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Author Topic: How NOT to introduce people at a Funeral - Follow up  (Read 1884 times)

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Venix

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How NOT to introduce people at a Funeral - Follow up
« on: August 22, 2017, 10:04:02 AM »
As a number of posters pointed out, it was in my best interests to consider my responses to the (and I quote) "harsh criticisms" arising from my first post to this community. I have to say the immediate, vitriolic backlash was.... unexpected and I chose to observe rather than engage.

As others pointed out, I WAS hurt and embarrassed by the actions of my Husband's cousin. I thought I might 'square the circle' but found the thread had been locked since I last had an opportunity to browse this forum (I am not a daily visitor and things have been busy for me recently - not least my having had another miscarriage, meaning I wasn't in a good place to compose a reasoned response or deal with the level of 'heat' in the replies on my posts).

So now I find myself mulling over the responses and wanting to 'set the record straight', so to speak:

- Firstly, I'll hold my hands up and say that I didn't phrase my 'background' well - I was trying to precis it and left a bunch of stuff out that in hindsight would have been vital.

So a spot of historical context for you:

- I was bullied a lot as a child and the bullies in question used to make fun of my original surname and call me names like 'Bigmouth' or 'Motormouth' while kicking me to make me cry. So I am, perhaps, hypersensitive to the phrase 'Motormouth'.

- When I spent my first Christmas with my Husband's family, it was 'traditional' to go to one of his Aunt's houses for Boxing Day dinner. My MIL came from a set of 5 siblings. 3 Girls and 2 boys. The girls all live locally, we'll call them 'Aunt A' and 'Aunt C', one boy died in his youth and the other lives several hours away. So usually the 'Boxing day' gathering would happen at Aunt C's, since her house had the most space for entertaining. This is a relevant detail.

- So, the first Christmas I spend with him and his family, I am invited to Aunt C's for Boxing day lunch. I am (naturally) apprehensive about meeting his extended family and keen to make a good impression, because I was the first girlfriend my now-husband had been 'serious' with since his Fiancee jilted him (long and not relevant story). So I REALLY want them all to like me.

- So I ask my Husband (my then BF) for all the details - who is who, is there anything I need to know, topics I need to avoid, family situations I need to be aware of, etc (We all have those little situations in our families that we never think to tell people until after they've put their foot in it).

- My husband gives me the run down and says 'Aunt A' will be there and we may or may not see 'Cousin X' (the cousin in my story). So I naturally enquire about Cousin X because his tone is.... off.

- Husband proceeds to warn me that 'Cousin X' is a bit of a 'known issue' in the family. His drug and alcohol use has, in the past, resulted in him being fired from more than one job (he was a bus driver at one point and got done for drink driving! While driving a passenger bus!). He has a history of strange behaviour and he'll go through phases of living at home with his mother while he is 'between girlfriends' then 'sofa surfing'. I was WARNED by my husband that he is generally not well liked in the family because Aunt C and my MIL know that he has stolen from his Mother (Aunt A) in the past to fund his substance abuses.

- According to my husband, he is not allowed to have his own bank account because he can't be trusted not to spend it on things he shouldn't, so he 'shares' his Mother's account... (Red flag, I know).

- So me, already being quite apprehensive about meeting a whole bunch of my new BF's family, is worried about this mysterious 'Cousin X'.

- The next day, while we are preparing to leave, my MIL gets a call from Aunt A to say 'don't worry about picking me up, Cousin X is bringing me'. MIL gets off the phone and shares this exact info with my BF, his brother, his bro's wife and her husband (who was still alive at this point). They all immediately groan and BF's brother makes some very uncharitable comments and my MIL makes it clear that she has no time for her nephew either.

- Being new to the family, I refrain from getting involved, but remembering the way one of my cousins used to treat another of my cousins in our youth, I put this down a lot to 'extended sibling rivalry' and promised myself I would give Cousin X the benefit of the doubt and make my own judgement about him.

- So to truncate the story, I get to Aunt C's, meet Cousin X and generally attempt to charm all his family, be nice to everyone and to judge Cousin X on his own merit not on the doom-laden rantings of his two cousins (BF and his Bro). Cousin X is (as my BF warned me he would be), dressed in his full spike-studded-leathers-and-chains-with-skulls-everywhere getup and he was very very tall - much taller than BF or his brother, he was also brooding and scowling in a corner, clearly not happy to be there (which doesn't surprise me at this point if this is how his family treats him - I actually start to feel a bit sorry for him), but me being new to the family made a point to chat to EVERYONE and make polite conversation. I struck up a conversation with him and, having few ideas, thought asking about his motorcycle might be a safe topic. It was then I found out that he didn't currently have one.

