Thursday, October 02, 2008


In most relationships, I think, the responsibilities are divided up amongst the participants. I am blessed to have a husband who loves to vacuum and does more ironing than I've ever done in my entire life, ever. But we divide other things as well.

I am the letter writer. Not surprisingly, I suppose.

So, I'm struggling. Because I know what the right thing to do is, in regards to the most recent letter from my husband's mother. And I cannot. put. the. words. on. paper.

Why are the words, "I forgive you" so freaking hard to write?

I sit down and I start. I thank her for inquiring about my dad. I thank her for inquiring about my children. I thank her for her apology.

And that is as far as I can get. Then? I feel anger.

I think about all the things she said to me that were mean. I think about all the snide comments. All the hurtful things done to my children. All the times that she made it clear that she felt I wasn't good enough for her son. All the times that I was left out and excluded.

And it still hurts.

I mean, I'm a freaking grown-up. I'm an adult. People hurt me and I get over it. Such is life and people get hurt.

Big deal.

But here it is. I am hurt. And I'm having trouble getting over it.

Part of it, I know, is my own issues. Probably, to be fair, a lot of it is my own issues.

I had hope that I would find a family and become part of that family.

It didn't happen. What did happen was that I made my own family and that, thankfully, has worked out pretty well. And I can admit that I am at a point right now that I feel very sorry for Jason's mom. Our family is awesome. She's missed out on a huge amount of really fantastic stuff and she can never get that back.

It's lost.

So I want to forgive a woman who judged me unfairly and who doesn't really know me at all.

I have no idea where to start.


LzyMom said...

Gosh, that is tough. My dad was an abusive dickhead and we were estranged for many years. I had to forgive him so that I could move on with my life.

I decided to be the person that I wanted to be and not the one he wanted. I had to accept that he would never get that. You know?

Too bad you can't write something like: Thank you for the apology and too bad your dumbassery caused to you miss out on some great times. Jackhole.

You could paraphrase. :)

Jill said...

she made a big mistake and it seems like she's trying to correct it. it doesnt all have to go super smoothly. you could always say 'you've hurt my feelings and i dont know how long it will take, or if i can ever forgive you, but i'm willing to try if you are' -- or something like that.

Randi said...

I don't think you have to say you forgive her right off the bat.

How about something like - -family is very important to you, and you and Jason -together- might be interested in starting to form a better relationship as long as it can be a healthy one.

Being kinda vague with what "relationship" means can give you an out to take it as fast or SLOW as you like.
The problem has built over years... it's not going to go away in days.

And can I just say that I'm so impressed that you're even willing? I'm not sure I would be.

Kim's Korner said...

I went through a similar situation with my ex mother in law. She removed herself from our lives for over 4years. She missed the birth of my second son, and missed the first four years of his life completely. As well as his brother's.

A death in the family was what brought about the first form of communication.

Forgiving is hard. But many people can find it in themselves to forgive.

Forgetting is much, much harder.

Good luck with finding the right words.

emily said...

I think you just did, what you just wrote would be so completely fair to send to her! It shows you want to move on, build a relationship but also shows how hard that is and the reasons why!

CPA Mom said...

*sigh* grudges are so much easier than forgiveness.

I still think this is Jason's responsibility.

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

You already have started just in trying to figure out the source of all your feelings. You rock at introspection, Chick.

I don't think there's anything wrong with saying that a lot of hurt has been traded back and forth between you guys and that you hope things can be mended because family is important to you and Jason. One apology doesn't fix everything. One blanket "I forgive you" doesn't either. I think it might be too soon for that.

We're not saints, and while we strive towards that sort of goodness and selflessness, we're not there yet, and that's okay. It's one of those things we're here on this earth to learn, you know?

Be gentle with yourself, babe. ~hugs~

Mrs. Case said...

Forgiveness is as much for the person doing the forgiving as it is for the one being forgiven.

Forgiveness is a weighty topic, esp considering she didn't really ask for yours in the way you are intending to give it.

I think you don't need to go all out. What you have written so far is good enough. She's never going to change. I think you've already accepted that.

If you can take her at face value and use whatever it is she actually has to offer, you'll be alright. And it IS her loss. She can never give back what she frofeited in the name of being a witch.

kristi said...

Well, as you know, I have had MAJOR issues with my sister. Really it started out as her being nosey at my son's school...going to his class and asking personal things about him. I told the teacher to put a stop to it and she didn't so I had a conversation with my sister which turned into her screaming at me and making it ALL ABOUT HER.

I have tried to smoothe things over with her although I did nothing wrong. She still won't talk to me.

I say you do what makes you feel comfortable but the hurt will be there always. You are human. She didn't even try to get to know you or your kids and has missed out on a lot of years.

My sister has not been there for me thru my son's Autism diagnosis but she "plays the concerned Aunt" at his school.

Give me a fucking break.

What I am trying to say is most of the time people don't change.

Karin's Korner said...

First I want to congratulate you for losing 8 pounds ~ you rock!!

Now, for the mother in law part... I don't know how you can tell her that you forgive her when you are thinking about all the bad things that she has done to you. I suggest you write 2 letters to her. The first one being the one that you keep and the second one (cause it will be easier to write after the first one) is the one that you send. In the first letter pour your heart out, all the names she has called you...I am hurt because you called me a .... All the mean things she has said to the children...your a (not so nice word) because you.....etc.. now take this letter and shred it, your feelings are your own and no one can make you feel any way that you don't feel.

Good Luck with this


Anonymous said...

