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How do you forgive?

(157 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.

Disgruntled Wed 30-Dec-20 09:49:50

Forgiveness sets you free. Takes you from the position of victim. I've always found writing a letter I don't send very cathartic. I suggest you write to your late mil, in pen or pencil, by hand, without too much thinking. It should come from the heart or the gut, not the intellect. Good luck.

tarakate Wed 30-Dec-20 09:50:42

Easy for him to apologise now that she's dead and he can't be tested to prove himself by standing up for you over her, perhaps you may feel; and that's true. Seems to me that you feel deep resentment for this, and understandably so. His position will probably have seemed lose-lose to him, torn between the two women he loves most; and with her not having long to live he felt he should stand by her. But to your detriment of mind; and while an apology will not cover it, one must ask, really, what else can he offer? The past cannot be undone; but nor can your feelings about it. It is surely a good start to sit him down and explain to him fully, absolutely and completely the extent of your feelings. It IS OK to not be able to forgive someone for something in the past; it is destructive, but it is OK. He can only try to make it up to you in other ways that are future, and above all to reassure you, and show you, that you ARE his Number One - which seems to be the issue here. You two must present a united front and he must understand this. Wishing you all the best in the New Year and I hope that you can leave this darkness behind or at least minimise to yourself some elements of the past for the sake of the future.

Hellsbelles Wed 30-Dec-20 09:53:15

I hope I'm not going to upset you but , I think you have to look within yourself to set yourself free from the ongoing hurt you feel.
Your MIL is dead, there is nothing she can do or say further as she is, well , dead.
It is only you that is replaying the past, hearing words that can no longer be said .
Those emotions you are going through are the ones you are dredging up from the past and only you can put them back there.
This might seem a bit airy fairy but write her a letter telling her what impact it had on you , call her all the names under the sun if you like, get it all out as only you will see this letter. Then do something significant to it burn it , rip up into small pieces and flush down the loo, bury it etc .
Then draw a line under it all . It's over .

chickkygran Wed 30-Dec-20 09:55:49

I think you are mourning the loss of what should have been positive, happy times in your life which were stolen from you. If you can somehow come to terms with these losses maybe the resentment towards your late MIL and DH will lessen. It’s not going to be easy but maybe get some support to talk these issues through and finally put them to rest. I wish you well x

BrandyGran Wed 30-Dec-20 09:57:03

If life was normal you would n't be dwelling on this. This dreadful year has given us time to go over things in the past which hurt. I've heard this from other people too including myself.
We can't go back. We can look to the future with hope but we only have the present. Hold on to the things you have now- a husband you loves you enough to apologise.

BusterTank Wed 30-Dec-20 09:59:23

It's something you will never forget . You have to just try your best to carry on . There will be times when you will be reminded and still she'd a tear . You have to put your big girl pants on and say they can only hurt me , if I let them .

valerieventers Wed 30-Dec-20 10:01:46

HURT PEOPLE hurt people

forgiveness releases You from all the hurt that they caused you
of course what they did was horrible

Madwoman11 Wed 30-Dec-20 10:02:49

Just a though, and please forgive me if I am wrong, but may I ask if these thoughts have got progressively worse since this dreadful pandemic began.
I personally am struggling with lots of things atm.
Please seek some outside help if you need it to try talk through these things.
By the way I do genuinely understand how dreadful it must have been for you over the years.

donna1964 Wed 30-Dec-20 10:05:50

Days like your having today you must look after YOU. Do everything that helps you through your day and take care of yourself. Think about having some can now have Counselling online using Zoom. It will be worth it for your Mental health. Our Mental Health is so important...why should you suffer further? You deserve to be happy and at peace. xx

Walkingthetightrope Wed 30-Dec-20 10:06:26

I don’t think all the comments of “let him prove himself” are helpful. He sounds like he’s doing his best. If nothing else, remember that without this woman, your husband would not be here. Let the rest go and look forward to happier times ahead.

OceanMama Wed 30-Dec-20 10:06:44

The problem with just leaving it behind and moving forward with DH's behaviours in the past is that we don't know if they are in the past if there hasn't been a time it's been tested, apology or not. If a situation comes up in future, in any context, where we need someone to be strong for us, can we rely on our DH's to do that? Until I see evidence things have changed, I just can't feel secure in that. Sometimes it feels unfair that I have to be strong for everyone and we've had some very trying and painful times. Who will be strong for me? It's not as simple sometimes as just letting bygones be bygones. I leave my DH's issues with his mother in the past but I don't feel secure for future emotional support if needed. If that makes sense.

Coconut Wed 30-Dec-20 10:07:05

It is hard when someone has treated you so badly, but others are right.... hanging on to the angst damages you not them 💐

Applegran Wed 30-Dec-20 10:09:12

I do feel for you and think you are being really aware and reflective, not allowing yourself to 'rant' and reinforce your story of pain. I also think there have been many wise and helpful responses here. I just want to add that forgiveness doesn't seem to me to be a swift thing - not like flicking a switch. It starts with the willingness to forgive, and knowing that forgiveness is not pretending that things didn't happen. Its about letting go the mental and emotional re-telling of the painful story - ruminating is going round in circles with the impossible hope that this time re-telling the story will somehow release you. Accepting reality and allowing yourself to feel your feelings, without the accompanying thoughts, is the first step to freedom. As others have said, as far as you can, understanding what your husband has felt and struggled with, without judgement. Hard, as you have been hurt, but it could be the way to free you in the end from the hurt. Somewhere I read "Forgiveness sets the prisoner free - and then you discover that the prisoner was yourself" I have learnt a lot from this paperback book "Emotional Agility" by Susan David - maybe you would find it worth reading.

fluttERBY123 Wed 30-Dec-20 10:09:27

Some things will.always be there in your mind, as some things remain on your body in the way if old scars. Acknowledge it, leave it in it's corner and enjoy the good things you have.

