Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sometimes, Sorry Just Ain't Enough

In response to Burnt Bridges, Erika wrote:

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:
  1. One must apologize, with sincerity, for one's actions.
  2. One must make amends for the wrongdoing.
  3. One must change one's behavior to ensure that the transgression doesn't happen again.
Danielle has always been very good at offering up seemingly-heartfelt apologies, but she is often unwilling to make proper amends, and rarely makes lasting changes to her behavior. 

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.


  1. That's really sad. I totally get making accommodations given past history, and I think that's the way I'd position it for the child. These things usually fall under the umbrella of "keeping everyone safe". I know they are crazy-making and that many of our kids don't make it without ending up in an unfortunate place in adulthood, but some do. I strongly believe that mine are going to make it. BUT, if they don't, and let's say they have to spend some time sitting in some other unfortunate place (like a prison cell, for instance), I imagine they'll spend their time remembering one heck of a fun childhood.

  2. Unfortunately the only real solution would get you into trouble.

    You can buy into the bleeding heart, it's only a child, psycho-babble BS all you want, but the reality is that it's a disciplinary problem.

    Kids need to learn respect. It's as simple as that. Some learn easier than others. Parents didn't have these kinds of problems with their kids back in the old days when the fear of God and the fear of Parents was the general rule of thumb.

    When I was in school, there was no such thing as ADHD and the teachers had control of the classrooms. Why is that?

    This is not advocating for child abuse, it's just stating the fact that there are kids out there who deserve a good ass whooping every now and then.


  3. thought you might enjoy this one...

    the story of adopted mentally ill kids and the toll it takes on the family..

  4. I disagree with LK about there not having been kids with ADHD in school back then. I went to elementary school in the mid-60's to the late 60's, there were children who were hyperactive or Dyslexic, etc. The problem was, the ability to diagnose these very real disabilities was not in place. My older brother, who is now 60, I guarantee you had ADHD. To this day, it is difficult for him to sit still, maintain financially. Not because he doesn't want to but because his impulsivity will not allow him to. His first grade teacher told my mom that he was like a coffee pot, he just had to keep perking and that he couldn't control it. As a teacher of seventeen years now, I believe the massive increase in kids diagnosed or identified with ADHD is due to the fact that in kindergarten or preschool, instead of the minimum 8 periods of play they should have based on their stage of brain development, they instead have just recess but spend many hours, seated, listening to the teacher and working. For boys in particular, this is akin to torture. They hear,"Sit still! Stop moving around the room! Quit wiggling and focus!" and not being able to sit still and focus becomes basically a self-fulfilling prophecy.
    As far as the ass whooping goes, I do agree that some kids need to have their butts warmed. But more than that, there are many, many kids who need parents who put the kids and their needs first, not the entertainment needs of the parents first, plopping the kids down in front of whatever electronic media will make them shut up and leave them alone. Okay, rant done now.

  5. Beemommy

    The massive increase in ADHD diagnosis is due to teachers wanting to make their jobs easier.

    And drug company fraud and marketing of course.


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