Finding Forgiveness For My Husband's Ex Wife
7 years ago, I met my husband. Single dad with an infant and 2 year old. The mother was not present in the children's life. All I knew was that she was sick (tried killing herself), and had a drinking problem.
Now after a restraining order (the mom must act orderly), and thousands of dollars spent on a lawyer, she makes more money from her daddy and boyfriend, no longer has a job or pays child support.
My husband and I both have a job, support her children and take care of all the children's needs. Both boys are doing great in school.
This past year, the mom has got very interested in her children and has been coming to see her children. The oldest, now 9 years old, thinks that I had an affair with his dad and wrecked his parents' marriage.
I have been told by the school, that the mom does not want me at the school events. This is because she is the children's mother, and they do not want their staff in an uncomfortable encounter, or the police will be called.
I have a lot of anger towards this woman. I have met her only through negative encounters at the store, gas stations, eating out. Any where she showed up to have an outburst. She has made the last 2 years a living hell for me. I could have her arrested and sent to jail, but I'm afraid that the children would hate me.
She has tested every moral I ever learned. I have visited with my pastor and other counselors. I'm being told what I need to do for the boys.
How do I lose this hate toward someone who is so mean to me, without losing the respect of the people who love her?
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello Sheila, and thanks for telling your story here. Obviously, you have good reasons for your anger. The important thing is what you do with it.
When you let it turn into hate, it ends up hurting you, so that you are hurt twice--once by the wrongdoing of the other person, and then by the hatred you carry inside.
So, I will give you some ways to resolve what is going on inside you, and possibly to help with the outside situation as well.
First, do all three journaling exercises described on this page. The first gives expression to your past trauma in case your current situation is triggering any old memories of past abuse. The second gives a safe healthy expression to your anger, honoring it, and keeping it from causing you internal problems. The third, positive journaling exercise helps you to shift your focus to what is good, right and working about you and the world around you.
Forgiveness only comes when you give full expression to your anger in healthy ways. That is what this journaling will offer you.
You can rise above this resentment, Sheila. You are bigger and better than these emotions, but you have to honor them, and give them healthy expression, and that is exactly what the journaling will help you do.
When you do the positive journaling part, work toward trying to see the good in the mother of your step children. This will ease your stress and anger.
Forgiveness is ultimately acceptance, and letting go of resentment. You do that for yourself, not for the other person.
And you can do that.
Focus on your good heart, and the deepest and wisest part of you.
My very best to you,
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