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  #1  
Old Mar 17, '12, 1:50 am
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Being_Brave Being_Brave is offline
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Default I can forgive, but I can not forget...

There is a lot of back story to this, but I'll try not to write a book series. (skip to the bottom to avoid the drawn-out details)

My aunt has "disowned" me multiple times in the last year and it didn't start until I found out I was pregnant. My mom said my aunt has always done it & only recently started in on me. To be honest, my mother isn't innocent either. She has a diagnosed personality disorder and is a master manipulator so sometimes it is hard to know what to believe from her.

1st Trimester- disowned me for not coming to her house every morning after I got off work (I worked midnight shift dispatching for a police department, didn't get off work until after my aunt left for her job). Not leaving anything out, literally got an e-mail saying the sole reason was not coming every day.

2nd Trimester- "forgave" me for not coming to her house, but decided to disown me again when my mother in law extended a word-of mouth invitation to my baby shower in stead of a written one (it was last minute, so nobody got written invitations). Again I asked her to stop sending e-mails and actually call or some by so we could talk, and again she refused.

I had to have an emergency c-section and was put on house-rest for 6 weeks to recover. During that time my aunt called me to say she "forgave" me for the baby shower incident & asked if she could come over to talk to me. After all the hurt she caused me I didn't want to let her back in, but she had been like a second mother to me, so I tried to rationalize away my negative feelings about letting her back in. I thought that once she saw this beautiful baby she'd get her head back. The meeting went well, she seemed to be back to her kind self...for a week.

We share the same birthday and it was a week after her visit. She said she was going out of town so I called her home & cell phones, left e-mails telling her happy birthday. The next day I got a nasty e-mail telling me that I did not try hard enough to reach her, that she was home all day and I didn't come by, and revisited all the other reasons she'd "disowned" me in the last year to emphasize how disrespectful and "worthless" I am. She cursed me for not driving to bring the baby to see her while I was recovering from the c-section, then rounded the e-mail off by telling me that she had "beautiful neices" to attend to and that she was "trimming" me and my "little family" out of her family tree.

I asked her to call or talk to me in person but once again, she did not. I sent an invitation to my daughter's baptism- she did not show up. Sent Christmas cards- her response was a self-help book called "Learn To Love". I don't know any other way to view that than pure spite. At that time I decided that the emotional rollercoaster was not something I wanted my child to be raised around anyways. We decided to not allow my aunt back in this time. She had made her choice to "disown" us for the last time & we were going to make her live with her choice this time. I didn't tell my other family members about what my aunt had done, I honestly wanted to avoid causing or being a part of any more drama.

2 weeks ago my grandmother was told that she had rapid spreading breast cancer & they had to schedule an immediate double-mastecotomy. Two days ago my grandmother had her surgery and the entire family was there to support her. I knew my aunt would be there and decided to tell my mom about our decision to exclude my aunt from interaction with my daugher & she agreed to be supportive of our decision, saying that she'd done the same thing with us which is why I never knew about my aunt's dramatic side growing up.

It was a stressful day but without any confrontation. My aunt did not approach my daughter & our interactions were cordial & brief. Everyone put their own issues aside to come together for my grandma. We were allowed to go into grandma's room to wait for her to be released from recovery, and that's where my mother, of all people, wrecked it.

My mom asked to hold my daughter, then immediately turned to my aunt and and shoved her into my aunt's arms. My mom knew exactly the situation she was creating, and my aunt went along with it. My reaction was to gently take my baby girl from my aunt, and when she asked why I calmly told her that she'd made her choice. I left it at that and did not let my mother hold my girl the rest of the day.

When I got a chance to speak to my mom alone she brushed me off saying, "My mom just got out of surgery, I need to grieve." ((When my father passed away, my mother didn't allow me to grieve. He hadn't told us that he was homeless, and I was the only person he had listed with the shelter as next of kin and I had to go out of state to handle his affairs, my mother went with me for "support", and ended up drunk and beligerent for the entire week, physically attacked me in my sleep while we were there, and pretended that her loss was greater than mine because she'd "known him longer" than I had...))

Today I got another nasty-gram from my aunt: (coped and pasted, minus her signature)

Quote:
There is a time and a place for everything. During a family crisis when MY MOTHER is fighting for her life was neither the time nor the place for you to show your ***!!! I didn't ask nor will I ever ask to hold that child, she was thrown in my lap in case you don't recall. Do us all a favor, next time do not show up! You are not welcome, wanted, or needed when me or my mother are involved....got it???? You are seriously missing a sensitivity chip young lady. Thank you for your inconsideration, disrepect and toddler behavior during such a trying time. I will TRULY NEVER FORGET IT.
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This is the very perfection of a man, to find out his own imperfections.
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  #2  
Old Mar 17, '12, 1:50 am
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Being_Brave Being_Brave is offline
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Default Re: I can forgive, but I can not forget...

