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Author Topic: "Social Death" guidelines  (Read 12062 times)

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Rei-chan

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Re: "Social Death" guidelines
« Reply #15 on: April 26, 2015, 05:39:03 AM »
POD to EllenS' entire post.

I don't think I really touched upon it in my last post, but I also agree regarding what everyone else said about handling other events.  If you invited to an event, haven't RSVP'd, & have knowledge that Kathy may attend, then it is well within bounds to politely decline.  However, I would not make the reason known when doing so simply because they would make the situation uncomfortable for the host(ess).

If you are already at the event, to get up & leave (whether you state why or not) could create waves of discomfort throughout the event that extend to the host(ess).  Doing that at a party would be bad enough, but a wedding or funeral?  The thought makes my stomach turn over.  In essence, you are taking the event & making it about your feud.  Surely you wouldn't want to do that at any occasion, much less something so important!

I understand that emotions are high in this situation, &  Rose Red & Toots are right in that we don't need to know the details.  I just think that you need to sit down & set all that aside for a second.  Consider the logistics & the feelings of everyone else involved.  Other family, mutual friends, the adult children.  Remember that they have no part in this other than what you force on them.  Clearly you care, or you wouldn't be here asking us for advice.  Use that when deciding how to act, rather than your anger at Kathy. 

There is a fine line when employing the CD.  On one side, you are the wronged party.  But, if you take it too far, you can go from wronged party to being in the wrong in a hurry!

guvner

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Re: "Social Death" guidelines
« Reply #16 on: April 26, 2015, 12:34:45 PM »

 . . . .

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.

 . . . .




As you realize, this isn't a matter of using the wrong fork with the endive salad and I'm overreacting.  And you're starting to understand the extreme difficulty I have being around Kathy's remaining kids.

Jones

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Re: "Social Death" guidelines
« Reply #17 on: April 26, 2015, 12:39:12 PM »
Well your hinting about and claiming it must be worse than we imagine is coming across as quite drama seeking. Spit it out or don't.

I too caught the word "surviving" prior to my previous comment. It didn't change my comment.
ďA 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.Ē CS Lewis

EllenS

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Re: "Social Death" guidelines
« Reply #18 on: April 26, 2015, 12:42:26 PM »
Well your hinting about and claiming it must be worse than we imagine is coming across as quite drama seeking. Spit it out or don't.

I too caught the word "surviving" prior to my previous comment. It didn't change my comment.

Indeed. And let me be explicit about restating that I'm sure her children are far more affected than you are.

It's not about over-reacting. It's about acting honorably.  If you believe her children are morally reprehensible people who no decent person should associate with, then that's what the CD is for. If you don't believe that, then don't treat them that way.  You have to make up your own mind.

GreenBird

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Re: "Social Death" guidelines
« Reply #19 on: April 26, 2015, 12:50:00 PM »

As you realize, this isn't a matter of using the wrong fork with the endive salad and I'm overreacting.  And you're starting to understand the extreme difficulty I have being around Kathy's remaining kids.

I don't think anyone has said that you're overreacting by wanting to give the Cut Direct.  I think what people are trying to say is that the Cut Direct is something you do for your own well-being and state of mind.  It is not meant to be a weapon, or a public statement, or a way of shaming or polarizing other people into choosing sides.  It's something you do for your own peace of mind, and you do it as drama-free as possible.  If you want to give the Cut Direct to the entire family, that's up to you.   But that is all that is up to you.  Other people may well choose differently, and that's up to them. 
« Last Edit: April 26, 2015, 01:07:52 PM by GreenBird »

kudeebee

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Re: "Social Death" guidelines
« Reply #20 on: April 26, 2015, 10:51:56 PM »

As you realize, this isn't a matter of using the wrong fork with the endive salad and I'm overreacting.  And you're starting to understand the extreme difficulty I have being around Kathy's remaining kids.

I don't think anyone has said that you're overreacting by wanting to give the Cut Direct.  I think what people are trying to say is that the Cut Direct is something you do for your own well-being and state of mind.  It is not meant to be a weapon, or a public statement, or a way of shaming or polarizing other people into choosing sides.  It's something you do for your own peace of mind, and you do it as drama-free as possible.  If you want to give the Cut Direct to the entire family, that's up to you.   But that is all that is up to you.  Other people may well choose differently, and that's up to them.