- So I find a couple of other neutral conversation points, make polite conversation with him, and move on to the next family member I have yet to meet (my husband isn't great at introducing me to people lol)

- At the end of the day, I thought the whole event had gone well and I was happy that I had 'performed favourably' in front of BF's family.

- Fast forward a couple of years, and I was still in BF's life and we were again spending Christmas with his family (we alternate between his Mum and Mine, except our routine got interrupted when my Nan died), and yet again we are attending the traditional family gathering at 'Aunt C's'. Again, Cousin X is there, still rocking the same style, still sans motorcycle and now plus 1 conviction for drink driving and minus 3 or 4 jobs due to aforementioned drinking and general unreliability (such as not bothering to turn up for work because he 'couldn't be bothered' or 'was hungover' or 'stoned' in his own words). As per usual, I make polite, appropriate conversation with BF's family members and leave the event feeling like even though I wasn't 'part of the family' as such, I was generally liked and his family didn't dislike me (they make it pretty clear when they don't like someone, which was what kinda made me feel sorry for Cousin X).

- I tried to make a special effort with Cousin X because privately I thought his cousins were being a bit harsh on him, and every time I had spoken to him he seemed perfectly nice to me.

- So the years roll on and I see Cousin X a handful of times at various family events. Each time I make polite small talk with him (as I do with all of my BF's family) and he seems to respond warmly to me. I had THOUGHT that he and I at least had a polite respect for each other, and I occasionally admonished my BF for saying unkind things about Cousin X because "he's never like that when he speaks to me". How foolish and naive am I?

- So hubby's father passes away and Cousin X is due to be in attendance at the funeral. At this point I had no feelings about this at all, because as far as I was concerned, all these dire warnings I'd received about Cousin X over the years had come to naught. Some weeks prior to the funeral, Aunt A had phoned my MIL to tell her he had been married to some GF none of them even knew he was seeing and whom no-one in the family (apart from Aunt A) had actually met.

- Whatever, right? Cousin X, you do you. This didn't affect me in the slightest. The only reason I mentioned it was to point out that his new wife had literally never seen or spoken to a single extended member of his family, and her first meeting with all of us was going to be at FIL's funeral. Inauspicious and somewhat unfortunate I feel. I felt a little sorry for her because meeting the family of your partner is already a bit anxiety-inducing, but doing it at a funeral? Eeek, can someone say PRESSURE?

- On the day itself, my own family turned up to pay their respects and found themselves in the pew in front of Cousin X and his new Wife (we still don't know her name - neither of them have been at family events since the funeral).

- As per my previous post "Apparently, New Wife had asked Cousin X who everyone was, specifically the immediate family of the deceased. Cousin X proceeded to tell this woman that Husband and BIL were his cousins, MIL was his Aunt, and SIL was BIL's wife. When she asked about me, he apparently said "Oh, that's Ven, (Hubby's) partner. She's a bit of a motormouth."

He did not feel the need to add descriptive qualifiers to any of the OTHER introductions. Just me. At my FIL's funeral. Loud enough for my own family (and all those around them) to hear. He humiliated me in front of assembled relations - most of whom I had never met as many had travelled a long way to attend FIL's funeral."

- My mother is not known for her ability to keep quiet about things, so in a quiet moment when she and I were in the kitchen preparing more coffee, she told me what she overheard at the service.

- She didn't do this to be cruel, she did this because she didn't want me to be humiliated in case he decided to repeat his comment in my earshot and she KNEW what kind of associations I had with name-calling like 'Motormouth'.

- I was really, really hurt. I had made an effort to make friends with this marginalised cousin whose whole family treated him like garbage, and instead of speaking about me politely, he chose my FIL's funeral to make it clear that he held nothing but contempt for me. Not only that, but he chose the most unfortunate word to use. No, he didn't have any idea of the bullying, but was it really necessary to say something unkind about someone at a funeral? Really?

- Was it even necessary to say what he said? I was the only one he said it about. He didn't make any other comments about his other cousins' wife (my SIL). Just me.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Breaking because it's turning into an essay ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

- I didn't say anything to him at the wake. I didn't say anything to anyone - not my husband, not my MIL.

