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Do not know what to do about this, anymore.

Mia

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Received a card from a relative yesterday.

We used to visit them, on our way to somewhere else. Stopping by only to say hello, giving them notice by mail well ahead of time. I am their niece. And they in retrospect treated myself and my husband like pestilent strangers. My family were accommodating to them whenever they visited, and treated them well. They had little reason for this behavior.

In fact it was their neighbors (virtual strangers) who helped us out during a week of extreme weather, when we were camping and lost our tent during a tornado. They invited us to stay at their cottage, to weather out the storm. My relatives offered us nothing, not even water.

Now they are attempting to make amends by never actually alluding to their negligent treatment. Brushing it aside, pretending it never happened.

So do I assuage their guilt? Or blow them off, again? Are you for or against?

Note: Have altered specific dates and information, in case estranged relatives come across this and it seems familiar.
 
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I’m not one to hold a grudge, except in cases like these. People who have wronged me in the past, then try to make up without even acknowledging what happened previously, generally don’t get a pass from me. I’m generally suspicious of their motives.
Sometimes I’ll ask something along the lines of “why do you want to reconcile?” or “why now after all that silence?”. Depending on the scale of the previous wrongdoing I might ask them why they think we can just kiss and make up without acknowledging what they have done previously.
 
In cases where going no contact might further tear the fabric of the extended family, my recommendation is usually be "cordial, but distant." In this case, that would look like sending them holiday cards but not going 6 hours to attend their birthday party. Anything that seems passive-aggressive, like "as to the past..." it is best to ignore.

I would not continue to visit them, even if you were already passing by their way. But exchanging cards costs so little and keeps the fragile peace.
 
"As to the past...." could be seen as forgive and forget but confusing about who is to be the one forgiving and forgetting. Do they feel it was a mutual thing where both parties were in the wrong? Do they seem to interpret things differently and feel you did something wrong to them? If they felt they were completely in the wrong, seems like an "I'm sorry" would have been inserted somewhere.

Knowing how I am - it would probably drive me crazy and I'd have to drop a note, if nothing else, and ask what they meant. But if you can let things go easily, maybe just act like you never even got it.
 
They don't sound very nice. I am poor at keeping in touch even with nice people, so I definitely wouldn't be motivated for the not nice ones. I might send a card, for Xmas or a birthday if I knew when it was and someone reminded me and I could find their address...
 
I'm kind of glad people don't send cards like they used to, because then I would feel more obligated to not leave anyone out. But the majority no longer sends out cards, and in order not to deliberately leave someone out, I just decided to be one of those that don't send them out at all. :)

I get a Christmas card every year from my niece - picture of her and her family. I actually do not want a picture of her and her family - this is the niece that, after I was tricked into hosting her reception, missing the wedding so I could set up for the reception, said no when her new husband said they should have a picture made with her aunts (who did the work). So, naw. But then maybe I should send them a picture of me. :)
 
Do not know how common this is among people with autism or people without autism? There is a tendency to write people off completely, and not communicate with them again. Especially if they do something unforgivable, or so offensive that there is no going back to the way things were before.

Where you begin to comprehend their poor treatment of you in retrospect, and finally realize that they had virtually no respect for you as a human being. I'm slow in realizing these things. It's taken me years to figure them out, from the little clues and interactions I've had.

Do not know if this happens often in people's lives? In the past I would simply ignore or accept what was said or done, but feel uncomfortable later. Not being able to figure any of it out. Yet revisiting these social interactions, as I've become older and more familiar with social interaction has led to a different interpretation. I used to simply accept whatever happened and go about my day, slightly puzzled. But now, I experience a kind of slow-burning resentment at this past treatment.

Does this seem familiar to anyone?
 
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So do I assuage their guilt? Or blow them off, again? Are you for or against?

I'm against doing anything to make their life easier. This is about what's best for you and your husband.

When people want to make amends, they have to own past mistakes. Alluding to does not show acceptance. It also doesn't instil any faith that a similar thing won't occur again in future. In order to move forward fully, there needs to be acceptance which will then allow you to develop trust in them.

In the situation you describe, I'd keep my distance, be cordial but not involved any further than you are already.
 
Do not know how common this is among people with autism or people without autism? There is a tendency to write people off completely, and not communicate with them again. Especially if they do something unforgivable, or so offensive that there is no going back to the way things were before.

Where you begin to comprehend their poor treatment of you in retrospect, and finally realize that they had virtually no respect for you as a human being. I'm slow in realizing these things. It's taken me years to figure them out, from the little clues and interactions I've had.

Do not know if this happens often in people's lives? In the past I would simply ignore or accept what was said or done, but feel uncomfortable later. Not being able to figure any of it out. Yet revisiting these social interactions, as I've become older and more familiar with social interaction has led to different interpretation. I used to simply accept whatever happened and go about my day. But now, I experience a kind of slow-burning resentment at this past treatment.

