Friday, February 16, 2007

Just can't forget.....

Well, before I begin THIS post, want to say Thanks to Whim, Em, and Wiz, for the sympathy over the math homework, even if none of y'all are any better at math than I am. ;)

Whim has been posting about forgiving & letting go, and while my sitch is no where NEAR as major or traumatic as hers, I've just gotta post about something DH came home & asked last night...

So, we're planning this trip to Anchorage at the end of the month for DD's hockey tournament, and we've got the hotel room reserved, and DH is getting his new taneau (sp?) cover put on the truck today, so we've got somewhere to stash the gear & the luggage. And we're trying to figure out what to do about our mutts. Puck can be left outside in his kennel while we're gone, and we can ask the next-door neighbour to come over & feed him & water him & give him some attention. And Puck will be ok with that. Heck, if J. wants to take Puck for a walk, Puck even does good with that. He walks very well on a leash. He's a well mannered dog, except for chewing up things that appear to have food in them, or have had food in them recently. ;)

Jenny, on the other hand, is an inside dog. And she sleeps in a pet-carrier sort of kennel. That's her "safe spot". And we're somewhat unsure about what to do about her. I mean, she's a good dog, even if she also likes chewing on things she shouldn't. (Mom, forgot to tell you last night, Jenny most recently took one of the lower corners off my hope chest. So she no longer sleeps in our room, she's back to being confined to her kennel at night as well.) But she's hyper. Which is why my dad isn't really up to taking her for the 4 or 5 days we'll be gone. She gets along well with his dog, Shiloh, but they spend all their time together mauling each other. And Dad (and I agree) seems to think that during the hours Jenny would be out of her kennel, neither she nor Shiloh would get to eat, or relax..... And Dad has to work as well, so he wouldn't be home & awake for long stretches of time....

Well, the other option is to ask J., who's a retiree and home quite a bit. And he's got quite a way with dogs. Very good at training them, without breaking their spirit. Maybe he'd be willing to "adopt" Jenny for a few days, as well as keeping an eye on Puck for us. I don't know. We need to ask. (As a matter of fact, I should do that today.)

Well, so back to the subject of being unable to forgive & forget. My FIL suggested to DH yesterday that we seriously consider letting the SIL stay here while we're gone, and baby-sit the dogs.

Um........... Right off, I wanted to shout NO, and be done with it. No, no questions asked, no way in hell, just NO! But, I knew that wouldn't cut it for DH.

You see, his sister is a drug addict. She's clean at the moment. (And almost 2 months this time, which is not the LONGEST she's been clean, but her attitude this time seems different than the other times. Like she REALLY doesn't want a relapse this time.) She's got a crystal meth habit that's caused serious problems for her, for her boys, for her on-again-off-again relationship with the boy's Dad. And it's almost landed her @$$ in jail. Which may or may not be the best thing that could happen to her. But, for now, she's clean. And she's working 2 different jobs as a bar-tender at 2 different establishments, but doesn't drink so that she can drive herself to & from her jobs. Ok. That's great. Now let's get to why I don't want her staying in my home, esp. while I'm not here.

She's spent the last 5 years badmouthing me to the MIL and around town. Spreading rumors about me, telling everybody who knows me what an idiot I am. (Just the fact that I graduated HS and she didn't and I've had the ability to stay away from drugs, even while I've had the chances to do them, makes me shake my head ironically to this sort of gossip & slander from her.) She started verbally abusing DD as well as myself in her last couple of months of pregnancy with the older nephew. DD was 4-1/2 at the time, and after visits with the SIL would cry & ask why her Auntie D. didn't love her any more. And after the nephew was born, would cry when summarily pushed away from the baby, and yelled at for trying to give him a kiss or anything. As much as she's hated (for this reason) having younger cousins (and been adamant that she doesn't want a younger sibling, which is fine with me), she's always been very good with babies, and even her day-care providers wax poetic about how much of a help she is with the little ones. So, almost 5 years of verbal & emotional abuse from the SIL, and she's never apologized, or expressed any sorrow.

In fact, she seems to think (as does the MIL) that every time she gets clean and has a GOOD visit, we should automatically forgive & forget her bad behavior.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I want her to be locked up for the rest of her life, and the key thrown away, and DD never to see her Auntie again. But, I don't want her staying in my house. I REALLY don't want her staying in my house, with MY dogs, with MY possessions, while I'm not here.

I chose to express my reasoning for this, last night, on her short stint of being clean, thus far. I told DH that while SIL is doing good, and seems sobered up (physically, mentally & emotionally), it's certainly NOT unheard of for addicts to steal from folks who've got pawnable things, in order to get the money for another fix. I told DH that while I'd hope that SIL won't relapse, I'm not sure I'm willing to have her come in & have access to our house & our belongings, knowing what could be pawned in 5 days time, without supervision. I told him that if she'd been clean for a year, and her attitude were still as sober as it is now, I may have a different reaction. But right now, I'm not comfortable giving her un-impeded access to my home & my belongings.

But, try as I might to explain it to him, he doesn't seem to get the emotional aspect of this for me. He knows (he's heard her) about her emotional abuse of DD & I in the past. And he knows she's never apologized for it. But, like his parents, if she's behaviong well now, then we should be willing to forgive & forget her past mis-behavior & abuse, and give her the benefit of the doubt, no holds barred. That may be fine for the inlaws. If they want to handle her past abuses of them that way.... Go for it. It's their mental & emotional well-being, not mine. But, I'm not like that. And I know I could get comments from some people (including MIL) about "Jesus said, turn the other cheek".... Ya know..... I'm not Jesus. I don't profess to be Jesus. And quite honestly, I'd fight tooth & nail if somebody was trying to string me up & nail me to a tree. Turning the other cheek..... Not so much.

