How do I let this go?

cindy_pondNovember 13, 2008

I need help...I am new to this forum and have posted several things in regard to other peoples problems about my stepchildren who have in the past done terrible things. I specifically need help trying to let go of a situation that happened two years ago. After my grandson reached the age of two, I went up into the attic where I had put all of my children's childhood stuffed animals and dolls from birth. Needless to say, it was a large bag. I went up to get a little stuffed puppy for my grandson that my son loved at that age. To my horror, the bag was gone. Also up there was a doll that my dear father had given me when I was three...I took it from my parents house and have been carrying from house to house for 30 years. (I am 52) The doll was gone also. I immediately called my stepdaughter and pleaded with her to tell me what happened. She blamed her brother and denied any part in it. (The only people that would have had access to my things were my one else was here at the time except my husband and myself) Six months later, I wrote letters to both her and her bother asking them to please tell me who took it. I even told them that if they told me the truth, I would not put them in a position with their father where he might be angry with them...It was nonthreatening and I assured them that I would not harbor any animosity. Both denied it. My stepson said if we needed to blame someone that he would take the blame..but that he didn't do it... I then asked my husband to please get together with them in the same room and ask them which one of them took it. To this day he hasn't done it...saying that he knows he's been a terrible father because he just cannot confront the way,this has been the core issue of the problems we've had with the children...he refuses to parent them. He loves them, but just could never discipline them...ever..because of this they were tyrannical to me when I was here alone and would turn into charming angels when their dad would come home...I know this is long and's hard put everything I've experienced in proper sequence...the bottom line?....I am so hurt by this single act that I want nothing to do with them...they are 24 and 27 years old...When they are here for birthdays etc...I cook for them and I am civil to's becoming impossible to forget

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You can hang onto the bad feelings and continue to be civil, all the while resenting them, or you can let it go and move on, realizing that even if they admit it, your things are gone. Unless they have the bag still, you aren't going to get it back. An apology and/or explanation would be great, but it isn't going to bring back your things. Your husband should be able to confront them and get an answer, but even that isn't going to bring back your things.

When my kids were small, I made each of them a baby book. I saved just about everything & wrote in it regularly. My exBF's kids didn't have baby books. Their mother had not been 'into' parenting when they were being born or when they were young, she was a drug addict and left them with their father when they were 5, 3 and under 1. Several years later, I was living there and one day I found my son's baby book floating in the swimming pool. My exBF's kids at the time were Jr. High aged and one of them had thrown the baby book into the pool. A couple of years later when I moved out, I realized that all of my kids' baby stuff I had saved was gone. (baby books, christening candle, christening outfits, etc.) Those things meant a lot to me & I was very hurt and angry when I found them gone. Nobody would admit to it and even when the book was found in the pool, they all blamed each other. To this day, I don't know who took the stuff or what was done to it. But, I do know that nothing is going to bring back my stuff and if I harbor anger at them, the anger is going to eat ME up inside, not them. They were kids that probably did it because they were jealous. I don't blame them, I try to empathize with them and it does make it easier. It would have been nice to get an apology from them or for their father to confront them or find out what happened, but it wouldn't have made me feel any better to know what they did with it, unless they could have gotten it back for me.

If you say you would not be angry or harbor any animosity, then you have to ask yourself: "what difference will it make if I know?" because it sounds as if you DO harbor animosity when you say you want nothing to do with them.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 12:17PM
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Its stuff. Nothing can ever take away the memories that that stuff brings to mind, but its still stuff. Stuff should never be important enough to ruin a relationship.

You cant prove who took it, or even if it was one of them. I cant imagine who else it could be, but still, without an admission or evidence, you cant do much about it. You are going to beat yourself up trying to figure it out, and whichever one of them didnt do it is going to end up resenting your accusations.

Keep the memories, but let the stuff go.

My ex husbands mother, when each of my children were born, made them a handstitched quilt for their cribs. They were beautiful, and made especially for each child by their grandmother. When we divorced, I left the quilts with my ex, because, after all, his mother had made them. This was more than a decade ago that we divorced. Just this past summer, my 14 year old was visiting his dad and saw them in the trash. He asked his dad why he had thrown them out and his dad said he didnt want the memories anymore. My son was devastated and tried to get his dad to give them to him to bring to me for safekeeping, but my ex would have none of that. I cant believe my ex would get rid of the handiwork of his own (deceased) mother, but he has been angry at her ever since she left a quarter of her estate to me when she died. So, all my kids quilts are gone. But no one can ever steal the memories.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 12:46PM
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That is such a tough one, because there is no evidence. To me (and I say this as a step-child, even), it seems likely that indeed one of the step-kids took the bag. I mean, it's remotely possible that your husband spilled something on it and ruined it by mistake and then trashed it so you wouldn't be upset, but it's not likely. It's also remotely possible that you did something with it yourself and don't remember, but I doubt that too. Or the cable guy took it... but why? So that leaves only the SK's as more logical culprits, especially if you have had a bad relationship with them, which supplies possible motive. The problem is, again, you don't have proof. And thus far it doesn't seem likely that SK's will ever admit it.

