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How do you forgive?

(156 Posts)
FridayIsComing Wed 30-Dec-20 00:52:49

I find myself in a deep black hole. My in laws caused me a great many problems which were led by my now deceased mil and accepted by my dh. Sometimes he stood his ground and did not allow them to get their way. But often they did. Primarily because mil was terminally ill and dh was torn.

I thought i was passed all this. But watching those around me go through the happy exciting stages in life such as announcement of engagement, new baby and house purchase just takes me back to how those precious moments were a warzone for me and dh because of in law interference.
Now this has all stopped. We are finally free. Dh has apologised and explained his guilt due to his mothers illness influenced his decisions.
But in my moments of darkness and despair i cannot forgive him. Nor his deceased mother.
Please advise me on how to move forward. Its confusing as i thought i was passed this but watching my loved ones hit milestones has triggered so much in me.

Armadillo Wed 30-Dec-20 01:07:41

I've been thinking a lot about this and someone said to me forgiveness needs to be earned.
I don't think that means apologising or making amends, I think it means changing.
Is your husband not making you happy now and that's why you can't let go or maybe something else is making you unhappy and you are looking for a reason?
Usually to forgive people need to trust that they are safe and supported now I think.

Hithere Wed 30-Dec-20 01:52:32

Your feelings are very valid

I think you may never forget those firsts were taken away from you and are gone forever - the resentment may always be there

What is the plan for your husband to make up for it? An apology may not be enough - too little too late

Summerlove Wed 30-Dec-20 02:26:41

Am I remembering properly that you lived quite near your inlaws?
Can you move?

Honestly I’d look into couples therapy. That way you’ll have a safe space to learn to move forward.

OceanMama Wed 30-Dec-20 04:06:24

I agree with what armadillo wrote. My ILs are no longer an issue in my life but there are feelings still there regarding my husband. Not because of a lack of forgiveness or anything but because I haven't seen any evidence to give me the confidence to know he would now have my back. Maybe it's more a lack of trust? Can I trust him to be capable of being strong for me? Of being able to advocate for me? Honestly, I don't have that confidence. I think the only thing that would heal that is being in the presence of MIL and seeing DH be different to the man who removed himself well away from any situation where he would have to deal with MIL, left me to do it and be the 'bad guy' and the meat in the sandwich. All to protect himself from Mummy's wrath. That wound needs DH to prove himself and win my trust back and I just can't see that is going to happen. Not that he's not a fantastic husband overall but there is that thing there.

Lolo81 Wed 30-Dec-20 06:41:19

You don’t have to forgive them, I haven’t forgiven my deceased MIL or my DH, what I have done is accepted that she was a troubled bitter old woman and he was a product of his environment. I did the burn letter thing and that helped and as time passed it got easier. For me accepting I couldn’t change the past was crucial but I was and am determined that she will never steal another happy memory or experience from me (even from beyond the grave).
For me, realising that my anger was a healthy form of emotion that I don’t have to repress to keep the peace any more was hugely helpful - when I gave myself permission to be angry it seemed not to sit with me for as long. I did see a counsellor and have done some CBT over the years all of which help stop me in my tracks and think through the emotion to reboot my brain, might that be helpful?
With DH, his commitment to making sure our own DC aren’t subjected to or experiencing the same nonsense the rest of his family seem to thrive on (manipulation, silent treatment, drama etc etc) and his willingness to look at his own reactions has helped massively and he’s a different man since she’s died. I do still sometimes resent all the times he placated his mum to the detriment of our family, but that’s when I use my breathing and reboot tricks so that I don’t perpetuate my negative thoughts.

nadateturbe Wed 30-Dec-20 06:58:00

Forgiving can be very difficult but will not forgiving make you happy? You have been very hurt. Can your OH make it up to you? I think you really need some counselling together so that you can share how you felt and feel now and so that you can understand and hopefully accept your OHs actions. You will never forget but you do need to forgive in order to move forward in a happy relationship. Otherwise it will keep resurfacing.

FridayIsComing Wed 30-Dec-20 07:36:48

Thank you for taking the time to respond. After i posted last night, i felt a sense of relief as i knew unknown people around the country / world would be on hand to offer their wisdom.
In response to some of your questions... yes dh has changed. Everyday i see a change. He has gone out of his way to do things for me without me asking. He has supported me beyond the normal ways in which most wives are supported. He is my right hand and is a brilliant father.
However, do i trust he would support me in the event of conflict with in laws? No. Yet within his family, his brothers wife is untouchable. He is like a lion watching over her. He married a month before mils passing so their circumstances are different but none the less he has always been a beautiful team with his wife. The family know not to breathe the wrong way in the presence of his wife.
The thing is my in laws have become lost without mil. She was the glue. The leader with a clear picture of what she wanted. Now she has gone, the family have become vulnerable and genuinely want to build long lasting relationships. They know they will loose their brother if they did not change their behaviour. They knew i would have left him eventually and he would in turn walk away from them either with me or alone.
So if someone was to peer into my life they would think it was a wonderful life. And it is. Many people remark on how supportive dh is of me and my family especially with covid. I thought i was past all this negativity. I don't think its fair to continuously punish dh because he has apologised, made changes and goes out of his way for me. I need to find a way to bury this and move forward. All the problems are historical. The characters in the story have died or genuinely changed. Why am i holding on in such a damaging way? I wish someone could give me a sentence which brings me inner peace so i can put my phone down and feel how o felt just a couple of weeks ago before i was triggered into this black hole.

