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Dedma or Dead Malice

I had a falling out with two friends a year ago. It doesn’t matter who they are. It started because I felt the need to confront them about their accusations on a certain issue
. But no, they refused confrontation and eventually distanced themselves from me.

I grew up in an environment where direct communication is important. I feel safe around direct, honest people. They speak their minds, and we know where we stand with them. The problem with non-confrontational people are they want us to speak in circles before getting to the point. Perhaps, I am not an acrobat of words but going straight to the point comes out rude and disrespectful to them.

Just recently, I met up with these friends. Funny how time heal wounds. Perhaps because I busied myself with pertinent matters instead of delving in those issues. Perhaps because I stopped gossip from entering my life. We talked animatedly as if nothing happened. Dedma? I think so.

Dedma is the attenuated form of the English words dead malice. Dead malice, in turn, is the literal translation of the Tagalog expression, patay malisya. It is conjugated thus: dedma, dinedma, dededmahin.

Source: Dedma 101

For the sake of diplomatic relations , I practice dedma. Is it being a hypocrite? Let’s look at the definition of dedma

1) To completely ignore/feign ignorance of the existence/presence of someone/something.
2) To snub, reject, or toss in the trash.
3) To pretend deafness or blindness in order to escape a sticky situation.

Definition 1 is more appropriate to my case. There are occasions when the best way to deal with a problem is to pretend it doesn’t exist. On such occasions the practical thing is to practice the art of dedma. I believe it is an effective tool when one wants to preserve family peace. I’ve always believed that we can’t change people, places and our past but we can change our attitude. My attitude is to acknowledge that they will refuse confrontation or discussion but I will just learn to live with it.

Just the same, it helps if people are a bit more direct. Indirect people , people who are afraid to say who they are, what they want, and what they’re feeling cannot really be trusted. We don’t know what’s ticking in their minds. They will somehow act out their truth even though they do not speak it. It may catch us all by surprise. Directness saves time and energy. It lets go of martyrdom and silly mind games. It creates respectful relationships.

It feels safe to be around direct honest people. But if not, practice dedma.

What about you? Did the art of dedma ever help you in a sticky situation?

25 thoughts on “Dedma or Dead Malice”

  1. Oh yes, Ms. Noemi, dozens of times. It’s the only way to handle people who refuse to confront the issue head-on.I wish though that there should be more openness’re right, eventually, the resentment will come through.

  2. I have had a reputation of being diplomatic. For me its easy specially if it is in a official setting. I rarely get mad. It is harder to do to this with close friends and family. One of the mysteries of life you loose control sometimes before people you really care about.

  3. I think it helps me in my profession. Sometimes there are just relatives of patients who intrude too much during consultations (you know, almost all patients come to consult with a relative in tow). Whenever I try to give advice to patient, they try injecting their opinions about it. Most of the time I try to play “dedma” to it, unless that relative says something that I should quite react quickly to. I just focus on my patient and try to make myself understood.

  4. Hi Noemi, when I was working in my previous jobs, I would encounter colleagues who spread gossips about me because of envy (I bet). I would really practice the art of “dedma” to the max. It really worked to my advantage. He he.

  5. like you No. 1 worked for me too. not that I’ve totally forgotten them, but it’s rather best that I’m on “deadma mode” so as both ends can have enough space to rethink. and it actually worked! 🙂

  6. yes it did..with Andrea’s mom eventhough I was still hurting from the loss.i tried to act as if walang nangyari.Kasi i needed the link.i needed to know that Andrea is okay. pero the ultimate test about being deadma is when she wanted to ask money from me for Andrea’s use. i pretended na deadma lang ako na kunwari di ko naintindihan ibig nya sabihin pero deep inside i wanted to help her but i wasn’t sure kung dapat pa ba ako tumulong.. selfish ako i know.. i just felt that after what she put me through she doesn’t deserve my help..

  7. @lemon- I only learned the art of dedma recently. In the past, I’d really avoid meeting that person

    @juned- ah the art of diplomacy is similar to the art of dedma.

    @prudence- tough job dealing with the relative at the same time . You’re probably used to it

    @feng- they say that some issues are best left buried. To unravel them further will cause strain. So dedma

    @leira- how hard for you. You are just protecting yourself from an insensitive person. That’s what you call setting a boundary. To set it, one would have to practice the art of “dedma”

  8. This post made me think.

    The #1 definition of “dedma” does work in order to get through the civilities and get people talking to each other again. I have practiced this many times.

    However, it is really not a resolution. It’s like sweeping things under the rug. It’s a temporary lull, just waiting for another situation to bring up old, ugly, unresolved issues.

    I do not like unresolved issues; I prefer to talk things out. But if the other side prefers to keep mum and not deal with the issues, it does seem pointless to keep trying to bring it up. It’s just an uncomfortable situation that needs to be accepted for the moment.

