Whats your best advice for dealing with Mormon shunning?

anonthistime Dec. 2013

I know from reading this board for the past two years that many of you have already dealt with the fall-out with family and friends after leaving TSCC [this so called church]. We our currently in the middle of it and completely confused as to how to respond to the shunning and bad behavior of our family. Were not sure if we should just ignore it, distance ourselves, still send gifts or skip it, invite them to our events or not; the list just goes on and on.

So, since a lot of you have already walked this path what would your advice be to someone in the middle of it? What has worked & not worked for you?

Re: Whats your best advice for dealing with shunning?
I think as long as you want to maintain a relationship with your mormon family it's a good idea to keep the door, or at least a window open. But you do NOT have to put up with abusive family members. If they're behaving badly/mistreating you, a little distance goes a long way in keeping your own sanity.

Re: Whats your best advice for dealing with shunning?
My opinion varies based on how far you live from these other people. Do they live far away or do you see them regularly? The brainwashing is so deep with the mormon cult that it isn't always possible to find a happy solution. My current opinion is to shun back even harder and to not be weak. THEY ARE MAKING THE CHOICE to treat you badly and you can choose to only interact on your terms. If they will not respect your choices and you as an independent person, they can take a hike. Easier said than done.

On a side note, I think we are hitting critical mass and the cracks in this mess are getting deeper and starting to give way. I think things will be getting generally better real soon. They are the ones on a shaky foundation, not you. Concentrate on making your own choices and looking for new ways to enrich your life to where you have little time to think about them.

Just my opinions - Subject to change

Lou Louis
Re: Whats your best advice for dealing with shunning?

Why bother respecting people who are no respecter of you. They are the worst hypocrites out there.Give it back to them as hard as their giving it to you. These people who shun have no respect for you as an individual thinker. The common sense approach that an average person out there thinks like does not exist in the world of Mormonism.We experienced these little mind games when leaving on the family level and friend level. It was like little children giving you the silent treatment in the school yard wanting to hurt you mentally just for kicks.The shunning only begins once you become wise to the true meaning of "THIS SO CALLED CHURCH" and decide to make a break from the crap.Its like an abusive relationship. The Mormons I met are a cruel heartless bunch who would love nothing more than for you to come crawling back so they can inflict more mental abuse on you. Don't cave in stay the course and it will work out for you.They'll eventually get tired of trying to pound you mentally into the ground and just move on to a new piece of fresh meat.

steve benson
Realize they're scared and therefore are trying to . . .
. . . put distance between you and their doubts.

Mr. Happy
Re: Whats your best advice for dealing with shunning?

Drop them like a bad habit. Walk away, keep walking, and never look back. If you have to work at something that should be unconditional, is it really a relationship? Or a relationship you would want to have?

Life is way to short to expend energy on toxic relationships. One day you will be surprised how little, if at all, you need them in your life.

Close the door, close the window, close ANYTHING that is open to them that will affect your peaceful way of life. Don't initiate ANYTHING with them ever again. Should they come around some time in the future, let THEM make the first move. If you choose to re-establish something with them (highly discouraged), at least do so on YOUR terms.

Best of luck to you.

Does the person live in the same house with you?
Is it your spouse or a child?

If it's someone you can survive without, I think you might as well write them off. If they never come to their senses, you still have your dignity and in time, a new life.

I left the Mormon church for good when I'd been reading Silas Marner. I thought it would be better to live as a hermit than to live at the mercy of manipulative heartless cultists. But gradually my life took shape and I thrived and lived the good life. None of what I enjoy could have happened if I hadn't been willing to give up on all things Mormon.

Re: Whats your best advice for dealing with shunning?
If you wait until life hands them a major misfortune (job loss, sickness, etc.) then show them true kindness, it might open a door.

My neighbor shunned me for years. Before, we had been very friendly and chatty with one another. Then one day she got offended because I did not return her phone call promptly (it wasn't an urgent matter and I was going to wait until I saw her to respond.) Years of silence ensued. Mostly I ignored her. Occasionally I chuckled at her antics.

One day she came walking out of the building on crutches. I spontaneously uttered, "Oh my goodness! What happened?" and she told me. I sincerely offered help with carrying bags or whatever else she needed.

Sometimes you just have to wait.

