Helping her make repairs is a really important part of healing. She's used to bridges burning - she needs to learn to ask for forgiveness and to give forgiveness. Relationships grow stronger through these kinds of breaks and repairs. Hopefully.
Unfortunately, one of the lessons that Danielle is going to learn is that sometimes, sorry just ain't enough.
Danielle apologized, without any prompting from us, for her behavior while away at respite. Sadly, an apology just isn't going to be enough in this case. Although one can certainly argue, and Jewish law will agree, that one has to forgive someone for their transgressions, one is not obligated to forget.
Our friends have accepted Danielle's apology, but they have made it clear that her remorse will not change the consequences that come as a result of her actions. She's no longer welcome in their home, nor will she be allowed to spend time with anyone in their family if we are not present. Our friends have made it clear that, in a perfect world, they would have no further interactions with Danielle. Considering everything, I can't say that I blame them.
Although Danielle's behavior wasn't bad enough to warrant calling police, and no one suffered any permanent injuries as a result of her actions, what she did was absolutely unconscionable. Worse, it wasn't just an isolated incident or two of problematic behavior. It was a pattern of conduct, combined with a few really terrible episodes, that pushed our friends over the edge.
Given the closeness of our friendship, the amount of time we spend together, and the fact that Danielle cannot be left unsupervised, absolutely no contact between Danielle and our friends isn't really practical. However, the consequences of Danielle's behavior will affect us, as we won't be making any more visits to our friends' home as a family. When we are together in other venues, Danielle will be asked to remain on our side of the street, so to speak.
It's a sad situation, and it's one that we've warned Danielle of many times. As she's continued to abuse us over the past few years, we've told her that she's causing lasting damage to our relationship. We've reminded her that someday she will abuse the wrong people, and they will not be so ready to accept her continued presence in their lives.
We've told Danielle, countless times, that there are several parts to an apology:
- One must apologize, with sincerity, for one's actions.
- One must make amends for the wrongdoing.
- One must change one's behavior to ensure that the transgression doesn't happen again.
The reality is, there are some things for which one cannot truly make amends. There are some lines, once crossed, that cannot be forgotten. The natural consequence of abusing one's friends is that they will eventually choose to close the door on the relationship.
Danielle has systematically destroyed just about every relationship she has. She's damaged her relationship with us, everyone in our extended family, and with all of our friends. Even her relationships with her peers are becoming difficult, as her conduct affects her friends, and makes their parents unwilling to grant them permission to visit.
It's a damn shame that things turned out this way.