SRS I need some advice regarding family...

Discussion in 'On Topic' started by Folkan, Oct 10, 2005.

  1. Folkan

    Folkan Please don't tease me...

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    I've never really had the need for this forum, but it's now I look at it like a spare car key; you're glad it's there when you need it. That being said, my post is going to be rather long so I apologize beforehand. I'm also using aliases for names.

    The advice I seek has to do with my family. It's a situation that started ~2 years ago (Christmas 2003). Some things that you should know before I start though. My uncle and his partner (both are gay) became official about 6 months ago after being together for 10 years. They live in MA. I will come back to this later in the post.

    Over the past 2 years my uncle has been alienating himself from my mom's side of the family. This side is comprised of my mom and her 2 younger brothers. One is named Joe, the other Jim. Joe is married and has 2 kids, one is 20 the other is 16. Jim is gay and recently became wed to his partner of 10 years.

    At first my uncle's wrath was directed at me, seemingly over a minor incident regarding his dogs, which he viewed as his children. Despite my efforts to rectify the situation, my efforts were rebuffed and I have not spoken to him in almost 2 years. My mother and him have had issues for many years, occaisionally there is a peace, but it seldom lasts. Now it involved me. This past spring my Uncle Jim started alienating himself from his brother and his family as well. He made outrageous accusations against my Uncle Joe, turned up his nose at a goodwill gesture, and has seemingly turned up his nose at my cousin attending Boston University as well. Slowly, but surely he found reasons to shut himself out from the rest of his family. The reasons are trivial and when he is pressed for an answer as to why he is acting like this, he cannot come up with an answer.

    The people caught in the middle of this are my grandmother and grandfather, who are 75 and 81 respectively. They have essentially "lost" one of their children and it is breaking my grandmother's heart. Today is my grandfather's 81st birthday and it was celebrated with a call from my Uncle Jim, who beat my grandfather's ear with false stories of my mom and Uncle Joe kicking him out of the family. This festering feud was mostly kept from my grandfather for reasons I do not know. He doesn't know what to make of it and I have a feeling doesn't care to get involved. My grandmother, on the other hand, is a very sharp minded person and knows the background and knows that my Uncle Jim's stories are false and he is acting like a selfish brat. My Uncle Jim responded by calling his own mother "a liar" and stated "I'm not going to bother calling anymore." Upon hearing this my grandmother hung up the phone and broke down in tears. It took all of my will power not to call my uncle and reeem him out for treating her that way. It's one thing for him to hold a grudge against myself and his siblings families, but to alienate his own mother and father is crossing the line. My grandmother does not want to celebrate any holidays this year, decorate for Christmas, or do any of her traditional holiday baking this year. My Uncle Jim is single handedly dismantling my mom's side of the family.

    I have a theory or two on why he is acting this way. Upon declaring he was gay to my family, I suspect he did not feel he was accepted, which is not the case at all. There is not one person who has ever made disparaging remarks towards him. Some family members may not agree with his choice of lifestyle, but they do NOT think any less of him as a human being. I believe he feels that we are not accepting of him and he using trying to found reasons, outlandish as they are, to basically kick his family out of his life. In the process, he is absolutely destroying his own mother and in turn, destroying everyone else's lives as well. The other possibility is he is being directed by his partner to "cut ties" and rid himself of his alleged homophobic family. However since my Uncle Jim essentially refuses to shed light on why he is acting this way, I cannot confirm either of my 2 theories.

    So now I ask everyone, what can I do? It killed me to see my grandmother in such a sad state this weekend. I haven't seen her since May and this weekend was ruined by my uncle's selfishness. I don't know what to do right now. I plan on discussing what happened this weekend with my mom and Uncle Joe and going from there. I truly believe my uncle needs therapy to sort his life out, but I don't know how to tell someone that. I don't know if I should bypass my uncle and go straight to his partner, who is actually a very nice person. I just want to gain some sense of direction and closure to this situation. I simply cannot bear to see my grandmother so distraught over this, she has done nothing to deserve this treatment.

    I appreciate any advice and if I need to explain anything further, please let me know. I purposely shortened things, becasue I honestly believe I would have been here for hours typing every detail out.

    Thanks.
     
  2. JohnJohnJohnson

    JohnJohnJohnson Effetely Sipping My Latte OT Supporter

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    Go in person to your uncle and do not leave his home until he explains the situation. Report back when you're done.
     
  3. Folkan

    Folkan Please don't tease me...

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    Not as easy at that.

    The uncle that is causing the problems resides in Boston. My immediate family resides in Pittsburgh, grandparents in central PA and my other uncle resides in eastern PA. Rounding everyone up in one place on short notice is extremely hard, if not impossible.
     
  4. JohnJohnJohnson

    JohnJohnJohnson Effetely Sipping My Latte OT Supporter

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    You misunderstood me. :rofl:
    Leave the family behind, and go by yourself. I should think this obvious! If you ALL went to see him your uncle would not have the freedom to breathe 1 word about how he feels or why he's being this way.

    You. Personally. Get up, drive to his home, get some answers.
     
  5. Folkan

    Folkan Please don't tease me...

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    Oh :o

    I've given serious thought to just going and putting him on the spot, but I don't think he's mentally stable. He's contacted psychics to put him in contact with his now dead dogs and he has chased Jehovah's witness' off of his property wielding broomsticks. I firmly believe he needs mental therapy and have considered asking a friend of mine who is a psychology major to contact him.
     
  6. JohnJohnJohnson

    JohnJohnJohnson Effetely Sipping My Latte OT Supporter

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    If everyone in your family is behaving like this, it is little surprise that you don't know why your uncle behaving like that.

