Is it a true apology if someone asks for an apology in return for how you hurt them? (long, sorry)

I tried to make this as short as possible and am so grateful if you read through this whole thing. I know it's alot. I've already apologized and am remorseful for many of my statements, but expect apologies for things that hurt me. MIL says I have no right to expect that. you decide. Here goes:

Mother-in-law & I were in a weight loss group a mutual cousin asked us to join. This wasn't for beauty, but health. MIL made it clear privately she wasn't happy hubby & I were joining so I told the cousin in law I'd leave, but cousin in law said that I was being paranoid & that mil was happy so I stayed.

Things went well - people tried and failed, but mil after a while kept on failing and seemed to be putting in a tiny amount of effort if any. So, to make her feel better I started handing out awards at a weight loss support group site for pig out days and tried to motivate again with getting back on the wagon awards.

Anyhow, hubby and I kept quiet until a month of these pig out awards passed & a friend with mil's lifestyle and 'tude almost slipped into a diabetic coma. That was it. No more rewarding her lifestyle. So after prayer, bible study and careful consideration, I respectfully told mil (as did my husband over the phone but no one is mad at him over it except for supporting me) in an email (as I'm terrified of her) that I love her and want to be around her no matter what she chooses to do, but can't continue to enable her lifestyle.

Keep in mind that NO ONE DARES talk to her about this subject - even her doctor whom she'd leave if he did. (She claims she never told me or my husband that, though, but we both heard her) They talk behind her back about how worried they are - but no one approaches her out of respect & love. I get that .. I can see their side ... but I can't personally live with myself doing that.

I also had no choice but to explain to the cousin (who thought I was leaving because of something SHE did) why I was leaving and that I hoped she could take over running the site for me. I also said (as we both felt the same about mil's health) I didn't know how she dealt with the situation on a daily basis vs me who lives far away and can't even deal on a every few days basis without winding up heart broken. Cousin-in-law misinterpreted what I emailed, but as soon as we talked she knew I had loving intent. Cousin-in-law, however, says that she still has no idea where I get that mil doesn't like me.

MIL responded by reading my email to 15 family members & then called my husband at work to complain about the letter & 13 years of my "crap". Said that all of them agree with her. Husband explained to her my advice was done out of loving concern, but mil used it as an excuse to start a war. Said she doesn't understand why "in order to love your wife, you have to hate your family".

She's attacked almost my every action. For example, things that are fine with my husband's boss (a short 2-5 minute call once in a while to my husband's job to say I love you) tick her off and she has ZERO to do with his job but says ... "Your wife said she even calls you just to say I love you, I personally think that is very very disrespectful to your job, they don't pay you for her to talk to you I am sure. Certainly was never allowed in any jobs in my day. Besides I had no business trying to call my husband at work. He was working and not entertaining me." So, this is one of the things she says I need to change and apologize to HER for. That this is part of the proof of my disrespectful nature.

It got so bad that one of my doctors (I'm a cancer survivor in remission - thank God for remission!) told us to explain to her that my stress is now putting me at more risk than the cancer coming back, so this has got to stop. Here was mil's response:

"... You know (son), the devil immediately jumped on my back at that email. He brought to my attention right off the bat, hey (mil's name) they sent you the doctors email address saying how (daughter-in-law) should keep stress out of her life, why don't you just forward (daughter-in-law's) email onto her doctor and let him see what stress she is putting in a old womans life and while you are at it why don't you just forward that email onto your local police station..."

The police ... she's trying to "convince" my husband that I'm abusing him and is upset and worried that he disagrees with her about it. So, we finally told her to send the cops out to our house to ease her troubled mind -but to think about her actions because it'd cause damage to how we felt about her. She backed down but never apologized and sees no need to.

This is a woman who also - when I found out I had cancer and then went through surgery & radiation - never even sent me a get well card, but HAS to know the minute I get test results back so she call tell everyone.

She says my problem is that I "can't accept that everybody doesn't like us, no matter how nice or good we are to people they don't have to like us." She doesn't have to like me, but aren't I entitled to be treated with respect whether she likes me or not? Anyhooo ....

I've said a lot of things I regret as I can be disrespectful and sarcastic when I'm upset and I've apologized to her for those very specific things and have shown remorse by not doing them again or in the case of my sarcasm and sirespect TRY my best not to do them again which I do fail at when her hateful comments overwhelm me. I've given every apology I can think of, but as a Christian I won't tell her that she's 100% right and has never screwed up with me and that her actions are my fault as I feel it puts her on the same level as our Savior. He's the only blameless, sinless one I know and I'd rather honor Him even if it means she see it as dishonoring her as a parent.

Anyhoo ... Mil is FURIOUS that we're holding her accountable for her negative actions. She says: "until you can apologize without expecting an apology from me or wanting me to be asking you for forgiveness then I DO NOT SEE IT AS AN APOLOGY OR A I AM SORRY FROM YOU GUYS. I am not intendeing to apologize and ask for something I feel you two put me in a position to defend myself ... made me so angry to where it just couldn't be ignored anymore. ... get through your heads that I feel I owe no apology to you nor do I owe it to you to ask for forgiveness from you when you guys started and continued this whole mess. ... when you two got married we thought we were getting a daughter in law instead we lost a son."

So I ask you ... isn't the normal order of this apologizing thing to feel geunine remorse, explain the specific action you did wrong, say you're sorry and ask for forgiveness. Then, after that say what hurt you if anything and ask for apologies in return? Or is mil right in saying we're being un-Christian in not letting her actions slide? I can let a lot of things slide, but when someone goes as far as to think of destroying your relationship with one of your cancer specialists and thinking of ruining your reputation with your local pd I think it's too big to let slide. Your thoughts?

By dazed 14 years ago :: Family (Extended)
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