Re: Whats your best advice for dealing with shunning?

I think if you feel like you still want to maintain a relationship, just keep the lines open. You could call to say hi once in awhile, if this is what you normally would do. Send cards for birthdays and holidays like you normally would. Invite them to events that you normally would. They may come around eventually. I know someone who did this (not Mormon related) and it took some time, but eventually the person came back around. She just kept that door open. Obviously you have no obligation to try to maintain relationships if people are nasty.

Re: Whats your best advice for dealing with shunning?

My mom has become increasingly combative over the years, and I've had to establish physical boundaries to protect my sanity.
I still contact my dad, with whom I have a close relationship, and I am maintaining ties with my siblings and their children, whom I adore.

I guess I would say, distance yourself as much as you can from abusive family members, and find friends and other distant family members (cousins, aunts and uncles) who are not toxic.
Keep posting on this board for support; we're always open, and find a social group with similar values to hang with. Postmo.com is a great place to start. This is a group for people who've resigned from the church or are inactive and questioning it.

Best of luck to you this holiday season!


Re: Whats your best advice for dealing with shunning?
This is excellent advice.

Re: Whats your best advice for dealing with shunning?
First of all, any kind of shunning is not about you. It's about the other person.

Generally, I ignore it if possible, or act as if it was not happening. If someone I know tries to ignore me or look the other way, I would be very likely to say: "Hi" and be friendly. I maintain the relationship on some level, and be pleasant.

I prefer to be pleasant and civil and treat others the way I want to be treated and not be concerned about what someone else is thinking or how they are behaving, if I can.

Stray Mutt
Re: Whats your best advice for dealing with shunning?

I think biological family ties are highly overrated. We should love people just because of accidents of birth? Mmmm, why? Especially when they show they don't really love us in return.

If your biological family won't have you, then create a family of your choosing among friends.

Re: Whats your best advice for dealing with shunning?
Enjoy it. :)

Not knowing the specifics of the shunning, I don't know
what to recommend. But I can recommend a book by Patricia Evans on how to deal with emotional abuse. She lays out some common forms of devaluation and abuse, and talks about how to respond in a way that protects you, rather than letting them mess with your mind.

I've copied a link to the book below, and there is an extensive excerpt from the book online, so you can see if it looks helpful.


Re: Whats your best advice for dealing with shunning?
I think you have to take each relationship individually.

Think about it. Most people have one or two people they've been meaning to distance themselves from in the first place. If there are some that immediately come to mind when you read that, write them off your list. They don't need to be in your life.

As for the others: Do you love them enough to stick it out and see if they come to their sense? Are you important enough to them that they are willing to overlook this -one- aspect of your life?

It may get to the point where you can't deal with of it any more. In which case, as others have said, do leave the lines of communication open. Write an email, card, or call once in a while and otherwise drop off their radar.

They may come around. They may not. Ultimately you have to choose to take care of yourself. And part of that is choosing who you maintain in your life.

Re: Whats your best advice for dealing with shunning?
I totally agree. My husband's kids shun him and we've come to realize that they're jerks. It's not a punishment to be shunned by jerks.

Shunning has got to be one of the most arrogant acts there is. It can't work unless the party being shunned has an emotional connection to the shunner. So basically, what it boils down to is an arrogant person overvaluing their own worth in your life.

I understand that it's difficult when you're dealing with family members who do this. My husband was absolutely crushed when his kids stopped talking to him. But he later realized that the whole point of shunning someone is to shame and belittle them and get them to fall into line. Anyone who would do that is a jerk and if they shun, they must not value the relationship much themselves. A lot of times, the shunners think that at a later date, they can decide things have "blown over" and they can triumphantly re-enter your life. But once someone has resorted to the shunning tactic, there's an excellent chance they will do it again.

You teach people how to treat you. My husband's daughters may one day decide they want to stop shunning. If they do, he has said that he will listen to what they have to say. But relationships are a two way street. Shunning is arrogant and disrespectful and designed to humiliate. I think there's something to be said for not rewarding that behavior by being too quick to forgive it.