- Some weeks later we (Hubby and I) were discussing our wedding and he mentioned Cousin X. I can't remember why now, I think it had something to do with Transport (he is currently working as a Taxi driver).

- So I relayed the story of what happened at the funeral, and expressed my preference that he not be invited.

- Hubby was furious and told me I should have said something at the time.

- A few days later we were discussing the transport situation with MIL over Sunday dinner and she brought up the topic of Cousin X, to which both Hubby and I made it clear he wouldn't be welcome. She asked why, we relayed the tale and she was not surprised. Her response was more or less 'we did try to tell you, dear'. She agreed that he was not welcome at the wedding.

- When Aunt A enquired to my MIL about the 'transport situation', MIL took it upon herself to share the story and Aunt A's response was basically 'how typical of my son to do something unkind like that, I'm so sorry'.

So it hasn't caused any strife in the family, I just choose to no longer make an effort to speak to him or treat him any differently than any the rest of his family.

I hope this has helped to clarify any lingering questions about the situation. I can't promise I'll engage with responses because I do not know when I will next view this thread.

VorFemme

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Re: How NOT to introduce people at a Funeral - Follow up
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2017, 11:16:13 AM »
I was bullied as a kid (glasses wearing bookworm with allergies & no fondness for outside events, such as sports, due to poor eyesight and being allergic to just about every plant that would grow in the location). 

I was rarely touched by the bullies (getting physical with a girl would get them in trouble & it was a small school, they were noticed) - but there are words that can still trigger bad feelings some fifty years later.  "Four eyed freak" comes to mind...there were others.

Sometimes it isn't until someone uses the same words that the bullies used to make you cry that you realize that there are still "playground bullies" & ""hidden in the group of your adult peers (disguised as adults instead of childish bullies) or even in your extended fffaaammmiiillleee, like Cousin X. 

I can see not inviting him to the wedding.  If asked, consider phrasing it more as "keeping the skunk from making a stink" rather than "punishing him for calling you a name" or even "depriving his mother of a ride to the wedding". 

VorGuy's oldest & dearest friend for many years took some years to show his true colors to VorGuy & to be no longer welcome in our house.  We haven't seen him since 1985 heard from him since 1988 or so and we're fine with that.  We did have to explain to VorGuy's brother that he was not to pass our phone number to the guy if he remained friendly with him or his younger brother...they'd all gone to high school together.
Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I explain?

Chickadee

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Re: How NOT to introduce people at a Funeral - Follow up
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2017, 11:27:42 AM »
As a number of posters pointed out, it was in my best interests to consider my responses to the (and I quote) "harsh criticisms" arising from my first post to this community. I have to say the immediate, vitriolic backlash was.... unexpected and I chose to observe rather than engage.

As others pointed out, I WAS hurt and embarrassed by the actions of my Husband's cousin. I thought I might 'square the circle' but found the thread had been locked since I last had an opportunity to browse this forum (I am not a daily visitor and things have been busy for me recently - not least my having had another miscarriage, meaning I wasn't in a good place to compose a reasoned response or deal with the level of 'heat' in the replies on my posts).

So now I find myself mulling over the responses and wanting to 'set the record straight', so to speak:

- Firstly, I'll hold my hands up and say that I didn't phrase my 'background' well - I was trying to precis it and left a bunch of stuff out that in hindsight would have been vital.

So a spot of historical context for you:

- I was bullied a lot as a child and the bullies in question used to make fun of my original surname and call me names like 'Bigmouth' or 'Motormouth' while kicking me to make me cry. So I am, perhaps, hypersensitive to the phrase 'Motormouth'.

- When I spent my first Christmas with my Husband's family, it was 'traditional' to go to one of his Aunt's houses for Boxing Day dinner. My MIL came from a set of 5 siblings. 3 Girls and 2 boys. The girls all live locally, we'll call them 'Aunt A' and 'Aunt C', one boy died in his youth and the other lives several hours away. So usually the 'Boxing day' gathering would happen at Aunt C's, since her house had the most space for entertaining. This is a relevant detail.

- So, the first Christmas I spend with him and his family, I am invited to Aunt C's for Boxing day lunch. I am (naturally) apprehensive about meeting his extended family and keen to make a good impression, because I was the first girlfriend my now-husband had been 'serious' with since his Fiancee jilted him (long and not relevant story). So I REALLY want them all to like me.

