The PTSD that comes with abuse is not just a matter of forgive, suck it up or act maturely. It is not vendictiveness or revenge. It is overwhelming uncontrollable emotions that threaten to shame or embarrass you. They are so powerful the crying & anxiety won't stop. This isn't about being mature enough to put your child first on their day. It's about being able to get through the day without spending the entire event hiding in the bathroom.
I love this article and all the comments! So many of us have been in this situation. My oldest daughter got married within a year or two of her parent's painful divorce. She told us each sternly that if we were not civil to each other we would be excluded from all her new family events! Well! That set the tone and actually laid down the law! (none of my daughters are shy at all....) Our love for her eclipsed our anger at each other. And actually opened the door for an end to hostilities. We ended up friendly by the time he died 15 years later. I'm so thankful for all that I learned. Of course, there was no abuse in the marriage, no laws broken, no violence. .... Just your typical lame divorce. Forgiveness is something I do for ME. It helps me let go. And there's no better "revenge" that being happy, pleasant, cheerful and polite. I even said to him, in front of the new woman (years later) "You're getting better at picking wives!!" Hahaaa! (inside, I knew I'm the best!!) And parent's getting along makes kids so happy - - even grown up ones.
One size doesn’t fit all. I could sit at the table with my ex-husband despite his trying to kill me and practicing Witchcraft. Could you? Until you know this woman’s complete story, you are in no position to judge. That is why the Savior warns us not to judge unrighteously. If she had a protective order against him, he may have been physically violent with her. She might want to see if that order is still in effect. If it is, only one of them can go to the wedding. If she chooses to go, then her ex won’t be allowed to. I understand why she feels hurt and devastated by her son’s attitude. When a relationship (with her ex) gets adversarial to that degree, others do have to choose sides, for safety’s sake and for righteiusness’ sake.
I couldn't disagree more with the idea that this woman should have to attend a wedding where she would feel uncomfortable.
My son is getting married tomorrow. I cannot bring myself to see my ex-husband who caused me to flee to a domestic violence shelter, obtain and Order for Protection through the court and haven't spoken to since I left him in 2014.
I want nothing more than to be a part if my son's special day but will not risk feeling unsafe, triggered or anxious.
This isn't a matter of an unforgiving, selfish mother. Her needs are just as important as the son's. I sincerely hope she put her needs in this matter FIRST.
Being divorced myself I know how hard this is, but you must realise that this day isn't about you and your feelings. It's about your son and his new wife celebrating the beginning of a new life together. Please don't make your son choose between his parents, it isn't fair on him. Do what you have to do to find the strength to control your resentment and anger. Pray, fast, seek the Lord's counsel through priesthood blessings, find comfort in the scriptures. Take care with your appearance and demeanour (you don't want to give your ex the satisfaction of knowing how much he has made you suffer). Be gracious, and your children will love and admire you all the more for it. In the 20 years since my divorce, there have been many family occasions when my ex and I have had to be together. It does get easier over time. In fact, at the wedding of one daughter to a man whose parents are also divorced, I overheard him scolding them for refusing to appear in the family group shots together, pointing out that if we could do it graciously, so could they. Set the example and you will have overcome a great hurdle to your own spiritual progression. Good luck and enjoy the day.
As a child from a similar situation, I can assure you that we are very aware of the sacrifices that the good parent made. But we also have an inborn love for the parent who caused all the strive and pain, even if sometimes we didn't want to have that love! They gave us life just as surely as the parent who did right by us. I cannot explain why our how this is, but it doesn't make it any less true.
There was always a part of me that wanted to connect with my mother, despite what she had done: a little girl inside of me who craved healing in our relationship. Fortunately, my father was able to make that incredible sacrifice and chose not to stand in the way of my reconciliation with her. I know it hurt him so much to have to associate with her because of me and my sister, but I cannot describe the depth of my gratitude to him for allowing the little girl inside of me to finally have peace and enjoy a special relationship with her.
My relationship with my mother doesn't erase or diminish the amazing and difficult path my father had to walk. I honor what he did, the challenges and the pain he suffered. One of the greatest gifts he gave me, however, was peace with the other parent who gave me life.
I know it's unfair that your son has asked this of you, but consider for a moment how unfair it was for our Savior to take on the price of everyone's sins when He never sinned. We talk of being like Him, and I say what is more Christ-like than allowing your son to finally quell that inner turmoil he's lived with his entire life with regards to his father--though your ex doesn't deserve it? Won't Christ reward your efforts to be your son's savior in this way? He rewarded my father with healing, too. Not just me.
I pray that you will let Christ have this one. That He will give you strength and peace to give your son this breathtaking wedding gift. Your son will recognize what you have done and he will honor you always. I promise.
It is your son's day, your future grandchildren's parents are getting married. Blessings to you and your family. It is an awkward situation if you make it awkward. To forgive is difficult, especially when you see someone who has hurt you and your children so. It is a tough thing to do, to focus on YOUR SON'S DAY. He had a great mother to stand beside him and cheer him on to this point in his life. Now continue to cheer and support a jewel in your crown. His father and he have their own relationship and you have yours with your son. Leave dead dogs lie... enjoy the life and privilege of family goodness. May your day be Merry and Bright and may all your apprehensions take flight.
I'm sure there are going to be many other people there apart from your ex, focus on these, focus on your son and your new daughter-in-law who probably has no idea of anything. If you don't attend she will feel shunned and you don't want this. You may feel betrayed but you are not unless you choose to be. This is good advice, I know how this feels - been there. Get a lovely dress, do yourself up, go and sparkle that brilliant mum glow and be proud of the man you have raised. Forget the other guests, focus on your new family. You can do this - give yourself permission to do it - I know you will have a great time and enjoy every new grandchild as they come. Remember, he has no control over you now, don't let him interfere with another day of your life, push him out of your head - he doesn't belong there. Smile, hold your head up and shoulders back - you can do this girl! Your son knows you can, he knows you are wonderful so live up to his expectations - and have a great time! Love to you.
