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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Back in the Closet, You! (Page 2)

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Author Topic: Back in the Closet, You!
Scott R
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>> I can't think of a single speech you could give your kids about the evils of homosexual relationships that would counteract their obvious embodiment of the contrary.<<

Speech? Certainly not.

Focusing on other people's sins isn't how you teach your children to follow God's plans. I'd reinforce, instead, the beauty of the Mormon idea of celestial marriage, and the constraints that God has placed on marriage and sexual relationships.

The emphasis isn't on sin, but on obedience. And not OTHER people's obedience, but on your/our own.

If one of our children chooses to pursue a homosexual lifestyle, I can't think of anything better able to drive them away from the gospel of Christ than to alienate and ostracize them. Good, bad, or ugly, I hope I always treat my children like we're an eternal family-- I have no clue how God will judge their actions. All I have is THIS present moment to love them, and gain their trust. I hope they learn to love God and Christ. I hope they are obedient, and that they seek repentence when they stray. My place in God's scheme is to. . . well, love them, gain and keep their trust, teach them the right way to walk, and keep them as safe as I can-- all their whole life long, under my roof or not.

I don't think that can be done at arm's length. We might feel uncomfortable about it, but anyone valuable to our children is a part of our family, and is welcome to our family gatherings.

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Zotto!
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'Zactly.
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TomDavidson
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quote:

Focusing on other people's sins isn't how you teach your children to follow God's plans. I'd reinforce, instead, the beauty of the Mormon idea of celestial marriage, and the constraints that God has placed on marriage and sexual relationships.

That's wonderful and beautiful. Great.
But I don't think an intelligent way to launch that conversation would be to bring it up the day after the Christmas party, referencing "Uncle Bob and his friend" specifically. Because then you're implicitly critiquing the quality of their relationship and contrasting it with "good" relationships.

Putting a positive value on celestial marriage is one thing, and that can be done pretty much at any time. Launching into a "we don't approve of homosexual relationships" bit, like the approach tern mentioned, doesn't seem constructive -- or even feasible -- in the least.

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Scott R
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quote:
But I don't think an intelligent way to launch that conversation would be to bring it up the day after the Christmas party, referencing "Uncle Bob and his friend" specifically. Because then you're implicitly critiquing the quality of their relationship and contrasting it with "good" relationships.

It depends on the situation. We've already talked to our kids about God's expectations regarding marriage. I won't commit to saying when and under what circumstances I'm going to reinforce the lesson.
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Zotto!
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In any case, I don't think a critique of any given lifestyle is inherently off-limits. What I disagree with is when such honest critiques devolve into purposeful offensiveness and exclusion. I don't think that the very idea of a critique of someone's choices should be inherently offensive, especially if you're trying to instill your worldview in your children.

If you disagree with drinking alchohol, but a relative shows up who actively drinks, I think it's fine to talk to your kids about it. Ask them to think about the fact that while other people might choose that sort of lifestyle, we don't in our family, and we should nevertheless treat the relative with kindness, because unless their drinking starts affecting us negatively, they possess many honorable traits, worthy of our love.

What annoys me is when people stop recognizing the good qualities in a person simply because they disagree with one aspect of their behaviour/sexuality/political affiliations, or whatever.

Edit: Y'know, this post doesn't actually adequately convey my thoughts. Hurm. It's more complex than what I've written, but I can't seem to put it into words.

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KarlEd
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Yet I feel I understand very well what you are are saying, Zotto!, and I respect your point of view. While I dislike the association with alcohol, I do realize that many good people have a worldview in which homosexuality is a weakness and a sin. I can accept that and try to get along with them. But I have a hard time accepting those who won't recognize that in my own worldview my homosexuality is anything but a weakness and a sin.
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Belle
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I have a gay cousin who has been living with a partner for years and while we don't really socialize (they live in a different state) we have been together at functions where at least one of my kids was present and I would never dream of insulting her to the point of telling her she couldn't bring her partner.

There were no questions from my child, I guess she either didn't notice or just didn't care.

quote:

I am trying to find a way to say this that is not offensive.

Unless one is accustomed to detailed discussions of private sexual activities at one's family reunions, how on earth could it matter to those involved? If the child is young enough, a "friend" will just be a "friend," regardless of anyone's gender.

