or sympathizing. It's holding up a mirror, pointing out dangerous emotional patterns and dishonesty so that you can really heal from an emotional trauma. And I doubt anyone wouldn't classify a mother's rejection as an emotional trauma.

    AE, I wish you the best of luck and I hope you do choose to fully confront these issues one day.

  21. AE - I've been following your blog for quite some time, but never commented until now. I just would like to clarify a comment made earlier about the halachic status of your marriage: your brother and parents can't attend the wedding for halachic reasons, not because theydon't want to support you (uin the case of your brother). A Jew can attend the wedding of non-Jews because that is halachically allowed, but the marriage of a Jew and Non-Jew is strictly forbidden by halacha (straight from the Torah actually) and there really is no loophole - it flat out forbidden in torah she baal peh, and hinted to in torah shebiksav - to attend this wedding. So for people who believe that halacha is law, there isn't any way around it. I dont think what your mother did was right, but don't come down too hard on your brother. I'm sure he WANTED to be there, but for religious reasons he cant!
    Just my two cents


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