Re: shunning article breaking through the paywall (Tom Smyth)
From: Melanie G (
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 2021 20:14:05 -0700 (PDT)
"But I'm not sure that ostracism is always
abusive. Curious what others think."

It's interesting to read this comment.  I agree that nothing is "always"
anything really.

The article itself is brilliant, and I am definitely going to be sharing
it.  Thank you so much CJ for going the extra step and pasting it here.  SO
much insight.

I come from a family where this was the response to people to punish them
and blame shame them.  Many in my extended family did and still do this.
And the health problems are numerous, and obviously happen in the families
where this is a regular practice.  Plus, lots of estrangement.  I have a
half brother who has no idea where his daughter is.  For years now.

Having done a lot of digging into how conflict works, what childhood hurts
lead to such "harmful" behaviors, and how devastating it can be for people
to be shunned in this way (think solitary confinement), I am just not sure
how to respond.  But I feel compelled to do so.

Sure, there are many behaviors that many would consider harmful, even
abusive.  Consider this though, not one person I know has ever imagined
what they were doing was abusive.  Most will tell you if questioned, that
the person they hurt "deserved" it.  They will tell you that they had tried
everything they could think of to get them to collaborate.  It's how this
idea of "victim and perpetrator" fails big time in the restorative justice
model.  Everyone in a circle, or community is at once a victim and a
perpetrator.  And yes, shunning is perpetrated, often quite intentionally,
and out of a fear or inability to deal with conflict.

No one generally thinks what they have done is abuse.  And so, I ask you,
who is the expert on what is abuse or what is ostracism, or when ostracism
is abuse?  I propose that it is the person who is suffering who gets to
decide how to describe their suffering.  I am so glad someone had the
courage to name ostracism as a form of abuse ... for both the victim and

thank you again,
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