Why dont you just get Jason to call her? It is HIS mom, and if any reconciliation occurs, I think it should start with him first.

Anonymous said...

I hope this doesn't come off as corny, but it's the thing I thought of the instant I read this.

Forgiveness is HARD. Very hard. I think anyone that has ever been wronged (which is just, what, every person in the world maybe?) has struggled with this.

Personally, what I did when I went through something that was very, very hard to forgive when I was very, very wronged by someone that should have known better was to pray about it. I know you have a strong faith, so I say pray that you can open your heart to forgiveness and the possibilities that exist with a relationship with Jason's family. Pray that your heart will be softened toward them. Pray that you can sincerely accept her apology. Just really pray that you can forgive.

I always feel when something feels so much bigger than us, so much harder to bear, so much more difficult to get through, prayer is the answer, especially when we know that the answers lie within ourselves.

You're a good person, Chick. You know what the right thing to do is, even if she's been a the Queen Douche of Douche Land.


BandK said...

So if you can't write it, then you haven't actually forgiven her. But then you know this.

But you know? Forgiveness is for yourself; not the other person. It's very easy to get "forgiveness" mixed up with "absolution." Just because we forgive someone doesn't diminish the fact that what they did caused us hurt. Its easy to think, "If I forgive you, it's saying that it is okay that you hurt me."

Not so.

Forgiveness is the letting go of your resentment towards her. You're not saying that what she did was okay. Because it's not. Letting go of the resentment heals you, not her. Forgiving means letting go of your anger -- something that is very difficult to do sometimes.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Long comment to follow.

My mom's only sister was infertile. She had severe endo and had a hysterectomy performed at age 21. When she found out my mother was pregnant with me, she was extremely jealous and continued for the next 23 years to take that jealousy out on me. I never had a nice word from her, she treated her two step-nieces and one other niece (daughter of her brother) so much better and I suffered minor physical abuse from her.

When she was on her death bed, due to melanoma, in 1995, I forgave her because in order for me to move on, I had to forgive her for all the wrong she did me. And I felt a weight lift off my shoulders.

I would say forgive her. Be sweet as sugar and apple pie whenever you have family functions that take you within her vicinity. But that's it. Don't invite her into your life, don't open up. Because she probably will hurt you again. But do this because you need to move past it.

Sorry I was so long-winded. Love you!

SJINCO said...

I can imagine how hard this is for you but it will eventually come to you. Are you afraid maybe that she wasn't sincere with her words and are going to get hurt again by opening up to her?

Good luck Chick.

Jhianna said...

I'm not saying I've experienced anything like what you have, but...

When I've forgiven someone for hurting me badly, I've done it to help myself. Letting go of the hurt so I don't dwell on it - stop letting it draw blood. And when I've chosen to let that person stay in my life, I kind of put a mental buffer around them. Some space that's ready to absorb any further pain coming from their direction.

If you redefine the ideal relationship with her to be one of strained respect because of each of your places in Jason's heart - well, it's a little easier to get to that place. And when she doesn't hold up her end, it's less emotional to call her on it.

(As for disrespecting the kids, there I got nothing. I imagine with how protective I was over my nieces and nephew that I'd hand her face to her the first time she hurt one of them.)

I'll be sending healing thoughts.

Anonymous said...

The only advice I have is "take it to the cross". The only person who can give you what you need to get to forgiveness is Jesus. Pass it to him. He will get you where you need to be.
I'll be praying. The fact that she made this step is wonderful.

Suzy said...

We might be separated at birth. Same mom.

Dawn~a~Bon said...

So hard. I agree with one of your previous commenters that it's probably hard to open yourself up to her only to potentially be hurt again.


I know you'll come to a wise, thoughtful decision because that's how you are. I don't know what to advise you, but I will say a prayer for you and hope for the best.


Dear Bitch,

Bite me.


Jason's WIFE and FAMILY

who are NOT you and your bitch daughter

ps love the gramma, hate YOU

Okay, maybe not so mature, but how satisfying would it be!?!

Doug said...

Why do you need to forgive her so soon?

She's made an overture.. that's wonderful. It's an absolutely huge step that had to be really hard for her to write and send to you.

The right thing to do is to accept her apology and thank her for making that effort. From my viewpoint, there is nothing in doing that which requires you to forgive everything she's done, said and not done and not been there for.

It's just a first step.

If she really wants to be forgiven for all that, she's going to have to work for it. But you can accept her apology in the spirit it was given and you can all try and move to the next step of reconciliation. If she behaves, and things go well, then maybe forgiveness will come.

That's something to hope for I suppose.

Never That Easy said...

I can see how hard it would be to write that letter, to have to figure out what to say.
And yet, I also long for the chance to be in your situation: I have been hurt by someone so badly and I know there is not a chance in hell that they'll ever apologize.

What would I do if they did? I can't say. I don't know if I have the possibility of forgiveness in me. I agree with a lot of the other commenters, though, that you don't need to forgiver her right now: you can acknowledge and accept her apology as a first step towards a different relationship, and still let her know that you are still hurting about what she's done.

At least I think that makes sense.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes we're hurt so badly that we find it nearly impossible to forgive. Somewhere in you, there is a desire to make things right. Just ask Jesus to help you out with that. I'm sure He's standing by, ready to help. And I'm sure He won't mind at all.

Rachel (Crazy-Is) said...

Hon, forgiveness is hard to give when someone has done horrible things to you.

I don't know where to start either. Maybe we can start together.

Captain Steve said...

I wish I could help, dude, I really do, but I'm a grudge holder. It's a bad character trait, and I'm working on it.