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Author Topic: "Social Death" guidelines  (Read 12075 times)

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guvner

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"Social Death" guidelines
« on: April 24, 2015, 10:15:13 PM »
Pretty grim topic for contemplation, I agree.

However, sometimes we discover we are related to people that we no longer care to ever see again.  So, what are some guidelines for executing the 'ultimate' penalty ??

My sister has suggested when any of us are asked about cousin "Kathy" (NHRN) we should all just respond we don't agree with some of her personal decisions and we no longer stay in touch.  If pressed for details, don't offer anything else.

Sis has also suggested "Kathy" not be invited to anything and if she turns up at a function we are are hosting she will be firmly asked to leave and if she does not, call the police and press charges for trespass.

I'm also of the opinion if we are not hosting an event that we are in attendance, I for one, will leave if she shows up.  And that would include, unfortunately, marriages and funerals.

I do not know what to do about her surviving children.  They wish to maintain a relationship with their mother, I find that kind of decision difficult to understand under the circumstances.  My sister wants a relationship with them if they want it, I cannot stand the thought of being in their presence.  The one daughter works at a business I would like to patronize, but even that level of contact I find difficult to tolerate.

My sister feels 'Kathy' might come around someday and realize her error, and at that point she would be receptive to renewing the family relationship.  I don't feel that is appropriate either.

I admit, this is a tough mess.  If nothing else, I appreciate just having a place to bring this all up.  I am truly interested in what others do in regards to their most awful relatives.


Nikko-chan

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Re: "Social Death" guidelines
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2015, 10:36:16 PM »
If you are speaking about the Cut Direct, then yes, you are going about it correctly. If you see her out and about, treat her like she is not even there. Do not speak, do not engage.

 If you would like a relationship with your cousins children, by all means, have one! If they bring up their mother, you may feel free to say "I do not wish to discuss your mother." If they keep bringing it up, say "I know what your mother does is hard for you to take, but I am not going to listen to this. If you bring it up again, I am going to have to ask you to leave" or something to that effect. The next time they bring it up, out the door they go. They will know then, that you mean business. Note that the first time I would probably give them those three chances before i throw them out.

If you choose to have them over again, or meet them somewhere, give them one warning and out the door they go. Or, alternately, if you are out somewhere with them, you leave.

If asked about the CD, you can indeed, say you no longer keep in touch. Keep it simple. YOu don't even have to go through the whole "We don't agree with some of her choices" just say "We no longer keep in touch. Hey, did you taste Great Aunt Pat's beandip? It's marvelous!" (or add other appropriate beandip topic: "oh, i hear your grandkids are growing so fast!", "how is your garden coming?" etc.)

Rei-chan

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Re: "Social Death" guidelines
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2015, 12:48:36 AM »
In so far as Kathy is concerned, what you are proposing sounds about right to me.  However, I would caution you about something...

Regarding the children, you are saying that Kathy's kids, who I gather are adults, must choose between you & their mother...& that you won't even go into a business one of them works at if she doesn't CD her mom?

I get that you are upset, but if I may be frank, unless the kids are a part of whatever offense their mother has committed against you, that's overly harsh.  If you want the moral high ground, I wouldn't go that route.

You have every right to ask that Kathy not be mentioned to you, or you to her.  If that trust is violated, the CD that person too.  But an "either you are with me or against me" CD is not something I can get behind.     :(

Runningstar

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Re: "Social Death" guidelines
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2015, 05:32:34 AM »
For events where I am the hostess, I get to choose who comes and who doesn't come.  Other people's events, they choose and I try to not make it an issue of if "Kathy" is there then I won't be.  Sometimes I just ask if the offensive person is also invited and is coming, or if there is an evite where I can see the invitation list I'll check it before responding. 
Unless Kathy's children committed the "crime", I wouldn't extend the cut direct to them.  If they put pressure on you about their mother then I'd refuse to discuss it. 

greencat

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Re: "Social Death" guidelines
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2015, 09:55:03 AM »
You can't make other people give the cut direct to someone.  Trying to do so is rude.  You can limit your acquaintance with those who have not also cut the person out, and you can tell people a simple, factual statement of what of what they did to deserve it, but you can't insist that they also not talk to the person, especially when the person is a close relative - and a closer relative to them than to you.

The cut direct does not require you to leave an event where the person is in attendance - actually, you shouldn't, since you should be ignoring their existence entirely.  They aren't at the event.  There is a patch of air where your eyes have no interest in looking.  Certainly don't invite them to your own events - because you wouldn't invite a non-existent person. 

