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Posted by: forgotmyname ( )
Date: August 11, 2017 12:45PM

I'm looking for a little advice. Any "words of wisdom" (snort!) are welcome.

My TBM brother lives in a different state. We have had our ups and downs, going from being very close to not speaking. He married a TBM, and his wife actually seems quite tolerant of me and my disbelief, as does my brother. We normally communicate by social media or (less frequently) phone calls. However, the last two times we have seen each other in person, the result has been the same. I have a good time -- I perceive that he is also having a good time -- we both go home -- he gives me the silent treatment.

The last time, I asked him what was wrong, and what I may have done. Long story short, a huge argument erupted and I worked very hard to apologize and mend our relationship. (Even though my wrongdoing was very small. I felt like I really went overboard with the effort in proportion to the size of the slight, but I love my brother and want a relationship with him.)

Fast foward to today, and it has happened again. He is no longer responding to me, and to be honest, I'm afraid to make a phone call. I have a lot of mixed feelings, from

hurt - because the silent treatment is hurtful
confusion - because I don't know what I did to "wrong" him
anger - because he's the one wrecking our relationship

Not to mention I feel it's a very childish way to deal with hurt feelings. Grudgeholding seems to be a specialty of TBMs, at least in my family.

I should note that his TBM wife has not changed her interactions with me. We don't really speak that much, but I doubt she's angry with me, or feeding him any animosity. This is all coming from him.

After going through all the crawling and apologizing last time, I just don't feel like it's worth it this time. Even if it works, there's no guarantee he won't do this again. I am leaning toward just letting him go. Not "cutting him off," because if he ever contacted me to make amends or let bygones be bygones, I'm open to that. But if he doesn't want to interact with me, I'm not going to crawl this time. It's sad and it's a shame, but that's what I'm leaning to.

What say ye, O exes of the Morg?

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Posted by: pettigrew ( )
Date: August 11, 2017 01:01PM

Delete him from your address book and spend your time with the people you get on with.

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Posted by: Stray Mutt ( )
Date: August 11, 2017 01:09PM

Yeah, he might be your brother but the world is filled with other people to love who will love you in return and not treat you badly.

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Posted by: Greyfort ( )
Date: August 12, 2017 11:26AM

pettigrew Wrote:
> Delete him from your address book and spend your
> time with the people you get on with.

Exactly. If he can't find the maturity to talk things out with you, then it's his problem and not yours. You're not a mind-reader. Let him just sit there and stew in his juices.

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Posted by: logged out today ( )
Date: August 11, 2017 01:23PM

He's doing it again because it worked last time. He saw you crawl (feeds his ego), then got to decide whether to let you back into his amazing mormon life (feeds his ego) and then magnanimously "forgave" you (feeds his ego).

I'm sure he wants a relationship with you as well, but only on his terms (feeds his ego). Want to bet that if you went back to church, he'd pretend his silent treatment had never happened – but with added smugness because his plan of silent treatment had succeeded in breaking your will and returning you to the fold (feeds his ego)?

[Yes, I'm trying to establish a pattern here.]

Under no circumstances should you crawl back. Ever. It just encourages more execrable behavior on his part. Let him know you're done apologizing. You're better off without that kind of treatment from him, and you won't put up with it any longer. If he wants a relationship, it will have to be as equals; otherwise, you will let him go until he learns to behave like an adult. It's fair warning. What he does with it is up to him.

Of course, you have to mean it. He'll probably think you're bluffing and, like a child, will test you; any irresolution on your part will shred your credibility. You must be in it for the long haul. It takes a long time to train some people, and a few can never be trained. Best of luck.

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Posted by: Elder What's-his-face ( )
Date: August 11, 2017 01:48PM

They are the ones doing the shunning, and they are the ones who need to stop it.

By the way, shunning and the quiet treatment are considered as abusive behavior.

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Posted by: shapeshifter ( )
Date: August 11, 2017 01:40PM

Serious passive aggressive behavior you should not have to tolerate at all. You are being wronged by HIS behavior.

I've had to learn to value myself enough after my years in the cult of not being valued to understand that I don't deserve and will no longer tolerate that kind of crazy immature treatment from anyone no matter who they are. I had to set standards for myself of what I will allow and not.

So I agree with other comments that you should not be the one to go back and ask his forgiveness. Best if you distance yourself. If HE wants to figure out that he is mistreating you and ask YOU for forgiveness then maybe you can mend the relationship. But it takes two people to do this.

