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Old 09-28-2012, 06:20 PM
ThatGirlInGray ThatGirlInGray is offline
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Default Honesty vs Over-sharing

This isn't really about poly, but is a question about when one crosses a line from being honest to over-sharing or being cruel, so I thought I'd bring it to you all, since that's a topic that comes up a lot.

So, a tiny bit of background: last year, my family learned that my uncle (by marriage, not blood-related) had molested my 16 year old cousin (his niece, not his daughter). It was immediately stated that he was no longer welcome at any of our family functions. No one wanted to have anything to do with him and he moved out of my aunt's house and they got a legal separation. Though I knew the wheels of the court system would be slow (both for the prosecution of his crime and getting a divorce) I was under the impression that things were on their way to reaching an end of sorts.

Apparently I was wrong. I learned just this week that, though they are still legally separated, my aunt has made a choice to keep her husband in her life and has allowed him to move back in. I don't understand her choice at all, and have decided that if I can not trust her to keep someone she KNOWS has hurt someone else in that way out of her life, then I am not comfortable trusting her around myself or my children, even if he kept to the agreement and never accompanied her on any family visits ever again.

Other people in my family have chosen to just stop communicating with her. I don't know what they'll do if they're at a family function she comes to. I know I will take my kids and leave until she's gone, and no one in my family (that I know of) has a problem with my decision or is questioning my right to make it. My question comes down to: do I just stop communication, or do I explicitly tell my aunt what choice I am making and why?

I am one of those "errs on the side of over-sharing" people. MC and TGIB probably know WAY more about my relationship with the other than they really need to, but that's how I am and everyone currently in a relationship with me is okay with it. I need people close to me to understand me, and with that comes knowledge of other people in my life. So in this instance, my gut is telling me to write her an email explaining to her how I feel her choice affects me and what choice I will be making because of it. But then I wonder- am I being unnecessarily harsh or somehow subconsciously trying to punish her? Would it be more right to just let contact with her die, and only explain if she asks (which is unlikely)?

So, I need a little perspective here, folks. I'm just slightly too mired in this muck to be able to be objective. Thanks for any help you feel like giving.
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Old 09-28-2012, 08:30 PM
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MusicalRose MusicalRose is offline
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These kinds of situations are never simple or easy.

Most important of all, on the bottom line, is that you need to do what is right by you, morally and ethically. If you are not ready to forgive her for this, then you are not ready. If you do not want her in your life because of this, you don't want her there.

That said, if you think you can stomach it, as long as your uncle is not around, I do not think that she will be a danger to you or your children. If she has a good relationship with your children and they might be hurt by never seeing her again, it might be something to consider toughing through family gatherings that she is at, even if you never invite her to your own home or allow your children to go visit her without your direct supervision.

While I think most people would disagree with the choice she has made, she isn't in an easy position either. A man that she loved and promised to live her entire life with and had children with is not the person she thought he was. As healthy as it might be to cut him out of her life and move on, not everyone is that strong. I just hope that her daughter does not suffer the same fate as your cousin.

I don't think there is anything wrong sending an email to her stating your concerns. At least on my end, I like to be dealt with straight up. I don't like it when people just drop out of my life. Even if I can probably guess the reason why, I don't like to do that. I like to know why someone has chosen to remove me from their life. That way, even though it hurts I can move on and stop wondering what happened. The way I see it, you don't need to be cruel to firmly state that you do not think you can abide by her decision and that you wish to discontinue her acquaintance with you and with your children unless and until she is no longer with your uncle, that you understand that this situation isn't easy for her, but that you do not think it is healthy for your family to be around her or hers in light of the events that have taken place.

I'm very sorry that you have to go through something like this. I've never had any molestation in my family that I know of, but I can't imagine how I would feel if I found out about something like that. I hope that your cousin is safe from her father and I hope that no one else gets hurt due to this situation.
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Old 09-28-2012, 08:56 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Quote:
my aunt has made a choice to keep her husband in her life and has allowed him to move back in. I don't understand her choice at all, and have decided that if I can not trust her to keep someone she KNOWS has hurt someone else in that way out of her life,
Abuser abuses the niece. That the family knows. Has the family investigated if the abuser was also abusing the aunt? Maybe he was doing separation abuse to her?