Does this seem familiar to anyone?

Yes, it all sounds very familiar.. Although I've also been on the receiving end of apparently doing something "unforgivable" too, but with an NT.. so the tendency to write people off is not solely an autistic thing.

Anyways, I have a rule that goes like this: "Someone cannot be forgiven if they never apologized."
Basically, it doesn't allow for past indiscretions to just be swept under the rug and ignored.
On the less harsh side, I tend to readily forgive people if they do actually apologize (providing it's a one-off, not a pattern of behaviour).
 
Mia, you should feel very comfortable keeping "safe" distance. A six hour drive is unreasonable for any one-day event. You could prepare a photo card and send it when events come around. It seems that you don't like these people, so don't worry about them. If you need to keep in touch with them, send letters, cards, or make phone calls. Ah, the old days when people actually spoke to one another. Apparently there is no bond between you that is worth resurrecting. I like Juliettaa's approach.
 
What would help you feel better?

If you feel like you can't trust them or don't want to be betrayed or mistreated again, then avoid them. If you feel like you want peace and reconciliation, then reach out to them regardless of how sincere and thorough their apology isn't. If you feel like you need to reconcile just "keep peace in the family", then have limited, cordial contact with them on your terms.

Decide what outcome will be best for you, then act on that.
 
What would help you feel better?

Writing them an honest letter, about their treatment of us. How perplexed I was at the time, when even their neighbors (who were friends of theirs) were astonished at their behavior and told them so. All the while they pretended that everything was usual, while being rude and unkind. What I want to tell them, is to leave me alone. My not responding to their communications should have been enough.

As for peace and reconciliation, I want nothing to do with them.

They have contact with most of the relatives, who went to celebrate the anniversary. Why they insist on contacting us, is endlessly frustrating.
 
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Received a card from a relative yesterday. In it they included pics of themselves. And a wish for a happy holiday. As well as a cursory allusion to the past. Their comments were: "As to the past..." Just some periods, no reference to anything.

Back story: Recently this relative had a birthday, and invited us to drive for six hours to attend it. We declined. Before that a few more 'hooverings'; photographs sent, cards sent, pics of family members sent. They seem relentless.

We used to visit them, on our way to somewhere else. Stopping by to say hello, giving them notice by mail well ahead of time. I am their niece. And they in retrospect treated myself and my husband like pestilent strangers. My family were accommodating to them whenever they visited, and treated them well. They had little reason for this behavior.

In fact it was their neighbors (virtual strangers) who helped us out during a week of extreme weather, when we were camping in a national park and lost our tent during a tornado. They invited us to stay at their seldom used cottage, to weather out the storm. My relatives offered us nothing, not even water.

Now they are attempting to make amends but never actually alluding to their negligent treatment. Brushing it aside, pretending it never happened. In fact they only began contacting us, when they discovered that we both had degrees and jobs and owned a home. I keep wondering what their reasons for doing this are.

So do I assuage their guilt? Or blow them off, again? Are you for or against?

Having some experience dealing with a dysfunctional family, I would blow them off and never look back.
 
Writing them an honest letter, about their treatment of us. How perplexed I was at the time, when even their neighbors (who were friends of theirs) were astonished at their behavior and told them so. All the while they pretended that everything was usual, while being rude and unkind. What I want to tell them, is to leave me alone. My not responding to their communications should have been enough.

As for peace and reconciliation, I want nothing to do with them.

They have contact with most of the relatives, who went to celebrate the anniversary. Why they insist on contacting us, is endlessly frustrating.

I went through this bit.

Letter is 'evidence' of what kind of person you were all along.
In their minds it will be interpreted as justification for their actions.
This will then be conveyed to other relatives.

Wrote and sent a letter to my mother years ago, actually trying for a better relationship...
No response.
Tried to arrange a meeting she was out.
Was told the wrong day for her funeral. :)

So that went well.

It doesnt need to be frustrating at all.
Next level is - garbage any letters.
Pay it no mind.

Decide to take it neutrally,then work towards it.
 
I went through this bit.

Letter is 'evidence' of what kind of person you were all along.
In their minds it will be interpreted as justification for their actions.
This will then be conveyed to other relatives.

Wrote and sent a letter to my mother years ago, actually trying for a better relationship...
No response.
Tried to arrange a meeting she was out.
Was told the wrong day for her funeral. :)

So that went well.

It doesnt need to be frustrating at all.
Next level is - garbage any letters.
Pay it no mind.

Decide to take it neutrally,then work towards it.

I've been through similar. It's extremely painful and in my case it achieved nothing positive.

@Mia - it's very cathartic to write the letter; however sending it may not achieve the result you desire. These people have shown you who they are. It's unlikely they're going to change. As @Fridgemagnetman said, they will use your letter as justification, evidence of the kind of person you are - in their minds that is, not the reality.

Save yourself from potential upset. Write the letter, then burn it. And continue to keep your distance.
 
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