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How to forgive and move on

Started by Grieving, January 03, 2014, 06:29:50 am

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From another topic:" Our newest and youngest DIL was so sweet to me. (Brace yourself) but she even HUGGED my neck for her gift and kept saying how much she loved it. And ladies that is the first thing in 2 years she hasn't refused or acted as if she could care less about. I think I'm still in shock. Must be her preg. hormones? LOL But I'll gladly take what I can get. Her bright and happy attitude even made the other children and the wives even more comfortable because she was kind and friendly. "

I didn't want to hijack the Wine & Conversations.... thread, but this quote from DixieDarling struck a cord with me.  After 2 1/2 yrs. of snarky remarks, uncomfortable visits, walking on eggshells, our DIL has 'returned'.

When she and DS were dating and first married, we could not have wished for a better DIL---then she got pregnant. At first, I ignored the barbed remarks, etc. thinking that it was just hormones, but it just got worse after the baby was born, and for the following 18 months. DS and I discussed it, he didn't see a real problem, thought since I was able to accommodate his idiosyncrasies I should also accommodate hers. Oops, didn't realize I raised such a self centered soul  :-[ . I drew a line as to what I would accept(hostilities were aimed at me, not rest of FOO, although they could see it and agreed that I was the target---for no apparent reason.)  Since we only saw them infrequently anyway, on the surface, visits remained normal to the naked eye, while inwardly, I seethed at injustice, and walked on eggshells.

Anyway, in the last 6 months, DIL has done an about face. She is as she was in the beginning. However, I am having a hard time trusting her. Having seen what she can say and do, having missed out on truly enjoying GC babyhood, I feel like I will not and cannot give her a chance to hurt me like that again. I know I am hurting myself by holding on to the anger, but I can't seem to let go. Fool me once.........

Any ideas???


For me, you said what I believe.  I only end up hurting myself when I hold onto anger.  Sounds selfish, but for me, forgiveness is more for myself than the other person.  If I can forgive, I can move forward instead of getting stuck.

I also believe people deserve second chances.  I follow the guideline of the first time is a mistake, the second is a choice.  That doesn't mean that I will not be guarded for awhile with someone that has done me badly.  I will protect myself while giving them the opportunity to make things right.  Once someone has broken my trust, they have to earn it back.  I would expect no less of myself.  If I do something wrong, I fully expect it will take time to earn back the trust I broke.

Maybe you can weigh out your choices?  You can either give her another chance, give it time to see if she is truly sincere and in the meantime, get to have some inner peace.  Or you can not forgive her and continue on as you have.  Either way, I'm a firm believer in you still have to forgive, even if you want nothing to do with her.  I can forgive someone and still not have anything to do with them.  Again, that's more about me and not about them.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


My take is you are wiser than you once were due to experience. Often people don't know for sure why they do what they how can we? And they can change for reasons known or unknown. I can forgive...and move beyond my hurt and diasppointment. However, for me, trust is the issue. Once it is broken, it's gone and I will always be more cautious around that person. I see it was a learning process.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


I understand where you are coming from G. In my case, I want to believe the best of everyone and that gets me hurt,used and even at times abused. (Not physically)
Common sense tells us that no one is loved by everyone. Yet I want to be.
If I was talking to myself standing in your shoes this is what I'd say, "Enjoy the good days with your son,DIL,& GC. But don't let to much out about your feelings. Why give her something to use if she has another mood swing?
Be very kind and polite. And keep your opinions to yourself. In other words protect yourself.
If it all goes south again you'll be hurt I know. But nothing like you were the first time if you can control your end of things. I'd not let her all the way in. But....I'd make her believe she was. Let her believe whatever?
My Father always told me that when someone SHOWS you who they are. Believe them. Watch their actions because that is who they are. Anyone can use the right words so pay no attention to them.
Good luck. I really hope things will be smooth from here on out. ((HUGS))


Our DIL has also done an about face recently. It occurred to me that she was under 20 when she married DS, although already out of college and heading for grad school. Because of her accomplishments I thought of her as older and expected more grown up behavior from her. Also, I think she hadn't had to deal with real life much as her parents and academia protected her.Now that she really is older, and has had to interact with people from many walks of life, she is much more polite and accepting.