I won't bring up past indiscretions to SIL's face, because I know it wouldn't do any good anyway, and I don't want to hurt DH's feelings. But privately, and even to DH behind-the-scenes, I have no problem putting MY mental & emotional health before SIL's mental & emotional health. DH even gets upset when I talk about standing up to SIL for myself & DD, because he's worried about his sister's feelings getting hurt. At christmas, when I bought an extra gift for DD, in case SIL "forgot" to get her a gift again, DH yelled at me over how upset his mom & sis would be, if I pulled it out of my bag & gave it to DD in front of them. I reminded him that if they're so immature & callous to forget to get DD a gift, then they don't deserve to have their feelings protected. But that, as a child (as MY child) my first concern is Her. I'm not out to protect MIL & SIL from getting hurt. I'm not their parent. I'm DD's mom, and SHE is my first concern. And I even reminded him that DD should be HIS first concern, seeing as SHE is his daughter. That SIL is a grown up and can fend for herself. It didn't wind up being necessary, to have that extra gift for DD. MIL & SIL did "remember" to get her a gift. And that extra I bought when back into my closet for future parties or something. But the point is there, DD & her feelings are my first concern, MIL & SIL's feelings come a lot further down the list.

And even if she did apologize tomorrow for her past behavior toward DD & I, I still wouldn't be willing to allow her to stay in my home, unsupervised, for 5 days. Because whether or not she ever recognizes & apologizes for the pain she's caused DD & I, she's still a drug-addict, and she's still not been clean for very long, in the scheme of things. (And she's got to apologize to BOTH of us. Apologizing to just me, or just DD, won't cut it. She hurt both of us, she needs to apologize to both of us.)

Anyway...... SOOOOOO minor a reason to be unwilling to forgive somebody, as compared to other people's problems. And not just Whim, but my Mom, and other friends (online & offline). I feel petty, being unwilling to forgive, but on the other hand, I feel that if I forgive then I've said that it doesn't matter, what she did. That it's ok that she's done this. And it's not. It's not ok, the way she acted to DD & I. And I won't forget, and I may not ever forgive. I don't wish her harm, or act uncivil toward her. But I protect my own, both my own health, and my own daughter's health. And for that matter, the safety of my home & my pets. That comes first, for me.

Ok, ranting done. I actually feel like I've gotten it off my chest, now. Not that I don't still feel the need for DH to understand. But at least, in typing this up, in publishing this post, I will have gotten out in the open (somewhere!) my feelings toward SIL.

Have a Blessed Day!


whimsicalnbrainpan said...

I don't blame you one bit. I wouldn't want her staying in my house either. I'm glad she is staying clean but I don't think she has been clean long enough to earn trust back yet.

And as for forgiveness, if someone acted that way towards my daughter without remorse I wouldn't forgive that kind of behavior either. That kind of cruelty towards a child is simply uncalled for.

By the way your in-laws are a real piece of work.

Kati said...

Thanks Whim! Yeah, the inlaws (and DH, for that matter) are a real piece of work. Love the DH like I do, sometimes I wonder WHY, mainly when he's taking the side of his fam. against DD & I.

I did tell DH that I was concerned that FIL may be pissed if we turn down the possibility of SIL staying here while we're away, and DH assured me that he wouldn't, and further more that FIL wouldn't bring it up to MIL or SIL unless we decide that it's an option. That's fine. I can kindof understand FIL's stance, that even though SIL has screwed up (and nearly ruined FIL's life on one occasion) she IS still his daughter. (Hell, I tell MY daughter that though I might not like what she does, I'll always love her anyway.) And if he choses to forgive her, knowing what she's tried to do to him, that's his perogative. But, he doesn't hold it against DH & I if we're not quite so forgiving or forgetful. MIL is the one who's got a real blind spot. FIL acts like it sometimes, but then he says or does something to make one realize that he's willing to forgive on his own terms, but won't force his terms on others. Not to say that FIL isn't a piece of work (he's a terrible biggot in other ways), but MIL.....

So, hopefully FIL will hold to his word and not hold it against me for refusing to let SIL house-sit for us. I don't want to screw up what relationship with the inlaws that I DO have, esp. for DD's sake. I may not like them some of the time, but we need them, and someday they may need us. And that's what family is all about, I guess. *wry smile*

Thanks again for the support! Glad to know I'm not out-of-bounds there with my feelings about the SIL.

Em said...

Forgiveness is a good thing, but I really think there is more going on here. This person has relapsed numerous two months clean is really not a track record to stand on. While it is good to encourage her, and even good to at least try to be forgiving if she apologizes, that does not mean turning your back on reality. This is your home. The things you treasure. I know people are the real treasure, but the stuff in your house is important to you. And financially valuable. And the reality is, she has not proven herself responsible enough to manage that.

And even if she does apologize some day, forgiveness does not mean forgetting. While you may not hold it against her, you will still know what has happened and it seems appropriate to take that into consideration on important things like this.

Slip said...

Good for you girl,Don't get sucked in .There is no one better at how wonderful they are doing then an addict. She will steal your stuff if you go for the deal. If she was clean for a year and doing meetings, made her apologies I would consider it after a trial of an overnight,a few times.

Kati said...

Em & Slip, Thanks to both of you (As well as Whim, whom I already thanked) for the confirmation that I'm not out of line with my feelings on this. I asked DH the following day if his Dad said anything, and DH confirmed that it's no-harm-done, and FIL wasn't wierd at all when I called again later asking for advice on how to pressure cook corned beef & cabbage. (I've made it in the slow-cooker, this was my first time with my brand-new pressure-cooker.)

So, it's all good, and SIL & MIL aren't even aware that it was an option in FIL's mind, so no hard feelings from them, either.