If you continue to do what you have in the past you are going to continue to feel badly and abused. But you have a choice you don't have to engage in that drama. Just pull yourself out. I know it sucks a lot ripping the bandaid off but it has to be done.

Good luck.

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Posted by: forgotmyname ( )
Date: August 11, 2017 01:56PM

Isn't no longer communicating with him and "being in it for the long haul" grudgeholding on my part? I don't want to either

eye-for-an-eye him - because I think that's petty
hold a grudge - because I'm not good at it and I don't like doing it

I really appreciate all your insight so far, but could someone explain how me stepping away is different from him stepping away? (So I can get it right with my own heart?)

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Posted by: Cheryl ( )
Date: August 11, 2017 02:17PM

You can send out messages occasionally and if he doesn't reply, I'd let it go. It isn't up to you to cater to his childishness.

Hopefully, he'll mature enough to start acting like an equal and a loving brother. Until then, he's only hurting you both and you don't have to play along.

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Posted by: logged out today ( )
Date: August 11, 2017 02:59PM

It's different because it's his decision on how to proceed. Does he intend to treat you as his equal or an inferior? You don't want to dictate to him, but if his mentality is that he will only acknowledge you insofar as he can abuse you, then IMO you are obligated to protect yourself. You will be telling him what will happen if he continues to act this way. The burden and responsibility are then his, no matter how he may try to deflect. The fact that he drinks Kool-Aid does not mean that you have to drink Drano.

To use your metaphor: You aren't stepping away, but instead are standing in front of him. You would be delighted to take his hand, but you can't unless he offers it. What you will NOT do is bow to him or kneel before him as before, and as long as he expects that, you'll just stand there, waiting for him to make the next move. If anyone walks away, it will be him.

Now, I can't speak for others, but you don't have to cut them off completely. You can send birthday or Xmas cards, for example. You can email them with occasional life updates (all positive of course, like job promotions, raises, stuff that exmos shouldn't receive because Satan). "I just came back from a cruise to Europe, and it's all because I didn't have to pay tithing!" It's better out of the cult; you can be the proof.

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: August 11, 2017 03:26PM

Getting the silent treatment is not the same as not responding to the silent treatment. Don't acknowledge it. Just act like it's not happening. People who do that can't stand when it doesn't work. They can't stand that they stomped their foot and nobody jumped.

Send him an email some time if you find something to share you think he'd find funny or interesting. He won't respond and you don't worry about it. Never add, give me a call some time, or I miss you, or anything like that. Just be who you would be in the friendship regardless of the response. Be the fun one who expects nothing in return. That works for a lot of situations.

You will not be shunning him back. You will be taking the classy road which is very different to the high road which leads right off a cliff.

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Posted by: anonsometimes ( )
Date: August 11, 2017 05:46PM

Protecting yourself from this kind of behavior isn't the same as holding a grudge.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: August 11, 2017 02:04PM

I wouldn't apologize to him again. Don't call him. Let him have his little pout and call you when he gets over it. Keep in mind, that may take months or even years. TWO people have to want a relationship with each other. It can't all be on you. He has to want it, too.

If you want an update on his family, call your sister in law. Cultivate a friendly relationship with her. If she offers to put your brother on the phone, say, "Oh sure, if he's in the mood." If he can't or won't come to the phone, then next time just say, "No, that's okay. Just have him call me when he's in the mood to talk."

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Posted by: peculiargifts ( )
Date: August 11, 2017 05:10PM


Just as summer said.

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Posted by: Phazer ( )
Date: August 11, 2017 02:27PM

If he's not that present in your life, lives in another state, and not coming over for dinner why go through all the effort.

You have your own life. He knows your phone number. Limit, to one email a year to say hi. Send a Christmas letter or Thanksgiving letter as a form of contact.

If you number remains the same he can call it.

Without knowing why things went sour it's hard to say why the silent treatment is going on. In any case, don't worry about it too much.

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Posted by: anon exmo ( )
Date: August 11, 2017 03:04PM

Another thing that could be happening is that he's hurting because you are out of the church. While I was struggling to remain a believer I said some fairly shitty things to a few of my siblings who were out. I'm not saying it was ok, but it was really hard for me to accept them being out, and the pain came in waves. For example, one brother had been out for a long time and I thought I was ok with it, but the first time I saw him drinking it hit me all over again. I wouldn't be surprised if this is what is happening with your brother, though of course I don't really have any idea.