And here is my reply: (copied and pasted, minus my signature)

Quote:
Please do not contact me electronically. There is so much to be said, and my number has not changed, and I will always answer it if you want to talk. I know you are hurting right now, so is everyone else, but this is no longer about you; it is about your mother, my grandmother. So, you are not allowed to dictate my or anyone else's actions. You are not allowed to keep anyone from loving and supporting her.

As for my request regarding my daugter, you will be held accountable for your own choices in every scenario- my request for you not to interact with her was simply me holding you to your word. I really do apreciate your respectful exclusion from interaction with her up to that point, and I am sorry that my mother put you in the position to be embarassed like that. My mom was fully aware of my wishes and pushed my daugher onto you for God knows what reason of her own anyways, and you honestly did not deserve it...none of us did. While it was wrong for my mom to put us in that situation at such an inapropriate time, I firmly stand by my choice just like you've stood by yours to "disown" us.

I expect this to be the last electronic attempt at contact I ever recieve from you, but just as it has always been, you are always welcome to call or speak to me about your feelings in person.

I love you, and miss you.
So, here's the crossroads I'm at:
1) I can forgive my aunt for the damage she caused me, but I will not forget what she is capeable of and I refuse to give her access to my daughter. In any scenario, I feel it is necessary to protect my daugher, even if the scenario is while we're waiting for my grandmother to recover from surgery. Everything would have been perfect had my mother not made such a blatant disrespectful decison to shove my daughter at my aunt. I do not blame my aunt for this one, but I will not allow her contact for any reason.

2) I can forgive my mother for deliberately creating the situation in which my resolve as a parent is tested, but I can not forget what she is capeable of: lying, deceiving, and manipulating. She tried to rationalize her actions by saying that it was a peace offering...to which my reply was that it was not her choice to make, and that if she couldn't respect my decisions as a parent, she would never again be given the oportunity to disrespect them.

3)I want so desperately to be there for my grandma, but with these women burning every shred of dignity left in these relationships and I'm not sure what to do next. I live 45 miles away from my grandma so going there every day with an infant isn't an option, but I've called every day since the surgery to check on her and have gotten the machine each time. My aunt is staying with her this weekend so I would bet that every one of my messages will be erased, but I'm still going to call. I want to visit grandma, and I will, but I don't want to tell her what her daughters have done. I want to avoid it like the plague, but if they are there they will make the visit a living nightmare.

This is such a twisted family dynamic I have no idea what my next move should be. I really do feel like I'm doing the right thing by my daughter by setting these healthy boundaries. I need to protect my daugher, I need to support my grandma, and I need to avoid these women..the women that I should be able to count on....but I don't know how I can do it all without causing trouble. If you have no advice for me, please at least pray for us?
__________________
Peace, Crystal
-::-:*'"*:.-::-:*'"*:.-::-:*'"*:.-::-

This is the very perfection of a man, to find out his own imperfections.
Saint Augustine of Hippo
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  #3  
Old Mar 17, '12, 4:14 am
phoooiee phoooiee is offline
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Default Re: I can forgive, but I can not forget...

It is very simple- your primary responsibility is to your daughter. If your responsibility to your daughter conflicts with any responsibility to your extended family, you have to go with what your daughter needs- hands down.

I don't see how helping your grandmother in this situation would be possible without exhausting yourself (thus affecting your ability to care for your grandmother) or exposing your daughter to the behavior of others which will affect her as well.

Take care of your daughter- let God handle the rest.
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  #4  
Old Mar 17, '12, 8:28 am
Demetra2 Demetra2 is offline
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Default Re: I can forgive, but I can not forget...

I can relate to your story as someone who has a very difficult mother and because I am a breast cancer survivor. I agree that as a young mother you should focus on your baby while trying to stay in contact with your grandmother. When I had breast cancer and was going through chemo, I had a dear cousin who could not visit me but sent me a card or small gift every week. Go to your local dollar store and stock up on their fifty cent cards and a few dollar gifts and send one every week for the next two months. Your grandmother will love it, trust me. Just because your grandmother can't get to the phone right now doesn't mean she won't be answering the phone in the near future so keep calling.