CA girl
Re: Whats your best advice for dealing with shunning?
Honestly, for me it helped to realize what Susie Q said - that it's about the other person. Even though it was hard in some cases, I kept reminding myself that these people were showing me who THEY really were and frankly, in a lot of cases, I was appalled to find out how bad-mannered, unkind, cruel, self-righteous and narrow the people were who I'd allowed to be friends. They'd fooled me into believing they were something that they clearly were not, at their core. This was a huge disappointment, obviously, but understanding that they were doing me a favor by showing their true colors so I could get them out of my circle of influence.

But the ones I still bump into I make a point of being as nice and friendly and complimentary as possible. Partly to show them who I really am but honestly, just to mess with their minds by showing them I haven't changes, except for the better. I can tell some people are profoundly uncomfortable talking to me and I MAKE them chat for a minute or two, until they relax. I think they either need that or deserve it. But that's how I deal with minor shunning. As far as neighbor gifts, I'd have some ready to give to anyone who drops one by my house but some people are going to cut you off their list to shun you - if you don't show up at their house you deprive them of that opportunity. Same way you take the power out of their hand if you don't invite them to stuff. They don't get the pleasure of snubbing you by turning you down.

Bishop Jackwagon ignored me for a year and a half until he realized I was snubbing him. Then he was really nice to me and has been, mostly, ever since. If you think, on a person to person basis, how to blunt their favorite instrument by ignoring them first or being super nice or whatever in between, they don't win. If whatever you do puts them in a position of smugly thinking they've taught you a lesson, that's not as satisfying, IMO.

Cali Sally
Re: Whats your best advice for dealing with shunning?
First, get a good support system up and running with people outside the church. You can attend another church or join up with Human Secular group. I prefer friends that have no religious ties at all. I found my local Human Secular group to be so anti-religion that it kept dredging up topics I just wanted to let drop. I like outdoor groups and volunteer organizations with no religious connections for my friends.

Second, don't let church people, including family, see that shunning bothers you. Just laugh at it because it is really, truly juvenile, immature, and counterproductive behavior. It may still hurt inside but they will keep it up as long as they see it is having a negative effect on you. Finding them funny is the opposite effect they want to have so they may eventually give it up out of frustration.

Third, if they aren't allowing any contact at all then accept it and move on. If their contact with you is all negative reject it. Don't respond to negative emails and letters. Either return them unopened (I learned how to do this at the post office) or delete them with no response. Responding in any way will encourage them.

Fourth, if they will accept contact from you be sure it is all positive, has nothing to do with religion, and gives no indication that you even realize you are being shunned.

Fifth, if everything coming from them is vile and negative but you still want to leave the door open for reconciliation then make sure that everything you send to them is one directional. That is to say, you send them lots of warm, loving, accepting communication but reject anything coming from them. I highly suggest not having any physical, face-to-face interactions because they are looking for any possible sign of hurt and will keep ramping up the negativism and church talk until they get the reaction they are looking for. Keep all communication going from a distance for as long as it takes them to get the idea that you are not going to be changed by them. And accept that it may never happen.

Play their game by your rules.

Re: Whats your best advice for dealing with shunning?
Shunning you because you found the truth that they don't want to hear seems like mental illness to me.

They're sick. Let them shun for a while.

Whats your best advice for dealing with shunning?
How people feel about you is none of your business. You can't control that. The only thing you can control is how you feel about them. I choose to think that everyone is simply doing the best they can. They may behave in ways I do not agree with but their behavior really is about them. Not me.

When family and friends have chosen to 'shun' me. I don't feel good if I shun them back or get angry. I have to consciously remind myself that their shunning is about them. Yes, I have made mis-steps. Sometimes I have made comments that I didn't really think about before I spoke or I have done things that I am not proud of.

When I realize that I may have said or done something that was rude, and it bothers me, I apologize, clarify and ask that we just go on being friends. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. Still, after I reach out, I can only do so much and when I am at peace in my heart, I find I still love, appreciate and care for the other person(s) involved.

My happiness is not dependent on whether they accept my apology or not. I won't ever be perfect. I try to figure things out as I go along. I will never get 'done' learning, expanding, growing. That is what makes life fascinating and wonderful. I accept where I am and try to make the best of it. There will always be contrasting experinces in my life (what I call messes) until I croke. I am good with that.

I can look at and dwell on the mess or I can determine what it is that I NOW want (that is brought to my attention and caused by the mess).