    Sure, talking to your potentially nuts uncle will make you uncomfortable. The question is, do you care more about your discomfort, or do you care more about your uncle's separation from your entire family?

    Unfortunately, as with most problems reported to the asylum, the solution to your predicament begins with you, the thread-starter. You personally need to go to your uncle, crazy as he may or may not be, and get some answers. The time for serious thought is gone; time for serious action.
     
  7. Folkan

    Folkan Please don't tease me...

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    I would say I care more about my personal well being then my discomfort. I can handle situations where I am not at ease. I cannot handle situations where I feel I am potentially risking my safety. I do not feel I am exaggerating in this case either.

    Not everyone in my family is acting like this. Just him. It would help immensely if I knew whether my uncle's partner was a driving force behind all of this or whether he was someone I could approach about helping me out. I'm beginning to think I should try and start there before I attempt any personal conteact.
     
  8. JohnJohnJohnson

    JohnJohnJohnson Effetely Sipping My Latte OT Supporter

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    Fair enough. I do not know the situation, and it had frankly not occurred to me that your own uncle would potentially attack you. Jehovah's witnesses, that I can understand completely. I am not being funny. If you really think he would physically put you in danger, then of course, stay away, by all means. Let me just ask this, and don't take offense: are you sure you're not just convincing yourself that he's dangerous, to save yourself trouble? It sure is a lot of effort to go and deal with the whole problem by yourself, after all...
     
  9. GlassUser

    GlassUser send an email not a pm OT Supporter

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    Of course it's a wide guess, but I would say that he feels guilt (warranted or not, and probably not from the sound of it) over his choice of lifestyle. He may be thinking (or not thinking, as the case may be) that you all will be better off without him, or maybe that you really don't care for him and his partner, and be taking out the feelings related to these perceptions.

    I don't really have much of a solution (though the confronting him alone sounds good), but maybe insight?
     
  10. Folkan

    Folkan Please don't tease me...

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    It wouldn't be any trouble to me at all. I'd gladly spend the money for a plane ticket if it meant things would be worked out.

    My first step was making my mom and sane uncle aware of what happened. They are now debating whether to contact my uncle's partner and see if he can help mediate the situation. The goal is to try and have this resolved before the holiday season starts.
     
  11. dave steel

    dave steel My Kung Fu is the best.

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    Leave your uncle to his own devices. Don't facilitate his dysfunction.
     
  12. 12xalt

    12xalt petrolsexual

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    that's fine and nice, but it still doesn't help much for what his grandmother is going through
     
  13. johan

    johan Active Member

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    Your gay uncle obviously is very conflicted about his arrangement. The rest of your family may also appear supportive, but there may yet be subtle undertones that may not have been apparent to you, or perhaps you may not have had the opportunity to witness them.

    You may wish to speak privately with the partner. Be careful that the call is a very courteous call, inquiring about them, their general state of health etc.

    It may take a few calls, ostensibly about nothing at all, but really, your purpose is to establish a friendship with the partner. You may find that this act of inclusion disarms the situation and PROVES to Jim that his partner is actually welcomed.

    Oh sure, I know that some advice is basically "call up, have it out, get to the bottom of things" But you know in the real world (not online), these discussions are much better when handled with TACT and RESPECT.

    Try to see this exchange from an adult's perspective, not a teenager who like a hammer, thinks every obstacle is a nail, to be pounded down into righteous submission.

    If you need more convincing, imagine that YOU are the uncle, and your nephew drives up out of the blue, rings your doorbell incessantly and DEMANDS ANSWERS !! Ya right. You'd either laugh in his face and tell him to gtfo or he really got up in your face you might take a shot. And you'd feel totally justified. Wouldn't you? Wouldn't anyone?


    Now.

    If Jim and the partner remains unresponsive, then leave it be. It may be that eventually Jim will decide to make amends and seek contact with the family. In that case it is important that no one act like wronged aholes (even though, yes, the family has been wronged). Don't make it hard for him to come back. Just leave him be, give him he space he obviously wants.

    And in the meantime, find reasons to celebrate family life with Joe and the part of the family that does want togetherness.

    Your grandma will be just fine. She's a tough bird, I bet, and sometimes you just have to smile through the tears and pretend Jim is overseas for a while and will be back in a couple of years.

    There's nothing else you can or should do to "confront" anyone. Instead, use love and acceptance and extend genuine friendship.

    Good luck. Diplomacy is a man's game. Confrontation is for kids. Remember that. It takes infinite skill and patience to talk a man down and save his life. It's trivial to shoot him and be done with it.
     
  14. 12xalt

    12xalt petrolsexual

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    just an FYI that the person who started the thread is no where near still being a teenager, not knocking your advice, and I can see how with this being OT that it's easy to figure everyone is very young, but I assure you he's not only an adult, but he's one of the few males I know I actually think of as a man
     
  15. johan

    johan Active Member

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    If you read it again, you'll see that I am not referring to the thread starter as being a teenager. Instead I am characterising some advice that the thread starter received.

    Two very different things.

    The thread starter actually comes across as very mature which is why I chose to respond with an action plan that would require an adult to implement; because I felt he would be able to understand and act accordingly.

    It's the 12 year olds that get simple responses, appropriate to their level of maturity and understanding and ability to implement. Adults get the real deal.
     
  16. 12xalt

    12xalt petrolsexual

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    I think it was the following that made me say what I did

     
  17. Sionell89

    Sionell89 I grew up when I wasn't looking

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    You can't force someone from playing the martyr. It sounds like your uncle is bound and determined to be a gay one and he's going to take that role whether it's there or not. So he's created a situation in which he is.

    Your best efforts will not change this. Unfortunately, it is a lousy place to be in when you can see an unnecessary situation, unnecessary dramatics and not be in a position to change it.
     

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