Other people who are shunned and how it makes me feel

Discussion in 'Family of Origin' started by SomewhereOutThere, Jan 17, 2016.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Without going into any details, I found out today that somebody I had always liked has a secret child who nobody talks about. This child, a married adult, sent letters out to everyone in her family, including her sister she was once very close to, and told them all of them were never again allowed in her life. She has kids. She told everyone...grandmothers, aunts, uncles, mother, father, etc. that if they bothered to try to contact her at all or send presents to her kids, she'd throw them out. She wrote these short shun letters to everyone, which did surprise me. I thought this level of shunning...the letter...was cold and cruel and, after the secret was released to me and my husband, it seemed they were seriously upset about it. She was "difficult." Had always been difficult, in spite of having a great job and not getting into drugs and finishing college and not expecting anything from them. All anyone knew about her was silence of years.

    Now I know that maybe thirty years ago, or twenty, I'd have automatically thought, "What a creepy young woman. How can she hurt her family that way?" Writing a letter deliberately hurtful was not something I would have ever done. Doing a cut off that was like that...I did not do those things. They were done to me, although the only letter Ietter I bot was from my brother and I chose not to read it.

    My first reaction was "Oh, these poor people."

    Then I thought about MY family.

    I did not have the anger/hate to do this to them at a time when they still may have cared, if such a time had existed. Doing that would have not crossed my mind. It is why it was done to ME first.

    I started wondering why she did this. It doesn't come out of nowhere. She, by all opinions, had not been on drugs, or drank too much, and was not mentally ill (at least they seemed to be honest about her). She had always been a good student and hard worker. She had some fights with her parents, but that's pretty typical teen stuff. She didn't hit them or threaten them.

    So I didn't know her side or what caused it. Their other sibling was obviously the "golden child" and this one was the scapegoat. Maybe there was a valid reason she had cut them off that way.

    If I had not had all my intensive therapy nor these Chronicles, I think I would have just assumed this was all on her and that she was hurting perfectly nice people for no reason. And it could be the case.

    But I don't know why she did it.

    Because of that, I can't judge her or them. I am not the only scapegoat in the world. I have come to see that this is common and that younger people are not taking it, the way we did. Not always anyway.
    Unlike me, her family still loves her and wants her back, but they are respecting her wishes to not bother them. Maybe, in their hearts, they believe they had nothing to do with her actions. And maybe they didn't.

    That's just it. I don't know.

    I never automatically think "how mean" anymore. Although I doubt I ever had it in me to write such a mean letter to EVERYONE in my family, my grandmother included, it may have been better if I had done something similar to everyone else. But it just wasn't something that I could have done that way. But for all I know, this child was doing what she needed to do to live in peace. I wasn't there.

    I think some people don't realize what abuse is. Again, I have no way of knowing if there WAS abuse. But I do know my family thought they were fine and *I* was the abusive one. And that they refuse to listen to my side of the story and that's ok.

    I no longer judge other's family strife. I wasn't there. I don't know.

    Just my thoughts on a day that sent my "deep thinking" mind into overdrive. It was an nice day and a great get together and everyone seemed really nice and normal. But people put on acts too, don't they?

    Yes, I'm up!!! I w as asleep, then woke up and felt very awake. Yes, I had too much caffeine today at too late in the day ;)

    Have a nice, peaceful, serene night.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2016
  2. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Could she be like Gone Boy, Serenity? Something in her that needs to behave so hurtfully to feed her own ego ~ to sort of make the world fit her interpretation of herself as better than?

    I feel badly for the parents and the other family members. I never thought about it this way, but shunning could be done by one person, couldn't it. If they notified everyone that they were rotten people and the person was shunning them and threatened them with rejection if they so much as send a present for the kids.

    There are all kinds of people in the world, aren't there.

    I feel really badly for the parents. The thing is that it's impossible to make sense of why these hurtful things are happening to us. I am glad we have one another, here.

    It is a really hard thing not to blame ourselves when we are mistreated over time. It's like, we cannot believe they are doing what they are doing. And we do begin to question ourselves and to blame ourselves.

  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Cedar, I don't know what happened. It could be on her. It could be on them. We don't know how she was treated by her family. I do think she used a very cruel way to cut contact, but that is what was done to me (although not written) so I guess I more desensitized to it than others.

