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Old 10th January 2018, 12:18 PM   #1
wasapi
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Responding to woo?

We all deal with this. We have our own opinions, values, belief systems. Other people have theirs, and they don't always agree.

Now, I am subjected to a great deal of woo because of circumstance. The man I loved committed suicide. Now, there are numerous 'well-meaning believers' who are approaching me with their beliefs. I try to nod, or even thank them at times for trying to do their style of comforting me.

Five people have 'shared' that they saw him in some form. One claimed he had visited him in the shape of - a large bird. Another said he saw him at the local town plaza.

Really? Now that the shock of his suicide is dulling, I am starting to lose patience. I know that their intention is to try to help me. Also, it isn't my style to battle with people who have different beliefs. A polite nod? Quit listening? Go against my grain and tell them to stop?
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Old 10th January 2018, 12:23 PM   #2
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Friends or acquaintances who have some right to intrude, however slightly? Politely demur then follow up with firm rebuff followed by direct impoliteness if necessary.

Those you do not know and who have no claim on you yet decide to intrude, however well-intended? Skip step one and start with the firm rebuff.

Those who are obviously self-absorbed, attention-seeking, or money-seeking? Skip steps one and two and start with direct impoliteness.
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Old 10th January 2018, 12:29 PM   #3
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And for some of them, their delusions might simply be their way of working through their own grief and it simply might not occur to them that you find it annoying.

But I agree with everything Garrette said.
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Old 10th January 2018, 12:30 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by wasapi View Post
We all deal with this. We have our own opinions, values, belief systems. Other people have theirs, and they don't always agree.

Now, I am subjected to a great deal of woo because of circumstance. The man I loved committed suicide. Now, there are numerous 'well-meaning believers' who are approaching me with their beliefs. I try to nod, or even thank them at times for trying to do their style of comforting me.

Five people have 'shared' that they saw him in some form. One claimed he had visited him in the shape of - a large bird. Another said he saw him at the local town plaza.

Really? Now that the shock of his suicide is dulling, I am starting to lose patience. I know that their intention is to try to help me. Also, it isn't my style to battle with people who have different beliefs. A polite nod? Quit listening? Go against my grain and tell them to stop?
Regardless of what you believe, if what they say is genuinely upsetting to you in one form or another, you've every right to tell them to give it a rest.
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Old 10th January 2018, 12:30 PM   #5
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I am sorry for your loss.

About all I can say is try and have patience. Nobody ever has anything helpful or useful to say in times like this but we feel obligated too, often very stupid things. I would try and stick to polite nods unless some persists then I'd try to firmly tell them to quit. Try to remember that pretty much everyone is bad at this.

Garrette and Gilbert are correct.
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Old 10th January 2018, 03:29 PM   #6
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I also offer my sympathies. If the people saying these things were mutually close to him, to the point that their grief is similar to your own (and here I'm thinking parents, siblings, maybe a lifelong friend) then swallow it and let them deal with their grief their own way. Otherwise, you don't owe them anything and they have no right to try and impose their ******** on your memories. Frankly if you feel able to be polite then good for you, if you think venting your spleen on one or more of them would help, well, you've got my backing. For what it's worth.

I genuinely dislike people like that. At a time like this it isn't about them and you don't have any obligation to let them try and make it about themselves.

I have no prayers to offer, but accept my best wishes, and those, I'm certain, of everyone else in this community.
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Old 10th January 2018, 03:45 PM   #7
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Tell them that if they need to believe that stuff to ease their pain that's fine, but you don't feel the same way.

Tell them how YOU feel, and that you have to work through those feeling head-on instead of hiding behind woo.

Be polite but firm.
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Old 10th January 2018, 04:02 PM   #8
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Go with whatever feels appropriate at the time. It's your grief, and nobody should be able to dictate to you how you experience it.

When my mother's husband had just died - and not that long after her father had died - a day or two before the funeral my mother talked about an instance when I was younger when her sister and her both "knew" that their dead mother was with them. I said nothing, except for being comforting.

Today my mother was talking about how her mother would always know before answering which of her children was phoning her, and how they never had to tell her when she was coming home because she'd always know. I politely but firmly talked about confirmation bias.