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Posted by: incognitotoday ( )
Date: August 11, 2017 03:21PM

It isn't about tit-for-tat. It's about keeping your 'power.' Right now he owns you. He is in your head. TSCC uses guilt to get their way and control members. Isn't your brother just using the skills he's been taught? Isn't he being immature, kinda stuck in the ways of Jr High? What value do you get from his treatment of you? There must be something. No added value that I can see. The world is full of people who will interact with you on an adult level. They are way more fun.

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Posted by: bradley ( )
Date: August 11, 2017 04:03PM

You nailed it. Stuck in Jr High, emotionally. Just where the church wants them. In case you were wondering what's the downside of being a TBM.

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Posted by: lillium ( )
Date: August 11, 2017 05:19PM

My family holds grudges too. It took a lot of work to stop doing it myself.

The main reason we did it is because there was a family member who made it "not safe" to voice any displeasure.

People with good relationships can tell you to your face, when it happens, that they don't like what you did or said. It's much easier to deal with slights immediately.

Maybe you could talk to your brother and encourage him to tell you up front when you do or say something that upsets him. If this came from your upbringing, acknowledge that. Reminisce and laugh about situations when a family member shut down.

Try to reassure him that you're open to dealing with problems, that you'll try not to get angry or defensive when he mentions one, but if you do that's okay, you'll stick around until you can talk about it. And tell him that you might need to be reminded more than once and ask him to work with you to help change your habit(s).

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Posted by: forgotmyname ( )
Date: August 11, 2017 03:28PM

Thank you very much for the replies. They've been really insightful. Exmos FTW!

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Posted by: Wondering2 ( )
Date: August 11, 2017 03:57PM

You say that when you see him in person, you both enjoy yourself. It seems that when you go back to your personal lives, he doesn't keep in touch as often as you'd like. You say that you get along well with his wife, but even she doesn't keep in touch often. Is it possible that your brother is an introvert and simply doesn't call on the phone or email often? That's what introverts do; it doesn't mean they're upset with you.

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Posted by: thingsithink ( )
Date: August 11, 2017 04:31PM

Why do you think he's giving you the silent treatment?

You more successful? The church? He's depressed? Have you helped him in life - financially or otherwise - and now he resents you because you represent his dependency? Does he see you as an authority figure and is rebelling? Do you somehow make him feel inadequate?

I think the why matters.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/11/2017 04:33PM by thingsithink.

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Posted by: Cheryl ( )
Date: August 11, 2017 05:03PM

Last time this happened, his brother explained his behavior as being offended at something OP said or did. Now it's the same old story. Why? I'd say the why belongs to the brother who is doing the shunning. He can admit there's a problem and be willing to work it out like an adult. OP shouldn't be expected to read his brother's mind and excuse his behavior based on ESP.

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Posted by: thingsithink ( )
Date: August 12, 2017 11:51AM

I think you've engaged the straw man fallacy.

Why ESP? I prefer the powers of observation.

I might add that when somebody tells you why they're doing something, if you just accept that it face value you may be missing the real underlying reason. So engaging the mind and questioning is my preferred method.

For example, you could ask people why they're in the Mormon church and they'd give you a myriad of reasons, but rarely would they say because they were brainwashed. Sometimes you have to look beneath the surface.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/12/2017 11:56AM by thingsithink.

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Posted by: Cheryl ( )
Date: August 12, 2017 01:22PM

Someone tells you why they do something and you refuse to believe them?

How disrespectful and mormon-like.

We tell TBMs we leave because of doctrine but they observe us and say we're lazy and bitter. No use trying to convince someone who believes in their own mind reading skills over whatever we say about ourselves.

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Posted by: thingsithink ( )
Date: August 12, 2017 03:00PM

Oh absolutely. And I start with questioning myself.

I long ago concluded the worst lies were the lies I told myself. I've found that I will justify things to myself -and to other people - only to realize later I was being dishonest.

For example, how often have you said to somebody "I was acting that way because I was jealous of you?" Or " I was criticizing you behind your back because I don't feel good about myself in someway." For me, I've had to turn a critical eye to my words and actions and have found I'm often full of shit.