POD, especially with the bolded.

Do not make it about you when you are at events with other family members and Kathy arrives.  Simply ignore her, avoid her, excuse yourself from her presence.  If it bothers  you too much, make a graceful exit at an opportune time (not the minute she arrives, but at a natural break--you can always "have a headache" "not feel well" "be tired" or slip away after the cake is cut at the wedding or not stay for the lunch at a funeral.

Goosey

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Re: "Social Death" guidelines
« Reply #21 on: April 27, 2015, 07:07:04 AM »

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.


I just wanted to add that while this may be a reasonable decision for you to make, please be aware that leaving a wedding or funeral or party early may have relationship consequences outside of your cut direct with Kathy. Once your CD starts affecting your relationships and interacting with other people, they may not be willing to adapt to your (reasonable) decision. A CD and the actions resulting from it do not exist in a bubble free from social consequence.

Other than that, I agree with the others - it would be wrong to "punish" others for not giving Kathy the CD. You don't need to understand why others still have a relationship with her - that's just not your place. Maybe the kids need time and therapy to let go of the "mother that should be" rather than the "mother that is". Maybe there's an aspect to their relationship you don't grasp. A cut direct is a personal and dramatic and emotionally complicated decision and trying to force others into it is not going to work. What it comes down to is that either have a relationship with them or don't, but don't make your relationship with them contingent on choosing your "side". I'd drop you like a hot potato at the very suggestion just because it seems controlling and self-involved when this is obviously something that affects Kathy's kids a lot more than it does you.

edited to fix quotes
« Last Edit: April 27, 2015, 07:11:47 AM by Goosey »

TootsNYC

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Re: "Social Death" guidelines
« Reply #22 on: April 27, 2015, 07:09:59 AM »

As you realize, this isn't a matter of using the wrong fork with the endive salad and I'm overreacting.  And you're starting to understand the extreme difficulty I have being around Kathy's remaining kids.

I don't think anyone has said that you're overreacting by wanting to give the Cut Direct.  I think what people are trying to say is that the Cut Direct is something you do for your own well-being and state of mind.  It is not meant to be a weapon, or a public statement, or a way of shaming or polarizing other people into choosing sides. It's something you do for your own peace of mind, and you do it as drama-free as possible.  If you want to give the Cut Direct to the entire family, that's up to you.   But that is all that is up to you.  Other people may well choose differently, and that's up to them.

I don't believe that's true--when you are speaking of the true "Cut Direct" (in which you look right at someone, and then act as though they are not even there). The true Cut Direct is intended to be a very public act, which is why it's the nuclear options. It's reserved for the cad who behaved dishonorably toward your sister, who defrauded your uncle.
  And the true Cut Direct does pull everyone around into the conflict, and thereby forces them to acknowledge the offense (if only by saying, "What's up w/ him?" to another person, who will then say, "Well, that guy defrauded her uncle, so that's why she treats him that way").

But the "cutting off of all ties with family members" (which is often called the Cut Direct; an alternate meaning, I guess) is, I agree, mostly done for your own comfort.

If everybody knows the problem, it's not necessarily your place to say, "I have such an extreme objection to the welcoming of this person into our company that I'm willing to be icily-yet-politely unpleasant about it, so if you don't want that uncomfortableness next time, you'll reject them too."
   But I don't know--maybe the stakes are that high. It's not automatically always inappropriate to apply that sort of pressure. I think you -do- have a right to pressure other people to ostracize someone when the stakes are high enough.


(You might not be successful...)

Quote
Once your CD starts affecting your relationships and interacting with other people, they may not be willing to adapt to your (reasonable) decision. A CD and the actions resulting from it do not exist in a bubble free from social consequence.

EllenS

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Re: "Social Death" guidelines
« Reply #23 on: April 27, 2015, 09:17:35 AM »
I think there is an interesting distinction here. As Toots points out, the old-fashioned use of the term "Cut-Direct" implies that it is done in public view, and it is a silent statement of protest or shunning.  The motivation would be to make it clear to any observer that you disavow any knowledge or association with this person.  By today's practice, I would think this is only appropriate for people whose actions are already public knowledge, or have a public impact. Nobody should have to ask what it's about, unless they've been living under a rock and don't read the newspaper.  It is a silent protest - going on about the offenses in a social situation would fall in the category of rabble-rousing or possibly slander.  I would call this a Cut of the First Degree.