Neither time did I believe that what she believed was true, but I think voicing my disagreement in the first instance would have been cruel and wrong. Several years removed from the most recent death of someone she's known (even including pets), and in the context of a friend of hers bringing round an invitation for a psychic evening, I think it would have been wrong not to voice my disagreement.

Tact is never a bad thing, but that doesn't mean that biting your tongue or holding back on your real opinion is necessarily the right thing to do. And in the horrible situation you describe, your feelings are more important than those of others. I see no hint of malice in your question, and nor would I see any in your telling the truth. Those who are worth your consideration will understand, and those who are not are not, so who cares?
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Old 10th January 2018, 04:34 PM   #9
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I'm very sorry to hear about all this, and not very well equipped with emotional advice.

I'm inclined to go with politeness and tact most of the time, but I suspect there's a limit here. I don't know the whole circumstance of course, but would be inclined to suggest to anyone you're not emotionally close to who claims to have been visited by him that it's an insult both to you and to him to suggest, first of all that they were more worthy of a visit than you, and second of all that he'd be such a creep as to kill himself and then hang around to watch. Perhaps it's their clumsy way of trying to reassure you that suicide is not really as final as you know it is, but the more one thinks about it the more perverse it seems.

Of course that's just old anonymous internet me in my safe little space saying it, but after suffering a near death accident a few years ago, I find that although I've chilled a little, I still have a limited tolerance for outright fools, and this stuff is pretty close to the snapping point.

Once again, though, I will say (without woo I hope) that I'm very sorry to hear that this whole thing happened and (with reference to another thread here) how it happened. It's a terrible thing and new age vapidity doesn't make it any less so.
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Old 10th January 2018, 04:38 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by wasapi View Post
Now, I am subjected to a great deal of woo because of circumstance. The man I loved committed suicide. Now, there are numerous 'well-meaning believers' who are approaching me with their beliefs. I try to nod, or even thank them at times for trying to do their style of comforting me.

"It sounds like you cared about him a great deal."

And then just stop talking and refuse to engage them further no matter what.
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Old 10th January 2018, 06:06 PM   #11
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It's a case by case with me. I listen. If there's something positive I can make of the fantasy, I share it.

If it's negative CT drivel, I find an excuse to terminate the conversation.
The same for attempts to convert me to some religious belief.

Some years ago a guy tried to make a Bahai out of me. I was sympathetic to the general principles but not keen on the supremacy of Bahai as the coming one world state religion. For that he called me, "arrogant." from then on when he would push Bahai at me, I'd remind him I was arrogant. He stopped saying anything about his religion to me.
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Old 10th January 2018, 09:34 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by wasapi View Post
We all deal with this. We have our own opinions, values, belief systems. Other people have theirs, and they don't always agree.

Now, I am subjected to a great deal of woo because of circumstance. The man I loved committed suicide. Now, there are numerous 'well-meaning believers' who are approaching me with their beliefs. I try to nod, or even thank them at times for trying to do their style of comforting me.

Five people have 'shared' that they saw him in some form. One claimed he had visited him in the shape of - a large bird. Another said he saw him at the local town plaza.

Really? Now that the shock of his suicide is dulling, I am starting to lose patience. I know that their intention is to try to help me. Also, it isn't my style to battle with people who have different beliefs. A polite nod? Quit listening? Go against my grain and tell them to stop?
There is simply no good answer for this because it is so dependent on the situation. It's been almost five months since my wife died of cervical cancer back in August and I still get this type of stuff almost daily. I've generally quit talking to people outside my immediate family and friends about my wife's death, mostly to avoid these exact encounters. Even though most people are genuinely trying to help, it's hard when it keeps getting thrown in your face, even unintentionally. Generally, I just say thanks and change the subject. People tend to get the hint that I don't want to talk about it and move on.

On those occasions when I get the more persistent individuals, I have had to cut them off rather curtly. Some people really get excited about their version of woo, whatever that may be. I still try to avoid being too harsh because I don't like to hurt pople's feelings or burn bridges with coworkers, friends, etc....

