After forgivness


#1

we recently had 2 teenage nieces move out of our home after 10 years. it took my wife and i completely by surprise and hurt us both deeply. since then she has been able to re-establish a relationship with them, but i haven't. one of the girls came for dinner this week and i told her i don't know how to relate to her anymore. i do feel as though i've forgiven them as i don't wish them ill and i truly want the best for them, but does forgiveness mean we pick up the pieces and move on? i don't know if i want an uncle / niece relationship with the girls. any thoughts, what does forgiveness mean and what happens next?


#2

I think first you would have to explain what it is you believe needs forgiving and why. I don't understand what your issue is.


#3

my issue is after the hurt their moving out caused and my forgiveness of their causing that pain, if i don't want to resume our realtionship,does that mean i haven't forgiven them, or is it ok to not want to re-establish the relationship?


#4

[quote="phrederik, post:3, topic:226690"]
my issue is after the hurt their moving out caused and my forgiveness of their causing that pain, if i don't want to resume our realtionship,does that mean i haven't forgiven them, or is it ok to not want to re-establish the relationship?

[/quote]

I still don't understand why you would be hurt that they moved out or why you wouldn't want to have a relationship with them.

You say they are your nieces, why were they living with you for 10 years? You say they are teens, what do you mean-- 18/19 or still minors? Why did they move out and where did they go? Where are their parents, did they go back to live with their parents or somewhere else?

I think you are seeing their moving out as a rejection of you, and that may not be the case. But, with the total lack of information and context to your question I don't konw how anyone can answer you.


#5

it's hard to summarize this, but, the girls now 15 and 17, and their father lived with us after the mother left and he asked his sister and i to help raise them. the father had his own issues, including verbal / emotional abuse of the girls and we asked him to leave this past summer for their well being -- with their acceptance and understanding at that time. the father recently was approved for social security disability and the girls receive support benefits as well. we told the girls some of that money should be given to us for their support, which they thought was unfair. it was after this the youngest went to live with her father,and the oldest went to live with a friend. in short, i had invested myself, emotionally, spiritually, financially, in my nieces growth thoughout most of their lives, and without warning they left, yes i feel rejected. i believe i've forgiven them for the pain this rejection caused, but now i don't want to resume the relationship. am i wrong?


#6

Dear friend. I don't understand Your question. Children grow up and move out,that is how it goes. Why do You and Your wife feel hurt? Because they moved out,or because they did not let You know it "in time",whatever that may be. You can miss them,You can look forward to see them again,You can still love them,so,what wrong did they do? What do You want us on this forum to answer? You must explain Your self so that we know what wrong they did,it can't be only because they moved. Bless You.


#7

[quote="phrederik, post:3, topic:226690"]
my issue is after the hurt their moving out caused and my forgiveness of their causing that pain, if i don't want to resume our realtionship,does that mean i haven't forgiven them, or is it ok to not want to re-establish the relationship?

[/quote]

If they were your own children who moved out when they came of age would you assume it was because they wanted to break off all relationship with you? Still mystified as to why you would be hurt by their action. That is what kids do when they grow up, the move out and go on their own. you don't say where the girls have gone. Are they with their father? And you let them be subjected to his abuse for 10 years before he left, and never reported it? Why? Is the money the real reason for your resentment?


#8

[quote="phrederik, post:5, topic:226690"]
it's hard to summarize this, but, the girls now 15 and 17, and their father lived with us after the mother left and he asked his sister and i to help raise them. the father had his own issues, including verbal / emotional abuse of the girls and we asked him to leave this past summer for their well being -- with their acceptance and understanding at that time. the father recently was approved for social security disability and the girls receive support benefits as well. we told the girls some of that money should be given to us for their support, which they thought was unfair. it was after this the youngest went to live with her father,and the oldest went to live with a friend. in short, i had invested myself, emotionally, spiritually, financially, in my nieces growth thoughout most of their lives, and without warning they left, yes i feel rejected.

[/quote]

Teenagers are typically self absorbed. These teens have been through a lot emotionally. So, they are acting out.

