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A Story Continues, Part Two


Stamps1962
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I have posted on here before about the tortured relationship I have with a guy who, up to a few years ago was my best friend. We attended college together, he sort of rescued me from an abusive relationship with my
family by taking me in back in my twenties. We roomed together and eventually were each other’s best man at our weddings. He always was more into Christianity than me but was not off the deep end- we could still enjoy each
other’s company even after I de-converted.  We’d meet for breakfast usually a couple times
a year and catch up on things.



All this started to change about five years ago- he and his wife left the Mennonite church they’d been attending and joined an ‘independent Bible church’. Once I learned this I knew things were going to fall apart. I started to notice that our breakfast meetings were turning into one sided rants about abortion, gays and Sharia Law. I think he’s in with a bunch of teabaggers at this church. Funny, we never discuss religion- it’s always political/ social stuff.  I went through a Cancer scare a couple years ago and he actually wound up ranting about Obamacare to me; I could tell he was concerned but he was unable to express it and because I had no insurance at the time he told me I just wanted the government to take care of me.  



Eventually we started talking again but it’s been difficult. He called me for my birthday in November and we had a nice visit. He also phoned election night and was almost in tears because ‘America is gone now.” I called him just before Christmas and we had another nice visit and I suggested we meet for breakfast, he said it’d have to wait until after Christmas but that he’d call before new year. I have never had a call from him since.



He did send me an email in early February, I opened it and it was – an Obama joke. Nothing else, just the joke. A slightly racist one, at that.


My wife says forget him, that he’s passive-aggressive. He’s a 68 year old guy who retired and spends his time listening to Hannity, Beck, and Limbaugh.  Our last conversation was, as usual, like navigating a minefield. I care about so many things I cannot bring up to him. I am avidly interested in psychic research and he thinks it’s ‘demonic.’  I mentioned that I participate in an online group for survivors of religious abuse- he seemed shocked.  My wife and I both belong to Planned Parenthood, if they know that we’d never see them again, I’m sure.


I have decided I am tired of the dance-away game he keeps playing. I won’t  call him and will see how long it takes for him to make a move, if he won’t then I can deal with that. If he does I see little point in getting together- it has been over for a very long time and is not going to get any better.  Thanks to all for listening. 

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I am having keyboard issues right now, so I can't type all that I'd like to. But until I can, I wanted to say, I understand. My relationship with my best friend since childhood is currently in its death throes for similar reasons . I'm shocked at the similarities, honestly, and hope to elaborate later. It hurts, though :( It's a major loss and ends up feeling like such a betrayal. I've arrived at the point you have and decided it's time to let go. Just wanted to let you know you aren't the only one dealing with this.

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I am having keyboard issues right now, so I can't type all that I'd like to. But until I can, I wanted to say, I understand. My relationship with my best friend since childhood is currently in its death throes for similar reasons . I'm shocked at the similarities, honestly, and hope to elaborate later. It hurts, though sad.png It's a major loss and ends up feeling like such a betrayal. I've arrived at the point you have and decided it's time to let go. Just wanted to let you know you aren't the only one dealing with this.

Like I said what I find so incomprehensible is that - at least on the face of it- this is all about politics. I could care less what he thinks about Obama, etc. I just can't get my head around how this is so huge with him, so huge that he can't spend an hour with an old friend. One interesting thing, they have a daughter who is 22 and recently graduated from a church related college; we nearly gagged when getting their Christmas letter mentioning meeting Franklin Graham at comencement as the high point of their year. Anyway she apparently has gone 'liberal'.  Part of her Christian service was working in poverty areas and it sounds as if she got her eyes open about some things and now actively disputes a lot of his ideas. He wasn't looking forward to seeing her at Christmas, maybe they had a big blowout and he just isn't up to the potential of another one with me.

 

My wife thinks he is afraid and conflicted. He doesn't want to be with someone who might shake his beliefs, even though I never try to. Since joining this church he has become totally involved- chairs the Bible study group, goes down to the jail to preach, and is over there other nights cleaning and working on stuff.  

 

We've known each other since 1965- it just seems so crappy. Anyway thanks for your kind words and would like to hear your story when you feel like it.  

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I also lost a friend for very similar reasons which I have discussed in previous posts. It hurts. The type of person you are describing is brainwashed just like Xtians. Indeed, I'll wager your friend is a fundamental Xtian or something similar. I'm afraid the likelihood of his changing are virtually nil. Another casualty caused by christian soldiers marching as to war              . bill

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You mentioned that your friend is 68.  There sometimes seems to be an age related "hardening of the attitudes".  My mother is 89 and I have seen her become more rigid in her right wing views and less and less interested in thinking and assessing evidence on these social issues.

 

Some sort of predecessor to dementia in my opinion.

 

While this friendship was sustaining to you in the past, it doesn't seem to be any more. 

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I'm sorry to hear about what you're going through. You've known the guy almost as long as my parents have been alive so it's a pretty fucking long time and I'd imagine it's pretty painful to see you guys growing apart. I find it frustrating seeing it happen in my own friendships but it's a sad fact of life. Some people just go down a path so different from yours that you can no longer communicate meaningfully.