    I feel badly for the parents. I feel they were and are good people.She did not have Goneboy's issues of not having known her family until age six. She is a biological child in a two parent family who never divorced and she did get all the advantages that go with that. Mom babysat for free for her child that she has not seen for years. Sounds awful, I know.

    But we never know what goes on behind closed doors. Something must have perpetrated this shun. Who knows what???
  4. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    This is what my sister did to my mother a few years before my mother died. My sister had cut off my mother after the fiasco when she hospitalized my mother against her will.

    When my mother got mad, my sister blamed her. During the interval of no contact my sister got breast cancer. She wrote to my mother telling her that my mother and I were toxic to her, inferring we caused her cancer, saying she did not ever want anything to do with us.

    Subsequently my sister changed her mind, apparently, because there was more she could extract from my mother. Then in the last year, my sister cut my mother and I off for good.
    I think they are essentially weak people that need to interpret things in self-serving ways so that they feel strong and look at what they do as strength rather than the weakness it really is. It is not only they want to feel better than others, they want to feel better than the reality of what they are. As well as better than others.
    People do this who were not necessarily mistreated by family. They do this for reasons that are self-serving, as did my sister.

    Shunning is the weapon of weak people who do not feel strong enough to be in real relationship they cannot control or then shun to feel they can define other people in order to feel big.

    My sister does want to see herself as powerful and dominating, when she is really a nutcase. That is all I have to say about her.

    I have been thinking a lot about all of this lately, how people in my family of origin were so ambitious when they (including me) were really, are essentially limited and fragile people. I think that was what really drove us: our limitation rather than any strength. Thank you.

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    Last edited: Jan 18, 2016
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Yep. Like my sister. And my mother. They are two of a kind.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    All I'll say is AMEN ;)
  8. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    My Hoku contacted Tornado and encouraged her to make amends. Her reply was that she was "cast off" . There is nothing further from the truth. Her mind is set that the family rejected her, when in actuality, she continued to be extremely disrespectful and objectified all of us.
    That is what is rejected, her actions, not her.
    Most of Tornados contact in the past, with her sisters was for something she wanted. Most of what she wanted, had to do with her addiction.
    Blossom took care of her children for a time, with no thank you's, no appreciation, just Tornados feeling of entitlement.
    Both sisters have bent over backwards to help the grands.
    When Tornado left, she cut all of us off.
    She knew, lines were being drawn with all of us on the lifestyle she chooses, and how it was affecting us.
    She chose her abusive boyfriend and drugs, and shunned us. Huh.


    What has happened as I understand from others here, writing of shunning from their FOO, is that the norm in the family was one of mistreatment. Those who grew up with this, saw it for what it was and rejected this "norm." Stood up for right treatment, then were shunned for their bravery in seeing that there is a better, kinder, more loving way to live and treat family.

    In our case here, with my two, of course we made mistakes but the family code we tried to follow was to care for one another, to appreciate each others differences. To live and learn, forgive and love each other.

    When drugs took a hold of my two, their lives became a mess. They refused to see the mess as consequences of their actions, kept blaming their FOO (us) for the choices they made. They shunned all of us, the way we lived, yet kept coming back for "help".
    I see how imbalanced this relationship was and is, how they began to despise us,
    but at the same time, expected to be enabled.
    Detachment "sealed" the deal.
    By not giving in to their demands and expectations of entitlement, we became "BAD."

    Hoku says, "It is all in their minds Mom, they have told their story so many times, they believe it. It is not true Mom, we had a good life, you did the best job you could. Too bad for them."

    I can't thank God enough, that I have my three, who share this with me. They yearn for a closeness wth their two sisters, but understand because of their lifestyle choices, this is not possible.
    They refuse to be hurt, objectified and used anymore.
    They have not shunned their sisters, but have shunned their ways. Their sisters do not try to contact them.

    For now it is an impasse.
    This does not mean there is no hope. We hope for change.

    I think shunning is also a way to validate ones actions and way of living. If family maintains their lives with respectful, kind treatment of one another- trying to follow a moral compass, then for those who have strayed far beyond the family beliefs, it is a constant reminder of the boundaries they crossed.

    This is what I see of my two.

