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OT - Leopards DO change their spots

Aniki's picture

For years, I have secretly called my brothers' wives my "bitchsters-in-law". They have always been condescending and snotty. I gave up on having any kind of decent relationship with them years ago and settled for me being polite, but impersonal (the "how I treat crappy coworkers" treatment). 

My oldest brother and his wife moved to Florida about a year ago. Apparently, his wife has been doing a lot of soul searching. The times they've come back here, I've overheard her admit to making mistakes with their children. Both of them were especially hard on their son and they've worked to make amends with him (and his wife). The last trip, she confessed her belief that her daughter's failure at finding a job after college was her fault. 

This trip, they came home to celebrate my Dad's birthday. She announced in front of the entire family... "Aniki, I owe you a HUGE apology. I've treated you unfairly for many years. Hell, I've treated you like SHIT. I don't know if I can ever make things right or if you will forgive me, but I'm extremely sorry for my sh!tty behavior and how badly I've treated you all these years. I hope we can at least try to be friends." 

Several times, she took time to speak to me about a variety of things and we actually had a good time. Amazeballs! If she keeps up with the soul-searching and changing, I'm going to end up liking her. Whoda thunk?

ETA: All these years, she has been nice and polite to my Dad, but never called him Dad or Mr. or FirstName. Last night, she called him 'Dad'. Multiple times throughout the evening. *shok*


justmakingthebest's picture

Good for her for recognizing that she was wrong! Hopefully you can mend those old scars and have a good relationship. 

Aniki's picture

It was quite the surprise! I've never been one to hold a grudge and believe in moving forward. It would be nice to have a good relationship and not having to gray rock during family gatherings. However, a part of me will always be on guard... Smile

ESMOD's picture

That is a lovely surprise.  Of course the ole half full side of me would view this change of heart with some amount of caution.. Though, I would perhaps warm

Aniki's picture

ESMOD, I hear you. I will go forward cautiously, but a part of me will continue to be on guard, waiting for that shoe to drop.

CLove's picture

Did she ever reveal the reasoning behind her behavior towards you??????

And the reasoning behind her epiphany?

That would be interesting to know...Curious CLoves...are curious.

LOL. Hopefully this will last!

Aniki's picture

My oldest brother used to treat me like caca. He's 9 years older and forever saw me as the spoiled baby sister. She treated me the way he treated me - crappy. He and I reconciled 10 years ago - before DH and I got together. 

I believe it's all of the time she's been spending alone in quaratine. Well, alone with my brother. When they moved down there, they stayed in a fifth wheel and she spent many weeks house hunting. Then she had to arrange moving things from storage here to FL. The house was barely put to rights when the quarantine hit. They have no friends down there and he's working, so - a LOT of time with herself and her thoughts.

I hope you're right, but am naturally hesitant to get my hopes up too much. I ETA above... last night was the first time she called my Dad "Dad". In 40+ years, she has never called him Dad or Mr. or FirstName. Spoken to him, but never addressed him. That, her admissions about her children, and the fact that they have been spending time doing FUN things with their son and his wife... things are definitely pointing in a positive direction.

advice.only2's picture

Wow I hope she really is turning over a new leaf. It's hard to admit when you have done things wrong and then actually apologize face to face. I really hope she is committed to this "new persona".

Aniki's picture

I hope so, too, AO. Although she treated me badly, it really bothered me how she treated her son. He and I are very close and have always done things together. It's our secret that, when it's just the two of us, he tells people I'm his Mom and calls me Mom. Even my brother (who has NO idea nephew calls me Mom in private) has said Nephew is so much like me, he could be my son... 

Anyhoo, had this been a sudden 180, I would be extremely doubtful. But this had been gradual and I'm beginning to believe it's a sincere effort on her part.

queensway's picture

I agree with advice only 2. I also believe that people live many chapters in their life. Some good and some not so good. All you can do is embrace her with kindness. If it is real you will have a better life. If it turns out this is not real you did your part. I would feel good about this.

Aniki's picture

Queen, even in the presence of those I dislike, I do as my parents taught me and am polite. I shall proceed with cautious optimism! *give_rose*

Exjuliemccoy's picture

That's terrific, Aniki! I wonder if she's on meds to level her out? And if so, can we buy it in bulk and sprinkle it on skid food?

Aniki's picture

Exjulie, I have no idea and was not about to ask! It was a nice surprise and I hope it continues.

Woman, not just skids. There are some parents (bio AND step) who could use some sanity sprinkles! *drinks*

Iamwoman's picture

Aniki, you have seen so many positive changes in people around you just this past year alone. You are finally getting the sunshine you deserve!

I'm glad she is intelligent enough to apologize and that you also are open-minded enough to give her a chance.

It is difficult to apologize to people when we finally figure that perhaps we weren't giving that person a fair shake. I've done my fair share of apologizing, and sometimes people will take that apology as a sign of weakness and just start lecturing or being aggressive. Those types make me wish I never bothered with an apology at all.

Your acceptance and kindness towards someone who is hopefully being genuine speaks volumes about your fantastic character (but we already knew that)! I think you should be proud of yourself for being kind to her.

Aniki's picture

IAW, is the moon in the seventh house? Has Jupiter aligned with Mars? Am I in the Twilight Zone? The last couple of years has been... weird, to say the least. I have not done anything differently and have no idea what is causing the positive changes, but I am very glad for those people who are moving past the negativities they've been living. Thank you, doll. I hope I deserve that sunshine!

You're right; it is not always easy to apologize - and I belive that those who find it easy are not often sincere. When those poopieheads go into lecture mode, I let them speak, say something innocuous like "Okay" and walk away. And typically STAY away. Those who become aggressive are no longer part of my life.

Thank you so much for your kind words! These are lessons I learned from my parents. In my younger days, I was not always careful with words and - shamefully - there were times I lashed out with the intention to hurt. Getting older has its benefits as I have tried my best to think before I speak and use words that are...gentler and less imflammatory. I continue to be a work in progress and have come to believe that's an eternal goal in life. 

Truthfully, I feel absolutely no pride in being kind to her. Tit for tat behavior makes me uncomfortable. The times I responded in kind made me feel lower than whale shite in the Marianas Trench. It sounds so cliched, but if I take the high road, I can look back with no regrets. xoxo