He won’t forgive late girlfriend’s parents for their actions
Dear Carolyn: I’m very frustrated with my parents right now. I moved in with them earlier this year because my late girlfriend’s parents were suing for custody of my 2-yearold daughter. It was clear they were going to use the fact that we lived in a small studio apartment against me, so I moved in with my parents to remove that disadvantage. Last month I inally won my court case and retain full custody.
They asked me not to hold the custody battle against them but I do. I hate them and I always will. They say they did it for my daughter, but they did it to punish me for surviving the car wreck that killed my girlfriend even though the other driver was at fault, and to replace their daughter with mine.
My parents are supervising their visits with my daughter, which is great because I never want to see them again. My mom told me she’d like to invite them for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner and I said absolutely not. We’ve been ighting ever since.
I can’t believe my own parents aren’t taking my side against these people. They say I’m just holding a grudge and it’s bad for my daughter. That’s a low blow, and even if it was true, don’t I have the right after what they did?
How can I make my parents see how wrong they are?
— Frustrated With
It would make things easier for you if your parents understood your position, of course. They could say the same thing — if they could just “make” you “see” that it would be good for your daughter if you forgave these parents ...
Notice where this leads you? Into an endless loop of arguing and rearguing your core convictions.
And, wow, all parties have already suffered profoundly — my deepest sympathies for all of it. You don’t need another battle.
You don’t even need to win this one because you have full autonomy; if your parents invite your late girlfriend’s parents, then you can simply choose not to be there.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Your goal of winning this argument doesn’t serve you, so I urge you to set a new, achievable one: disengaging from battles you don’t need to win. All that requires is a polite refusal.
People tend to push back when you deny them leverage, so you need to be ready to hold your lines. Calmly. “I won’t have this argument with you.” Per your goal.
It can help, though, to serve up less for them to push back against. You throw around the “a” and “n” words — as in, “I hate them and I always will” and “never want to see them again” — and you presume to know these parents’ motivations. When you do that, you invite the logical challenge that you can’t see inside other people’s minds, and you can’t know what you will “always” or “never” feel.
It’s still your prerogative to say whatever you want — but why not choose words that pre-empt such arguments? “I am still angry at what they put me through and will not share my holidays with them.”