I doubt you feel this way about yourself - it doesn't seem many people do. Funny enough, we all seem adept at noticing other people's faults.

Have you ever done anything that warranted a good hosing down? :). Or just others.

So, no, I don't take politicians, missionaries, teachers, or myself at face value. I take a deeper look.

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Posted by: Cheryl ( )
Date: August 12, 2017 04:56PM

You can't explain them away and expect others to mind read your intentions and what causes you to act as you do.

Adults need to get a grip and work on their bad behaviors. That's the grownup way to live. Knowing why someone does what they do, doesn't mean they don't have to do the work of dealing with it.

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Posted by: thingsithink ( )
Date: August 12, 2017 05:11PM

I agree!

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Posted by: anonsometimes ( )
Date: August 11, 2017 05:32PM

I had very similar behavior from family after leaving tscc. I came here and received similar advice and some book recommendations that I would like to pass on to you.

The advice I received here and reading these books have changed my life. That kind of behavior is manipulation & abuse. It used to work on me too. It doesn't work on me anymore and now I know how to handle the kind of people who use such tactics. Hope this helps. Good luck!

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Posted by: incognitotoday ( )
Date: August 11, 2017 05:51PM

Brad Blanston's, 'Radical Honesty.'

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Posted by: unbelievable2 ( )
Date: August 12, 2017 09:21AM

It's not only his behaviors, but his brain has been programmed via the cult to exist in a rubric of co-dependency. Are you too enmeshed with him emotionally doing the co-dependency dance? Is it time to get cognitive behavioral therapy to free yourself and start living a happier, healthier, honest life? Say yes and do it today. Excuses are chains holding you in that co-dependent dance. Let go of the excuses and choose to be free.

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Posted by: NeverMoJohn ( )
Date: August 12, 2017 11:19AM

It sounds as if your brother has some serious issues, beginning with communication. If he can't simply tell you that this or that was upsetting to him, then he shouldn't expect others to bother spending enormous amounts of time trying to figure out what "they" did wrong.

I would advise just ignoring him. If he doesn't want you in his life, don't bother. There is a difference between actively shunning someone and just being too exhausted with their behavior to keep putting oneself out there.

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Posted by: bradley ( )
Date: August 12, 2017 11:31AM

I had a wife who would give me the silent treatment. I loved it.

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Posted by: desertman ( )
Date: August 12, 2017 05:06PM

It is my policy that if someone gives me the silent treatment I graciously return the favor and make sure that I don't crack first. The silent treatment is a bullying tactic. If you want to bully me you'd better be willing to accept the consequences for your behavior. I don't back down!!!

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Posted by: Recovered Molly Mormon ( )
Date: August 12, 2017 06:38PM

The Silent Treatment is not solely a shunning tactic of Mormons. It is a sign of relationship dysfunction from someone who can not control the situation so they "opt out" of the relationship.

Not all silent treatment is to punish you, but in most circumstances this a tactic of abuse.

I have been the target of the silent treatment so many times. Too many times I have cried and wracked my brain wondering what I did wrong or how to fix it.

After many years of exploring and healing, I have come to a few conclusions that will hopefully help you.

Ive noticed the majority of people who initiate the silent treatment are control freaks. They can't change you (or themselves for that matter) because they are stuck in their own reality they deem to be the ONLY right way. If you stray from that target of what is valued most, you are no longer valuable to them.

This person often treats others in their life as guests that should be grateful to know them. They often have VERY high expectations of the people who are "permitted" in their life.

They will determine the worth of others based on how they "perform" in their lives. You do not perform well, you are NOT rewarded with their presence.

Another form of silent treatment is outright punishment. It is one of the most base behaviors of humans and even some animal species. Those who are misbehaving are punished and pushed out of the inner circle. Either they assimilate or they are exiled. For some people, even if the shunned person changes, they are still not permitted back in because they should not have strayed in the first place.

Understanding WHY someone chooses this type of cruel reaction in a relationship does not excuse it.

This is where YOU come in to change your own perspective.

*Grieve the loss of the relationship. Grief includes what we DO have, and what we WISH we had. Your brother has made in clear that the familial relationship is not important to him.
Ask yourself, what hurts more? Losing him as a brother? The rejection? Losing the ideal of unconditional love from someone who is supposed to exude love and understanding?