In some cases, I have had to be downright rude. Every time I've had to be rude, though, has come from people who don't know me well or barely knew my wife. Mostly these involve religious lectures about God's plan, usually where people imply, often not so subtlety, that God was punishing her, or me, for some sin or another.

It's very frustrating overall, and I think you just have to try and take it one encounter at a time and respond as is best for that person, at that moment.
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Old 10th January 2018, 09:40 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by wasapi View Post
We all deal with this. We have our own opinions, values, belief systems. Other people have theirs, and they don't always agree.

Now, I am subjected to a great deal of woo because of circumstance. The man I loved committed suicide. Now, there are numerous 'well-meaning believers' who are approaching me with their beliefs. I try to nod, or even thank them at times for trying to do their style of comforting me.

Five people have 'shared' that they saw him in some form. One claimed he had visited him in the shape of - a large bird. Another said he saw him at the local town plaza.

Really? Now that the shock of his suicide is dulling, I am starting to lose patience. I know that their intention is to try to help me. Also, it isn't my style to battle with people who have different beliefs. A polite nod? Quit listening? Go against my grain and tell them to stop?


Man, that is a tough thing to go through.

I got nothing else. I can't give you advice, just empathy.
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Old 10th January 2018, 11:36 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by wasapi View Post
We all deal with this. We have our own opinions, values, belief systems. Other people have theirs, and they don't always agree.

Now, I am subjected to a great deal of woo because of circumstance. The man I loved committed suicide. Now, there are numerous 'well-meaning believers' who are approaching me with their beliefs. I try to nod, or even thank them at times for trying to do their style of comforting me.

Five people have 'shared' that they saw him in some form. One claimed he had visited him in the shape of - a large bird. Another said he saw him at the local town plaza.

Really? Now that the shock of his suicide is dulling, I am starting to lose patience. I know that their intention is to try to help me. Also, it isn't my style to battle with people who have different beliefs. A polite nod? Quit listening? Go against my grain and tell them to stop?
Good to see you, Julia. Are you holding up? I imagine (without attaching any wooish beliefs to it) that getting through the holidays is a relief. They're sometimes tough anyways, but particularly if you've got to deal with a tragedy.

When my mom died the well-wishers of a religious bent came out of the woodwork. I worked in a pretty diverse environment, so I sort of expected that. The number of candles she had lit for her would've probably powered my wife's home village for a year. But I'm kinda used to that. We have a very Italian name, so I even got a special rosary from the parrish priest, blessed by John-Paul II. At first I thought it said John-Paul I and was think of collector value, but I imagine JPII had millions of these done. It's in a drawer somewhere,... I think. Oh, and mom was Jewish.

Even knowing that your Italian, Filippino, Dominicano and Puerto Rican friends are heavy catholics and will do this sort of stuff, I also started to get annoyed. And that's lightweight mainstream religious stuff. If the Ouija Board and Seance crowd started weighing in, I don't think I would have been so forgiving.

Be careful, if your frustration with them builds up you're liable to let loose on one at random and it'll probably be the least offensive, just the one representing the straw that broke the camel's back. (Semi-related... the morning after my mom died I had to go into the office to prime someone for a meeting.... just for an hour. As I got off the elevator, a buddy was getting on with some customers in tow. She said, "Wow! I gotta get your job so I can come in at ten in casual clothes." In my fog, I just reacted and in my AM Radio announcer voice, said, "Say, I have it from the boss that when your mom dies, you'll be able to do that, too!".... didn't even slow down, just tossed it over my shoulder. I felt like crap when it hit home what I'd said. I spent a year apologizing to her.)
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Old 12th January 2018, 04:40 PM   #15
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I'm really sorry that you're enduring this, and I'm sure you're handling it much better than I could.

Only one thing though...

I think you're being too kind in attributing positive motives to everyone that is doing this.

IMHO woo believers are like vultures, always looking for weakness, they swoop in on anyone whose defenses may be down, looking for an easy meal (aka conversion to woo).

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Old 12th January 2018, 07:24 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by novaphile View Post
I'm really sorry that you're enduring this, and I'm sure you're handling it much better than I could.

Only one thing though...

I think you're being too kind in attributing positive motives to everyone that is doing this.