For private disputes or offenses between individuals or family groups (including very reasonable ones), I think the better course is the more widely used "cutting someone out of your life".  This would be the course described by pp's, avoiding/removing yourself quietly, minimizing the discomfort to others, and maintaining discretion about the reasons, especially if the victim is someone to whom you owe a duty of confidentiality, or explaining the reasons would compromise the privacy/wellbeing of a third party.  In a private "cutting off", going into detail about the reasons with a disinterested person would fall in the category of airing dirty laundry or gossip.  I would call this a Cut of the Second Degree.

However, both cases bump up against the idea of control.  In both situations, you cannot control the actions of others, and attempting to do so compromises your own moral position.  Now, in the case of a person you are giving a First Degree Cut, you may well judge the character of someone who would associate with such a person, and decide that they are complicit, or cowardly, or ignorant.  I would think that if you don't wish to associate with those people, that would merit a Second Degree Cut (discreet).

If the central situation is one of a Second Degree Cut, I would think that associated persons should not be cut.  They should be treated with cool and formal civility.

JMHO.

Mergatroyd

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Re: "Social Death" guidelines
« Reply #24 on: April 27, 2015, 09:37:14 AM »
Well your hinting about and claiming it must be worse than we imagine is coming across as quite drama seeking. Spit it out or don't.

I too caught the word "surviving" prior to my previous comment. It didn't change my comment.

Indeed. And let me be explicit about restating that I'm sure her children are far more affected than you are.

It's not about over-reacting. It's about acting honorably.  If you believe her children are morally reprehensible people who no decent person should associate with, then that's what the CD is for. If you don't believe that, then don't treat them that way.  You have to make up your own mind.

Add me to this. I know people whose parent/parents have done things that they have gone to jail for,  against their own children no less. In some cases the kids don't interact, in some cases they do. I feel no anger that those who do have contact chose to do so- they know what happened, and they are dealing with it in the way best for them, which presently means keeping communications open and asking questions.
'Kathy' obviously isn't in jail, if you are going to see her at funerals and weddings.
If you try to force her children to cut her off in order to keep you in their lives, then you are going beyond cut direct and into very rude territory. You do what is best for you, but let them chose their own path, and don't punish them for their choice- they've been punished more than you'll ever know already.

Elainne

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Re: "Social Death" guidelines
« Reply #25 on: April 27, 2015, 10:17:22 AM »
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.

Maybe it's just me or maybe it's a Brit thing but I know exactly the situation you describe (see my lengthy post in the Wedding Guests forum) and part of me thinks that yes, the 'cut direct' is the best option: Pretend they aren't there, don't engage etc. But the other part of me, the part that thinks this type of behaviour is horribly horribly rude would say that the BEST way to deal with a situation like this is to be brief and honest.

If the Undesirable relative attempts to engage, I don't think it is rude to tell them that their previous behaviours have resulted in you no longer wishing to communicate or associate with them and leave it at that. Then if they persist, the cut direct is the next step.

If someone asks about them I think it is not inappropriate to say that 'Cousin and I are no longer associated'. The key is to be brief and discrete I think.

violinp

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Re: "Social Death" guidelines
« Reply #26 on: April 27, 2015, 10:18:30 AM »
Well your hinting about and claiming it must be worse than we imagine is coming across as quite drama seeking. Spit it out or don't.

I too caught the word "surviving" prior to my previous comment. It didn't change my comment.

Indeed. And let me be explicit about restating that I'm sure her children are far more affected than you are.

It's not about over-reacting. It's about acting honorably.  If you believe her children are morally reprehensible people who no decent person should associate with, then that's what the CD is for. If you don't believe that, then don't treat them that way.  You have to make up your own mind.

Add me to this. I know people whose parent/parents have done things that they have gone to jail for,  against their own children no less. In some cases the kids don't interact, in some cases they do. I feel no anger that those who do have contact chose to do so- they know what happened, and they are dealing with it in the way best for them, which presently means keeping communications open and asking questions.
'Kathy' obviously isn't in jail, if you are going to see her at funerals and weddings.
If you try to force her children to cut her off in order to keep you in their lives, then you are going beyond cut direct and into very rude territory. You do what is best for you, but let them chose their own path, and don't punish them for their choice- they've been punished more than you'll ever know already.

