Should I forgive my in-laws who ignored me while my newbo was in ICU for 2 weeks
Should I forgive my in-laws who ignored me while my newborn was in ICU for 2 weeks?
Firstly - my in-laws have not apologised for this - they say that they were too busy at the time. My in-laws are my mother in-law, sister in-law and 4 brothers in-law; so if I forgive them, I am essentially moving on without any recognition to the pain and suffering this abandonment caused.
Secondly; I really needed their support at the time. My husband and 1 year old had pneumonia, my 5 week old newborn twins had RSV; both were hospitalised in different cities. One was on life support in ICU; the other was in a local hospital on a c-pap. Both were seriously ill. Both were in hospital for over two weeks. Both suffered with their health for an entire year after this event. My parents were away and I had to manage with taking trains between hospitals, begging people to look after my 1 year old and giving up breast feeding.
Lots of people really helped me. But I could have really done with help from my in-laws. If nothing else; I needed a lift between hospitals and emotional support.
When I say they ignored me - I mean they blanked me completely; I texted them all - asking for help and they ignored me.
After this - they acted like nothing happened and we were invited over to my in-laws house for lunch. We went - but I couldn't believe how cold they were and every-time I brought up the girls sicknesses they ignored me.
So - I stopped visiting. I still invited them all to our events like birthdays and christening - but after 4 years - I gave up. I gave up because I was never invited to their houses. I was never texted. We received no Christmas cards, or gifts. I was not invited to Facebook or whatsapp groups.
Now - they want back my husband and children back in their lives. Not me. So; I said no - citing the events while the babies were in hospital. I do not want my children around these people - especially without me.
They say they miss him. Of course they miss him - before this happened we visited everyone every week, I'm an Architect and did all their work for free. They are farmers, we used to look after their farm while they went away. We invited them all for dinner in our house every Friday night - steak, chips & beer. they always came. I painted portraits of their cows - which still hang in their kitchen. I designed their extension. I brought them all to our wedding for free; accommodation was all paid for. With my big twin bump I visited other twin newborns in the family, bringing gifts balloons and love (born 12 weeks before ours). 3 weeks before my twin girls were born I visited them and brought Christmas gifts for everyone. I had no idea the family hated me until my twins were born.
When I said we were not returning back to the family unit because of neglect and abandonment; they said they ignored me for "good" reason. They said I had post traumatic stress disorder from girls sickness and post natel depression - citing it was a lethal combination and caused paranoia on my part. Leaving them with only one option but to cut me out.
I am so distressed. I don't know what to do.
I wish they apologised for their bad behaviour - giving us some sense of value. Instead they argue they did the "best" they could do. they say at the time they were all busy and everyone has their own lives.
A year after this ordeal - we had another baby. It was a year of his family ignoring me. This new baby was also sick and once again we were ignored. It was two weeks in hospital too. It hurt less, my family all helped and my husband was well at the time too. But still. I never want to be ignored again.
Should we cut them out? Live our own lives with our four beautiful, healthy and fun kids?
Thank you so much for reading this.
Peace and love to you all.
people don't apologize because of various reasons. either they lack an ability to let go of their pride, they want to avoid feeling of shame, they want to move forward as if it never happened, and worst case scenario, they actually see nothing wrong with what they did. But, the thing about this is, they are entitled to feel that way. opinions are neither right nor wrong. But, they should at the very least, be willing to understand why you hurt and that their actions perpetuated these feelings. You are also entitled to the way that you feel as well. Honestly, I empathize with your position, but we can't move mountains. We can't make people do things like apologize and we can't change the past. The ego wants to hold onto anger and bitterness when it feels slighted.
But try to take a logical standpoint on the issue. What do you seek to gain in the end? Do you want a relationship with these people? Or do you just want to avoid burning bridges? Once you figure out what you want, the decision should come easier for you.
Nevertheless, forgiveness is necessary. So vital for you to make your choice without dwelling. Forgiveness doesn't mean that all is forgotten and you trust their intentions, it doesn't mean that they get a free pass. Forgiveness mean that you realize that events took place, you have accepted that you cannot change them and that you can now move forward without it affecting your personal happiness.
Forgiveness then, is an absolute necessity when it comes to healing emotionally. You have not healed if you still think about it and have negative feelings. The wisdom you gain will allow you to detatch from the strong force of emotions, and adopt a logical point of view. "Do I trust these people? Do I want to be around these people? Do I think these people will do it again? Am I okay with that?" From there, take action. Do wade in indecisiveness. Do what you feel is best for your family. Would you say it is condusive to harbor animosity while you continue to seethe? Or to avoid them and long for a relationship? What will be most effective for you.