And if the child is old enough to ask questions, then what a perfect time to either:

1) answer those questions, if it is an appropriate time to do so, or

2) clarify what is and is not appropriate for discussion at such a social situation, and then attend to #1 later


I agree with CT here, that's exactly how I see it. It's not as if my children are never going to see gay couples in their entire lives. Now, there are limits - I wouldn't let a gay couple share a bedroom if they were staying with me, but neither do I allow non-married hetero couples to share bedrooms when they are guests in my home. But not invite them? No, that would be the height of incivility. My grandmother would be ashamed of me. [Wink]
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KarlEd
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Thanks for your support everyone. (And I do feel the support even from those of you who, at heart, disagree with the physical aspect of my relationship with Chris but respect my own right to decide these things for myself. [Smile] )

quote:
Originally posted by Dagonee:
Edit: one possibility is that your dad knows his family will act badly toward you and Chris, and he's trying to protect you from it. He's not going about it in a smart way, but it might really stem from a desire to protect you. Still sucks, though.

I wish I could believe this is true, even a little. My father has never acted out of any motivation to protect me. He was a Boy Scout leader (as a career and volunteer) and used to take me on camping trips, etc, even when I was too young to be a scout. Could be every boy's dream, huh? Getting to be one of the "big boys"? Spending time with dad? I was chubby and well-read and picked on and bullied mercilessly, often in front of my dad, and he never so much as reprimanded any of the perpetrators. I remember one grueling hike where one jerk with some bug up his hindquarters walked behind me for probably a mile throwing pebbles at my backpack while singing some filthy song about my mother and my dad was right there. The thing is, my dad couldn't stand the idea that maybe something he did to come down on a kid might somehow drive them away from scouting. Me? Well, he could make sure I went. Hell, I even make Eagle Scout, so he must have done something right, huh?

So, while I appreciate the intentions of those of you who posted these alternative viewpoints (and I really do), please forgive me if I accept them with a modicum of skepticism.

In truth, I think this incident is the end of my relationship with my father. Before this, we were civil - well, actually I was civil. He has been downright cordial when I've had any contact with him. But the problem is that back when I used to try to clear the air and tell him why I have the negative feelings about him that I do he has claimed to never remember one single incident of the many I have related. He has always taken the position of the father of the prodigal son, even eager in his own mind to have me back while never noticing that there is nothing for me to go back to. He's genuinely mystified that we don't have a daddy/son relationship as adults, even though we never had one when I was a child. I have spent my whole adult life feeling vaguely guilty that perhaps I haven't done enough, or cared enough, or had too much pride to just put it all behind me. But the bottom line is that if I strip away all the negative memories and feelings, I have so little left to work with that I end up trying to find a dad in a complete stranger. Well, that comparison doesn't work anymore because I couldn't possibly feel about a complete stranger of any kind the utter contempt I feel for him right now.

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katharina
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quote:
But I feel like he, of all people should have been more inclined to protect me from the insult than to pass it along.
This is exactly right. Whatever his feelings on it, he didn't treat you like he valued you as much as he valued the feelings of other members of the family, and that's wrong. He's your dad. He shouldn't have said that, at all. Not to steal your thread, but I've felt like that before - like I was sold down the river to appease other people. I'm so sorry, Karl. [Frown]

quote:
In truth, I think this incident is the end of my relationship with my father. Before this, we were civil - well, actually I was civil. He has been downright cordial when I've had any contact with him. But the problem is that back when I used to try to clear the air and tell him why I have the negative feelings about him that I do he has claimed to never remember one single incident of the many I have related. He has always taken the position of the father of the prodigal son, even eager in his own mind to have me back while never noticing that there is nothing for me to go back to. He's genuinely mystified that we don't have a daddy/son relationship as adults, even though we never had one when I was a child. I have spent my whole adult life feeling vaguely guilty that perhaps I haven't done enough, or cared enough, or had too much pride to just put it all behind me. But the bottom line is that if I strip away all the negative memories and feelings, I have so little left to work with that I end up trying to find a dad in a complete stranger.
Flip a few pronouns, and this is my relationship with my dad. If you figure something out, let me know.

[ December 12, 2005, 10:50 AM: Message edited by: katharina ]

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imogen
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Oh heck. I'm sorry, Karl. [Frown]

Compared to your experience, my relationship with my father has been positively peachy. I come from the standpoint that if I forgive my father for the stupid, stupid things he has done, there is still a very good relationship to be salvaged. Obviously that isn't the case in your situation, and I wish it wasn't so.

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Olivet
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Yeah. You can't do much when one person pretends there was never any problem. I'm with imogen - I'm glad my dad and I were able to clear the air and come together before he died.

