Monday, June 20, 2011

You Lost Your Chance

The following is the communication we had with NMIL in April of 2011 when we informed her we would not be meeting with her for therapy:

From: DH
CC: Jonsi
Date: Sun, Apr 3, 2011 at 10:52 AM
Subject: No Meeting

We have decided not to have the meeting. Unless otherwise notified, do not show up.

DH & Jonsi

Phone call from NMIL
Date: Sun, Apr 3, 2011 at 10:59 AM

Uh hey DH. Um, I just got your email.
Uh, can you give me a call back? Um...I just think
it might be something we can talk about on
the phone at least? Thanks. Love you...bye.

From: NMIL
Date: Sun, Apr 3, 2011 at 11:11 AM
Subject: No Meeting
To: DH & Jonsi

I just tried to call your house...can you call me back? Thank you. Love, Mom

Sent using BlackBerry


After many discussions about our plan to meet with NMIL, DH and I had decided against it. Between the time that we had offered a therapy session with her, and our refusal of the meeting, I had discovered something NMIL had done that was in such a direct violation of my needs, and such a disrespect to my privacy, and such an intrusion on my life with DH, that we decided we no longer needed any further justification for canceling our plans to meet with her. We decided he had already given her a HUGE opportunity to change and she had chosen not to take it. In fact, she had chosen to throw it out with yesterday's trash. We decided that her abuses had gone on long enough and we were not going to stand for it any more. We decided that no amount of therapy was going to make this woman gain the capacity for empathy. We decided that she would piss on any chance we gave her, so we weren't going to give her any more. We decided that her time in our lives was coming to a close.

The following is our original, uncensored version of what we would have told her in therapy, had we followed through with it. It would have been read by DH, so it is to be read in his Voice:

It is not okay to gossip about me or my family behind our backs. It is not okay for you to speak with other people about the things that go on between you and my family – you are being deceitful when you gossip, and then talk with us or visit us and pretend everything is fine.

When you go to EFIL and talk with him about anything that has to do with me or my family you undermine the relationship we are attempting to build with him that is and should be a separate one from the one we have with you. We need for you to stop enlisting other people to try and convince me that I am doing something wrong.

I need to have a relationship with SIL that is separate from my relationship with you and it is not ok for you to meddle in it. With all of your past actions, you have done nothing but attempt to hurt the relationship me and my family could have with my sister. It is not okay for you to blame her, me, or anyone else for what you have done.

When you don’t acknowledge my wife or my family you hurt me and your chances of connecting with me and my family. This is a step in the wrong direction and a sign that you don’t have intentions of working on a relationship with me or us.

I need you to take responsibility for the poor way you reacted to the relationship I formed with Jonsi. Yes, it was fast but it was my choice, one that I am happy with, and you need to respect that. Further, I need you to take responsibility for your actions because that acknowledgment is the first step towards working together.

Please be honest with me and Jonsi. In order to have a healthy, open relationship with us - which is the only kind of relationship we are looking for - you must be truthful at all times – about the past as well as the present. We need honesty to be a way of life. And claiming that you don't remember the details of things that have happened in the past is not a valid excuse for your behaviors.

No more “when we don’t talk about it, it goes away” mentality. That only serves to foster a very superficial relationship and that is not what I want or need from you.

I am happy with my life, even though it may not be what you would have chosen for me. I choose it and I expect you to accept that this is the way things are.

It is not okay for you to lay any guilt trips on me. I am not responsible for your feelings, and neither is my family. I need for you to acknowledge and accept that it has been your inability to recognize and respect our boundaries that have put you in the position you are in. It is not my fault and it is not my wife's fault that you have bad feelings about the path our relationship has taken. That responsibility lies on your shoulders.

I need for you to admit that it is YOU who needs to put in most, if not all, of the work required for [this relationship to move from such an unhealthy place]. We need for you to stop avoiding the consequences for your own bad behaviors and own the responsibility to make things right.

We will not sacrifice our own mental, physical, or emotional health in order to have a relationship with you.

It was clear to us that NMIL was either incapable or unwilling to do any of these things.

So we decided she had lost her chance.


  1. **Psst**Thanks Judy, for the heads-up!

  2. You're welcome. :-) And that letter is still a great statement for living by, especially: "We will not sacrifice our own mental, physical, or emotional health in order to have a relationship with you."

  3. I agree, Judy. That was my favorite one on the list because it was the most powerful. That is the crux of it all, isn't it?