DaisyL Wed 30-Dec-20 10:10:51

As others have said you need to be kind to yourself. Don't waste time and energy in anger and bitterness. I'm not a Buddhist, but I do believe in Karma and the best thing to do is to make sure that your own life is filled with as much love and happiness as possible. Your husband was undoubtedly torn between you and his mother but there is not much he can do about that now and he has apologised. Moving on is difficult but (again as other have said) forgiveness does set you free. Good luck for the future.

red1 Wed 30-Dec-20 10:12:35

forgiveness is a personal thing,there are lots of pointers on how to forgive from philosophy etc.I read something recently, which was what people say and do to you, you forget, but you remember how they made you feel.If you take the 'you must forgive' then i question the wisdom of that, its surely a process, i like the buddhist saying' if you fail to forgive , then you are digging two graves, one for the other ,the other for yourself.......

Mildmanneredgran Wed 30-Dec-20 10:16:01

FridayIsComing - your pain comes out of your posting, and I am so sorry. I felt something very similar but it was my relationship with my own mother, which was complex and damaging. When she died I was full of anger, but as a previous poster has suggested, it was because I was now finally robbed of the opportunity of it ever being "made OK". I became determined not to repeat the pattern with my own children and it has ceased to matter so much. I'm also going to swim against the tide a bit here and agree with the counselling suggestion, also for your poor husband. I'm saying "poor" because he must have a mass of unhappy memories as well and may not know how to process them himself; nothing he can do now will erase them for either or you, but you might both find some sort of healing together. Sorry for the long post, and I really am so sorry that you are in this deep black hole. Some of the suggestions already made might help as well.

OceanMama Wed 30-Dec-20 10:17:17

Forgiveness and lack of trust for future behaviours are different things though. I forgive people very easily but I'm not easily fooled a second time.

fevertree Wed 30-Dec-20 10:17:19

Forgiving is letting go of the hurt. It is a gift to yourself.


Granny23 Wed 30-Dec-20 10:19:36

It is strange that this should come up today, when I have much the same thoughts and also need to put them behind me. My MIL was a neurotic, unhappy woman, who blighted the lives of all who knew her. I will not catalogue her misdeeds here because this is not my thread , but what really riled me was the way she belittled her only child/son at every turn and her (obvious to everyone) preference for our DD1 and rejection of DD2 as surplus to requirements.

I had sort of put all this behind me but when DH developed Dementia, (and with it Incontinence) he fretted endlessly about his, by then deceased mother, and how she would 'tan his hide' or lock him in the cupboard if she found out he had wet the bed. He was living in the past and back to being a frightened wee boy.

DH died in September. His will stated that he should be buried in the family graves along with his GPs, parents and maiden Aunt, thus filling the last lair of the double plot. In the event he was cremated and his ashes interred there, but I have kept some back to be scattered at sea along with me. Nonetheless I have a deep resentment that even in death MIL got her son back. Her favourite DGD has orginised it all and ensured that "beloved husband of .......(me)" has been added to the gravestone.

Having written this down, it all looks trivial and silly, but I cannot forget. All the memories of happy times - wedding, births, christening, Christmases, holidays are spoiled by what she did to ruin these occasions.

jaylucy Wed 30-Dec-20 10:20:37

Nothing can now change what your MiL said or did and I can understand your husband's decisions at the time not only because of his loyalty to his mother, but his loyalty to you. He must have felt very divided for all of your married life up until your MiL died.
What would you have done in his situation?
The way I see it is that you either spend the rest of your life revolving around things that have happened and can't now be changed, probably to the detriment of your marriage , or you can move on to a new era and build a new relationship with your husband in the process. Bitterness helps no one and will only colour things that happen from now on. Do you seriously want your MiL's influence to carry on into the future? If you can't let go, it will!

ReadyMeals Wed 30-Dec-20 10:23:13

I had a struggle feeling guilty and weak because I could not forgive someone. So in the end I decided to research forgiveness. It turns out that the original biblical definition is simply that the wronged party does not seek recompense or revenge. It's actually morally ok to go on feeling the anger or resentment. So if you don't feel you can let go of the feelings that's ok as long as you don't let it affect the person you're angry with

nadateturbe Wed 30-Dec-20 10:26:00

I too feel I am thinking too much about the past at the minute. Its reassuring to hear others are the same.

Redhead56 Wed 30-Dec-20 10:26:02

I find it difficult to forgive someone's wrong doing especially in my past. It's a personal choice but my decision was not to regret and it works for me. Each day is a new day for us all to move forward. With the support you have now it's going to be a brighter future.

Nanananana1 Wed 30-Dec-20 10:28:24

This whole MIL thing is a nightmare. Let's face it we are probably all one already or may become one and it is a minefield! It does sound like there is more at stake here than your anger at your MIL. You sound more angry with your husband. Some people have suggested counselling, get it all off your chest, lay your cards on the table and make sure he hears you. Not being heard is more damaging than not forgiving. I have never forgiven my FIL for irreparably damaging our family with his behaviour. I still think he's an idiot (now deceased). I am happy to live with my lack of forgiveness but I refuse to let him intrude on our lives any more. We are moving on together and I think that is maybe what you and your DH need to do too