Mergatroyd

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Re: "Social Death" guidelines
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2015, 10:08:00 AM »
You can't make other people give the cut direct to someone.  Trying to do so is rude.  You can limit your acquaintance with those who have not also cut the person out, and you can tell people a simple, factual statement of what of what they did to deserve it, but you can't insist that they also not talk to the person, especially when the person is a close relative - and a closer relative to them than to you.

The cut direct does not require you to leave an event where the person is in attendance - actually, you shouldn't, since you should be ignoring their existence entirely.  They aren't at the event.  There is a patch of air where your eyes have no interest in looking.  Certainly don't invite them to your own events - because you wouldn't invite a non-existent person.

Placing my pod here.

Parents and children have a difficult relationship all on their own, they don't need an aunt or distant cousin demanding they choose sides.
I honestly can't think of anything so heinous that I wouldn't shop at a store that employs the daughter.  Children, even adult children, have little say in what their parent choses to do.

guvner

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Re: "Social Death" guidelines
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2015, 10:21:33 AM »
Should I flesh out 'Kathy's' offense a little more?

I really do find her surviving children's decision to allow her into their lives to be totally inexplicable.

Jones

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Re: "Social Death" guidelines
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2015, 10:31:22 AM »
You look at Kathy and see the offense. Which is probably terrible if your family is cutting her out of their lives.

Her children look at her and see the woman who gave them life, read with them, fed them, cried and laughed at them. They see the horrible things too, but it is counterbalanced by the good memories that are ingrained at a young age. If psychological abuse is involved, it is impossible to know what feelings are tied into their choices right now.

I have to agree with Greencat and Mergatroyd. Don't punish the children for the sins of the mother.
A real desire to believe all the good you can of others and to make others as comfortable as you can will solve most of the problems. CS Lewis

peaches

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Re: "Social Death" guidelines
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2015, 11:15:15 AM »
Should I flesh out 'Kathy's' offense a little more?

I really do find her surviving children's decision to allow her into their lives to be totally inexplicable.

Here's the thing. Once you cut Kathy completely out of your life, you won't know or care who she is seeing or what she is doing. It won't be any of your business.

rose red

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Re: "Social Death" guidelines
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2015, 12:00:51 PM »
Should I flesh out 'Kathy's' offense a little more?

I really do find her surviving children's decision to allow her into their lives to be totally inexplicable.

No, you don't need to flesh out her offenses to us. No matter what the offenses are, it's none of your business if Kathy's children want her in their lives. If it's really horrible, maybe they'll have enough someday or seek therapy and cut her off, but that's their choice, it's not yours to force or even understand. All you can do is keep them out of your own life.

btw, what does NHRN mean?

greencat

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Re: "Social Death" guidelines
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2015, 12:03:41 PM »
Should I flesh out 'Kathy's' offense a little more?

I really do find her surviving children's decision to allow her into their lives to be totally inexplicable.

No, you don't need to flesh out her offenses to us. No matter what the offenses are, it's none of your business if Kathy's children want her in their lives. If it's really horrible, maybe they'll have enough someday or seek therapy and cut her off, but that's their choice, it's not yours to force or even understand. All you can do is keep them out of your own life.

btw, what does NHRN mean?

Not her real name.

JeanFromBNA

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Re: "Social Death" guidelines
« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2015, 01:48:28 PM »
Greencat is right about the way a Cut Direct is handled.  I wanted to add that the onus is on you to make sure that other people are not brought into this against their will.  Leaving an event when she arrives, or announcing that you're not coming if she will be there are examples.  I think it would be especially egregious to do this at an important occasion like a wedding or funeral, where you would be making your issue more important than the people who you are supposed to be there to support.

TootsNYC

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Re: "Social Death" guidelines
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2015, 01:49:34 PM »


My sister has suggested when any of us are asked about cousin "Kathy" (NHRN) we should all just respond we don't agree with some of her personal decisions and we no longer stay in touch.  If pressed for details, don't offer anything else.

No, just way "we aren't close anymore." Don't get into the reasons why, especially not the judgmental parts. You are probably exercising proper judgment (and you are entitled to do do), but there is no need to criticize her at every turn.

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Sis has also suggested "Kathy" not be invited to anything and if she turns up at a function we are are hosting she will be firmly asked to leave and if she does not, call the police and press charges for trespass.