IMHO woo believers are like vultures, always looking for weakness, they swoop in on anyone whose defenses may be down, looking for an easy meal (aka conversion to woo).

Jeez, you're a glass-half-empty sort, aren't you?

I concur that the professionals can be and quite often are predatory. Most acquaintance woo peddlers aren't really peddling in the commercial sense, they're just repeating their own stupid beliefs.
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Old 13th January 2018, 03:23 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by novaphile View Post
IMHO woo believers are like vultures, always looking for weakness, they swoop in on anyone whose defenses may be down, looking for an easy meal (aka conversion to woo).

Maybe the ones that are selling something. Otherwise, I like to believe that most people are honestly trying to help. They may lack perspective or skepticism, but they don't lack heart.
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Old 13th January 2018, 03:34 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by wasapi View Post
We all deal with this. We have our own opinions, values, belief systems. Other people have theirs, and they don't always agree.

Now, I am subjected to a great deal of woo because of circumstance. The man I loved committed suicide. Now, there are numerous 'well-meaning believers' who are approaching me with their beliefs. I try to nod, or even thank them at times for trying to do their style of comforting me.

Five people have 'shared' that they saw him in some form. One claimed he had visited him in the shape of - a large bird. Another said he saw him at the local town plaza.

Really? Now that the shock of his suicide is dulling, I am starting to lose patience. I know that their intention is to try to help me. Also, it isn't my style to battle with people who have different beliefs. A polite nod? Quit listening? Go against my grain and tell them to stop?
Well, first of all, there is a great distinction between a person sharing their personal superstitious beliefs, and a person sharing an opinion/thought/belief about something about your personal life. That's when boundaries are being crossed.

So, aside from the fact that you don't share their beliefs, these people are basically bothering you by bringing up something about your personal life. Even if their intentions are good, you are entirely in your right to tell them, next time they claim they "saw him", that you don't want to talk about that subject anymore because it brings a lot of pain and you want to move on. Period. No further justification is needed, and if they can't understand that, then you're probably better off without them.
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Old 13th January 2018, 04:07 PM   #19
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Why do people's "woo" beliefs upset you? Unless the person has an ulterior motive, just appreciate the fact they're trying to comfort you, in their own absurdist way.
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Old 13th January 2018, 04:42 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
Why do people's "woo" beliefs upset you?

Seriously?

They upset me when then tamper with my memories of my loved ones. When a person told me that my grandfather appeared to her to tell us not to worry about "the money," she fundamentally changed his very character. It's like fan fiction you can't get away from.

Then there are the people who seek to ascribe blame. I was born with serious heart defects. My mother says people used to come up to her and say she must have done something terrible to be punished so. That's not helpful. It's actually hurtful. And you wonder why people would go out of their way to say something so cruel. My belief is that they do it to make themselves feel better - the way people tell Elizabeth Smart that they would have found a way to escape.

I don't think these people need to be argued with or upbraided for their behavior. I do think they need to be dismissed firmly and finally as early as possible for the sake of the grieving person.
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Old 13th January 2018, 05:53 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
Seriously?

They upset me when then tamper with my memories of my loved ones. When a person told me that my grandfather appeared to her to tell us not to worry about "the money," she fundamentally changed his very character. It's like fan fiction you can't get away from.
I'm puzzled. How could another person "tamper with my memories"? I've lost loved ones and had Christians tell me they're in heaven (which I don't believe). It didn't affect my memory one bit. How could it?

Quote:
Then there are the people who seek to ascribe blame. I was born with serious heart defects. My mother says people used to come up to her and say she must have done something terrible to be punished so. That's not helpful. It's actually hurtful. And you wonder why people would go out of their way to say something so cruel. My belief is that they do it to make themselves feel better - the way people tell Elizabeth Smart that they would have found a way to escape.

I don't think these people need to be argued with or upbraided for their behavior. I do think they need to be dismissed firmly and finally as early as possible for the sake of the grieving person.
That is terrible, but doesn't sound like what's going on here. The people talking to the OP appear to be well-wishers, not cruel people trying to lay a guilt trip on.
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Old 14th January 2018, 11:41 AM   #22
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Quote:
Why do people's "woo" beliefs upset you? Unless the person has an ulterior motive, just appreciate the fact they're trying to comfort you, in their own absurdist way.
My sister had a hard time dealing with the death of our father, he did not give her much love and affection in his life.