When I focus forward and put my energies into what I NOW want, the happiness comes back into my life and I am at peace with where I am and eager for more good life experiences.

Focusing on what it is that I DO want, brings me satisfying solutions while continuing to focus on what I do NOT want, brings me more frustration, anger, resentment, feelingso of revenge, etc.. It takes determined conscience awareness of my thoughts but it has kept me from the dregs of depression barrel and the pity pot.

Letting go of trying to control what others are thinking and making peace with where I am, brings satisfaction and balance into MY life.

I am sending Xmas cards to several people (friends and family) this year who have chosen (for whatever reasons) to "shun" me. My neighbor was rather dismayed when I shared this information with her. She questioned me and asked how it is that I would even consider wishing these people "Happy Holidays". She thinks I should shun them back and completely EX them from my life.

I told her that I consider all of my past associates as being responsible and essential for my being who I am and where I am in my life's journey. If I had disagreements with them, those things helped shaped me. It is important to me that I have (hold) no negative energy toward these people. I try to remember and see the good that brought us together in the first place. (There are always good times".)

I actual feel appreciation of them (and for them) for helping me expand in my own personal wants, desires and understandings. I want them to know I still think of them and appreciate the "good" times we have enjoyed together. Therefore I send them a Xmas greeting.

Does that mean I want things to be what they use to be and that I would return to those times if we could. Not at all! What was - was.

I am moving forward in my life's journey. I choose to not dwell on the past, especially if it is something that was unpleasant. I really can not do anything about the past. Getting to 'bottom' of the issues is impossible. Trying to do so just drags me down and drains my energy. Bottom line is, I still love these people. I may never really associate with them again or "put them on my plate" again but I choose to feel good about them.

It is NOT my place to try to "fix" them or make them understand. We each get to see things from our own perspectives. Their perspectives have just as much value/validity as mine. We are Not the "same" and if we were, life would be boring! I am learning (trying to) to celebrate the uniqueness and differences as well as the similarities.

That does not mean I will come into alignment with the thoughts and beliefs of others. I get to choose and cherish my own thoughts and perceptions. I do not need others to agree with me. There is value in recognizing and understanding through the filters and focus of others. It helps us expand, grow and appreciate life in new ways. I do not believe we will ever all be the same or come into complete agreement with each other. How boring would that be? We get to interact, experience and live life on the edge (so to speak). Our own edge.

Shunning begets more shunning. It is negative energy that I do not want to engage in, no matter how justified I (and others) feel I would be in shunning back and thinking and saying negative things about them.

I choose to feel good about the people who have been and presently are in my life. When I catch myself thinking bad thoughts about them, I try and remind myself that they are doing the best they can. They are where they need to be in this magnificent journey of life. I send them good vibrations and my love. Life is good for me again. Nothing is more important to me than that I feel good - about my life and the people I share it with and have shared it with.

JMHO. Dave

Re: Does the person live in the same house with you?
in-laws...DH's parents & siblings.

Re: Not knowing the specifics of the shunning, I don't know
I bought this book for my kids when they started to date.

I wish I would have had that information when I was younger. I would have saved myself a lot of misery.

Re: Whats your best advice for dealing with shunning?
I agree with your very good advice, dejavue. I'm in your camp. How long did it take you to reach this state of mind? I'm still a-workin'-on-it.

Then I guess DH would have sway over how this is handled.
Your voice counts but maybe not quite as much as his since they're his folks.

In my opinion spouses and the children you produce and rear deserve the more latitude and consideration than in-laws and elder parents.

Re: Whats your best advice for dealing with shunning?
I don't believe I will ever stop working on it. It gets easier as I make a conscious, daily (at times hourly) effort.

I would say more but I do not want to hi-jack this thread by going into it more. Suffice it to say, shunning is the pits wheather you are on the recieving end of it or the giving end of it. For me, Life is too short to play in the mud.. but if playing in the mud is pleasing then so be it. Who am I to say what others should or shouldn't do or have in their lives? :) Hugs to all.

Re: Whats your best advice for dealing with shunning?
I really enjoyed reading your response. Fine with me if you say more & hi-jack the thread. You have great input.

Re: Whats your best advice for dealing with shunning?
I wish there was help but you are dealing with sanctimonious, hypocritical, bigotry.