  9. noemi — ang ganda ng timing ng post mo sa buhay ko ngayon:)

    una, pareho pala tayo. lay all cards on table type. the truth and nothing but the truth.

    hours before readng your post, i was feeling frustrated/exasperated over how some people would rather cover up the truth than get it out in the open. just before turning on the computer i was thinking this too shall pass, hayaan ko na lang, and just be dedma about stuff. and now that ive read your post, oo nga, some things are better dealth with using the art of deadma. ang dami ko pa sanang gustong sabihin kaya lang magmumukhang “maalala mo kaya” ang comment ko, hahaha!

  10. @jane- it is not the permanent solution. Maybe one day, the hurt will be gone and it’s easy to discuss issues. But for now, dedma muna

    @lady cess- It’s good my post touched you today as I hoped it would. I mean not you directly but to others who can relate to my feelings. It can get frustrating and I’ve mellowed a bit and practice the art of dedma when the situation calls for it.

  11. for our undergrad thesis, we had to work in groups of 3. We’re having slight problem with one of our groupmates but we somehow just let it pass (kahit may times na gusto ng sumabog), just tried to accept and understand, try to think first before we confront and try to work with what we’ve got. Buti na lang nakaraos din, and we’ve manage to finish it without losing our friendship.

    For a non-confrontational like me, your post is quite enlightening. Thank you.

  12. I am always dedma when I deal with my in-laws. I agree with you that it helps preserve family peace. Choose your battles is also a motto to keep in mind . so dedma na lang

  13. Tricky question. I’m a straightforward person & I want people to be honest with me, too. Of course it doesn’t mean it’s easy for me to hear everything they have to say or for me to say what I want to. But it’s better than not talking about the white elephant in front of you di ba? But then I do practise dead-ma dependent on the company & situation. Sabi nga ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’, but it does get to me.

  14. Dedma helps a lot, especially when I deal with people who *extremely* balat sibuyas, or who have more white hairs than I do, or who simply don’t want to rock the boat.

    It seems that sometimes, there is resolution in non-resolution.

  15. Dedma is okay for little things. Maybe it is related to ‘not sweating the small stuff.’ I do it and sure enough whatever was the problem melts away with time.

    But there are fundamental problems that won’t go away unless one confronts it. In this case deadma is only palliative.

  16. It really depends on the person you are dealing with – if they are the type who can’t handle the truth, para que? If they are people who are part of my life like an extended family or office team group members, I will give discussion/confrontation a try but if they are in denial or plain just-don’t-get-it – then deadma na lang. But I would surely need to reevaluate their role in my life and nuclear family or career, who wants to continuously walk on eggshells with toxic people?

  17. Hehe in my case, mahilig ako humirit sa crush ko na crush ko sya, tapos dedma ako after, para di halata. Hahaha! But seriously, when it comes to family “disputes”, madalas nga dedma na lang ako, especially when it’s another family member’s household problem.

  18. This too happened to me once upon a time. A friend and I had a falling out and didn’t contact each other for a long time (years!). And then one day we saw each other and talked to each other like nothing ever happened, dedma talaga. Of course she apologized later and all’s well that ends well.

  19. Amazing! I just know this “dedma” thing is from “Dead Malice”!I quite felt it! Most of the time ‘siguro’ when I saw a friend who kind a jealous for me! Which I deep inside still have the feeling that she has something againts me! Thinking paranoid? well, dedma lang kami! As if nothing! -Obnoxious Queer

  20. Hmm, I’ve had a falling-out with 2 friends last year as well, but it was over trivial matters. So I guess playing deadma if and when I see them will be okay.. even if i think they owe me an apology.. But, small stuff so i won’t sweat it.

  21. Hi, Ms. Noemi! It’s me again, having been addicted to your articles. I’d like to think that deadma will work for me but not every time. How will you deal with extended family of in-laws who will go even to the extent of humiliating you everyday just to make you loose face. I’ve been through this situation almost everyday in more than 10 years of my married life and I can’t think of any more ways to really settle this but to leave my husband so I can have my peace of mind. But if I do, I will be the loser, my husband is a very good man and does not side with his extended family and even his direct family. But we live where almost all our neighbors are his kin. I hope you write articles regarding family relationships.

  22. I like your article about dedma. It’s hard to choose between being true and courteous. I learned that there are instances when we have to refrain from speaking out our thoughts just to have a peaceful life. You’re right. Time heals.
    .-= espan´s last blog ..Daily Blogging =-.

  23. well di ba deadma kinda means isnab? so if patay malisya means deadma e di parang inisnab mo lang yung tao. But if malisya is malice, then it means inisnab mo yung taong masama ang intensyon sa’yo. However if malisyoso is the term, usually di ba parang mahalay mag-isip ibig sabihin nun? Panay masama naiisip about other people kahit hindi naman masama dapat? So if used in that context, patay malisya means di mo nilalagyan ng mahalay na intensyon yung ginagawa ng tao? Kaso, i guess that would make it different from deadma na?

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