Fully grasp every feeling and thought you have about your brother. Is the loss really that big or is your ego just hurt from the rejection? Yes, it truly hurts and sucks.

*Determine your own worth outside of your familial connections.
Ask yourself you YOU want those on the outside IN your life? Do they bring joy and value to your life? Do they value the relationship with you? If not, why do you keep butting your head against a door they dont open to you?

*Understand that you do not have to keep apologizing for someone being offended. If you have sincerely apologized once and have kept reaching out for connection and find a brick wall....let it go and put those energies to more positive things.
If someone keeps walking out on your life...let them. Hold the door open if you need to, then close it. Lock it if you need to. Just because this person is your brother, does not mean you are obligated to tolerate toxic behavior

*The quickest way to find out WHY your brother is giving you the silent treatment. ASK. Go for a visit in person if other non verbal attempts are failing. If it matters to you, pony up.
Make the decision that it is your last time to address your questions. Let your brother know why the relationship matters to you and what ideally you want from him. BE specific. If you have evaluated why you want the relationship you will have no problem sharing this.

If you get NO answers or response. Accept it graciously and maturely. Thank him for his time. Then let him know that you will not be contacting him.

If he does give answers that he wants the relationship not be afraid to put out some expectations. A call once a month? Come to dinner at your house? Be specific.

If you get vague answers (Control freaks are famous for non committal responses or twisting it back around to make demands from you)

Then you walk away. Make it crystal clear what you want.

No matter what OP, make a decision now that life will be a happy one. With or without your brother.

Put your time and energy into a life that brings you joy and satisfaction. In your work, your other relationships that are healthy and happy, in hobbies, travel, etc.

The minute I decided that I was worth having a happy life..without or without the people who shunned became easier to make decisions that built a happy life. Day by day it became easier to built my self worth and seeking out experiences and relationships that brought out the best in me (and I in them). I stopped settling for less. I stopped chasing relationships that did not want ME in them.

The funny thing about chasing is, once you stop...they often wonder where you have gone. By the time they realize you dont care anymore...its way too late.


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Posted by: catnip ( )
Date: August 17, 2017 03:04AM

She would apparently bully my father and my grandmothers into doing the same thing. (Both of my grandmothers told me in later years that they hated doing this, but they were both widowed, and lived under our roof, and they were afraid of crossing Mother Dear.)

I was very small, maybe 3 or 4, and my world would become very weird all of a sudden. One minute I would be fiercely arguing with my mother because I wanted to do something and she wouldn't let me do it. Suddenly, I would turn invisible, or that's how it seemed. I would talk - even shout, or physically reach out and touch the various adults at home - and they responded as if they didn't know I was there. They looked right past me, talked to each other, but not to me. I remember grabbing somebody's arm and screaming, "LOOK AT ME! I'm right in front of you!" But the person gently withdrew her hand and moved away.

It was as if I had become a ghost. Nobody could see me, nobody could hear me. I simply wasn't there. It was terrifying. Once, I collapsed in a sobbing heap. I was ignored.

Another time, I picked up a prized porcelain figurine and hurled it through a window. Both shattered. WOW! THAT got a reaction! Mother just about beat me senseless for that one, but at least, I wasn't invisible any more.

I don't think they pulled the Silent Treatment on me any more after that, but those episodes were awful.

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Posted by: Breeze ( )
Date: August 12, 2017 08:14PM

^^^^^^^This. What Recovered Molly Mormon wrote.

I had the same experiences with the silent treatment and shunning. I learned the hard way, and spent too much energy trying to break through the barriers, trying to do their dance, to please those who would never be pleased. I cried rivers.

Each "silent" relationship ended, one by one. I didn't realize how toxic these people were, but I do, now. I'm glad they are not in my life anymore--and especially not hurting my children, anymore!

Yes, the "silent treatment" is a form of abuse.

Maybe you can work on your own desire to control your brother, and just stand back and let him have his way. If you take this perspective, your brother has made the decision for the both of you. Let him go. Give him what he wants, with love and best wishes, then close the door.

My life is so much happier, now! My children are prospering! We have more than survived--we have prevailed. Some of the shunners have come to a very bad end, and I'm glad they didn't bring us down with them.

No good ever comes out of the silent treatment. Just walk away.

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Posted by: unbelievable2 ( )
Date: August 12, 2017 09:31PM

I appreciate the comments by RMM and will be applying her insights. I hope you do, too.

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