- So I ask my Husband (my then BF) for all the details - who is who, is there anything I need to know, topics I need to avoid, family situations I need to be aware of, etc (We all have those little situations in our families that we never think to tell people until after they've put their foot in it).

- My husband gives me the run down and says 'Aunt A' will be there and we may or may not see 'Cousin X' (the cousin in my story). So I naturally enquire about Cousin X because his tone is.... off.

- Husband proceeds to warn me that 'Cousin X' is a bit of a 'known issue' in the family. His drug and alcohol use has, in the past, resulted in him being fired from more than one job (he was a bus driver at one point and got done for drink driving! While driving a passenger bus!). He has a history of strange behaviour and he'll go through phases of living at home with his mother while he is 'between girlfriends' then 'sofa surfing'. I was WARNED by my husband that he is generally not well liked in the family because Aunt C and my MIL know that he has stolen from his Mother (Aunt A) in the past to fund his substance abuses.

- According to my husband, he is not allowed to have his own bank account because he can't be trusted not to spend it on things he shouldn't, so he 'shares' his Mother's account... (Red flag, I know).

- So me, already being quite apprehensive about meeting a whole bunch of my new BF's family, is worried about this mysterious 'Cousin X'.

- The next day, while we are preparing to leave, my MIL gets a call from Aunt A to say 'don't worry about picking me up, Cousin X is bringing me'. MIL gets off the phone and shares this exact info with my BF, his brother, his bro's wife and her husband (who was still alive at this point). They all immediately groan and BF's brother makes some very uncharitable comments and my MIL makes it clear that she has no time for her nephew either.

- Being new to the family, I refrain from getting involved, but remembering the way one of my cousins used to treat another of my cousins in our youth, I put this down a lot to 'extended sibling rivalry' and promised myself I would give Cousin X the benefit of the doubt and make my own judgement about him.

- So to truncate the story, I get to Aunt C's, meet Cousin X and generally attempt to charm all his family, be nice to everyone and to judge Cousin X on his own merit not on the doom-laden rantings of his two cousins (BF and his Bro). Cousin X is (as my BF warned me he would be), dressed in his full spike-studded-leathers-and-chains-with-skulls-everywhere getup and he was very very tall - much taller than BF or his brother, he was also brooding and scowling in a corner, clearly not happy to be there (which doesn't surprise me at this point if this is how his family treats him - I actually start to feel a bit sorry for him), but me being new to the family made a point to chat to EVERYONE and make polite conversation. I struck up a conversation with him and, having few ideas, thought asking about his motorcycle might be a safe topic. It was then I found out that he didn't currently have one.

- So I find a couple of other neutral conversation points, make polite conversation with him, and move on to the next family member I have yet to meet (my husband isn't great at introducing me to people lol)

- At the end of the day, I thought the whole event had gone well and I was happy that I had 'performed favourably' in front of BF's family.

- Fast forward a couple of years, and I was still in BF's life and we were again spending Christmas with his family (we alternate between his Mum and Mine, except our routine got interrupted when my Nan died), and yet again we are attending the traditional family gathering at 'Aunt C's'. Again, Cousin X is there, still rocking the same style, still sans motorcycle and now plus 1 conviction for drink driving and minus 3 or 4 jobs due to aforementioned drinking and general unreliability (such as not bothering to turn up for work because he 'couldn't be bothered' or 'was hungover' or 'stoned' in his own words). As per usual, I make polite, appropriate conversation with BF's family members and leave the event feeling like even though I wasn't 'part of the family' as such, I was generally liked and his family didn't dislike me (they make it pretty clear when they don't like someone, which was what kinda made me feel sorry for Cousin X).

- I tried to make a special effort with Cousin X because privately I thought his cousins were being a bit harsh on him, and every time I had spoken to him he seemed perfectly nice to me.

- So the years roll on and I see Cousin X a handful of times at various family events. Each time I make polite small talk with him (as I do with all of my BF's family) and he seems to respond warmly to me. I had THOUGHT that he and I at least had a polite respect for each other, and I occasionally admonished my BF for saying unkind things about Cousin X because "he's never like that when he speaks to me". How foolish and naive am I?