Hmmm. This is pretty serious. I'd have to think that she's truly dangerous.
I'd vote for instead having quiet conversations with anybody who might ever tell her about a gathering, and make sure they realize that she is never welcome at your home, and ask them to please keep the drama quotient down by never mentioning these gatherings. And then block her from ever hearing about it.
   I suppose she could drive from house to house on Christmas Day, trying to find the family gathering, and end up at the right place. Then I'd vote for asking some family members to escort her to the car. Hopefully it wouldn't come to calling the cops.
   If you did have to call the cops, that would be a pretty huge step. Just to note that.


Quote

I'm also of the opinion if we are not hosting an event that we are in attendance, I for one, will leave if she shows up.  And that would include, unfortunately, marriages and funerals.
Perfectly reasonable--you simply quietly remove yourself from the stressor that her presence is. Like taking a stone out of your shoe.

Quote
I do not know what to do about her surviving children. 
Wait--some of them are dead? And this is germane to the conversation?
Not that you need to tell us! None of the specifics are necessary for us giving you advice; we will all trust that whatever her offense is, it's big enough that you feel this is necessary.

Quote

They wish to maintain a relationship with their mother, I find that kind of decision difficult to understand under the circumstances.  My sister wants a relationship with them if they want it, I cannot stand the thought of being in their presence.  The one daughter works at a business I would like to patronize, but even that level of contact I find difficult to tolerate.

My sister feels 'Kathy' might come around someday and realize her error, and at that point she would be receptive to renewing the family relationship.  I don't feel that is appropriate either.

I admit, this is a tough mess.  If nothing else, I appreciate just having a place to bring this all up.  I am truly interested in what others do in regards to their most awful relatives.

The problem is that you have differing standards. In that regard, I think you simply each exercise those standards in your own home and your own lives.
   So you say to your sister, "If you invite the kids to your house, please don't invite me; I'll have to turn down the invitation or leave. I'd rather not leave; it would be best for you to simply not invite me. I'm not asking you to choose--I'm asking you to be discreet. So maybe you host Thanksgiving and invite them; let me know, and I'll make other plans for that day. It will mean that if you ever -do- want me to be there for something, that will have to be the time you don't invite them.
     I'm not going to become your enemy; I just don't ever want to be there when they are, and I don't want to hear news of them."

And I've never had to do this, so this is all theoretical.

Tea Drinker

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Re: "Social Death" guidelines
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2015, 01:58:07 PM »
Do your best to ignore Kathy. Walk away if she comes over to talk to you, or makes even an innocuous remark about the weather. If pushed--if you are more-or-less cornered and can't just walk past her without a word--the old form of the cut direct was "Sir/Ma'am, I do not know you" and then walking away.

You can refuse to talk to her even at marriages or funerals: it may be somewhat conspicuous, but it will make her as well as you conspicuous. I wouldn't walk out on someone else's wedding or funeral because I saw her there, or even because she tried to talk to me: if necessary, you get up from your seat because you have a sudden need for the restroom. Leaving Cousin Michael's wedding entirely because Kathy turned up would be punishing yourself or Michael, not Kathy.

All I need to know about what Kathy did is that you consider it completely unpardonable, and her children disagree. It doesn't sound as though you consider them equally guilty, and there's a difference between "these two people committed this horrible crime/sin/misdeed together" and either "Kathy did this horrible thing, and her daughter doesn't think it's as horrible" or "...and her daughter can't bear to cut her off, even though she agrees that unicorn rustling is a serious crime."
 
If her daughter wasn't actually involved, refusing to enter the business where she works seems excessive to me. Quietly choosing a different line if she's a cashier, asking someone else to help you find shoes to try on, or telling a medical practice that you want someone other than your cousin "Lucille" to clean your teeth would be reasonable. So would saying "I'd rather not talk about your mother, can you just ring up these chocolates for me."
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EllenS

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Re: "Social Death" guidelines
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2015, 02:45:25 PM »
Every adult's relationship with another adult (or ending thereof) is their own business.  You and your sister do not have to be in lockstep on this, just on the same page about events you are doing together.  You also have no right or cause to interfere in Kathy's children's attitude or relations with their own mother.

Whatever Kathy's offenses may be, please do not allow them to infect your life with toxicity.  Trying to force other adults to give up their free will and conscience, in favor of yours, is toxic. If you wish to take the moral high ground, then respect toward others is essential.

Whatever pain or sorrow Kathy has caused you, I guarantee her children have had it a thousand times worse. Let them grieve and heal in their own way.

Of course you are entitled to give them the CD if you feel they have offended you or engaged in morally reprehensible behavior, or avoid situations where you might be exposed to Kathy if you wish to. But to judge and cut them, merely for making a different choice than you in dealing with Kathy, is not the high ground.