Forgiveness is so hard! And yet, I have been Forgiven.

  • 6 Replies
  • 1168 Views
*

40 Years

  • Guest
Forgiveness is so hard! And yet, I have been Forgiven.
« on: May 21, 2015, 01:49:21 PM »
Hi all –

I post a lot on the co-parenting and secondary relationships board, I am married to a lovely man whose ex-wife is uBPD.  We are co-parenting a 16 y.o. daughter with his ex-wife.  For years, the uBPD and DSD16 had a toxic relationship, DSD16 was hit, yelled at, belittled, punished for needing clothes, food, and regular kid things. 

About a year ago, DSD16 and my DH had the custody order changed so we have DSD16 about 60% of the time now.  Since then DSD16 and her uBPD mom’s relationship has gotten much, much better.   DSD16 believes that her mom has “changed”, and is a better person now.  DSD16 also would really like all the people whose bridges have been burned by her bio-mom to try again with bio-mom because “she’s changed and better now.”  I think once the bio-mom realized that DSD16 had a voice in the custody order, she started a massive hoover that continues to this day.  There are still a lot of problems for DSD16 at her uBPD mom’s house, but DSD16 protects her uBPDmom and takes responsibility for uBPD mom’s behavior.

One on the most recent episodes brings me here.  I am a Christian, and I do believe that forgiveness is key in all my relationships.  But I find that I am struggling to be able to extend forgiveness to DSD16’s uBPD’s mom.  If anyone has insight into this, it would help me so much. 

The issue I am struggling with happened several months ago.   DSD16’s uBPD mom left DSD alone with a 17 or 18 year old boy. DSD liked him as more than a friend, but things got out of hand, and DSD16 was assaulted.  She told the boy “no” to something, but the boy didn’t stop.  Finally the boy left DSD16’s house, the uBPD mom came home, DSD was in tears, the uBPD mom said he wasn’t the right boy for DSD16, end of story.  There wasn't any offer of taking DSD16 to her therapist, uBPDex didn't tell DH it had happened, nothing.  DSD was supposed to "process it, and move on".  Those were the exact words DSD said when I questioned her about it.

Months later, I am still so angry at uBPD mom that she left DSD16 alone with the boy.  When DSD16 came back to our house, she told us the entire story.  We decided that we needed to contact the authorities.  DSD 16 asked if her mom would get in trouble, and DH said DSD16 should never have been left alone with the boy.  DSD 16 started changing her story, “remembering it differently”.  It was awful, there was nothing we could do.  I understand that DSD16 doesn’t want to get her mom in trouble.  But the cost is so high, and DSD16 doesn’t even understand it yet.  I need to find a way to forgive DSD16’s mom for this, and I don’t know how.  I am still so angry about it.

Also, I watch uBPD exwife continue to be so mean and abusive towards my DH, and poorly parent DSD16.  I have been praying for a way to forgive uBPD bio-mom, and not carry around anger towards her.  Does anyone have suggestions on how to do this?  I would love to hear about way that have worked for other people.

*

142757

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 1216
Re: Forgiveness is so hard! And yet, I have been Forgiven.
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2015, 07:28:22 PM »
I know you talked about forgiveness, but I do want to make mention a couple things 1st. Make sure what your SD said @ first was the truth. I know one former friend whose daughter got involved with a boy, got pregnant, she cried rape, then the father wanted to press charges. Little over a year later, she got pregnant by her "rapist" a 2nd time. Now they are married w/a 3rd child. The other thing is (not making light of assault in the least) keep in mind these things often become "he said/she said". If she is changing her story, that takes away her credibility in the court's eyes, no matter what the motive behind it was. You might, might, be taking on more problems than it really is worth.

As far as forgiveness....

Forgiving doesn't mean ignoring the past. You can forgive her but still hold her responsible for the consequences afterward. David was forgiven by Jehovah for committing adultery w/Bathsheba & having her husband executed in order to hide the resultant pregnancy. Yet, he still made him go thru the consequences. The child died, his family life turned into an uproar for the whole nation to see. Including seeing his 2 sons killed. You can forgive your SD's mom, but that doesn't mean you trust her to watch over her daughter properly. Her actions beforehand warrant future scrutiny.
"Somedays you just can't get rid of a bomb."

Adam West (Batman)
9/19/28 - 6/10/17

*

Is This Normal

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 540
Re: Forgiveness is so hard! And yet, I have been Forgiven.
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2015, 07:52:07 PM »
40 Years,

Hello, and I am so sorry about what happened to your stepdaughter! That girl needs you, and it sounds like you are doing all the right things in terms of caring for her and trying to protect her.

