To think if people want to disappear, they have the right to?

(74 Posts)
LunaLoveg00d Tue 17-May-16 10:20:43

Just saw a piece on TV about a 26 year old man who walked out of his life 6 years ago, taking his passport and cash with him. Since then he has had no contact with any friends and family and understandably his parents are distraught.

A couple of weeks ago the police informed the parents that their adult son had surfaced in Spain, alive and well. Parents are now even more distraught that nobody will tell them where he is or help them make contact.

It must be a very difficult situation but surely an adult has the right to cut off all contact, leave the country and then have the right to decide when/if he wants to contact his parents and friends again?

Samcro Tue 17-May-16 10:21:31

yes but I can imagine as a parent you would be really upset

AndTakeYourPenguinWithYou Tue 17-May-16 10:24:32

They do have that right, which is why noone will tell them where he is.
He probably had his own good reasons for it.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Tue 17-May-16 10:24:34

I have done something similar.

I suppose in this case, it's an interesting decision from the police to have said anything. On the one hand, they now know that he's safe. On the other, it's now very real thst he wanted to leave them and doesn't want contact. That must be difficult to face up too. I expect most parents wouldn't have considered that, I think you'd naturally worry that something terrible had happened rather than thinking they'd left because of you.

WorraLiberty Tue 17-May-16 10:26:43

I don't think anyone's saying no-one has that right?

It must be awful for this family though.

Popocatapetl1234 Tue 17-May-16 10:28:40

I think adults have the right to cut off contact with their families and friends.

But they should write and tell them that this is what they are doing - not just disappear and leave everyone wondering if they are dead or alive. That's really passive aggressive and wastes police time.

Scarydinosaurs Tue 17-May-16 10:30:23

My friend has gone missing. The not knowing is awful. I wish his parents had answers.

Although we all have this 'right' I can't help but feel unless there are exceptional circumstances, it's an incredibly selfish decision.

LunaLoveg00d Tue 17-May-16 10:30:59

The way I understood it was because the Police were treating it as a missing persons case and the parents had reported it, they were letting them know the person had been found and the case closed. The parents believe that there was nothing wrong, the son was not troubled, had a job etc etc but the fact he withdrew around £2k from his bank account and took his passport and birth certificate shows this was a planned disappearance.

I don't think cutting off contact from parents is that unusual, but the parents are saying nobody had contact with their son for 6 years. Nobody from his "old life" anyway. That's what they believe - but with the internet, facebook, snapchat etc it would be very easy to stay in touch remotely with people if you chose to.

I also think the "data protection" thing is wrong - they are not telling his parents where he is because of "data protection", it's because of privacy laws here and in Spain and at the end of the day this is a man in his 30s we're talking about, not a teenager.

MidniteScribbler Tue 17-May-16 10:35:14

You do have the right. You can pack up, sell up, and move.

But just disappearing off the face of the earth is very selfish. Not only the hours of time and money wasted in searching for someone as it would be assumed that they're at the bottom of a ditch somewhere, but the stress of not knowing if the person is alive or dead.

SaucyJack Tue 17-May-16 10:37:32

He isn't alive and well tho. He came to the attention of the authorities via the Spanish social services as they have welfare concerns about him due to possible MH problems.

I do agree with you, but I feel for his parents. It seems like classic undiagnosed bipolar to me.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Tue 17-May-16 10:37:36

My parents would say that I disappeared and have no contact with anyone from my previous life. Thst they supported me and loved me and I left in the middle of the night and never got in touch with them again.

Infact, they did, when they reported this to the police and cried a bit at a local event.

Really, I left in the middle of the night because they my mum assaulted me and kicked me out, and I have plenty of contact with old friends and other family members but they are all aware that if they let it slip to my parents, I'm gone. Thankfully in my case, the police had the sense not to update my parents at all.

I'm cutting out a lot of detail and this is unlikely to be the case here, but it's the flipside. He may have good reasons for not wanting contact, or he may have terrible reasons, but they are his reasons and that's his decision to make.

Popo if you're leaving anywhere, it's often recommended that you don't leave a note. Women's Aid, the police, social services will all tell you to pack up an leave. And let's face it, it'd be easy to manipulate anyway. My parents probably would have claimed it was obviously written under duress or used it as proof of me being mentally unwell or something. It's easier to leave nothing to be left against you.

(I did make myself known to the police though, I didn't allow a missing persons case to continue.)

Popocatapetl1234 Tue 17-May-16 10:52:15

@anchor: that's a really good point on the note. But still nothing to stop a note afterwards. Obviously very different in a case of DV.