As for your aunt and mom they probably have personality disorders. It would help you to get counseling to help you learn how to deal with a parent with a PD. Don't try to deal with them without advice from an therapist who understands this problem. Many times you will have to have limited contact with relatives who exhibit personality disorders. Try to forgive your mother but protect your child. A good therapist can tell you how. Best wishes and pray for guidance. I recite the Divine Mercy Chaplet for my relatives and it helps me while it helps them.
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  #5  
Old Mar 17, '12, 1:44 pm
Anne72 Anne72 is offline
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Default Re: I can forgive, but I can not forget...

Boundaries are a great thing-I have had to use them to keep away from my very narcissistic grandmother. I don't allow any emotional 'openings', I am polite, I am respectful, but will not be drawn into any exchange. Again, boundaries!
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  #6  
Old Mar 17, '12, 5:03 pm
Winter Warlock Winter Warlock is offline
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Default Re: I can forgive, but I can not forget...

Being_Brave,

My take on your situation is to not bring your daughter near them, any of them, when they are in a group. One on One may be fine only you truly know. But it you Mom and Aunt go out of their way to try and hurt you physically or emotionally then avoid them as much as you can. Talking on the phone is an easy way to keep in touch without being drawn into their games, or delusions. As one poster stated you need to protect your daughter, it may seem harsh to hear this but what if they did start to physically or emotionally abuse your daughter. It is something no one ever wants to imagine but you may want to consider that possibility.

You do not want their personality issues to affect your daughter; she is your primary responsibility. You should not feel guilty about keeping her away from them also. I pray that things get better for you. Stay strong even just for your daughters sake, do not let her become a pawn in their manipulations.

Winter
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  #7  
Old Mar 17, '12, 10:02 pm
Lochias Lochias is offline
 
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Default Re: I can forgive, but I can not forget...

Quote:
Originally Posted by phoooiee View Post
It is very simple- your primary responsibility is to your daughter. If your responsibility to your daughter conflicts with any responsibility to your extended family, you have to go with what your daughter needs- hands down.

I don't see how helping your grandmother in this situation would be possible without exhausting yourself (thus affecting your ability to care for your grandmother) or exposing your daughter to the behavior of others which will affect her as well.

Take care of your daughter- let God handle the rest.
I agree with this. Nobody except God can take the entire world on their shoulders, so to speak. Also, Being_Brave: Your calmness, politeness and compassion in the face of people trying very hard to undo that are a lesson in Christian living and loving. You are an inspiration. God Bless you and your daughter, and all of your family. I will be praying for you tomorrow in the presence of our Lord in the tabernacle.
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  #8  
Old Mar 17, '12, 11:53 pm
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90Domer 90Domer is offline
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Default Re: I can forgive, but I can not forget...

Having lived in a similar situation I say protect your dd at all cost and focus on her (as I have done w/ my son.). For both your health, you need to separate from the unpredictability of such a relationship. Your courage so far has been an inspiration to me. God bless.
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  #9  
Old Mar 18, '12, 2:43 am
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Being_Brave Being_Brave is offline
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Default Re: I can forgive, but I can not forget...

Wow, I'd prepared myself for some really harsh, negative feedback. I've felt so guilty about this... I can't even explain how relieving it is to see that there is support here! Thank you all!

Quote:
Originally Posted by phoooiee View Post
Take care of your daughter- let God handle the rest.
Exactly what I needed to hear!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Demetra2 View Post
As for your aunt and mom they probably have personality disorders. It would help you to get counseling to help you learn how to deal with a parent with a PD. Don't try to deal with them without advice from an therapist who understands this problem. Many times you will have to have limited contact with relatives who exhibit personality disorders. Try to forgive your mother but protect your child. A good therapist can tell you how. Best wishes and pray for guidance. I recite the Divine Mercy Chaplet for my relatives and it helps me while it helps them.
You're dead on! Before I was a dispatcher I worked as a Mental Health Technician in a behavior health hospital, and learning about mental disorders there helped me convince my mom to seek help. She actually was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, Bipolar, and PTSD. My aunt doesn't think she is wrong about any of it so she won't see a professional, and both of them refuse to accept medication or to persue treatment. I've spoken with my priest about this and he advised family therapy, but they "don't have time". When I was an MHT it seemed easy to see the right thing for my patients to do, but being on the outside of those situations made everything so much more clear than being on the inside of this one- thank you for being my MHT!! And I will definitely be taking your advice to send cards as well, I hadn't thought of it but you're exactly right that she would apreciate it, especially seeing that I may not be given an oportunity to even get in her front door if my aunt is given any kind of control over the house while my grandma is recovering.