I'm so sorry, Karl. [Frown] And Katie. *hugs*

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BannaOj
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[Frown] That sucks Karl. *hugs*
AJ

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KarlEd
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quote:
Now, there are limits - I wouldn't let a gay couple share a bedroom if they were staying with me, but neither do I allow non-married hetero couples to share bedrooms when they are guests in my home.
I have no problem with this at all. Personally, I'd choose to stay in a motel in such a situation, not because I just can't be separated from Chris for a night, but because for me sharing a room with him would be an affirmation that I see my relationship with Chris on an equal par with any of the married couples in my family. But I would never expect anyone to change the rules of their own home to accomodate me.
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KarlEd
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quote:
Not to steal your thread, but I've felt like that before - like I was sold down the river to appease other people. I'm so sorry, Karl.
Katie, that's exactly what it's like. I'm sorry you have to deal with this sort of thing, too. I can handle my own issues. It sucks when there's no way to get even a little validation for the hurt you feel, but its even worse when there isn't even acknowledgement of the events that brought the hurt. That sort of thing has made my Mom question her own sanity at times.
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Dagonee
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quote:
please forgive me if I accept them with a modicum of skepticism.
No forgiveness necessary, I mentioned it only because I've had someone point out something like that to me and been able to use it as the beginning of reconciliation, and I was very grateful to the person who pointed out the alternative viewpoint. Unfortunately, it sounds like your Dad has spit on any benefit of the doubt that might have existed. [Frown]

Chris should be able to take some comfort that you don't seem to have learned this behavior from your dad. (Edit: By this, I mean you are doing very well by Chris in a very difficult situation.)

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ludosti
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I'm really sorry that your father has treated you this way. I honestly can't believe that he would suggest such a thing.

As to your question, I would always welcome my family members and the people they care about to spend time with me. I know my immediate family would feel the same way (I can't speak for my extended family as I don't spend a lot of time with them or know them very well). I have been very proud of my parents in their dealings with my brother (who has chosen to pursue a different theological/philosophical path in life). While his lifestyle may not be what they would choose for him, they have welcomed him and his girlfriend into their home. I wish you could have the same kind of loving experience. Though you may not have it from your biological family, know that you at least have the love and support of your Hatrack family. [Smile]

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KarlEd
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I've spent the better part of my life since I was 16 trying to eradicate parts of my personality that I believe I got from my dad. I still cringe when someone says "You got that from your dad."

To be fair (or to make matters worse, I don't know) my dad is usually pretty well liked by those who don't have intimate emotional contact with him. He's the kind of guy who will buy two of something on sale and give one to the neighbors. But he's also the kind of guy who will tell my 12 year old sister that if his wife leaves him it will be all her fault.

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kmbboots
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Wow. More confirmation that you are an amazing guy.

I'm so sorry that you have to go through this "stuff".

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mr_porteiro_head
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>.<
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BaoQingTian
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I agree with what CT said. I had the thought upon reading the thread that any child who saw them together would probably think nothing of it. Unfortunately I don't think the situation would be that easily glossed over. If Chris and Karl at the reunion hold hands or kiss or flirt or do any of the hundreds of things that a couple in love does, then even the most MTV-sheltered child is going to wonder why two grown up male friends were kissing. And the way children are, they would probably wonder right then and there, and very vocally. But I think all it would take would be some maturity and foresight on the part of the adults to head off the awkwardness and embarassment that this could cause. As for your father Karl, I'm really sorry [Frown] The really sad thing is that he'll probably remember the phone call completely different or have forgotten it all together by this time next year.
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KarlEd
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No one is likely to see us kissing in public, but your point is still valid.
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Farmgirl
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I'm also sorry, Karl, of the way your father handled this.

quote:
Who here would have a problem with a gay family member attending a family function with a partner? If so, why, exactly? Would you actually ask that family member to leave their partner at home?
We have had several family gatherings with gay members attending. It was no big deal at any time that I know of - and I never heard any "gossip" about it when they weren't around.

That said, they also weren't doing public displays of affection or anything that would clue younger kids onto the fact that they were gay - or that they were a "couple" in a sexual way. Or bring up those kinds of questions.

Pretty much they were just like everyone else at the gathering, a part of all conversations, and when introductions were made, it was just "This is your second cousin Sue and her roommate Sarah" kind of thing. So most of the younger kids really didn't have a concept, and the adults didn't act like there is anything out of the ordinary.