Quote
I am a Christian, and I do believe that forgiveness is key in all my relationships.

Quote
I need to find a way to forgive DSD16’s mom for this, and I don’t know how.  I am still so angry about it.

I don't have direct experience with the type of situation you describe, and while I do believe in God and have strong spiritual beliefs, I'm not a practicing Christian in the organized religious sense. I guess that's sort of a disclaimer before I share my opinion. Please take my words for whatever they are worth to you. I have some questions for you:

Does forgiving this woman really need to be a top priority right now?

Can you be unforgiving right now and still know and see yourself as a good Christian?

Can you forgive yourself for not being able to forgive this woman right now?

Could your anger towards her be serving a useful purpose right now that might make trying to discharge it premature? (i.e., your stepdaughter's mother has caused great harm to her child due to her negligence and continues to be abusive towards her child and her ex-husband. This is not acceptable behavior, and your anger could be a call to actions that you might not take if your sails weren't filled with some righteous indignation)

Can you have these negative feelings towards this woman and still treat her respectfully and mind your own side of the street in your interactions with her? (From your post, I'm guessing yes)

Can you continue to pray, turn the relationship over to God's care, and trust that you will be guided and given the power to do and feel whatever God would have you do?


I don't know how you define forgiveness. I'm still trying to sort that out myself. I don't really know if I've forgiven certain people or not. But you did mention "carrying around anger towards her," so I'll focus there. One exercise I learned in recovery that's helped me tremendously in getting past rageful and resentful feelings that I felt were getting out of hand and might lead to unacceptable behavior on my part is what I believe is called the "sick man prayer." Basically, you pray for the person you are angry at to receive all the good things in the world that you think they might want, tangible and intangible. You repeat this prayer, faking it if necessary (astronomical fakery may be needed at first  ;)), several times a day for at least two weeks and then see what happens. I have tried this myself and have found it very effective in greatly lessening what I felt was unproductive anger and resentment towards others and lead to me even having positive, caring feelings toward them. And it didn't take two weeks either. Sometimes just a few days.

That said, the situations in which I employed this technique were nowhere near as severe as what you've reported. So, I'll just say, in statement rather than question form this time, that I think your anger may be serving a very useful purpose right now and that your Christianity is being exhibited in your love and concern for this young girl and your willingness to go to bat for her. Again, she is lucky to have you and her father, and I am so very sorry about what happened to her!

Big hug to you!  :hug:

-ITN-

*

brownies

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 1114
Re: Forgiveness is so hard! And yet, I have been Forgiven.
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2015, 08:32:23 PM »
It's not uncommon for the teenager to play the middle. Since you aren't going to have a one and one relationship with your H's ExW, your SD needs to take responsibility. She is the one that said "yes", and "no" to the uncomfortable sexual assault/relationship. Children (who are almost adults) that don't want to take responsibility while in a neglective circumstance, of course, want to blame the parent. So what is BEST for the child (almost an adult)? It's best that the responsibility for safety is placed firmly on the child (almost an adult) so this doesn't get repeated. If she is allowed off the hook, this might become a bad habit where SD says, "yes" and then "no", and stories change and new life is brought into the situation because, "yes" and then "no", and neglectful ExW, mother, is then blamed again. The SD is 16---old enough to say some kind of absolute "no" or an absolute "yes".

Okay, so my Ex (AVPD), provided a very neglectful home and my son made a choice to buy and use drugs. It's wrong to be neglectful but it's even more wrong for a kid (almost an adult) to be buying and using drugs. My kids are all grown up now and they volunteered that there were at least 5 incidents of drugs or alcohol where they got in trouble because the ExH was neglectful, and sure, I know, he was, but those kids are also responsible and I will not let them off the hook that they brought this on themselves. As a parent, (SP or not), the children (almost adults) need to be held responsible. You only have control of one thing, being a good parent, so do that. Take your eyes off of the H's ex and put them where they belong, on the SD, not just any SD, she's 16, fully able to make good and bad decisions.

I'll give you my take, the SD is responsible and the H's ex is not the problem. If you want to save the SD's soul, hold her responsible. The H's ex is complicating things but don't give her the time of day. If she (the H's ex) needs anything, she only needs to know she doesn't need the time of day. Her soul is not your problem so stop making it your problem. She doesn't need forgiveness, she doesn't really care as much as you do. Care about the SD, that's all. Hold her responsible, it will pay off for the rest of her life.

If the SD realizes her choices are her responsibility, then as a parent, (or SP) you've done your job. I know you don't want to hear this but THIS H's ex is not your problem, you can't control her, it, the circumstance, none of it, and you don't need to forgive her for anything, she's a mutt, ignore her. Concentrate on being the right kind of SP or parent to this SD16. SD16 needs to be held responsible for her own self.

