An old friend of mine committed suicide this week. He was a great guy; pleasant to be around, a hard worker, kind. Everybody at work liked him.
Then something changed. He started not caring about his work, he was married to a heavy drinker ,he started to drink too much, too. He had quit smoking, he was proud of that, but he started back. Then he got arrested a couple of times for driving under the influence. He started not being such a great guy and people like me who knew him best began to pull away, always hoping that he would get straight again.
The suicide of a friend hurts. Then there's some guilt. Then there's anger and resentment. What a jerk for doing this to us! You can't go back and try a different approach; actually the "distancing" of his closest friends was all that we COULD do to try to reach him. If that sounds like faulty, defensive thinking, correct me.
Doesn't this sound a lot like the Witness's shunning? This guy was isolated enough to not have somebody he could call. He just wallowed in his depression. He couldn't put together that we all still loved him, we simply wanted him to fix his life back.
This was NOT the hard-core shunning like the Witnesses. Of course we still spoke with him and most of us would have done anything for him still. But there IS a mechanism in our social networking that closely resembles shunning. It's natural and understandable.
Maybe I'm working through the guilt and the pain. And even that is more than the self-examination that the Witnesses will do after shunning somebody to death.