Lochias, 90Domer: This is going to sound silly but hearing that anyone considers me an inspiration made me tear up. I came back to this post expecting to hear that I was doing the wrong thing, so you've taken me completely of guard saying I'm handling this the right way. I hope I do a good enough job that my daughter never has to deal with this, but if she does I want her to be proud of the way I'm handling this.

Anne72, Winter Warlock: You have strengthened my resolve not to feed into their emotional outbursts, and to follow through with every boundary I've set up. Thank you!
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Peace, Crystal
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This is the very perfection of a man, to find out his own imperfections.
Saint Augustine of Hippo
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  #10  
Old Mar 18, '12, 8:36 pm
Lochias Lochias is offline
 
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Default Re: I can forgive, but I can not forget...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Being_Brave View Post

Lochias, 90Domer: This is going to sound silly but hearing that anyone considers me an inspiration made me tear up. I came back to this post expecting to hear that I was doing the wrong thing, so you've taken me completely of guard saying I'm handling this the right way. I hope I do a good enough job that my daughter never has to deal with this, but if she does I want her to be proud of the way I'm handling this.
To be frank, you sound like you handle a lot of things the way my Mom did for myself and my siblings as we grew up.

I am, and will always be, proud of my Mom. I think it's safe to say your daughter will be proud of hers, too.
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  #11  
Old Mar 19, '12, 3:35 am
Chochy Chochy is offline
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Default Re: I can forgive, but I can not forget...

Dear One,

Continue to educate yourself on mental illness, specifically how to handle a mentally ill family member. Best to limit your exposure to all the drama. Remember the law of the echo. What you throw back (in negative words) will likely come back to you. If you can't say anything nice, best to say nothing at all.

God heals. He can help you to forgive. When you forgive with His help, you find it easier to forget.

I will pray for you. Blessings - Chochy
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  #12  
Old Mar 19, '12, 7:06 am
Monicad Monicad is offline
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Default Re: I can forgive, but I can not forget...

Thank you for taking the time to come here and share your story, I read every word and will pray for you. Praying for peace for you, Jesus loves you so much!

Yes, you are called to forgive, but forgiveness and reconciliation are not the same thing. A woman can be attacked by a stranger and after a while can forgive him which may bring her much healing and peace. However this woman is not obligated to invite him out for lunch! You can (and should) forgive others but that does not obligate you to have an ongoing relationship with them.

This family dynamic has caused you enough pain. I would guess you have even had headaches, trouble sleeping, trouble concentrating, stomach aches or all of the above. Let it go. Pray for them. You cannot be a good and healthy mother to your sweet baby while you are ruminating over your family. Your baby needs a mother that is healthy, happy, prayerful and well-rested. You owe it to her and to yourself. Seek the freedom from this unhealthy situation that you have desired for so long. When you do see them, you are only obligated to be polite as you would anyone else like a store clerk or bank teller or mail carrier.....simply say "hello" with a smile and leave it at that. You are not obligated to engage in any more drama, it doesn't get you anywhere but you already know that. There are no magic words to say to your family members, no snappy comeback, no email, letter or phone call is going to suddenly change everything. The only thing that can change them is Jesus Christ so pray for them. Hope this helps a little, God bless.
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  #13  
Old Mar 19, '12, 9:15 am
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marysdaughter1 marysdaughter1 is offline
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Default Re: I can forgive, but I can not forget...

This link is a really good resource for dealing with people with personality disorders.
http://www.bpdcentral.com/

It's specific to Borderline, but the resources can be helpful for setting boundries and just for dealing with any "difficult" people.
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  #14  
Old Mar 19, '12, 10:50 am
Rita77 Rita77 is offline
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Default Re: I can forgive, but I can not forget...

Quote:
Originally Posted by marysdaughter1 View Post
This link is a really good resource for dealing with people with personality disorders.
http://www.bpdcentral.com/

It's specific to Borderline, but the resources can be helpful for setting boundries and just for dealing with any "difficult" people.
the above link is where I found the best book that has helped me with my borderline narcissistic and bipolar personality disoreder family member. the book is

The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder by Randi Kreger

he is also the coauthor of "Stop walking on Eggshells"

rent it from the library if you have to. I also think sending a card or flowers every week to your grandma is a great idea and if you think the aunt might throw it out if its from you don't put a return address but sign you name on the inside.

I also think your doing the right thing by having boundaries and not letting them emotionally damage your daughter.

you and your family are in my prayers
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  #15  
Old Mar 19, '12, 12:11 pm
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marysdaughter1 marysdaughter1 is offline
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Default Re: I can forgive, but I can not forget...

I've got the Stop Walking on Eggshells book - it's very good. There are yahoo support groups that are helpful.
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