- So hubby's father passes away and Cousin X is due to be in attendance at the funeral. At this point I had no feelings about this at all, because as far as I was concerned, all these dire warnings I'd received about Cousin X over the years had come to naught. Some weeks prior to the funeral, Aunt A had phoned my MIL to tell her he had been married to some GF none of them even knew he was seeing and whom no-one in the family (apart from Aunt A) had actually met.

- Whatever, right? Cousin X, you do you. This didn't affect me in the slightest. The only reason I mentioned it was to point out that his new wife had literally never seen or spoken to a single extended member of his family, and her first meeting with all of us was going to be at FIL's funeral. Inauspicious and somewhat unfortunate I feel. I felt a little sorry for her because meeting the family of your partner is already a bit anxiety-inducing, but doing it at a funeral? Eeek, can someone say PRESSURE?

- On the day itself, my own family turned up to pay their respects and found themselves in the pew in front of Cousin X and his new Wife (we still don't know her name - neither of them have been at family events since the funeral).

- As per my previous post "Apparently, New Wife had asked Cousin X who everyone was, specifically the immediate family of the deceased. Cousin X proceeded to tell this woman that Husband and BIL were his cousins, MIL was his Aunt, and SIL was BIL's wife. When she asked about me, he apparently said "Oh, that's Ven, (Hubby's) partner. She's a bit of a motormouth."

He did not feel the need to add descriptive qualifiers to any of the OTHER introductions. Just me. At my FIL's funeral. Loud enough for my own family (and all those around them) to hear. He humiliated me in front of assembled relations - most of whom I had never met as many had travelled a long way to attend FIL's funeral."

- My mother is not known for her ability to keep quiet about things, so in a quiet moment when she and I were in the kitchen preparing more coffee, she told me what she overheard at the service.

- She didn't do this to be cruel, she did this because she didn't want me to be humiliated in case he decided to repeat his comment in my earshot and she KNEW what kind of associations I had with name-calling like 'Motormouth'.

- I was really, really hurt. I had made an effort to make friends with this marginalised cousin whose whole family treated him like garbage, and instead of speaking about me politely, he chose my FIL's funeral to make it clear that he held nothing but contempt for me. Not only that, but he chose the most unfortunate word to use. No, he didn't have any idea of the bullying, but was it really necessary to say something unkind about someone at a funeral? Really?

- Was it even necessary to say what he said? I was the only one he said it about. He didn't make any other comments about his other cousins' wife (my SIL). Just me.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Breaking because it's turning into an essay ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

- I didn't say anything to him at the wake. I didn't say anything to anyone - not my husband, not my MIL.

- Some weeks later we (Hubby and I) were discussing our wedding and he mentioned Cousin X. I can't remember why now, I think it had something to do with Transport (he is currently working as a Taxi driver).

- So I relayed the story of what happened at the funeral, and expressed my preference that he not be invited.

- Hubby was furious and told me I should have said something at the time.

- A few days later we were discussing the transport situation with MIL over Sunday dinner and she brought up the topic of Cousin X, to which both Hubby and I made it clear he wouldn't be welcome. She asked why, we relayed the tale and she was not surprised. Her response was more or less 'we did try to tell you, dear'. She agreed that he was not welcome at the wedding.

- When Aunt A enquired to my MIL about the 'transport situation', MIL took it upon herself to share the story and Aunt A's response was basically 'how typical of my son to do something unkind like that, I'm so sorry'.

So it hasn't caused any strife in the family, I just choose to no longer make an effort to speak to him or treat him any differently than any the rest of his family.

I hope this has helped to clarify any lingering questions about the situation. I can't promise I'll engage with responses because I do not know when I will next view this thread.


Please accept my condolences on your miscarriage.

I read again your original thread that was locked, and although I didnít comment on that thread it seemed to me you were looking for validation. IMO, this thread is not much different. The additional background does not change the opinion I formed when reading your first thread, especially when you say you donít know if you will engage with responses. If you are not going to come back and read what other posters have to say, why bother posting in the first place?

This is subjective, but even with the background of the bullying you experienced I canít quite equate Cousin X calling you a motormouth with him having nothing but contempt for you. No, it was not necessary or kind of him to say that about you at a funeral, but neither was it necessary for your mother to repeat those words to you.


Wordgeek

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Re: How NOT to introduce people at a Funeral - Follow up
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2017, 12:21:12 PM »
Since the op specifically says she's not going to participate in a discussion, thread closed.

« Last Edit: August 22, 2017, 08:16:46 PM by Wordgeek »


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