As a child of divorced parents please don't make your child chiose between you or your husband. My spouse and I both have divorced parents. His can be at the same event, and while they don't prefer it, they realize it is about their child or grandchild not them. My parents however can not be together in any situation. My mom refuses to be there if my dad is invited. She made an exception for my wedding but is not smiling in any pictures. I understand that there is pain there, but she doesn't understand that it tears me apart everytime I hold a family function. I must keep it secret from my dad because he isn't invited or offend my mom by inviting him. Looking at my own children I hope they never have to choose which parent to have be with them at any special occasion. It sucks. My advice would be to ask if you can be at a separate table from your ex and then go and focus on your son.
I understand how you are feeling. Like you I gave all my love, time, effort, and money to raising my 2 children. And I did a great job! At the same time I was undermined by the father so much, that my son was even kidnapped from my Custody. My daughter's wedding was to be the first time I spoke to the father after all this. Preparation is the key to surviving the day! Failed attempts to have us talk prior to the wedding day to decrease the tension on meeting, were refused by the father. So my next attempt to manage the day, was to role play. My dear girlfriends helped me in different scenarios, so I would be able to talk confidently. My mind usually goes to mush when in uncharted situations like this and when I am being antagonized and people are not being nice to me. My aim was to be seen as a woman who walks with God. I had flip cards in my handbag, to refer to if I forgot what to say. This really helped. On the morning of the wedding a dear friend sent me an encouraging text. I felt her love and concern for me, and the things we had talked about, to get me through this day. I still have that text! I promised my daughter I would manage and not upset her day. And I kept focussing on this promise, because I love her so much! She did seat me away from her father, which was much appreciated. And she did tell me in advance that he would be saying a few words publicly. Even when I was being verbally abused by the father in the receiving line, I didn't lose my demeanor, and I am so glad. I did great. And I am sure you can do it too! Turn to your friends for support. I could not have done it without their love and concern for me. I prayed to be able to get through the day for my daughter's sake, for months. And when I couldn't because of heavy, deep emotions, I knew they were praying for me. I look back on the wedding day now, and know I am a lovely daughter of my Heavenly Father, and he blessed me. One other thing, talk with the wedding photographer and explain you feelings openly. The photographer will shoot photos with this in mind. I was able to get some photos with me and the wedding party, which I love to display now.
I had the same problem. It was my son's day. My son knew what kind of man his Father really was. He knew how I felt about his Father. Without his Father my son wouldn't be here.
I'm thankful for his Father & I was glad that I was there for my son.
As an adult I saw many different family dynamics and learned that my parents did a lot more for me than I ever saw as a child. I believe that this woman's son will eventually see the sacrifices that his mother made for him, especially if he has children of his own, and come to understand the situation a little better.
Wow, Wow! On Good Friday, I read this tale of Sacrifice and betrayal. I never ever respond or leave comments but felt compelled to write. First of all, Life just isn't fair... but Heavenly Father is,Change your perspective and you can change your life... He gave you the opportunity to be a Mother to your Son.. Blessing, not a sacrifice.. Second, Good job to you for raising your Son well enough that obviously he didn't believe all the lies your ex may have said about you because he wants you there. Your Son has obviously learned a very valuable lesson about learning to forgive and learning to love his enemies of which at times if you two parents were going at it, probably felt like a war zone to a child.. How hard it must of been to your Son to give up and sacrifice the dream of having a loving and caring family environment when he was younger, he has believed so strongly in this Family unity, that he is willing to let go of the example he knows and is going to try and establish a Family of his own. I don't mean to be harsh and this is probably not the response you wanted to hear, the best way to solve all problems though is to let things go,(unless your life is currently in danger or you are being harrased in which case call the authorities) Heavenly Father will right the wrongs, you my Dear are missing the boat by not living well yourself. Love your child with all your heart and forget about the wrongs that you experienced. Your sacrifices will be many blessings in the end when you are holding Grandchildren and your Son comes to you after his Wedding and says Thank you Mom, I love you... small bit of advice from a Blessed Single mom who was fortunate to be able to obtain work and support her child on her own gaining the confidence I needed to raise and amazing child.
The Lord has commanded us to forgive. This woman needs to forgive her ex-husband and go and enjoy her son's wedding. It has been 20 years! It is time to forgive and move on.
Your story sounds like what happened with my seven children and me, but I was able to find peace and forgiveness and to move forward. You do have someone to turn to--the Savior. And He can immediately and completely take away the pain you have. He did with me and He can for you.
I was able to raise my children on my own, avoid speaking bitterly of my experience and my ex, and even want them to be with him. There will be many times in the future that you will be at family gatherings with him as grandchildren enter the picture, as Dr. Steurer said, and for your own peace of mind, you need to be able to deal with that.
I was able to share the same space with my ex--and even have him to Christmas dinner once!--but I never really talked to him or engaged with him after I said a cheery hello. But my children did and it made it much easier and happier for them.
My mother never did forgive him for what he did to our family up until the day he died a year ago and seeing her bitterness and hatred make me all the more thankful that I did forgive him. You can do this because the Savior will help you!
It sounds like she's tried her best, but it seems like after 20 years, forgiveness needs to happen. I don't get the feeling from her letter that she has forgiven her ex-husband.
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