So what next? All you can do is KNOW that the odds are that one of them took it, and to maintain AWARENESS of that possibility for the future, and perhaps HOPE that if the the relationship with them improves, possibly one day they will either tearfully admit having taken it or you will 'miraculously' find the bag replaced. On a more practical level, in the meantime, I would make sure that anything I really really really cared about and didn't want to be taken (by ANYONE: this includes SK's, cable guys, etc.) be stowed in a secure place that only you have access to. Obviously you can't do this with every last item in the house (nobody can), but then again, most items in the house are replaceable and non-sentimental, or JUST STUFF. Beyond this preventative measure, all I can suggest is remaining aware (but not paranoid) and if you start noticing a pattern, take the next steps, which would be to raise the issue again with husband/SKs and even to install a hidden camera if the problem becomes really severe.

Unfortunately, as much as your hunch is probably right and as much as it stinks, based on this one instance two years ago, you have pretty much done all you can do unless/until it gets worse.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 1:09PM
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how sad. can't get it back, but it hurts. kathline's, ima's, cindy's stories are painful. made me think of mine.

My brother sold my grandfather's flute that grandpa had his whole life since 1920s (we even have a pic of grandpa playing same flute in musical school in like 1930). he had the flute wiht him through the WWII, the whole time in a combat, he saved it.

When my grandfather died in 1980s, flute went to my brother because he is the one who plays piano, and they used to play together with grandpa. Like give little concerts. when times were tough, my brother sold it without telling anyone. i try not to think about it, but it hurts every time I think of that flute. very painful. My brother used to have gambling issue, I suspect he sold it because he had a debt then. Other than that i can't think why, he always had a very well paid job. he has no gambling issue anymore, but flute is gone. sad.

BTW it was extremelly expensive vintage flute, made by a famous flute maker in Germany in 1920s.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 1:15PM
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I understand how upset you are, however, I think more of that should be focused at your DH, who has allowed this behavior to continue, and failed to protect you from it.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 2:53PM
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I feel so sorry for everyone. I know what an awful hole that leaves. But Kathline is right. Stuff is stuff. You may never be able to replace it, but you still have memories.

I agree with Dogdog... that is the real issue.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 3:22PM
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I have focused much of my feelings toward the fact that my husband has not protected me from that and much more. He was the custodial parent so I think that's one of the reasons why his kids chose to act out so badly. They didn't want anything to do with their mother at the time and he let them get away with murder...I know in their primitive ways, they were trying to get his attention. I mean my stepdaughter became a stripper, and was an escort, my stepson got into drugs badly. These children were given everything that anyone could want right down to prestigious private schools.(Dad is an upper middle class professional) When I brought all the bad behavior to my husbands attention he just basically ignored it. Now he feels very guilty for not having had the strength to stand up to them or protect me from the abuse I suffered at their hands. One time I cleaned out the attic crawl space that is connected to my stepsons room and he came to me and told me to stay the hell out of his room...I asked him politely not to speak to me that way and called my an f****ing psycho B**ch and slammed his fist into the wall. That was the only time my husband stood up for me. When he got home he went up to his sons room knocked on the door and when my stepson told him to go away, he knocked the door down and calmly told my stepson to never ever talk to his wife that way again. My stepson was 19 when that happened...So you see its been fun. I love my husband. He is the kindest most gentle human I know. I understand his weaknesses as well as the need for my stepchildren to have had a strong parental figure. It's hard for me to forget the hurt though.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 3:35PM
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While the likeliest scenario probably does involve your stepchildren, the fact is there is no proof, and there are other possibilities. It's even possible your husband or one of your own kids saw a bag of old 'junk' and threw it out. Honestly, I'd try to imagine that this is what happened, because blaming your stepchildren is hurting everyone - especially you.

In our legal system, someone is innocent until proven guilty. When it comes to this bag of sentimental momentos, all you really have is suspicions and conjecture. Nothing a court of law wouldn't throw out -- so consider them innocent.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 3:37PM
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I understand what you're saying sweeby, but everyone knew what the bag was when I put it there and when I brought it into the house my stepdaughter was sitting in the kitchen and I said to her "I'm going to put this in the attic so it will be safe". After everything that they have put me through, believe me, they are not innocent. I know this is hurting me which is why I'm here in the first place to have a forum where I can share and be validated. I can't just imagine certain things away, as much as I would like to. Thank you for your input, I really do appreciate it. I think I just need a safe place to vent and work through some of this stuff.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 3:55PM
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Ah man I am sorry for all of your stories. How sad!!