When I was parenting teenagers (children in the teens) I was able and fortunate enough to be not only the adult that had different teenagers, or allies among parents, while my teens made bad decisions. If you can surround yourself with other good parents then DO THAT. Forgiveness is not even in the ball park for the H's ex, shut her out, not your problem. In the long run, the SD's soul is more important than the drama queen H's ex.

If you like fireworks, just say "NO".

*

40 Years

  • Guest
Re: Forgiveness is so hard! And yet, I have been Forgiven.
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2015, 03:13:47 PM »
Thank you everyone for your responses, they are greatly appreciated!!

142757 – That’s an interesting insight about a similar situation.  I do believe DSD was telling the truth at first, but you are absolutely right, changing the story = losing credibility in everyone’s eyes. As far as forgiving uBPD mom, but letting her live with the consequences, if I am still so angry, have I forgiven her?  I don't know.

ITN – Thank you for the kind words, and I really appreciate the questions you gave me. It puts the situation in a different light, for sure, and that’s very, very helpful.  My definition of forgiveness may need to change.  Forgiveness = acceptance of another’s shortcomings = acceptance of human shortcoming/Divine perfection.  That’s all well and good, but it brings me absolutely no comfort in this situation.  In fact, I don’t even remember it when I see DSD’s bio-mom and I feel like I want to strangle her because she has been so careless with someone so precious. 

I love your idea of prayers for the person, and I am going to try it, astronomical fakery and all!  Thank you for that suggestion!

Brownie – I agree that DSD16 needs to be responsible for what she does because at the end of the day, she will have to answer for herself.  I just wish her uBPD mom had not left her alone with the boy.  But I understand what you are saying.  It sounds like you have had some rough times with teenagers too!

In my experience of forgiveness, I have felt forgiven and loved.  While I may forgive DSD16's uBPD mom, I doubt that I will ever love her.  I do trust that God will give me what I need when I need it.  It may be that I haven't been tuning in to that when I need to.  Again thank you to everyone who responded.  It really helps to have other people's views on this!


*

brownies

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 1114
Re: Forgiveness is so hard! And yet, I have been Forgiven.
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2015, 07:04:27 PM »
I'm sorry, I really came off as harsh.  :thumbdown: Heavy handed too.  :thumbdown:  She needs to be able to say, "no".

There is a movie out, Wild, which I wouldn't recommend to a 16 year old. I would recommend it for parents though. In the movie, a woman walks up the PCT, hundreds of miles and more often than not when she ran across men she was the target of the men, and it had the feel of predator and prey. Sometimes she was very scared and without a doubt she should be very afraid because not all men would keep her safe. Some wanted to isolate her, threatened her, and use her for sex. Some of the men were safe and kind to her.

It is a skill young women need to hone, (and us old ladies too) :tongue2: whether they are with someone they can trust and if they are safe with them. If a woman/girl can't say "no", to them, then they aren't with a safe person. (there is a good book, Safe People, by Townsend and Cloud) Along with learning to recognize safe people (and unsafe people) a woman/girl needs to be assertive. Assertiveness training can be helpful (at nearly any age).

I was once attracted to an unsafe person. I didn't realize he was unsafe but my first clue was telling him "no" and "stop" about 10 times and he didn't take me seriously. It was degrading to have my words dismissed and I started to realize he could over power me and him and I were alone, isolated. It was a dangerous situation to be in. My second clue (I'm slow apparently) was to ask him to take birth control and health precautions and he made a joke of that, again not taking me seriously. I left, never returned to that situation again. I felt like such a fool, because I was a fool to trust him and I didn't listen to my first clue. I walked away unscathed as nothing transpired between him and I of any consequence.

These are all conversations we, as parents, can have with our kids, and not just once.

I shared one of my stories about the drug issue with my oldest son. When my son and I sat down and talked (and cried about it all) about whether or not he thought and felt that he was going to be able to monitor his own behavior better while he was at his dad's home (and the not paying attention kind of neglect there from his dad)--my son didn't feel he really had a parent there that could give him the kind of structure he needed in order not to repeat the drug issue again. I couldn't have him live at my home if he was going to be a half time drug user because I had two other kids. He, my son, had to make a choice. Go live with your Dad if you want to or to accept my structure (no car, to buy drugs, rules, drug tests if I get a whiff that you might be using drugs, and grades must be at a B level consistently) at my home. My child was telling me he had no parent at his dad's house, no parent doing parenting--and my son at 16-17 years of age said that he wanted to clean up his act. I even called the social worker and told her, "Am I being fair here? Is it appropriate to put this decision on my son?" The social worker, which we had worked with years earlier during our custody fight (which lasted 2 years until I agreed to 50%/50% which was a huge mistake) told me, that my ex had brought this on himself (I didn't tell my son this) and it made good sense to give the oldest son the choice of where to live so he could clean up what could have ended in jail/prison time for him. (thankfully, due to legal technicalities, he was never prosecuted as the police screwed up getting a legal search warrant) [your SD may pay the price with pregnancy and being very young mom which might be something she is not prepared to do] Or if he wanted to continue to use drugs, then I said, please don't live at my home, I can't tolerate it. I wasn't willing to endanger my other two kids by having him use drugs here.