Farmgirl

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romanylass
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quote:
I remember one grueling hike where one jerk with some bug up his hindquarters walked behind me for probably a mile throwing pebbles at my backpack while singing some filthy song about my mother
That makes me so sad and anrgy, for both you and your mom.
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Rakeesh
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Ugh. I'm sorry this is happening to you, Karl-both in the past and present. The reason I don't think your father was trying to shield you from harm was that he didn't give you the option of avoiding it.

If he had, the method of the thing would've been quite different. "Karl, I know these people, and if you show up with Chris at functions, there will be insults and criticisms. I just wanted you to know that." No, this sounds very much to me like it has more to do with him-protecting him from insults and criticism, and permitting him to maintain his obliviousness.

I'm sorry he's such a frosty schmuck [Frown]

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tern
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Tom, I have no idea how I would handle the talk, but I sure wouldn't use your words or ideas. [Smile]

Karl, it sounds like your dad doesn't have much of a backbone, and it extends far beyond the decisions that you have made that he disagrees with, and started far earlier. I think that he's a good example of what not to do. I hope that as a father, I have the balls to confront difficult issues head-on, even if I am ultimately wrong.

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katharina
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I have wondered that about my own dad - he's not cruel; he's a pansy. I get shafted because I won't get mad. That's why once I decided to give up on that and start getting pissed, I started getting treated twenty times better.

I hate that I have to throw a fit in order to not get shafted. I really do hate it - once I figured out that was the only way to make the interactions okay for me, I quit most interactions altogether because I hate acting like that.

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TomDavidson
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quote:

Tom, I have no idea how I would handle the talk, but I sure wouldn't use your words or ideas.

That's a relief. We wouldn't want your kids growing up cynical but well-adjusted. [Smile]

Seriously, I have difficulty imagining the conversation that would take place following any visit from Karl and Chris, since the two of them are so obviously good for each other. It would have to include some form of "now, ignore the evidence of your senses...."

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KarlEd
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Wow Katie. It's like you're reading my mind. I feel exactly like that when I have to deal with my dad.
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
It would have to include some form of "now, ignore the evidence of your senses...."
A lot of moral teaching does include some form of "Even though that looks pretty good, it ultimately is not good for you."

Come to think of it, so does a lot of nutritional advice.

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Paul Goldner
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Karl, I'm truly sorry.


This thanksgiving, my best friend from high school had thanksgiving dinner with my family. He's gay, and the arrangement he has with his (conservative jews) parents is very similar to the don't ask don't tell policy the military has. Everyone KNOWS he's gay, but they don't ask, and he doesn't bring his boyfriend to family functions, other then sometimes as a friend if friends are appropriate.

My friends bf's family are orthodox jews, and his homosexuality is much more out in the open, and respected far less then my friends homosexuality.

So anyrate, jon had dinner with us, because morty was having dinner with his family... and jons family dinner was on friday, to which morty would not be coming.

I couldn't really understand the family dynamics that encourages the misery that those two went through that week. I still can't. Its frustrating that people are such jerks, sometimes.

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Telperion the Silver
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Yikes Karl...
That sucks. [Frown]
((KarlEd))
Mmmmm... I'm tempted to say go to the function and bring Chris along anyway. See what happens. See if anyone has the orbs to say something.

My nuclear family has absoutly no problems with me being gay or me having someone over. The extended family might be a little different. I've never had a chance to show off a boyfriend to them. They all live in Chicago and are very Catholic...and while they are cool with me being gay on a rational level, I think think half of them are not totally comfortable with it.

One time when my brother and I went to visit after my Mom's death, the converseation at the dinner table got around to me talking about gay rights. Everyone except my cool lawyer Aunt got really quiet. [Wink] I didn't notice right away until Matt pointed it out to me later that night.

I just assumed they had no problem. But I can see how some of them might possibly one day ask me not to bring my partner along or something. If that ever happens I would either have some choice words for them, or I would just ignore their request and do it anyway.

But I think they are like my Dad...it took him about a year or two after I came out to get really comfortable with me bing gay. Many of them have never talked to me about it or heard me talk about it much or seen me with a boy. They just need to get used to it.