I have forgiven her but I am not a fool - I keep a little back for my own protection, IYKWIM. Baby steps.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


That is so encouraging, Pen!  :D And yes, ere on the side of caution!
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


I don't think I understand the problem.  DIL used to be a real snot and be rude when you visited together so you had to mask your anger.  I get that.  Now she's being nice, and?  Is it that you want some type of confrontation about her past behavior?  Is it that you're waiting for the return of her bad behavior?  Do you feel like you're expected to become her BFF now that she's behaving nicely?  I'm sorry if I'm coming off as flip and uncaring, I just really don't understand what you are trying to resolve. 

You don't have to trust someone to be polite to them.  Forgiving doesn't mean forgetting.  What stops you from continuing as you have in the past, only now you don't have to sit there seething at her rudeness because she's not being rude?  Because what are your alternatives?  Not seeing DS and GC because DIL is being nice?  Good luck.


That is good Pen. Who knows maybe you and G both will finally have the family life you've always wanted to some extent? I wish for you both to have that more.


Thanks for the encouraging words from those of you who understand where I am coming from. I have always been polite, so will continue that, but will be very, very cautious not to be lulled into a feeling of safety. If things continue to improve, fine. If not, I will not be as hurt as I was before,because I will not have 'let her in'. Thanks for understanding. Best to you,too, Pen.


I think one of the hardest things for me to learn...and I still forget that what people do to me is about them, not me. Hugs...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


When I read this topic I was so excited as it is where I am... Except I could be your daughter in law.  I am certain that my mother-in-law would express similar sentiments.  I guess alI just wanted to present my perspective in that altho my MIL most likely felt she was being wonderful at the birth of our children it didn't feel that way to me. I'm sure all her family would agree how wonderful MIL was acting. As the new mother I didn't feel that way. I felt her remarks were undercutting and undermined my confidence in my new role as a parent. I know a blind man could see how angry I was although I did not explode at my mil, clearly I was happy with the situation. At the request of my dh, her son, I did not bring things up to her as my dh felt it would make matters worse.  Eventually, with some time and space things got better. I guess I just wanted to say that there is always another side and sometimes when I look at things from the other side I can see that things aren't necessarily as I perceived them.

Your DIL was clearly upset with you for a reason. Whether you believe her reasons were valid or not she has decided to forgive you and make an attempt at reconciliation. You say the baby time of your grandchildren was ruined by your DIL. When I look back, the birth of my children was ruined by my MIL.  Its all in perception.

I totally can understand not putting yourself out to someone who has hurt you. What does your DIL have to do in order to make it right. When I asked myself this re my MIL I was dismayed to discover there wasn't anything she could do.... Damned either way.  Hope that you don't fall into the same pit with your dil as it only wasted time and prolonged an estrangement in our family. 

Just wanted to give a voice from "the other side". I sincerely hope I am not being offensive as it is not intended to be.


Stilltrying2010,  I can related to what you wrote here.  I had the same experience with my inlaws so many years ago when my son was born and felt like my inlaws ruined my early days with my newborn son.  I never cut them off lost my temper with them and over the years just tolerated them.  I did sit down and talk to them a couple of times and it did make things worse.  The second time I tried to talk to them about my feelings was a few years ago and in the process I came to the realization that they never did care to hear how I felt or why.  Why would I trust them to be any different now?
When I ask myself what my inlaws could do to make it right, I find there is nothing they can do too and I am still estranged from them.  I don't feel good about it, but don't want to go back for more.  Have your feelings changed?   If so, how did it happen, what was the process.  Are you still estranged from your inlaws?
Grieving,  I hope you are able to move forward cautiously.  Perhaps your DIL lacked communication skills to relay her feelings in a way you were able to hear.  When people are angry it comes out one way or another.  If not directly then indirectly with passive aggressive remarks like you describe.  That is certainly not right, but there is a reason for the anger.  I don't think people generally get mad over nothing. 


Some days are better than other but I have finally accepted that they do not see me as family.  I can honestly say that in my dh's FOo all married-ins are treated this way.  In accepting it, I stopped taking it personally.  I make kind gestures to my dh's foo so that I can feel good about myself being fair and not withholding thongs (usually abt our kids) as retribution for their indifference.  I also am at an advantage because we live far away so were don't have to see each other a lot.  Does it still hurt sometimes, YES. No sense in wasting my to.e and energy over something I didn't do and cannot change.  I've been married almost 10 yrs and I have travelled the gamut of emotions thinking I was there wanting to be there forcing false acceptance of the situation. I pray that I finally have a grip on things for good.


Yikes -someone please edit so I am withholding
NOT thongs!! :-\


thongs....things....both can be a pain the hiney :)
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell