March 14, 2019 at 5:54 pm #74495
Hello Sisters and Brothers,
I have lost 1 child to suicide and 1 to estrangement. I have one more who calls me very infrequently but does seem friendly when we do get together.
I started researching the effects of shunning.
Firstly, I don’t think it is a community or individual choice to shun me. My son is introverted, and possibly on the Autism spectrum with severe learning disabilities. He also has gotten bad advice. My husband seems to have a limited ability to bond with other humans or spend quality time with them. Members of my birth family had mental issues and were consumed with just surviving. But the effect was the same. I am alone and excluded from my family.
Shunning is social rejection and emotional distancing, according to Wikipedia. Religious communities practiced it in a formal manner throughout history. And still do – TO CONTROL MEMBERS BEHAVIOR. I think this is something we should all be aware of. When we live in a household that refuses to participate in family activities, gives us the cold shoulder or have family members who refuse contact, they are ultimately trying to control our behavior. Their reasons may be warped, but that is certainly the effect of silence.
My own child’s behavior reminds me a good deal of Mean Girl tactics. Research has shown that bullying, ostracizing and shunning, in schoolyard situations, actually changes the brain of the victim. We are meant to belong to a cooperative unit. Our brains work that way. Being shunned profoundly affects us. We feel less-than and have trouble functioning physically and mentally. We can’t make decisions and lose trust. We feel isolated.
Our culture places a high value on independent people, people who don’t need people in order to survive. We have a government social net because those who are unable to provide for themselves are basically ignored by relatives, neighbors and community. What have we created?
More importantly, what are we capable of creating? For those of us who found family an important part of our lives, we initially became the fixers, the people who tried to keep everyone together and happy. But that didn’t work. We’ve been given a second time around by our estranged children. This time I suggest we focus on one thing. Life is sacred. We, every single one of us, matter because we have a pulse. You and I are worthy because we are alive, not because of our money, status or beauty. We belong to the community of humans for that one reason. Our situation may change us, but our worth will never change. For those few individuals who don’t consider us worthy, it is their loss. For the rest of the individuals around us, whether they are in need or not, we will be present and honor them with belonging. We will be merciful, kind and loving. I sincerely hope this helps someone.
March 14, 2019 at 7:18 pm #74499
Yes, theres a lot of truth in what you have said. Thank you for sharing.
March 14, 2019 at 7:19 pm #74501
What an insightful and wonderful post, AntoniaZ!
I believe my son may have a personality defect or be on the spectrum. He was never a very popular kid- he was never in a group of kids- he was very smart and kinda a loner in school. I always felt his behavior was normal as my husband is a very quiet man who seldom speaks or interacts with others. There is also mental illness in my mother’s family.
Your post was very good- thanks for sharing.
Sorry you are in this sad situation!
March 14, 2019 at 7:20 pm #74502
Antonia, you’ve presented a logical concept and on the surface, it makes complete sense. Where I am in my human being of being a feeling person, is that feelings and consideration for other’s feelings are not present. In an ideal world, we would all get along, be supportive of each other, heaven only knows that life on this earth is not easy at times, that there are many horrible things that happen to people, illness, death, the loss of a child, a spouse, sibling, jobs, homes, and so on. So why don’t people get along, why do they treat others with so little caring of another human being?
Knowing our own self-worth after our own child rejects us is a very immobilizing emotion. I feel as you do, that given one life to live, why would you spend it in such a negative way, but being human, I muddle along like many others, in deliberate thought of treating others with kindness and being the receiver of kindness. But life doesn’t work that way, apparently. And because of that, boundaries need to be set, protection of ourselves, needs to be set into play.
Idealistically so, I wish it were otherwise, realism is another matter.
March 15, 2019 at 7:49 pm #74576
Thank you for this. I never connected the estrangement to social shunning, and the tribal implications are a useful lens. Always looking for alternate lenses to try to get a toehold on sanity and peace of heart amidst this loss.
March 16, 2019 at 12:11 am #74604
Such barbaric behavior cannot exist where there is love, compassion, acceptance, understanding and human decency.
Great post AntoniaZ!
March 17, 2019 at 2:14 am #74654
Thank you for sharing that perspective. It is definitely helping me, thinking over parts of what you wrote, over the past couple of days, since I read it.
Being shunned, defines it a bit differently in my mind.
And clarifies, that it is has horrible effects on a human, to be shunned, and by one’s own kin, or loved one(s) ….
No wonder I have a myriad of distressing responses, and have not gotten myself un-stuck, easily or more quickly, or more solidly. It has damaged me. So it is much harder to recover. Yet, that is the challenge I now have to undertake. Looking for ways to reverse or heal that damage. I want to un-shun myself. Un-shame myself. Find the positive path, I am meant to be on, as a human.
BeeHere4me, wrote ” love, compassion, acceptance, understanding and human decency… ”
Those are the opposite of shunning one another.
Including ones who loved you and cared for you, too.
It’s one of the forms of cruelty between humans.
No wonder I need others, here.
March 17, 2019 at 3:41 am #74662
AntoniaZ this is such a good post. Yes estrangement is the same as shunning. It is all the things you say. Thanks for this post. It shifted my perspective. Something I needed tonight
March 24, 2019 at 2:45 am #75109
Thank you, I definitely needed it
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