Buckinbronco Tue 17-May-16 10:53:28

I read this story and found it bizarre it was even reported on (another non story!) of course the police can't reveal the whereabouts of an adult who doesn't want to be found! Who would think they should? I find that a totally stand idea

Buckinbronco Tue 17-May-16 10:54:09

Strange idea

Although I suspect it was a good opportunity for DM to whinge about data protection gorn mad

Buckinbronco Tue 17-May-16 10:57:00

I often wonder if these situations are more like anchors (good on you getting away!)

The thing is, the parents always said they just wanted to know he was safe. Now they do. Turns out that's not all they wanted. Accepting that he doesn't want contact must be horrendous but the media isn't the way to go, nor is pinning it on data protection

BarbarianMum Tue 17-May-16 11:02:55

I think it depends on your circumstances tbh. If you are married, or have dependant children I don't think you do have the moral "right" to just up and leave one day without a word to anybody - at least make yourself known to the police, or drop a note in with a friend.

I agree that the police shouldn't pass on your details (then again if you are avoiding paying child support maybe they should).

BoomBoomsCousin Tue 17-May-16 12:48:34

I'm a bit surprised they told the parents he's in Spain, though if Saucy is talking about the same case I can see that there was possibly a need if they had to check something.

Adults do have the right to disappear, so long as they make arrangements for their responsibilities. It may be a selfish decision, but it isn't illegal to be selfish, and in many cases it will be as much a matter of self preservation. I don't think, in most cases, the mental health issues are relevant, the great thing about a welfare state is that it allows you to be cared for without relying on your parents (who may have abysmal attitudes towards or knowledge about mental health). Even if you're not well, you shouldn't be forced into reforging a relationship with family you don't want to.

RockMeMomma Tue 17-May-16 13:01:53

I think he should have said goodbye to give them closure, even if he doesn't need it, they obviously do. I often see parents, family and friends of missing people on TV appeals. It's years since they went missing and their loved ones are still in agony because they can't find closure without a body or news that the person just wants to start over and cut everyone off.

MrsLupo Tue 17-May-16 13:05:20

flowers Anchor

derxa Tue 17-May-16 13:14:17

I think it's cruel and selfish if there are no major issues.

FamousSeamus Tue 17-May-16 13:19:37

But we're not in general going to know whether or not there were 'major issues', are we? The parents/immediate family are going to be the ones presenting the story, understandably from their own POV, rather than the person who has disappeared and is keeping a low profile. In fact, pretty much what Anchor said. I think she is right to have made contact with the police so that no resources were wasted on a missing persons search.

Of course, it is absolutely appalling to think of the suffering of relatives who do not know whether someone is alive or dead, or, in this case, to know someone is alive, troubled, but refusing to make contact.

treaclesoda Tue 17-May-16 13:24:46

I'm in two minds because I've only seen the devastation left behind when a much loved husband and father walked out and never came back. His family were ruined financially. His wife can't sell their house because he is joint owner. There is no death certificate so his life assurance can't be claimed on. It's unspeakably cruel.

HermioneJeanGranger Tue 17-May-16 13:26:46

Absolutely they have a legal right to leave, but morally I think it's a bit dubious (unless in danger, fleeing DV or similar) to just go and not let your parents, family, friends and children know you are safe.

I feel awful for his family. Imagine not knowing whether your child was dead/alive for years, and then finding out 10 years later that he's fine and just chose to fuck off and not even let someone know he wasn't dead at the bottom of a cliff somewhere. I think that's horrendously selfish behaviour and either shows an illness of some kind, or a very cold personality.

Obviously Anchor's case (and other DV cases, for example) are completely different. But to just up and leave for no reason? Horrific.

2rebecca Tue 17-May-16 13:28:53

I think if you want to disappear you have a duty to let someone know you are OK and choosing to disappear so public money isn't wasted looking for you. I think you should also send an update so people know it wasn't a murderer covering his tracks by saying someone had disappeared.
I suspect the parent wanting to track him down like an animal is part of the reason he left though rather than them saying "glad he's alive would love to have contact again if HE wants to as we still love him and are here for him"

HermioneJeanGranger Tue 17-May-16 13:29:29

And YY to what treacle said, the mess these people leave behind can be devastating. I know of men who walked on wives and children, and disappeared completely. The wives left behind can't do anything because their H is still on all the legal paperwork and isn't registered as dead, so she needs his permission to sell property, etc etc.

It's like the runner moves on and everyone is just stuck in limbo because of their selfishness.

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