I would say, whatever choice you make, communicate calmly and diplomatically. Do not allow them to affect your choice if they are not willing to compromise. But don't cut them off. That isn't closure, which is another piece of the healing puzzle. To make peace with your choice, tell them your choice, explain it briefly and then go forth on the path you have chosen. If you decide to cut contact and have explained it and somewhere down the line you change your mind or in a vice versa situation, it will be much easier for you in the future as well.
So yes, forgive, but I have no answer as to whether or not you should continue to have an active relationship with these people. That is your choice. And I would also add that when your child is old enough to make choices, encourage him to make a choice that best suits his needs, not your own, if it happens to differ.
Good luck and I am sorry you had to experience this.
Thank you so much for your response. It's so detailed and thought provoking. It means the world to me that you took the time to write this. I have been feeling very fragile.
You asked me "what do you seek to gain in the end?" I never really considered this at all. I was so hurt that I just constantly ruminated about the entire saga. Over and over again - every single day for 4 years. So whenever we did interact with his family; I was always quite sheepish and cold; I found it very difficult to act normal and be my usual cheerful happy self.
I tried to communicate via email, that I was very upset; because I felt very intimidated face to face - you worded this perfectly for me:
"The ego wants to hold onto anger and bitterness when it feels slighted"
However it was ignored. Then my mum in-law came to speak with me face to face; I was very angry with her when she denied any wrong doing at all. So I asked her to leave my house. In fact I did this twice; after the first incident (4 years ago)and last week.
I then emailed the whole family - telling them how much we loved them, but how hurt we have been.
3 of them emailed back angry responses - along the lines of - I am crazy; had depression (this they guessed) and needed to be avoided; they are not happy to welcome me back into their lives; unless; I apologise and admit that everything I said is lies.
I think if I do this (which is so wrong) they will still keep me out of the family. Bullying me into this type of submission is their vanity. They demanded that my husband contact them - to move ahead with a family relationship - without me.
So; I guess - all my bridges are burnt. This makes me so sad.
Ultimately; I would love if they all apologised to me - but this will never happen. I know this.
So - what do I seek to gain in the end? I simply do not know. What I want and what I can have are a million miles away from each other. So I guess my only solution is to forgive them and move on. But I wish I could stop thinking about this and stop feeling sorry for myself.
I agree with what you say about my children - I will allow them have a relationship when they ask for one. But - for now - without me there - it does not feel right.
Thank you again.
What does your husband think of all this?
Sounds like this is YOUR battle, and he's in the background.
It sounds like EVERYONE was not themselves during this very stressful time.
My husband is gutted. He has started to ignore his family completely. He was sick while this all happened. My husbands parents were actually doing great when this all happened. They were attending a big party the first weekend and hosting a big party the second weekend. They actually never broke a stride. Not one of them bothered their butts to visit baby in ICU. All these people live locally. So to answer your question - only my husband and I suffered.
Busy my a*se. When things THAT grave happen, and assuming you yourself don't have traumatic things of your own of equal weight going on (this case - nope!), you un-busy yourself - IMMEDIATELY! Families are supposed to *pull together*. I'm not surprised your husband's gutted. Imagine how much more hurtful it is to HIM - they're supposed to be his first/original FAMILY! Poor s*d.
People tend to confuse Forgiveness with Acceptance. You ACCEPT (having reverse extrapolated and understood about HOW/WHY...interview your husband if you don't know his parents' childhood and family backgrounds, i.e. training) they turned out as selfish, self-obsessed, emotionally-stunted, socially inept idiots (i.e. secretly never *were* 'themselves'), whom as such, cannot even ask you to grant them the very Forgiveness they already know they qualify for having to request (for having denied and broken very basic, bog-standard, equal/TWO-way, family rights and values, without which society and community would crumble), ...but, for the sake of the HEALTHY portion of your pride, leave the situation read-out as Forgiveness Absent But Aetiology Understood and stay RIGHT away from them...just like your husband is doing. So you need to forgive YOURSELF for the fact you're not wired to 'just forgive...just like "that!"' and stop doubting and questioning yourself.
If practicalities mean you can't physically stay away, you do the emotional version: mentally detach until you don't give a stuff what and how they see things and function because you've been busy filling their gap.