This is not about YOU. This is about them. You are the adult. Act like an adult. You are acting like a spoiled child, pouting because they got mad at you and left. If you act like an adult and show them love, they might come back. But, if you cannot love them and raise them out of the goodness of your heart-- without their SS money-- then maybe they are better off elsewhere. Yes, they probably should give you some money to help with the household, BUT I can also understand why two teenagers wouldn't see it that way.

For goodness sakes, be the adult here.

[quote="phrederik, post:5, topic:226690"]

i believe i've forgiven them for the pain this rejection caused, but now i don't want to resume the relationship. am i wrong?

[/quote]

Yes, you are very wrong. Love your nieces unconditionally, not just when it is convenient for you.


#9

they didn’t move out because they “came of age”, it wasn’t that sort of situation, both are in high school. you apparently missed my post that said where the girls had gone – one with the father, the other to a friend’s house – and i didn’t let them “be subjected to his abuse”, we were the refuge – the home was a duplex – and safe place. counseling was attempted and he walked out. and his behavior was reported to the state. in regard to money they began to receive support money from social security based on their father’s disability … why shouldn’t some of that money come to the people who were supporting them? the father wasn’t working, my wife and i supported both households.


#10

[quote="1ke, post:8, topic:226690"]
Teenagers are typically self absorbed. These teens have been through a lot emotionally. So, they are acting out.

[/quote]

i can't help but think you're missing the picture and i'll take responsibilty for that; as i wrote it's hard to summarize 10 years in a few paragraphs. i'm fully aware of teenage behavior, we raised 2 children of our own, however i think you're offering a simplistic answer, which may not be avoided given the circumstances on this forum

[quote="1ke, post:8, topic:226690"]
This is not about YOU ... Yes, you are very wrong. Love your nieces unconditionally, not just when it is convenient for you.

[/quote]

you're right, it isn't about me, and also wrong, as it is about US. if i understand your reply correctly, unconditional love includes the willingness to 'pick-up the pieces' after someone's behavior causes pain and re-establish the relationship. that is what i'm having trouble with, re-establishing the relationship, not the love.


#11

The thing is your expectations of the girls.

Your expecting them to act as mature, rational, experienced adults when they are 15 & 17. The girls seemed to have been abandoned by their mother and have an abusive father. There are in their teens -which is probably the most emotional time of their lives. They see you as the financially stable one and their father as out work and needing the money that in their minds you want to take from him. They still love their father even though he is abusive because he is their father. Despite the abuse they want his approval. You are expecting them to understand that their father is in a mess of his own making at the age of 15 & 17 -what they want is to hang on to the one parent left in their lives.

Yes you love them as your children and you want them to love you as their parent -I'm sure they do love very much. But the parenting dynamic has left a huge hole in their lives and they are behaving like damaged children because they are. Its what happens to children from broken homes. You have done a wonderful thing for these girls and one they will know that. But they are still working through their pain and figuring out life.

Your expectations of the girls is far too unrealistic and that is your issue that you need to work out and not blame these children for.


#12

[quote="rayne89, post:11, topic:226690"]
Yes you love them as your children and you want them to love you as their parent -I'm sure they do love very much. But the parenting dynamic has left a huge hole in their lives and they are behaving like damaged children because they are. Its what happens to children from broken homes. You have done a wonderful thing for these girls and one they will know that. But they are still working through their pain and figuring out life.

Your expectations of the girls is far too unrealistic and that is your issue that you need to work out and not blame these children for.

[/quote]

I have to agree with this. These girls must have suffered so much. Your home was the refuge and trust me, when they get a bit older, they will be grateful for that. They are probably in an emotional mess because of the way they grew up and thus their behaviour.
Don't blame them and punish them. They are to be sorry for. Pray for them instead.


#13

my apologies for initially being unclear as to my problem and thank you to anyone who asked clarifying questions and replied! unfortunately i don't think my question was answered as i was looking for input about re-establishing the relationship with my nieces. i know the challenges teenagers present developmentally and the meaning of unconditional love. what i've struggled with is what happens "after forgiveness", does loving them involve resuming the relationship, or is it okay to want to 'back off' so to speak, hence my thread title.

thx!


