Question: Dear Luise: I love my DIL very much, but she recently became angry over an over-blown incident involving my daughter. She called me and let me know how much she hated my daughter. My daughter was devastated by this knowledge and I am very upset. She (DIL) later apologized for her outburst, but the hurt remains. I have continued our relationship for the sake of my grandchildren, but I can’t seem to really forgive her since I don’t believe she was sincere in her apology. My heart is broken over this rift in my family and I feel depressed much of the time. How can I put my family back together? B.
Answer: Dear B.: Emotionally charged incidents are very hard to deal with in the heat of the moment and they are even harder to undo. You describe it as “over-blown” but it’s my guess that your DIL probably would not see it that way.
Who knows what is going on beneath the surface? Your DIL may be jealous of your daughter and if she is, she may not even be aware of those feelings.
You in turn, told your daughter. How could that possibly do anything but make things worse? I know it’s hard, but you need to take responsibility for doing that.
It takes a lot of maturity to get that we all have multiple feelings and reactions that can be triggered for reasons we may or may not be aware of. “What’s going on in me is not your fault” is often a difficult principle to get because it sure feels like someone else is to blame.
If your heart is broken and you are depressed much of the time, you probably need to put yourself back together before you can put your family back together. You have found that your DIL has feet of clay. OK. Now your job is to love her anyway. You have feet of clay, too. So does your daughter. We don’t have to forgive each other for that…we just have to get that it is universal and not focus too long or too hard on one person or one incident.
You are the adult here. Offer your DIL and your daughter a role model and move on. The way to do that is to pass on judgment and being right. No matter how well you can document your position, let it go. Blessings, Luise