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what do you say to someone who can't forgive herself...

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This person made some parenting decisions that did not work out. The person has expressed failings over handling a child's health issues 40-50 years ago. I've responded to this saying that less was known at the time about things parents could do to help with the health condition. The person has also expressed guilt over decisions that probably resulted in the child having a rocky young adulthood (really rocky--it took the child until early/mid 30s to begin emerging with a positive future). Older siblings definitely had an easier start (not easy, but problems weren't in the way to cause them to fall into traps).


OK so this child is now edging past middle age, has a good job, a good marriage, a healthy young son who came late in life. I think she is happy. She is very sweet. She hates when her mother expresses these feelings of regret. If there are things to forgive the child has expressed love and forgiveness.


I don't think I would have handled some of the decisions the same way, but I wasn't there responding to information and influences of the time.


I think she tells me her feelings about these things because I'm an outside observer somewhat. This doesn't come up often, maybe every couple of years, but when it comes up it's clear that pain over failings for this one child is always there for her.


I would like to tell this person she needs to stop beating herself up over these things. The events are long over and the person has grown and loves her. All of her children love her. Her grandchildren love her. Everyone likes to visit with her, including ILs.

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