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You mentioned that your friend is 68.  There sometimes seems to be an age related "hardening of the attitudes".  My mother is 89 and I have seen her become more rigid in her right wing views and less and less interested in thinking and assessing evidence on these social issues.

 

Some sort of predecessor to dementia in my opinion.

 

While this friendship was sustaining to you in the past, it doesn't seem to be any more. 

 

You hit the nail on the head, maybe. I wonder if the change of churches wasn't the cause of the estrangement but rather a symptom of an underlying issue. It's probably a small thing but the email with the joke was seriously creepy. The guy says he will call, doesn't then sends me a crummy joke? With no comment? How do you spell 'passive-aggressive'? He has always been sort of like this, acts like he thinks this sort of thing is funny- he is either getting worse or my patience is wearing thin. 

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About a year ago, a friendship of mine blew up. I couldn't take his drama anymore. I still cannot understand how an ideology is more important than a 20 year friendship. We had plenty in common as far as interests go, but that wasn't important to him. It was a decision he made. Some people seem to have very strict guidelines on who they will associate with, I guess.

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Blue elephant: I beg your pardon. I'm in my early 70's and my attitude is as flexible as ever. Well, I really do know what you mean and it certainly is true sometimes. But I notice that people of all adult ages have hardening of the attitudes. It's endemic.    bill

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Bill

 

Just to clarify a little.  I think what I was actually saying is that this "hardening of the attitudes"is almost like an early thing with dementia.  I wasn't saying that it happens to all "mature"people.

 

Given that my mother is 89, you might guess that I'm no spring chicken myself ! !   lol

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Guest MadameX

This is so painful for me to state but I have a brother who has been brainwashed into this Teabagger cult. Let's call it what it is. The list of people he will not speak to anymore since he has become nothing but a mass of parroted angry phrases from Limbo, Beck, etc includes his mother, his daughters, his sisters, and of course his ex-wife. In fact I tend to think he has basically re-focussed his anger at 1. being a loser kind of guy, not too smart, made lots of mistakes including marrying the *wrong* person and 2. well, of course, his ex-wife.

 

And this is his choice to be angry at all of us. We have never discussed politics except in only the most superficial way. 

 

It's unbelievable. 

 

There are a lot of men that are sucked into this anger and paranoia. It is really ill.

 

This is exactly the kind of thing I worry about for my son and for lots of men. It is the bugle call of demagogery. Anyone ever wonder how in the world people were called to any kind of extremist fascist type of politics, why anyone became a Nazi or similar? (sorry to go all Godwin here, but I truly mean it) Or KKK, like our family ancestors in Indiana.

 

I have no idea if he is fundie and tend to doubt it, but just like religion can be twisted to become a political calling, I suspect he was vulnerable, being a kind of vague kind of guy, not too successful, not too educated. Certainly no interest in politics or international events. Just smoking pot, listening to music, watching TV.

 

But now, he has meaning, and purpose in life.

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Blue elephant: I beg your pardon. I'm in my early 70's and my attitude is as flexible as ever. Well, I really do know what you mean and it certainly is true sometimes. But I notice that people of all adult ages have hardening of the attitudes. It's endemic.    bill

William,

You stole my thunder! LOL

I'm 68 years young and actually deconverted from the cult to atheism beginning last year (age 67 at the time). My mind is like a sponge - absorbing new things and knowledge each and every day. But I can't blame those kind of ageism comments since many older folks actually behave that way but then again, so do many people decades younger. Thanks for expressing what I was thinking while reading their posts.

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Bill

 

Just to clarify a little.  I think what I was actually saying is that this "hardening of the attitudes"is almost like an early thing with dementia.  I wasn't saying that it happens to all "mature"people.

 

Given that my mother is 89, you might guess that I'm no spring chicken myself ! !   lol

oh crap, and I had you pegged at around 12 or 13... LOL

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This is so painful for me to state but I have a brother who has been brainwashed into this Teabagger cult. Let's call it what it is. The list of people he will not speak to anymore since he has become nothing but a mass of parroted angry phrases from Limbo, Beck, etc includes his mother, his daughters, his sisters, and of course his ex-wife. In fact I tend to think he has basically re-focussed his anger at 1. being a loser kind of guy, not too smart, made lots of mistakes including marrying the *wrong* person and 2. well, of course, his ex-wife.

 

And this is his choice to be angry at all of us. We have never discussed politics except in only the most superficial way. 

 

It's unbelievable. 

 

There are a lot of men that are sucked into this anger and paranoia. It is really ill.

 

This is exactly the kind of thing I worry about for my son and for lots of men. It is the bugle call of demagogery. Anyone ever wonder how in the world people were called to any kind of extremist fascist type of politics, why anyone became a Nazi or similar? (sorry to go all Godwin here, but I truly mean it) Or KKK, like our family ancestors in Indiana.