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KarlEd
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Several people have told me that I should just go and take Chris anyway. I'm not going to do that because I love Chris too much to make him a political martyr. The people who are really losing out in this are my family. Chris is one of the nicest, most genuinely open and friendly guys you'll meet. If they're willing to shun him without even having met him, well, that's a personality trait that ultimately hurts each of them, in the long run as much as it hurts anyone else, in the fact of the matter, if not as acutely anyway. I hurt, too, but I also have the comfort of knowing Chris as a person and that's no small comfort indeed. My thrusting him in their faces isn't going to make him feel more accepted, nor is it going to make them any more likely to see past their own blinders.

The sad part is that I have no idea how pervasive this feeling is on the part of my extended family, nor even who exactly feels this way. I can just write them all off and avoid the whole issue, but that seems cowardly, and I know that at least some of my relatives would be happy to meet Chris.

I'm thinking of writing an open letter to the family, explaining what has happened from my perspective, stating that because of these feelings and the cabalish nature in which they were expressed I no longer feel comfortable joining in with them in a family reunion. However, I do love my family and would like to strengthen connections with those of them who care enough to get to know me and Chris, who is a part of me now. To that end, I am planning a trip to Utah to visit my sister and would love to include any side-trips to visit with any family members who still want to know me (and not just the fantasy they wish I was.) Then I can concentrate my efforts on anyone who responds positively. If that's no one, well, at least I know it's unanimous and I won't feel guilty about writing off the whole lot.

(??)

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quidscribis
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That sounds good, KarlEd.

Good luck.

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Scott R
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quote:
We wouldn't want your kids growing up cynical but well-adjusted.
I don't think cynical people are well-adjusted. In fact, an attitude of general cynicism is proof that something is wrong.
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Bob_Scopatz
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Letters can be very cathartic.

After you write it, you still have to decide whether or not to mail it.

I'd keep those two acts separate in your mind, if you can, and see what comes of just getting the thoughts out there AS IF you were addressing the family.

Maybe it'll help.

I hope so.

This is a tough situation and I hope it's not the start of a permanent rift. But, really it sounds to me like your father is the one who needs some time for reflection.

Sorry KarlEd.

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
We wouldn't want your kids growing up cynical but well-adjusted.
I don't think cynical people are well-adjusted. In fact, an attitude of general cynicism is proof that something is wrong.
...with the world.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Paul Goldner:
My friends bf's family are orthodox jews, and his homosexuality is much more out in the open, and respected far less then my friends homosexuality.

So anyrate, jon had dinner with us, because morty was having dinner with his family...

Just out of curiosity (and completely off-topic), does Morty do an eerily convincing impression of Whitney Houston? If so, I think I know him.
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KarlEd
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I've done the write it and chuck it thing before. (Not the least right here on this forum [Wink] ) But in this case I think there are things that need to be said, not just vented. I will write it and wait a day or two before sending it just to check for unnecessary bile, but if I don't send it, I'll feel like I'm just being a doormat.

My father needs an eternity of reflection, but I'm not sure that will make a difference. He told my brother that he doesn't understand why I would be upset since it seems to him to have been a perfectly reasonable request.

It's pathetic really. He has succeeded in alienating each of his children. My mom can hardly utter a sentence about him without getting either extremely angry or bursting into tears, yet he just expressed (in a note he passed to my brother-in-law in the church parking lot, no less [Roll Eyes] ) that although he doesn't understand why everyone is treating him badly, he's confident that the adversity is being sent to make him stronger. He clearly thinks he's Job.

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Bob_Scopatz
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I don't think there can be any absolute statements with regard to cynicism. In some instances, cynicism (or perhaps we should label it skepticism) will save your hide. In others, it will merely help you avoid embarrassment. In still others, it will cause you to miss some beautiful things that life has to offer. And in the worst case, a cynic will become so wrapped up in seeing the bad side of things that they will poison their own life and those who come into intimate contact with them.
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Scott R
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quote:

I don't think cynical people are well-adjusted. In fact, an attitude of general cynicism is proof that something is wrong.
____

...with the world.

Nope. With the cynic. And the cynic's parents, if they've taught him that way of thinking.

EDIT: Bob's got it right, as usual. I'm distinguishing between cynicism and skepticism.

For example: I am cynical about politicians in that I always distrust their motives.

I am skeptical about the recent goodwill of Libya.

Skepticism can be maintained without breaking the trust that (IMO) vitalizes communication with other people. Cynicism cannot because it ascribes motives without proof.

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Bob_Scopatz
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Oh KarlEd...

The thought did occur to me that catharsis from Hatrack is probably like what writing a letter NOT to send would give you.

Crud.