Sometimes abused people have to make that kind of choice -- because the abuser has a hold on finances, blackmail, threatening to kill the children, the victim, god knows!

Maybe she isn't crazy about it but takes him back so he doesn't kill her, the niece or other relatives!

So rather than dump more stuff at the aunt so YOU can feel better (unload all your bewildered at her) I guess I'd keep you bewildered to yourself for a bit and reach out (if you are going to reach out) to ask if SHE is ok first? In need of aid? Help? And ask why she would take back the Molester Uncle? Is she in danger? Can you help her find aid?

And go into it knowing she may not be free to speak/type freely if he's in the room listening and monitoring her/reading over her shoulder.

The leaving time is always the scary time -- abusers are whackadoodle.

GG

Last edited by GalaGirl; 09-29-2012 at 02:56 AM.
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Old 09-28-2012, 09:19 PM
SkylerSquirrel SkylerSquirrel is offline
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I like to be dealt with straight up. I don't like it when people just drop out of my life. Even if I can probably guess the reason why, I don't like to do that. I like to know why someone has chosen to remove me from their life. That way, even though it hurts I can move on and stop wondering what happened.
Agreed.

I think GalaGirl has a good point though.
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Old 09-28-2012, 09:24 PM
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I think I would confront her if it were me. I would want her to know my position. I would just say that I feel it is very unfortunate that she has taken him back, and because of that I question her judgment, and cannot let myself or my family be anywhere near her or her husband. And then I would express concern for her in making this decision, but that I would only be receptive to being there for her if he is out of the picture, offer my support if that ever happens, and then I'd say goodbye.
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Last edited by nycindie; 09-28-2012 at 09:26 PM.
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Old 09-28-2012, 11:27 PM
ThatGirlInGray ThatGirlInGray is offline
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Her children are all in their 40's. This is her second husband (after a very messy, nasty divorce from her first asshole cheater husband) and they have no children together. So, though I wouldn't be surprised if he's preying on her insecurities and fear of being alone, along with her lack of feelings of self-worth and self-respect, I seriously doubt she's in fear of her life. He was out of the house for over a year without incident, and when we were told by my cousin what had happened, it also came out that he'd had inappropriate (though not illegal) behavior over the years with several other nieces. What we thought was a combination of cultural differences and lack of understanding of social boundaries was found to be something much worse, and in the police investigation that followed I'm fairly sure they looked at the "who else could he have molested?" angle.

I am not asking for opinions of whether or not I should see her or let my children see her. They've seen her a handful of times in their lives and barely know who she is. I've made my decision based on what I need for my mental health, which is that I will not see her, and my children will not be around her without me, so they won't see her. I am not looking to be my aunt's rescuer. My mother will do that in a heartbeat if she feels it's necessary. I'm also not looking to try to change her mind. No one else has at this point, there's no reason to think I would be successful. All I'm looking for are perspectives on being upfront with her about why she will no longer see me, versus ending contact without explanation. So far it seems like being upfront is the popular choice. Thanks for the responses that address that part.
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Old 09-29-2012, 04:05 AM
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Arrowbound Arrowbound is offline
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If that's how you are, then I would just go ahead and send her an email and be done with it.

Me personally, I don't mince words and so my best bet has always been to drop out of sight.
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Old 09-29-2012, 04:02 AM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
I think I would confront her if it were me. I would want her to know my position. I would just say that I feel it is very unfortunate that she has taken him back, and because of that I question her judgment, and cannot let myself or my family be anywhere near her or her husband. And then I would express concern for her in making this decision, but that I would only be receptive to being there for her if he is out of the picture, offer my support if that ever happens, and then I'd say goodbye.
This. Telling her why you're cutting off contact isn't cruel nor is it over sharing. Being dropped without understanding why or having the chance to make peace with it is crueler in my mind. So, as Nyc said, be direct but firm and clear. Maybe it'll even be some sort of wake-up call for her.

I'm so sorry that your family is going through this, and I think your decision makes perfect sense.
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Old 09-29-2012, 05:38 PM
AutumnalTone AutumnalTone is offline
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So, you are , in effect, going to tell her that you think she's gonna molest your children? That will accomplish *what*, exactly?