She was "helped" by her very well meaning friends who were into mediums and the spirit world.

This only added to her grief and confusion.

Not only did she get fleeced by readings and so forth, she suffered badly trying to "contact" him seeking some respite from the hole she experienced when he was alive, and the hole that would never be filled after his death.

She took so much longer to get through the grieving period and credit to the JREF site, as it was then, that I could help her see the ******** behind mediums, cold readings etc.
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Old 14th January 2018, 03:46 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
Why do people's "woo" beliefs upset you? Unless the person has an ulterior motive, just appreciate the fact they're trying to comfort you, in their own absurdist way.
But they do have an "ulterior motive" they are trying to impose their beliefs on someone else. If they just wanted to offer comfort and support they wouldn't do that. I would never in a million years say to
a Christian grieving about their lost loved on wondering if they are now in heaven "hey no need to wonder about they are dead and there isn't any afterlife".

I'd be surprised if you said my hypothetical phrase was comforting to the Christian?
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Old 14th January 2018, 03:46 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
I'm puzzled. How could another person "tamper with my memories"? I've lost loved ones and had Christians tell me they're in heaven (which I don't believe). It didn't affect my memory one bit. How could it?



That is terrible, but doesn't sound like what's going on here. The people talking to the OP appear to be well-wishers, not cruel people trying to lay a guilt trip on.
No they sound like thoughtless people.
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Old 14th January 2018, 09:31 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Belgian thought View Post
My sister had a hard time dealing with the death of our father, he did not give her much love and affection in his life.

She was "helped" by her very well meaning friends who were into mediums and the spirit world.

This only added to her grief and confusion.

Not only did she get fleeced by readings and so forth, she suffered badly trying to "contact" him seeking some respite from the hole she experienced when he was alive, and the hole that would never be filled after his death.

She took so much longer to get through the grieving period and credit to the JREF site, as it was then, that I could help her see the ******** behind mediums, cold readings etc.
That is a good point, and it never occurred to me. People who have new-age/fringe beliefs should stick to typical condolences.
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Old 15th January 2018, 04:22 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
But they do have an "ulterior motive" they are trying to impose their beliefs on someone else. If they just wanted to offer comfort and support they wouldn't do that. I would never in a million years say to
a Christian grieving about their lost loved on wondering if they are now in heaven "hey no need to wonder about they are dead and there isn't any afterlife".

I'd be surprised if you said my hypothetical phrase was comforting to the Christian?
*sigh* yes.

I have a twin sister. We were infant-baptized roman-catholics and sent to church and the sacraments. I never really believed and am an atheist, but my sis turned into a fundamental, born-again YEC x-tian, which opened a huge gap between us. But what damaged our relationship more than anything else was her "comforting" letter upon my girl friend's death: full of scripture, prayer and what. Yeah, I had this infuriating feeling that she saw an opportunity to get me! It's okay any day for us to disagree with one another and argue. But what hurt me was that she KNEW of course I am not comforted by any sky daddy and the fiction about him, and that she went ahead with the crap anyway.
I most fondly remember my brother's message! He texted me saying that he had no idea what to say, and that he was sorry for his speechlessness. That nailed it! I knew then he felt my pain, numbness and cluelessness, and that actually comforted me!

So back to wasapi: those wooish comforters, do they know you a rational person? Then their pushing woo on you is rude. React accordingly.
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Old 15th January 2018, 05:34 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
But they do have an "ulterior motive" they are trying to impose their beliefs on someone else. If they just wanted to offer comfort and support they wouldn't do that. I would never in a million years say to
a Christian grieving about their lost loved on wondering if they are now in heaven "hey no need to wonder about they are dead and there isn't any afterlife".

