In Laws. Don't know how to let go.

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    Hello everyone
    I am new here. I have been in a very messy situation with my in laws for years now. I can’t go into it all here as it is long and complicated, but there has been a huge amount of hurt, resentment and unpleasantness.

    I want to let it go. I want to forgive. I have prayed, tried to forget, you name it but I cannot seem to do it. Each time I try something comes up to trigger a new spiral of over thinking and I am finding it so hard.

    Any advice on how to let go of the past, forgive and let go?

    Thank you.


    Dear willow34:

    When you write that “Ech time I try something comes up to trigger a new spiral…” I need to know what it is that “comes up”- is it a thought in your mind that comes up out of nowhere or is it a behavior on their part that they do anew that triggers your thoughts? This is vital and needed information for me to repond further.



    Hi Anita

    It’s both. It could be a thought that comes from nowhere, it could be something my husband says, it could be hearing from a connected member of the family (we are currently not speaking to my in laws), it could be hearing about an imminent family event – anything.

    I am still so angry and frustrated. I don’t want to be. The very odd thin is that I think I am scared to let go. It would mean letting go of all the expectations I had and the way I think it SHOULD be. Even though I know I have to do this, a large part of me won’t and I know why.

    It’s like I am obsessed – constant rumination and going over past events and hurts.

    Bethany Rosselit

    Hi Willow,

    In-law situations are tricky. Without knowing the specifics of what you are going through, I do have a few thoughts that immediately came to mind:

    1. It’s important to remember that there is no past–only memories with meaning attached to them. What you remember is not the entire picture of what happened. Nobody knows the entire picture. This may help you to accept that your in-laws had insecurities and misunderstandings. What they did or said was not personal, even if it seems like it was. Even if they THINK it was.

    2. This is really just clarifying #1. Another person’s words can ONLY show their misunderstanding. Their words and actions have no inherent meaning about you. If you can understand this, then moving past their words and actions becomes easier.

    3. So why were their words and actions triggering? Something is only a trigger if the person who is triggered has a doubt, fear, or insecurity that is being activated. If someone called me a bad parent, for example, it would not accept me if I were confident in my parenting abilities. I would just roll my eyes and think, “That person has issues!” But what if I doubted myself as a mother? Then their words would be “proving” this doubt to be true, so it would be very triggering.

    4. Are you still in touch with them? If you are, I have a suggestion for communicating with them. Do more asking than telling. When you tell something to someone who is insecure, all they hear is that you are right and they are wrong. Instead. be curious with them. Ask open-ended questions. If they say something that is hurtful, ask them why they said it. This puts it back on them, to reflect on their words and the reasons they have for saying them. It may also help you see what is going on in their minds, so that you can depersonalize.

    I hope that helps!


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