If she doesn't see you and yours very often and doesn't spend any time to speak of with you, then she poses no threat to you or your children. The relatives that screw things up serve as good opportunities to model functional adult behavior for children. You get the chance to describe a bad example, then discuss the ramifications of the situation, then possible responses, then explain why you take the course of action you do. It's an opportunity to show children how to be good adults.

I just don't see shunning a relative who doesn't present a threat to you as being very functional. There's no reason to get involved in her life to help her, if you're not moved to do so. I fail to see any good reason to make major adjustments in what you do (leave family functions because she's there? Really?). I'd say that's paranoid.

However, to answer your question directly, unless you're honestly wanting a dialogue on the matter, don't bother her with it. She has enough to concern her without any unnecessary drama being tossed on the pile.
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Old 09-30-2012, 09:29 AM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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I don't understand why you think telling her would be cruel or punishing her.

Option one: you tell her "I'm going to cut you out of my life", explain why, and cut her out of your life. She knows where she is standing.

Option two: she stops seeing you around, might ask about you in case she's worried something happened to you, and eventually understand you're avoiding her. In this case, probably understands why, but is always left with the fact that you did even give her the respect to let her know about it.

I've had lots of people cut me out of their lives after I broke up with Raga. I lost all of my family on his side (so, his family), plus a bunch of friends we had in common. Almost every one. And each time, the person never let me know. And it was really tough. At first, I thought people were busy supporting Raga through the breakup so I didn't insist.
Then I started noticing some people hadn't updated their facebook statuses in a long time. I tried to go on their wall to check on them and they weren't in my list. I looked through my list and noticed a bunch of people missing.
At that point, I understood people were upset with me. I had no clue why, though (of course in your situation, chances are she would).
As far as I knew at that point, Raga and I had left on the best of terms. The last things he had said to me was that he wanted to stay friends, that I was still his best friend, etc. After that I had given him room to heal and so on, so I had no clue what had changed.

Only later did I realise a few things. One, Seamus had finally posted pictures of us together from 4 months or so prior, as we had waited for me and Raga to have been separated for a month first. I knew he'd be linked to them (as they were on each other's friend lists) but Raga had seen these pictures bunch of times and I didn't think it would be an issue. Turns out all my contacts also saw them because despite not being the one who posted them, I was identified on them.

At that point I though, did people think I was cheating? Raga didn't want us to be out, as much as I wanted to, and I had always respected that. I had assumed he'd have told them by now though, so I was surprised.
At that point, only people who didn't know we were poly seemed to have shunned me.

Later though, things like that happened again. I saw someone online on a chat program, said hi, and saw them get offline immediately, never to reappear online. On one occasion, the guy first told me "I think what you did to Raga is horrible and you're a terrible person. I never want anything to do with you again" and then blocked me before I had time to ask what it was that I did.

Only one person sent me an email, months after the fact, when I sent her one to ask if she was doing okay and how I was worried from not hearing from her. I was surprised that she was shunning me as well, since we were friends before she was friends with Raga, and I had always assumed our friendships would both continue independently regardless of whether I still talked with Raga or not.

If they had told me about it, it would have been much, much less hard. Having to realise it for every person again was like being stabbed in the back, and the fact that none of them talked to me first was the worst. They never checked with me what was true and what wasn't. They never asked for my version of the facts. How could I have thought they were my friends all that times? Friends don't judge before they have the facts. It was really harsh.

To this day I wonder how many of them would still be my friend if they had asked about my side of the story, and I have problem thinking that the answer would be anything but "all of them".

I think you should tell her how you feel. Your situation is different and unique of course, but right now it seems you know of everything second or third-hand. Even if you're sure you will act the same way, it seems to me you owe her to show that you are listening to her side. Otherwise, what if next people say your husband abused someone and that you're still with him, and they all shun you even though none of it is true? Not saying that it isn't true, but that I think you should hear it from her before you judge her for it.

Communication is important. If you weren't there, I don't think you can make a decision based on what other people say they heard. Maybe she needs help. Maybe she's coerced. Maybe she did make that decision. But in the end you don't know for sure until she's the one telling you about it.

And to send her an email and read her response, you don't need to risk your children's safety in any way. So it seems to me not doing so isn't anything other than cowardly.
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