Pantglas2 Wed 30-Dec-20 07:39:58

I don’t believe that forgiveness is some thing you give to others who wrong you, more a thing you give yourself so that it stops you hurting.

Remember, hate hurts the hater more than the hated.

mumofmadboys Wed 30-Dec-20 07:53:29

Can you think of some of the good things your MIL did? Or did she do something well that made your DH how he is today? If you try and be thankful for good things, it is easier to forgive the bad things.
I have mixed memories of my mum which I find difficult to manage and am keen to move on from the thoughts. I often say to myself if thoughts are troubling me 'Be thankful for the good things, forgive the bad things and move on'

FridayIsComing Wed 30-Dec-20 08:01:41

@mumofmadboys yes mil did plenty of good to me personally and raised the man my dh is today.
I will focus on this today “ Be thankful for the good things, forgive the bad things and move on”
Praying for a much easier day on my mental health.

nadateturbe Wed 30-Dec-20 08:30:52

As Pantglas says hate hurts the hater more. Perhaps as your OH is really changed you could draw a line under the past. Will he support you in future? I'm sure he will do is best. No one is perfect.

mokryna Wed 30-Dec-20 08:31:54

If your DH is being the man you want, why hold the pass against him now. He regrets and has apologized, you can forgive because if he feels you haven’t turned the page he also could become bitter.

Eviebeanz Wed 30-Dec-20 08:41:30

I think it may be the case that the length of time it takes to forgive depends on the amount of time you feel you suffered for...
From experience I would say - make the decision to forgive because in the long run it benefits you - it will i promise - I find that way makes it easier to let go of resentment

Hetty58 Wed 30-Dec-20 08:52:11

Some things are almost impossible to forgive. I do find that I can set those memories aside, though, and move on.

Living in the moment, looking forward to the future, is far more rewarding than ruminating and raking up the past.

Froglady Wed 30-Dec-20 09:03:27

I have heard about people writing letters to others that they can't forgive and putting everything in it, no holds barred, but then destroying it in some way; if mil has a grave, maybe thinking about going there and talking to her telling her how you feel? It's harder when the person has died as the feelings have nowhere to go except by giving voice to them in the ways I've heard about. Not forgiving people just hurts you and not them, as others have said.

Gwyneth Wed 30-Dec-20 09:07:56

Wise words Hetty58 I feel exactly as you do. The past is the past and I refuse to let it affect my life now. It has been difficult but I enjoy my life and look forward to a bright and happy future.

Harris27 Wed 30-Dec-20 09:13:35

I had similiar with my mil. My husband was an only one and she was widowed a few years after we married. I tried everything with her until her last years when she needed me. She did change a little towards the end but the rows and the awful memories sometimes come back to haunt me. Like you I do feel tarnished and feel sad at the times we lost but I won’t let that stop me from moving on.

Gingster Wed 30-Dec-20 09:13:38

My late DM used to say ‘don’t dwell’

grannyrebel7 Wed 30-Dec-20 09:24:16

Forgive and move on otherwise you'll let this eat you up and you'll suffer by becoming all bitter and twisted.

wildswan16 Wed 30-Dec-20 09:35:48

Try and concentrate on your family. Ensure that no such behaviours will pass on to your own children. Your husband knows that you are disappointed in him - he will feel guilty and be hurting as you are hurting.

Move forward together in your life journey. Bad things happen but must not be allowed to affect the rest of your life. The future will be calmer.

Abuelana Wed 30-Dec-20 09:41:03

Forgive your husband he’s apologised many wouldn’t !
Your MiL is dead - gone forgive her she’s not here to care. And she probably never did.
You’re the one drinking the poison no one else - keep doing it. It really is your choice. Or choose to focus on what you have and if that is what you want and makes you happy ficus even more on it and creating a beautiful life. Without the interference of your MiL. If what you have is not making you happy then act take action “you’re not a tree”

Cossy Wed 30-Dec-20 09:42:13

I feel for you so deeply, you do sound as if you some help coping with your feelings. Why don’t you Google and take a look at some online therapies? Something like meditation or CBT might help you to “let go”, you sound like a lovely, but troubled person, life is too short and too precious to carry this burden with you.

Good luck
May you find some inner peace xx

Tanjamaltija Wed 30-Dec-20 09:45:44

A nasty mother-in-law... we were talking about it just this morning, my friend and I, this mother-in-law problem. When people are nasty, you do sometimes, alas, have to deal with them; and you cannot always pretend you didn't hear them, or ignore them. You do not owe her forgiveness, but you owe it to yourself to evict her from your brain, where she is living rent-free. Make sure you are everything that she was not - do not even bring her up as a bad example of motherhood, because that will evoke bad memories.

Elainecoley1957 Wed 30-Dec-20 09:48:01

Love yourself. If others aren’t or have not been- let all of that go.
Know that you are good enough in your own right. Keep reminding yourself, knowing that harbouring bad feelings only serve to hurt you. So be kind to you- look after yourself like you would your own child- everything else will fit in place around you.