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Thread: Is it OK to be unfilial if your family sucks?

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    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Default Is it OK to be unfilial if your family sucks?

    Most of us have a Chinese heritage, which means in all likelihood, the idea of filial loyalty to family has been drilled into our heads since childhood. We've been constantly reminded about how being filial is a virtue, and failure to be filial is despicable.

    But if your family is full of nasty people who suck and treat you badly, is it OK to be unfilial?

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    good question. My family is generally ok, so I can only speak hypothetically. I take the view that "I have only one dad and one mum". So even if they are robbers, rapists, murderers, they are still your parents. Therefore, I will treat them as dad and mum. I will at least continue to give them some allowance. I will continue to call them dad and mum. On the other hand, being adults, they have to be responsible for their actions. For example, if they get into debts because of gambling, I really doubt that I will help them.

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    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Mom and Dad aren't a problem. I'm thinking more towards select relatives from extended family.

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    Senior Member xJadedx's Avatar
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    To be filial, I'd think you'd only have obligations to your parents. I mean, I don't even consider my mother's side of the family (asides from my mother) to actually be family and I don't feel the least bit bad about it.
    Because I'm somewhere in between,
    My love and my agony.

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    Senior Member ByTmE's Avatar
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    My mommy and daddy are the great buddhas in my heart. I wouldn't wish for their brothers and sisters to go to hell...but some of them will end up there by their own doings anyway. Since I believe that, does that make me unfilial? I don't think so because I adore, respect, and love my parents very much and I came from them, NOT their brothers and sister. The aunties and uncles are not MY brothers and sisters either...so who cares...gosh.

    On the other hand, if my parent's asked me to help out their siblings...then it might be hard to refuse. I'd probably remind MoM and DaD though that the last time I helped one of their relatives, my life was put in danger and then all their other siblings just watched smugly without intervening.

    Oh, and I might choose to be evil and require those who need my help to ingratiate themselves to me....
    ---------------------

    OK, I'll stop playing now. You should still be cordial to your relatives even if they suck for your parents' sake. That's what I would do...and like Jaded, I don't in the least feel remorse for the evil thoughts I have in my head.
    I like me.

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    Senior Member xJadedx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ByTmE View Post
    and like Jaded, I don't in the least feel remorse for the evil thoughts I have in my head.
    I don't feel bad about not considering them to be my family, but I'd never wish them harm or evil.
    Because I'm somewhere in between,
    My love and my agony.

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    Senior Member Lucre's Avatar
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    It's not ok to be evil just becos of whatever reasons; but we can be more understanding towards certain circumstances.
    o wilku mowa...♪

    The only thing I need to know is that I don't know anything.

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    Senior Member remember_Cedric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xJadedx View Post
    I don't feel bad about not considering them to be my family, but I'd never wish them harm or evil.
    I believe ByTme meant that when the relatives had done terrible things to/get nasty/evil towards her/her family in the first place.
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    Senior Member xJadedx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by remember_Cedric View Post
    I believe ByTme meant that when the relatives had done terrible things to/get nasty/evil towards her/her family in the first place.
    The reason I don't consider my mother's side of the family to be my family is precisely because of the awful things they have and are continuing to do to my family. That said, I only wish to be distant and have nothing to do with them. But I don't wish them any harm or evil, because that's just stupid and nonsensical.
    Because I'm somewhere in between,
    My love and my agony.

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    Senior Member ByTmE's Avatar
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    Yes, I agree.

    I was only thinking evil thoughts because this question was posed to us; however, for the most part, my extended relatives are rather peripheral in my life and I never go out of my way to give them much thought.

    It's not always easy to ignore people who never stop calling though.
    I like me.

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    Senior Member Sourplum's Avatar
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    Does being filial mean you have to follow everything your family wishes of you? If being filial means a person has to sacrifice their own happiness for the sake of making their family happy, then does that make them unfilial? If parents opposed you for being in a relationship/career/organisation/ they disapprove strongly of, would that stop you from doing what you want? I think while it's nice to show respect to your family, that respect shouldn't make you lose sight of who you are.

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    Member So Yen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xJadedx View Post
    The reason I don't consider my mother's side of the family to be my family is precisely because of the awful things they have and are continuing to do to my family. That said, I only wish to be distant and have nothing to do with them. But I don't wish them any harm or evil, because that's just stupid and nonsensical.
    I am in the same situation but with different side of the family. It's my dad's side that causes trouble, so I too do not want to have anything to do with them.

    Back to Ken's question, I agree with what xJadedx said about how being filial is only to one's own parents (or guardians). I don't think you need to show the same respect you do with your parents to your select relative or extended families.

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    Moderator kidd's Avatar
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    Filial piety is only towards your parents and guardians or whoever that rise you or maybe you grandparents.

    But, I've also loyalty towards my sister.

    But, nasty extended family relatives? Be cordial. But, no need to sacrifice your happiness for them. Of course, don't wish them harm also. Like others, if you don't like them because they are nasty to you, just distant yourself.
    Last edited by kidd; 10-02-10 at 01:05 PM.
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    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kidd View Post
    But, nasty extended family relatives? Be cordial. But, no need to sacrifice your happiness for them. Of course, don't wish them harm also. Like others, if you don't like them because they are nasty to your, just distant yourself.
    That doesn't let them know that they've been wrong, though.

    I guess I'm just a more vengeful person than most of you. When people hurt me badly enough, I thirst for revenge.

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    Member So Yen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    That doesn't let them know that they've been wrong, though.

    I guess I'm just a more vengeful person than most of you. When people hurt me badly enough, I thirst for revenge.
    This reminds me of a quote by Gandhi that I read at Borders last night. It says "an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind." Of course, I think it's only true to some extent.

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    Senior Member ByTmE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    That doesn't let them know that they've been wrong, though.

    I guess I'm just a more vengeful person than most of you. When people hurt me badly enough, I thirst for revenge.
    In fact, the thirst for revenge is something that I struggle with too...but I should point out that I don't think about enacting any forms of revenge while I'm busy living my life. I believe that the best form of revenge is to live your life fully and succeed on your own terms.

    I think that what you mean by revenge, is to see that karma has found them, and that they acknowledge their wrongdoing towards you. Sometimes, just acknowledgment, gives great closure.
    I like me.

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    Filial is from Children to parents, no one else.

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    Senior Member Guo Xiang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    That doesn't let them know that they've been wrong, though.

    I guess I'm just a more vengeful person than most of you. When people hurt me badly enough, I thirst for revenge.
    I always want revenge too... but most of the times I'm just too tired and lazy to see things through. Negative emotions like this tend to drain a person's energy way too much and too quickly, anyway.

    If you are too focused on your negative energy, go get some sun.

    As for the original question, if they are not the parents I don't consider it part of filial piety. Personally, if they are mean to me I will just throw it back to their faces.

    If people are unfilial to their parents because they were mean to the children, I won't say it's okay but it's very understandable.
    Last edited by Guo Xiang; 10-06-10 at 03:30 AM.
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    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guo Xiang View Post

    If you are too focused on your negative energy, go get some sun.
    I live in Southern California.

    I get more sun than I could ever possibly use.

    I still constantly feel like I'm made of antimatter and born into the wrong universe, though.

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