I hope your letter has the desired effect...if not on your father, then on others in your family who may just need a little encouragement.

Good luck.

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Bob_Scopatz
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quote:
I am skeptical about the recent goodwill of Libya.
Yeah, given that they just assassinated an outspoken critic in Lebanon (along with his driver and bodyguard)...
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Rakeesh
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I think you've chosen the right decision, Karl. I mean from the outside, where the only real emotions are sympathy and pity for your family situation and righteous anger about it, I'd say, sure! Show up with Chris, that'll show `em!

But it's not a movie, it's actually happening, or rather would happen. Sometimes you just have to cut your losses [Frown]

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Uprooted
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quote:
I've done the write it and chuck it thing before. (Not the least right here on this forum ) But in this case I think there are things that need to be said, not just vented. I will write it and wait a day or two before sending it just to check for unnecessary bile, but if I don't send it, I'll feel like I'm just being a doormat.

KarlEd, can I suggest that you also let a third party read it--a good friend you trust, probably someone other than Chris? A few years ago I wrote an absolute masterpiece of a letter (if I do say so myself!) that I needed to send to someone who needed to hear it. I shared it with 3 friends before I sent it, though, due to the sensitive nature of the contents. They all agreed that it was on-target. But I will be eternally grateful to the friend who said, "but I would take out the part that says . . ."

I couldn't see it myself, but when she pointed it out to me it was so clear that that part was just me venting and would have done nothing constructive. If I'd kept that part of the letter in, it would have served to make sure that the recipient was so offended that nothing else in the letter was taken seriously. You are hurting and a good friend might be able to help you see things you can't in your letter to your family.

But I think it's a good idea to reach out and find out who wants to maintain a warm family relationship. Best wishes!!

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Brian J. Hill
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quote:
After you write it, you still have to decide whether or not to mail it.

An important safety tip: If you write a letter you don't know if you want to send or not, do not write it as an email. I can think of at least 2 times I have written an email in a huff, and accidentally hit the "send" button. If only there were a way to "unsend" an email... you know, like the virtual equivalent of going out to the mailbox and retrieving the hastily written letter before the mail person comes.
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Uprooted
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*derail*
Oh dear, that reminds me of the time I forwarded a whiny email at work from a reader of the publication I worked for to the appropriate researcher w/ the note "this lady really needs to get a life" -- but I hit reply instead of forward. Gulp.

Groveling ensued. I had to apologize to the reader and tell my boss in case this person came looking for my head. I never heard any more about it but I sure worried for my job for a little while.
*rerail*

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KarlEd
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quote:
If you write a letter you don't know if you want to send or not, do not write it as an email.
Good advice, but considering most of my extended family are practically luddites, that's not going to be a fear of mine. This will be snail-mail or not at all. [Smile]
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katharina
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quote:
He told my brother that he doesn't understand why I would be upset since it seems to him to have been a perfectly reasonable request.

Wow. This is exactly what my stepmother, dad, and grandmother said when I was upset about being cut from the guest list at my brother's wedding in favor of his roommate.

I'm sorry I don't have advice. I tried three different things, but I don't think any of them work. My stepmother I hung up the phone on and stopped talking to her, my dad I told that it proved that I didn't have a family, and to my grandmother I burst into tears. Nothing really changed with any of them, although things are basically fine with my grandparents. I suspect that's in part because of me - they were also not invited and didn't seem to mind. Even if they were faking that (which seems possible), maybe saying it was no big deal was how they dealt with it.

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KarlEd
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[Eek!]

(You don't suppose we're related somewhow? It's really scarey to think that there are two such families around.)

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katharina
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I think the hard part is that I really don't want to be the bad guy - I don't want to be the reason I'm not close to my family. However, I suspect that my dad and I are exactly as close as he wants to be. He would like me to be happy with it, but he wants me to be happy with how he's dicated things, as opposed to finding a way for me to be happy as me. Does that make sense?

Added: *laugh* It does seem like we should be, right?

I've been thinking and thinking about it, to try and find some causes. I think part of it is that my dad has married (twice) a very socially-savvy woman, so he relies on her to maintain his relationships for him. That's why things were basically fine when my mom was alive - she could do that. But my stepmother certainly can't and shouldn't be asked to, so when my dad is on his own to maintain his own relationships, the above is the result.

On one hand, he clearly doesn't know what he's doing. On the other, he's in his fifties, and it's not that freaking hard. It's time to figure it out - maybe he could pick up a book.

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