Re: Whats your best advice for dealing with shunning?
Thank you. Since you are okay with me saying more, this happened just last week.

There is a polygamist woman who works in a store I frequent. Last week as I watched her interact and dialogue with others (and myself) in the store, I found disgust and dislike rising. I was with my son, and in my annoyance, I spoke to him about what I was thinking and what I was determining and the inappropriateness of her conversations and remarks.

My son acknowledged that he could see why her dress and her hair style and mannerisms would trigger some of my ill feelings and thinking about her, but he did so in a rather light hearted way and I could tell, though he acknowledged that he understood where I was coming from, he wasn't getting on my band wagon. It did give me pause and I began to reflect on the reasons and rational I was engaged in.

Not many hours later, I relayed my experience at the store to my wife and my daughter. My daughter, (who is not afraid of saying what her reality is), said to me. "Dad, I understand where you are coming from, but think about it. This lady is doing the best she knows how to do. For her to even try to hold down a job in our society/culture is pretty amazing. Do you really want to experience the feelings the thoughts you are thinking are causing you to have?"

I realized I had been confronted with my own incongruency. I was experiencing negative feelings toward someone whose situation I really knew little about and was being presumptious and judgmental.

Talk about mental gymnastics of the mind. It took me a few minutes but as I confronted my attitudes I realized that it was "my" problem, "my" perception that had gotten me into this mess. I then consciously choose to let go and chill out about it.

I was again amazed at how quickly I was able to pivot and begin to look at this situation from another perspective. One that helped me release the knot in my stomach. I was able to return to the store and acknowledge the woman, smile at her and feel compassion for her and her situation and, dare I say, a bit of love toward her.

I appreciate that my kids call me on my crap. It's not their place to "fix" me but I am super glad we have the relationships where we can vocally engage and even disagree without taking it as a personal attack but gives me time to re-adjust and decide what it is that I really want in my life.

It feels good to feel good. It is becoming easier and easier as I practice but I do still engage at times, letting myself fall into default type thinking where I impulsively (and in error), assume that I can change and/or control others behavior and thinking. I may affect their thinking (if they choose to allow me to) but I can not control or assert into their life experience in good or bad ways unless they give consent. Same goes on letting what others say or do about me. I get to choose whether I will allow it to affect me or not. My thoughts equal my freedom.

Sometimes, I realize I have made a positive difference in my interaction with others but more often than not, if I go at it in a judgmental and "know it all" way, I simply end up solidifying their stance and do more harm than good.

When I do the knee jerk kind of thinking, it can pull me down. I want to put my mind in gear before I open my mouth. If I don't take the time to think through the issue and determine what it is that I really want, and stay focused on how I want MY life to be, I can get a pretty good mess going on.

I sometimes reflect, "Do I want to create or destroy? It can become confusing if I act in haste. If I don't take time to chill out and make a conscious choice of saying, thinking, doing the things that build me, my life and the lives of those I interact with and be supporting, encouraging and pleasant, I may end up hurting those I love and hurting myself too.

I really want everyone to mind their own business, take care of themselves and be happy in their life's journey. I want to stay focused on the things in my life that I do have control over. What others think of me is none of my business. what I think of me is. I get to control the later while focusing on the possibilities (verifiable or not) of what others may be thinking about me is of little value to me.

As I stated above, I am not seeking perfection. I am seeking expansion, understanding, growth and happiness. It is as painful as I want to make it-- or as fun as I want to make it. The choice is mine.

I will never be done and because I will never be done. Is it even possible that I could get it wrong? I think not. I try to determine if what I am experiencing is benefiting me. If it is, I want to focus on it more. If it really is not benefiting me, then I determine to check my thinking and work on being more congruent with what it is that I want. Life is too short to waste it dissing on myself and/or on others.

Again, JMHO. Life is suppose to be FUN!

This woman undermines society by how she indoctrinates & abuses children.
Unfortunately, Utah doesn't try to protect children from this scourge. It's a travesty. Like many abused children, these cult raised kids often grow up and perpetrate the same fate on their offspring.

Re: Whats your best advice for dealing with shunning?
I was shunned while still in that church for being a single, working mom. After I left, I had several stupid people try to be friendly to me who had been very rude before. Bump them.

"Recovery from Mormonism - www.exmormon.org"