    Looking at me, they have to have a glimpse, a true memory of what their lives were, the good times they had, compared with what they are doing now.
    It must be painful.
    The reality of being possessed by addiction.
    The things they have had to do, to feed the monster.
    Instead of looking at addiction as the monster, they have flipped the switch, and view their family this way.
    We are the monsters. I can only imagine what stories they have told others.

    The no contact, shunning is a way to continue on, as is.

    The way my Rain treats me is a way of shunning.
    Shunning the natural relationship a mother and daughter could have.
    She will keep doing what she does, her addiction has taken over, her drug using friends are family.
    That is why she can say to me "You think you are so high and mighty."
    Her "family" now, are people who scrounge, steal and lie to get high.
    Meth is their master.
    How can one perpetrate bad acts against others, and view them as equals, even people?
    They shun normalcy, much like some teens, brand high school kids who do well, as "nerds".

    Addicts must work hard to convince themselves that their way of living is acceptable.
    The way they do this is to shun normalcy, shun decency.
    Those who live this way, are "high and mighty", in their minds, they deserve to stolen from. "Who do they think they are?" must be their way of thinking. "Who do they think they are to look down on our drug using and lifestyle?"
    I think the root of shunning is justification. In order to keep walking a path of deceit, hurtful deeds and selfishness, everyone who tries to live otherwise must be made as fools, or the enemy in their minds. It is a way to lift themselves up, to justify their actions.
    My sister in law went out with a man for a long time who was a smooth talker, a scammer. Friendly, funny and charismatic, he could sell someone their own shirt off their backs, and laugh about, congratulate himself on a job well done. I asked him once how he could justify making money off of his "friends", he said with casualness, rather flippantly "I am providing something they want, and if I make a lot of money off of them, then we both win, they get what they want, and I get richer."

    I think that is a form of shunning, shunning decency and how to treat people. With that, comes a justification of wrongful action to the person committing the deed. It is the other persons fault, for allowing it to happen.

    The world is full of all sorts of people, with all sorts of perspectives.
    There seems to be a glut of objectifying and depersonalizing people.
    The "me" attitude, is so prevalent.

    Not to be preachy, but the opposite of the "me" attitude, are the beatitudes

    Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. (5:3)
    Blessed are those who mourn: for they will be comforted. (5:4)
    Blessed are the meek: for they will inherit the earth. (5:5)
    Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they will be filled. (5:6)
    Blessed are the merciful: for they will be shown mercy. (5:7)
    Blessed are the pure in heart: for they will see God. (5:8)
    Blessed are the peacemakers: for they will be called children of God. (5:9)
    Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (5:10)

    The "me" attitude of this world, promotes self gratification above all else. It is why a person like Trump, can rise in the polls. Aren't we all pretty much aghast, at this? How are people so mislead?

    I think the same thing is happening to families. The "me" attitude.
    It allows shunning.

    Shunning is a weapon.
    It says, I am right and you are wrong, so wrong, that I will have nothing to do with you.

    Shunning. It is hateful and abusive.

    Back to the yard...........I am chopping and cutting, using a machete.
    Good way to work out the audacity and complete insanity of it all.
    Cedar, you chop onions, I am going to chop bushes. LOL
    "When chopping bushes, just chop bushes...."

    I think the answer to shunning is the same as the answer to the degradation my two are living.

    My answer at this moment is to strive hard to live my life to the fullest, and show by my actions and deeds, how to live a good rest of my life.
    Of course I will slip and fall with mistakes and misdeeds, no one is perfect.

    I will try my best to do the right thing. The right thing for myself and others.

    The right thing is to stand up, build up and not allow other people, family members, d cs included, to take away my joy.
    Life is too short.
    For goodness sake, it seems like yesterday, I was 20...........Years go by, in the blink of an eye.
    I will still hope for change with my two, but in the meantime,
    I have got to straighten my back.....
    not let their choices and actions affect me so much.
    I hope for change for them, and work for change in my responses and patterns.


    Thank you for the discussion.

    Phew, what a vent.

    Enjoy your MLK day. What a great man, and example for us all.

  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Absolutely true, Leafie. But your situation, which is very tragic, is not the case for all. Read on, please. I believe it about you and your girls. But...

    I know what happened in MY family that I witnessed and experienced. I KNOW how badly I was treated, yet I was expected to accept it and be nice about it too and never talk about our dysfunctional, which covered ALL of us. All situations are different.