So I guess what I'm saying, is you can have a conversation about all of the "yes" and "no", it was consensual, it was not consensual. You can ask the SD to grow a backbone, encourage her to be assertive, and involve a third party (therapist, or social worker) to help work through this issue with her. Having a third party professional can see the difference between doing what is best of the child/adult and engaging in PAS. Your SD may or may not be 'safe' with her own mother, it's really only something she can tell you.

When my son decided to move in to my home full time, and I was a strict beast, (another "b" word comes to mind--that I am :thumbup:) he did clean up his act in every way. When he told his dad he was going to just stay at my home, his father cut him off. Done, over, no conversation. I kept encouraging my son to spend some time with his dad, but his dad wanted nothing to do with him. [SO MY SON WAS NOT ALLOWED TO SAY "NO", he couldn't be assertive to his own dad, his father would not allow it] and there was hell to pay. We engaged a therapist, she had worked with the kids previously, and then my ex blamed me and the therapist and refused to hear out our son. The oldest loves his dad but his dad hasn't talked to him in years. I didn't impose any financial requirement changes due to the change in placement time, which I could have, but this was about my son getting clean and staying clean, to me.

I encourage you to be a good parent (or step parent), with the most important thought in mind *best interest of the child*, and keep that at your forefront of your choices. It's never okay to teach HATE, of a parent, that's where you try to convince a young impressionable mind it's okay to HATE, and PAS.

I'm sorry to ramble, I'm good at it. (lol)
I think our society has accepted, that you can never unlove a parent, and that's pretty true, [It's your mooooooooother....but it's your faaaaaaaather] but you can unlove behavior when the behavior is harmful or neglectful. Love the sinner, hate the sin.

I'm sorry I'm heavy handed in my post, I'm sorry I am harsh, I am, I know. It's difficult to teach a child/adult to grow a backbone without modeling it for them. So I did, and it worked out well and my son(s) and I are close as peas and carrots. If any of them told me today or tomorrow, "HEY dad invited us over, we talked, he's really changed, he started talking with us", I'd be a happy little clam. There were actually a few years when they did spend time with him for barbeques, get together's, and I was happy for them. Not for myself, but that they were happy with their relationship with their dad. Their relationship with their dad is irreplaceable. I prayed for my ex, for years, a lot, hoping he'd care more about our kids and show it to them.

Your title line, says "forgiveness" but I'm not sure it is forgiveness that is the problem, it is love. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. She might be a screwed up neighbor or the crazy lady next door, or all of the above. Your H's ex is your neighbor. Looking at them through a microscope tends to paralyze anyone being put under a microscope (fear, flight, fight). BTDT So if you can try to love her, if for no other reason that she is your SD's mom, her behavior, good or bad, but that she is a mom to this SD. All you need to do to love her is to pray, that she is well, and however misguided she is on your SD's behalf, that her love can't be replaced entirely so on your SD's behalf, that you care a bit.

I'm going to put duct tape over my mouth now, then across my fingers, I don't know when to shut up.
If you like fireworks, just say "NO".

*

142757

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 1216
Re: Forgiveness is so hard! And yet, I have been Forgiven.
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2015, 07:14:33 PM »
142757 – That’s an interesting insight about a similar situation.  I do believe DSD was telling the truth at first, but you are absolutely right, changing the story = losing credibility in everyone’s eyes. As far as forgiving uBPD mom, but letting her live with the consequences, if I am still so angry, have I forgiven her?  I don't know.


Forgiveness isn't a button you flip. It also doesn't mean completely forgetting the past either. God forgives. You think he forgets? Whenever we go thru deep emotional turmoil, it takes time to get pass things to the point the strong emotions don't crop up. Let the process run its course. If the last time you dealt with her was the above incident, then that's going to be the lasting impression you will have whenever she is brought up. You are going to have to deal with her on other occasions so that her good acts can "water down" her past indiscretion.
"Somedays you just can't get rid of a bomb."

Adam West (Batman)
9/19/28 - 6/10/17