#14

I can see why you would be upset at their moving out, but from their perspective you were basically asking a 15 and 17 year old to pay rent for living in their own home. That's not something parents ask their own children to do before they reach adulthood, and if they've been living with you since they were 5 and 7 years old they probably see you almost as parents and your house as their home. To them, it probably felt like a betrayal to be asked to suddenly pay rent or get out just because they had money now, like you saw them as tenants rather than beloved family members. They might have thought it was a greedy grab at their money (and might have been more money than they've had in their lives), though from your perspective it was a reasonable request for payment for giving them room and board for 10 years.

I certainly wouldn't cut off contact with your nieces over a misunderstanding like this. Please don't let a few hundred dollars tear apart your family. Some day they will be grateful for the love and care you showed them growing up, but if you let your anger take over and refuse to talk to them anymore you'll never have a chance to hear them say it.


#15

[quote="phrederik, post:13, topic:226690"]
does loving them involve resuming the relationship,

[/quote]

Of course it does.

[quote="phrederik, post:13, topic:226690"]
or is it okay to want to 'back off' so to speak

[/quote]

I don't understand your motivation for wanting to "back off."


#16

[quote="phrederik, post:1, topic:226690"]
we recently had 2 teenage nieces move out of our home after 10 years. it took my wife and i completely by surprise and hurt us both deeply. since then she has been able to re-establish a relationship with them, but i haven't. one of the girls came for dinner this week and i told her i don't know how to relate to her anymore. i do feel as though i've forgiven them as i don't wish them ill and i truly want the best for them, but does forgiveness mean we pick up the pieces and move on? i don't know if i want an uncle / niece relationship with the girls. any thoughts, what does forgiveness mean and what happens next?

[/quote]

Sorry, fella.
I know you were hurt.

However you are really stepping outside of realityville
when you say: "i don't know if i want an uncle / niece relationship with the girls.'
Excuse me but that IS the reality.
You are the uncle, they are your nieces.

Having worked with teens for decades, I'm certain that
the girls were horribly wounded that you asked them for MONEY.
Why would you ever do that?
It's salt in the wound and they have many wounds for sure.

It's like this:
you are the ADULT,
they are CHILDREN.

It's that simple.


#17

15 and 17 is too young to be making their own decisions, including moving out.

Unfortunately, I assume you didn't have legal custody of the girls. So you have no say about this choice now.

Money can always cause problems between people and this senrio set up for the perfect storm. If you had been their legal guardian you probably would have been entitled to some kind of financial support but you didn't cover that base.

Now the children feel entitled to that money (which probably isn't very much to begin with)
and see you as a money grubber. They are kids (immature) that's what they think!

Apologize in a letter to the girls. Tell them that you should have asked them what they felt was the right way to handle the money. My suggestion is that it should have been put away, at least partially, for college and the rest given in an allowance with the expectation that they would now pay for clothes and school expenses etc. I would have continued to provide food and a roof over their head without complaint.

It sounds like those kids have been through a lot. Invite them back home.


#18

[quote="Charlotte1776, post:14, topic:226690"]
... pay rent or get out ...

[/quote]

this wasn't said or implied at any time.

[quote="Charlotte1776, post:14, topic:226690"]
but if you let your anger take over and refuse to talk to them anymore you'll never have a chance to hear them say it.

[/quote]

excellent point, and i've battled with the anger and hurt to prevent this from happening, thank you!


#19

Originally Posted by phrederik

or is it okay to want to 'back off' so to speak

1ke - "I don't understand your motivation for wanting to "back off.""

i can only assume you've been hurt by someone, and if yes, didn't you consider if you wanted to continue the relationship from that point? my motivation seems obvious. you may not agree with it, and i understand it may not be healthy, but how is it not understood?


#20

[quote="phrederik, post:19, topic:226690"]
Originally Posted by phrederik

or is it okay to want to 'back off' so to speak

1ke - "I don't understand your motivation for wanting to "back off.""

i can only assume you've been hurt by someone, and if yes, didn't you consider if you wanted to continue the relationship from that point? my motivation seems obvious. you may not agree with it, and i understand it may not be healthy, but how is it not understood?

[/quote]

It's hard for me to understand it also.
How can we dis-own our family? Children no less?


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