    All I'm saying here is that I don't know this particular young woman, who seems to have gotten her act together and is NOT talking drug talk. I don't know how she was treated by her parents that caused her to do this. It is a pretty extreme step to take. She is in her early 30's. I have never seen anything to indicate she was mistreated.

    But my sibs didn't see the extent my mother abused me either. At least, they didn't see all of it. Wht they did see, they chalked up to, "It's her fault" (the child) or "Well, that' s just how good ole Mom is." Their perception of how I was treated by my family (most of them) is wrong and a lot of that is unwillingness to admit it and lack of knowledge because Mom was at her worst alone with me and told her own stories, I'm sure. If they did not recall her calling me stupid, lazy, selfish, etc. etc. etc. and worse then they were just numb to it and did not pay attention. This is common in dysfunctional families. She also abused my sister as a child, but my sister won't admit it. Instead, she blames me as her abuser, although I was a child. That, of course, is ridiculous. It is up to the parents to maintain order and discipline, not the kids.

    I wasn't there to see why t his young woman did this. She is a Special Education teacher, never did drugs, drank a bit in college only, worked her entire life, did her chores, and talked back when she was a teen. Her sister is also very productive, but had better chemistry with the parents. She did not talk back. This is about all I know.

    I never judge another's actions anymore when it comes to these matters. I don't have all the info. Heck, people in our families don't have all the info on what happened to US. So how can I judge this young woman without knowing about the reason for the shun? I think she did it wrong and in the meanest possible way. This I know first hand.

    What I don't know is why it happened. Nobody gave up that information to me and it was none of my business to ask.

    I don't admire this young woman for how she handled things, but I sure wish I had gone away from everyone in my family at her age. I had good reason and it would have been far better for me to have cut t he ties before they could hurt me the way they did. I could have just disconnected without the letter. Nobody would have missed me and, in time, I would not have missed them. I don't miss them now. Yes, I know. It's sad that I don't, but it is...what it is. Not one of them, except for my dear grandmother and my father who loves me as much as the others did one thing to enrich my life. But I was "other" oriented back then and didn't want to hurt them or make them feel bad and it was also beyond my scope of understanding to leave a family of origin.Plus I still was half thinking their cruelty was MY fault 100%. That I deserved to be treated like dirt under their shoes.

    The shun/no contact is new. I wish therapists had told me to do this way back when. It would have taken me a few years to digest it, but I think I would have seen it was for the best, except for my grandmother and father.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2016
  10. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    When I had enough of my own family, I just went away. No letters. There was a time, before, that I did tell my mother of my anger in phone calls. It did not help. It upset both of us and I do not recall it helped. I went away. For 15 years or so. Without contact at all from my family who did not call me. Only once did my sister send a wedding invitation to her second wedding. I think I would have either been a display item or she wanted me to see all of her presents, and weep in envy. She married well financially. That was the arrangement.

    I think to rub your family's face in it is sadistic. There is a wanting to cause hurt. That is even worse than shunning. It is shunning in order to break a person. The hope is that they will break.


    To define oneself as more powerful, better relative to others by ostracizing the other.

    To define oneself to oneself as powerful enough to control and define your environment.

    To punish anybody who questions your power, by rejecting your attempt to control and define them.

    Last edited: Jan 18, 2016
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Wonderful, Copa. So very true.
  12. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    I can see why you are reflecting on this Serenity, from your own experience and what knowledge you do have of this family.
    I guess the reality is that no one knows exactly why things happen the way they do with others, and what the real truth of different family's can be. Especially with that "don't tell family secrets unspoken rule."
    It is puzzling, for sure what would be the motivation of writing letters to cut off all family.
    A mystery........shunning is nasty.
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    It makes sense to me when kids are on drugs and are not really themselves and feeling maybe a bit ashamed of themselves and need to blame their families. I think, Leafie, that once the drugs are gone, the people who were changed by the drugs come back. This is what I think probably happened to your girls. It was not your fault. You raised two grls who changed when they started altering their brains. They will love you dearly again once they quit. And at some point, they probably will. Or they will mellow out and cut down. I feel bad that they hurt you. Very bad. You so don't deserve that.

    I do remember something now about that young woman I spoke about.