I'd be surprised if you said my hypothetical phrase was comforting to the Christian?
Exactly this.
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Old 16th January 2018, 01:29 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by wasapi View Post
Five people have 'shared' that they saw him in some form. One claimed he had visited him in the shape of - a large bird. Another said he saw him at the local town plaza.
After tragically losing my brother (he was still in his 30s) I had two instances where I thought I saw him. The second was a guy on a bike, so similar looking to my brother, and I got a very strong urge to turn my car around and get a better look, but I managed to shake it off.

So I think these woo-friends of yours are just processing those experiences differently.
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Old 16th January 2018, 01:42 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Imhotep View Post
After tragically losing my brother (he was still in his 30s) I had two instances where I thought I saw him. The second was a guy on a bike, so similar looking to my brother, and I got a very strong urge to turn my car around and get a better look, but I managed to shake it off.

So I think these woo-friends of yours are just processing those experiences differently.
Quite likely, but in the process they're, inadvertently or not, trivializing his desperation, and creating a pretty considerable insult both to the person who committed suicide and to the person he left behind, to suggest that in some way his death was not real, and that in some way he favored them as he did not, it seems favor Wasapi.

I know, it's likely their thoughtlessness is clueless and harmless and insightless, and one should probably let it go, but there's a part of me that wants to slap them upside the head.
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Old 16th January 2018, 02:15 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by bruto View Post
Quite likely, but in the process they're, inadvertently or not, trivializing his desperation, and creating a pretty considerable insult both to the person who committed suicide and to the person he left behind, to suggest that in some way his death was not real, and that in some way he favored them as he did not, it seems favor Wasapi.

I know, it's likely their thoughtlessness is clueless and harmless and insightless, and one should probably let it go, but there's a part of me that wants to slap them upside the head.
You did a good job describing the two extremes of possible reactions to what these people are saying.

This reminds me of what my mom said the other day. When Christians say to her "You'll be in my prayers" or something similar, she just pretends they are saying "in my thoughts".
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Old 16th January 2018, 04:14 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Imhotep View Post
You did a good job describing the two extremes of possible reactions to what these people are saying.

This reminds me of what my mom said the other day. When Christians say to her "You'll be in my prayers" or something similar, she just pretends they are saying "in my thoughts".
A recently late friend of ours, who was also a life long atheist, solved her end of the problem by saying she was "sending up flares."
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Old 17th January 2018, 06:53 PM   #32
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I remember seeing someone on this board get very upset when someone said something along the lines of "It's gawds will" or maybe "Gawd will see you through this, don't worry". The person in question was dying.

I didn't really get their anger, but now I do. I was at work recently and my back was really hurting. I have an actual injury that will always be there. Pain comes and goes.

Someone suggested all I needed to do was put crystals on my back to take care of it. I felt like punching him in the face. Now I get it.

You don't get to insult me by saying my pain is bullcrap, or that I'm a damn idiot. Go f yourself.

ETA:
It was my boss who told me about the crystals. He's also the owner. So I did not tell him to F off. But what if I miss work because of my back and he thinks it's my fault because I didn't use the crystals? Dude...

Last edited by mgidm86; 17th January 2018 at 07:14 PM.
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Old 18th January 2018, 04:05 PM   #33
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After the recent fires in the Los Angeles - Ventura area, there was an interview shown on TV with a woman whose house had not burned, although the ones to either side of hers were destroyed. She said several times, "God was watching out for me."

Apparently he didn't like her neighbors.
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Old 18th January 2018, 05:11 PM   #34
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I guess it's because I was at one time a devout Christian and still have good friends of that sort, it really doesn't irk me much when people roll out the prayer and God is watching over you "consolations."

What irks me is the New Age crap. The "make positive affirmations," the "don't have negative emotions," and the "you make your own reality" swill.

I lost a dear friend to pancreatic cancer. the whole time of her illness she was subjected to The Secret, Louise Hay, and all the other rot telling her she had cancer because she harbored negative feelings, and that if she just visualized health, she'd be cured. Jerks and ding bats!

One year the flu came through my place of employment. One of my fellow workers was quick to say that whoever got it did so because they wallowed in negativity, and that the reason he didn't have it was because he was such a positive person. Bless the Universe, he came down with it, and we didn't let up asking him what negative feelings he'd been hiding.
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