 

I have no idea if he is fundie and tend to doubt it, but just like religion can be twisted to become a political calling, I suspect he was vulnerable, being a kind of vague kind of guy, not too successful, not too educated. Certainly no interest in politics or international events. Just smoking pot, listening to music, watching TV.

 

But now, he has meaning, and purpose in life.

 

Yes it fits with what my friend is going through. It is not religous in nature- it's political. If it were religion I could at least understand it better. Dissing a nearly 50 year friendship because someone chooses not to go on angry swamp trips with you every time you see them- well, that is incomprehensible to me. This is happening all over America; I hear it discussed on talk shows, on discussion boards, etc.  Angry old men-, like your friend mine is creating havoc with his family. I think he and his 23 year old daughter barely talk anymore.

 

Like nearly all of these guys mine is terribly incurious. He just takes what is handed out on some talk show and runs with it. I have been active for the past few years in an online group that is researching an unsolved murder near here. There is a very active thread with lots of contributions by me- he won't even look at it. If this were reversed I'd be curious enough to know what my friend was saying- he isn't. He also sucks up to power and money.

 

I am sure he will eventually call again and act like he forgot about the Christmas thing. I am never going to bring up getting together to him again, that is over. Our wives like each other so we will propbably get together as couples sometime but I won't do a guy thing with him anymore. It leaves me angry- and he seems to enjoy doing that and feeding off it.   

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Stamps, I'm sorry to hear about your friend wigging out. It really sounds like he's gone off the deep end and I know it hurts you to turn away from that relationship. Given his age and the extremity of these changes I'd be concerned about dementia. It's not a foregone conclusion, but a huge turnaround in personality and politics is a big indicator of problems--especially his weirdness around healthcare. Is there someone RL you can share your observations and concerns about him with? Maybe a relative of his, wife, etc.? If you don't want to I totally understand, but this change in him sounds very troubling. You guys may have aged wonderfully and have your wits about you, but not everybody lucks out like that. (I speak as someone with a family history of dementia and all kinds of other stuff; I'll be lucky to hit 70, much less 70 with my wits about me.) HUGS to you and many hopes your friend gets things figured out before the friendship is past fixing.

 

PS: I feel like a young'un in this thread.

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  • 3 months later...

I am resurrecting this thread for a sad follow up. My friend did contact me shortly after our last post and we got together for breakfast along with his brother in law with whom I am also friendly. It went well and after that we had some phone conversations, things were getting back somewhat to where they were- he seemed to be making an effort, we'd planned to invite them over for an evening later this Summer. 

 

This all came crashing down yesterday- I got a call from the brother in law who said he had bad news- my friend was on the roof of their two story house cleaning up storm debris when he apparently slipped and fell- headfirst onto concrete. He suffered what sound to be massive head injuries. He is in an induced comma, from what I heard it sounds like life support. He also has multiple broken bones. We haven't called the wife yet as she is apparently not doing well but plan to tomorrow. I am half expecting to hear he has passed. It is just so sad- I guess I should be glad we mended fences while we could. Hopefully he can recover. There was a time in my life when I'd have been praying for him but of course I am not- just wanted to update the thread.

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Guest MadameX

Oh so sad.

 

And yes to mending fences. You never know what can happen; anything can - in the blink of an eye. As has happened.

 

Wishing you and your friend, too, the best.

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Gawd Stamps, that is awful. This is the really hard part of being an ex-christian because you search for something, anything to relieve the pain. I truly am sorry. Why don't you pray anyway even though you know no god is listening. It may make you feel better. If so, great. If not, you have lost nothing and there's nobody who would criticize you. Take care. bill

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Today was the first time I read this thread; riveting from beginning to end. There was so much I could relate to in my own life. I have a Mormon identical twin brother whose religion has always put a wedge in our relationship. However in the past few years it is his political obsessions that are much more difficult to endure. Somehow a mind primed for religious indoctrination is wide open political indoctrination as well.  There remains no room for discussion or debate in his mind for either his faith or his politics.

 

Stamp, thank you so much for sharing the story and for updating the thread with your friend’s current condition; my thoughts are with you today.

 

IBF

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Wow. I am so sorry. I'm glad you at least got a chance to mend fences before this accident happened. At least there won't be what ifs regarding that issue.  Geeze, though, what terrible news.  Thinking of you. 

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Wow, Stamps. What a story. How are you feeling? It's been about a week. Anything you want to discuss?

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I called his wife a couple days ago and left a message letting her know I had heard, explained I knew she was probably busy at the hospital, etc and that anytime she wanted to call she could. We got a message back from her, she sounded unlike herself- said she was busy, etc and that I should call the brother in law for updates. God knows, she has a lot on her plate now, but she sounded like she preferred I not call her, so I don't plan to.  What she said was chilling, he's on a ventilator and has possible brain damage. He is still in a coma.

Of all the things that could have happened, I never saw something like this coming. I don't know how much of our disagreement she was aware of but assume he would have told her. I don't have a guilty conscience about anything, especially after we halfway mended fences the last few months. I am probably over sensitive I cannot imagine what she is going through. So, I wait- and hope. It's odd- I don't miss being able to pray as I might have once.

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