Are you right and healthy to feel so hurt and resentful? Yup. Now tell yourself that. Are you justified for emotionally disconnecting? Yes, because your kids need you and your husband to moreover be as content as possible, not constantly covered in constantly-replenished, mental cuts and bruises and, because of it, being background miz and snappy. Now tell yourself that. Do you have to sit and replay the tapes and feel hard-done-by and crappy all over again, month-in-month-out? No. *Yes until you desensitise*, but once that kicks in you can just feel anywhere between blessed and morally superior (i.e. better genes, better upbringing and life experiences, 'there but for the grace of God, go I'). Now tell yourself that.
So you stay away for self- and family-preservationist reasons but let yourself detach to where they're unable to hurt you any more because you've dispensed with any normal family-family (or, their case, human-human :-p) fondnesses or expectations. After all, it was your attachment and expectations that they were able to spit on. Think of it as donning riot-gear, e.g. bulletproof vest, before any only-mandatory dealings with them, until such time as your riot-gear becomes the natural, self-manufactured version and you can throw the artificial version off, and all you can possibly feel for them, even when TRYING to feel something (- "Gnnnnnn...!"), is huge Pity.
And well they *should* be pitied. Because somebody hobbled them. And the person(s) that hobbled them did that because they'd themselves been hobbled (so that there wouldn't be any upsetting, later contrast in how their 'new selves' turned out via *healthy* treatment) (tell your husband that to explain why him...because he, and now you on top, by contrast, makes them look and feel inadequate). ...And the person(s) that hobbled them, themselves had been hobbled......in a box, in a box...'Cruelty to children must stop full-stop' (OR ELSE THE DAMAGED (NOW-)IDIOTS GO ON TO REPLICATE THEMSELVES AND SPREAD THEIR DIS-EASES AMONGST THE OTHER PACKS!).
That's about the size of it. The personal, lay version goes more like this: whaddabunchofrhymes-with-punts!
In future, however, with people, try not to 'pre-pay' so much. Try to make it more Tit For Tat until you've got the fuller measure of them, despite any (you'd think) status-given pre-obligations. Otherwise, you just end up spoiling them (lots of perks for zero work) on top of their already spoiled-baby attitudes and getting them used to things being One-Way where you're concerned ("you give, I take").
What goes around, comes around, though. Oooh, I wouldn't like to be them When.... (Jeez, if I were, I'd top myself!)
Hope that helped as well.
This is such a lovely and comprehensive email. A lot of pennies dropped when I read it. I am very grateful for your time and the insight you put into this very kind and well considered email. It really helped me. I feel good about myself now. Less hate.
Thank you for being so helpful and generous.
I hope you have a wonderful day, and I'm sure you will - your head appears to be screwed on perfectly.
Wish I could say the same for my newly creaky knees, but - thanks, and you're welcome!
You watch that space though: enough time with you and hubbie being "oofff, too busy, sorry!", etc., and they'll come crawling back, eventually, having put 2 and 2 together ("aargh, me poor brain hurts!"). Types like that can't take not being centre-stage ("I'm not just going to let you ig-NOOOORE me, Dan!") (name the film!). Not at first. First they'll try their usual prodding and provoking tricks to get you to "look-at-mee-look-at-meee!", but then when all of that still fails, finally try doing what they should have been doing in the first place ("Would you like us to babysit some time?, haven't seen the kids for AGES", etc.).
If they don't, ever, then that's your confirmation that they REALLY WERE nothing but chocolate teapots, meaning, all you've done is save yourselves a heck of a lot more future aggro, insults and undermining.
Plus, that's HOW MANY less Xmas, birthday and anniversary pressies (bar their kids, obviously) per year you'll save money over? Where will you go - the Caribbean?...Las Vegas?...
Send 'em a personalised postcard, replete with a family line-up of tanned bodies on some knock-out beach somewhere, that says, 'Thanks! We *really* couldn't have done it without you!'. (LOL - no, don't.) (It's fun to imagine, though, isn't it.)
You're right Soulmate; I suppose the future may bring anything. Coming to terms with this and telling them all how we feel is the first step. They can then take the second step and in the meantime -I think we'll take your suggestion and live the high life without them! Thank you again for your time.
As for creaky knees - lots of olive oil baths, coconut oil (in and on everything) and vitamin D worked for me.
I adore coconut anyway but haven't had any for ages, so, yes, I'll try that, thanks!
That's what you CALL Tit For Tat/Now we're even.
(Keep us posted as and when, by the way. We likes closurrre round theze 'ere creaky-knee-ed parrts, arrr.)