POD to all of this. I might believe someone to be a truly reprehensible person, but never ever would I expect the person's own children to choose a non - relative over the biological parent. Life is often far more complicated than "Well, either he chooses X and he's good, or he chooses Y and he's bad." It's difficult, to be sure, but you have to accept that not everyone can or will make the same choices for the same reasons as you.
"It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends" - Harry Potter


tatrose451

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Re: "Social Death" guidelines
« Reply #27 on: April 27, 2015, 02:45:10 PM »
If it is helpful to the thread you might elaborate on Kathy's actions (I'm nosy as well). However, I'm not sure it would change my thoughts on the issue. Whatever Kathy did, no matter how egregious, her children have not chosen to cut her out (at least not yet). And you don't get to decide whether or not they do, no matter how inexplicable you find it. Now I will add a caveat to what I'm saying: if her children have been abused or suffer from a type of mental illness in which they may not be in a good place to decide whether a relationship is healthy or not, I think influence from other relatives *may* be helpful in *some* circumstances. But if that's the case, the focus should be on getting them some counselling and not drawing battle lines around them.

Assuming the above is not the case, I suppose you need to decide whether a relationship with them is important enough to you to deal with the challenges it may present. We've seen countless examples on this site of how toxic it can be to spend time with people who support/encourage/promote a toxic relative. However, I do agree with the other posters that cutting off a parent is an extremely painful and difficult thing to do. If I'm reading between the lines correctly, these are people that may be dealing with other grief concurrent to the fallout of Kathy's actions.

But going back to the simple etiquette of the situation - it is perfectly polite to shut down a topic of conversation you are not comfortable with and to remove yourself (or the offending parties) if they refuse to honor your request. If they are unable to respect your wishes, a cut direct may be something to consider.

catwhiskers

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Re: "Social Death" guidelines
« Reply #28 on: April 28, 2015, 06:49:32 AM »
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.

I totally agree with this post.

Growing up, my brother and I were psychologically (and sometimes physically) abused by our father. Many years later, I finally managed to enforce a cut off and frankly I never want to set eyes on him again. However, my brother still has regular contact with him. I canít understand this. I will never understand it. But itís my brotherís choice, not mine, and I will never let it affect our relationship with each other.

Also, please do not underestimate how difficult it can be to remove an abusive parent from your life. Your parents are the people who give you life; your close family are the ones who shape you from the moment you are born. You grow up thinking their way is normal, because that is the only way you know until life teaches you otherwise. I donít know how old your cousinís children are, but I was in my thirties before I finally decided enough was enough and enforced a permanent cut off from my father.

Pooky582

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Re: "Social Death" guidelines
« Reply #29 on: April 28, 2015, 10:36:55 AM »
I have a half sister that chose not to be apart of our lives while a teenager. Except on her (note: Her own) birthday, and on Christmas, when she would call our father hitting him up for money.  She has nothing to do with our father, let alone her half-siblings, and step-mother. And for the last eight years, none of us heard from her at all.  For twenty years now, our father has had MS. I am not sure if she ever knew. Then, last year, it somehow got to her and it became "your father is dying". He is not. He is suffering, for sure, but has many more years in him. All she heard was he is dying. So, she tried coming back into his life, I assure you not out of love or respect, but because she believes his death means inheritance for her. My mom (her step mother) accepted her facebook friend request and allowed her back in. I did not. I denied the request, blocked her and her mother, and moved on.  She, unsurprisingly, stopped communicating with my mother when she found out my dad wasn't going anywhere. In all of this time, she never actually talked to our dad, just my mom.

My mom chose to talk to her for my dads sake. I chose not to for my own sake. We both made our own decisions and didn't demand the other do what we wanted. I quietly ignored her and moved on.  Everyone in my life knows our history and what she is like, so there was no point to rehash it and make it a public display.

In fact, in 15 years, I've only seen her twice, at my fathers parents' funerals. I didn't storm out or make a scene. It was my family and my loss. Leaving would have only hurt me.  I just stayed away from her. It was not hard.