    She was in the military and got hurt and then I remember some talk about pain pill addiction. It just hit me. I'd forgotten. So maybe drugs are a factor with her too. I know her mother was worried, but it was so long ago, I barely remember our conversation.

    Drugs are so evil.

    I may be the only one scapegoated by people who are mean to me for their own reasons, but do not take drugs, at least on this forum. Oh, well. I don't get it and, since they are not my children, I don't care....

    You are so kind, Leafie. I'm sure you were/are the best most loving mother in the world.
  14. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I will add one more thing to my description of shunning, which is the most important thing:

    Who shuns wants to define the family or social group. It is the ultimate power tool, defining who is in and who is out. This is what Cedar's mother does when she glories that she can be the one to tells the family stories, and invents lies. Enjoying the manipulation of dead people's stories, when we are left scratching our heads. What in the world can somebody gain by telling lies about a dead person, we ask?

    Like when my sister gloried in telling me she would not come to the memorial for my mother, because "they" would be having "their own" memorial to which I was not invited.

    How convenient for my sister: Now that my mother was dead and out of the way, she would no longer be shunned. But I would be. I would be shunned from the true and proper memorial held by the true blood kin. my sister and her girls.

    She was done with my mother, now dead. She could define her as she wished. She could elevate herself by "mourning" the mother for whom she had done everything, while shunning the sister who was responsible for all of the pain and shame in the family.

    Shunning: Telling the story of who is in or out of the family. Good riddance to bad rubbish. Power. There has to be something here related to the idea of shame and decay.

    Remember the book I mentioned? Purity and Danger by the anthropologist Mary Douglas. Being able to tell the story must be related not only to insider and outsider, and the power to define it. It must be related to the ability to declare what is pure and what is decadent or has gone bad or rotten. And in my family, it appears to be me.

  15. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Ohhhh, that may explain a lot. She may have PTSD, too. Pain pill addiction is BAD news. I saw a family go down the tubes with that one. Both parents had surgery and got completely hooked. The change we all saw was baffling. They even posted their woes and wars on Facebook, each of them claiming the other had the problem......the poor kids got lost in the maelstrom.
    I feel for our young soldiers. I spoke with a nurse, she started pouring her heart out to me, husband in the military, came back from a tour, completely changed, controlling funds, verbally abusive. She tried to work things out, and her family shunned her for it. They wanted her to leave him. She felt guilty, he served the country, they had four kids, so she was willing to try. It got to the point where it became unbearable for her. She is stuck in the same house with him while going through a divorce, she is trying to make her way back home. It is sad.
    She said the military has an 85% divorce rate, due to this kind of thing.

    Essentially, this girl you are writing of, divorced her family. Sad.

    Oh Swot, I had my moments, as we all do. There are times I remember that I wished I had done things differently. I wish I could get a "do over" on my worst, stupid mothering mistakes. We all make mistakes, and I am raising my hand up for that confession. That is what kept me in the guilt stage for a long time.......thank you, I do try to be kind, but know my kids have a tale or two to tell on Mom.
    It is okay, no one is perfect, and I did the best I could do.

    Thanks Serenity, I do hope my two will wake up.
    But I am damned sure I will not sit around waiting for it!
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Oh, I love this. Can't tell you how much.

    Well, the shun will never happen again. I love my father with all my heart, but when the sad day comes when he passes and if there is something after the services, I won't know about it. I will pay my respects with my family and leave right after.

    There is no shunning in my real family ;) I left that behind me.
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Nope. She got hurt before she served a day. In training camp. So she never left the country.

    But I did hear some talk about pain pills and I know they can be pretty nasty. What I don't know, however, is if she is still using them.
    Thanks for the always good input, Leafie!!
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Oh, Leafie, all of us do!!!!! You wouldn't be human if you didn't feel this way. We all look back and think we could have done certain things differently and better. Isn't hindsight great? ;)
  19. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hindsight is friggin awesome, LOL.
    If only hindsight were foresight. Ha ha, but then it wouldn't be hindsight.
  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Leafie, this was what I was trying to say.

    Your girls do not think you are "baaaaaaad." The drugs took over and are changing rational thought to drug thought. A person on drugs is never in his/her right mind.

    I hope you have a happy ending with your girls. In the meantime, I'm so glad you have loved ones who are able to love you the way you deserve to be loved.