In high school and in my early college years I had a horse that I used for rodeo for a few years. I loved that horse something fierce. She was a living doll. She was the most patient kind creature. I used to board her at my work, when I was in high school, and every day I would take my sack lunch out and she would come over and keep me company while I ate. She would also try to steal my chips. Anyways,as I got older and more experienced in rodeo (though still not very good) it became obvious to others around me that I needed a horse that could perform better. My parents told me they thought I should sell her and get a horse that was more of an athlete. I said I will not get rid of her she is to stay in this family until her life is over. I refused to get a different horse all for rodeo which I was never all that crazy about anyway. I quit rodeo and kept my horse. A few years later my brother and his wife found out they were expecting. They had some land and horses and I had been spending more time with friends, work, and school than with my horse. I felt like she would be a great horse for my nephew. I GAVE her to him for his soon to be born son and he was happy to have her. I gave him all of my tack and made him promise to keep her until she died or call me. He SOLD her a few months later. I was soooo mad and hurt. He promised she went to a good home, but has lost contact with that person. Not too long ago I emailed and asked if he knew how to get a hold of the person. I wanted to check on her. He emailed me back and asked me if I planned on buying her back and keeping her in my backyard! He knows how pissed I was that he first of all went back on his promise not even giving me the option of coming to get her. Second of all made a profit off of a gift. Third sold a creature that meant a lot to me and my family. He promised me when I gave her to him for his son that she wold stay in our family. She was the best horse. She would have climbed in your pocket if she could. I am still mad at him to this day. As I sit here and type this I am crying and mad at him. I bought her thinking she would stay with us forever and she did not. I am a believer that when you bring an animal into your life it should be for their entire life.

Sorry I have no advice except listen to the other posters. Hell how could I give you advice when clearly I am still having a hard time letting my own issues go. Good luck I am sorry that you were so disrespected. Sorry for my long story I am long winded today!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 4:18PM
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ohhh that's a sad story!!! my parents put my horse down without giving me the chance to say goodbye because they thought I'd get too emotional..what!!?? I don't know what they were thinking, but I cried harder and longer because I didn't get to hug her one last time. Plus I hated them. I'm still kind of mad, even though I understand their intentions now.

Your brother did it on purpose. It seems someone in OP's life did it on purpose. (who cleans out the attic and only throws away one bag? and who hears of kids or hubbies doing it without being forced!!??)

Nope. Smells bad. Nothing you can do but bury it.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 5:50PM
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mom1sm2, I am so sorry about your horse, it is unforgivable. seriously. it was not an object, but a horse, and he did it wihtout asking.

silverswood, in OP's story they did it to hurt her. I am convinced.

But in mom1sm2 story i think he did it for the money, just to profit of somehting. like my brother selling a flute (of course I do not compare it to a horse). dang, every time I think of that flute and my grandpa playing it, I am ready to cry.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 6:26PM
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Hey folks -- The question was 'How to let this go' --

And my honest suggestion was to try to visualize a scenario where this was not done maliciously.
I'm not saying that it wasn't.
But to insist that it absolutely WAS malicious is not the way to let it go.
Some things DON'T get better with venting; they get worse instead, and I think this is one of those things.
Insisting that it was malicious reinforces the anger and hurt and isn't conducive to forgiveness.

Have you ever done anything you regret?
Then excused/forgave yourself because you understood why you did it?
That you were hurt or angry at the time, or that you were merely very young and stupid?
Or maybe some part of your psyche was so damaged by events in your life that you just couldn't help it.
That's how you forgive someone else.
You re-write the scenario so that they weren't malicious.
Maybe they were acting out of misplaced hurt, or were merely young and really stupid.
Or maybe their actions just reflect their damaged psyches and broken selves.

You find something in their actions that you can identify with -- find a way to explain their actions to yourself that is forgivable -- and you forgive that scenario.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 7:35PM
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you're right in everything you said except for the venting part...I need a safe place to vent my feelings. I have no one in my life that can relate my situation to in any way. It's like the stages of grief. I can't just skip the anger part. This is not the first time my things have been stolen. It's happened many many times before. My stepdaughter actually admitted it once but this was last the know? This is the first time I have ever been able to just let it out. There isn't one thing you said that isn't what I'm striving toward...I'm just not there yet. I am grateful to all of you who have shared your painful stories and I hope we can all get to the place that Sweeby speaks of...forgiveness and peace within ourselves.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 8:45PM
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How frustrating, cindy pond. You're right, everyone needs to be able to vent.

One of my sisters stole quite a few things of mine when I was a teenager. I kept saying it was her, but no one believed me, her mother (my SM) and I didn't get along. It was all pretty much sentimental stuff either from my mother or family members on my mothers side.

Anyway, I went into the military and years later I came to their house to visit on leave. Out of nowhere this sister decided to return ONE of the many things she stole, it was the most important thing to me but it wasn't nearly all of it. And my SM and Dad said NOTHING to her, not go get the rest, not why did you take it in the first place...NOTHING.

Also, while I was away there was some old pictures and stuff of my moms in the attic, my dad was keeping them for me. My sister decided to go through that as well. I don't think she took anything, but I can't be sure since I didn't really inventory it and didn't really look at it often since it is painful.

So, I'm not really sure what my point is other than people do crazy crap. For no reason other than what is inside their crazy heads at the time. It really stinks and vent away.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 9:21PM
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Finedreams, that's what I said. My parents didn't do it to hurt me. Mom1's brother did it for financial gain. OP's (whomever) did it to hurt her. (because no one cleans out the attic for fun)

Like Nivea said, vent away. It hurts, and there's nothing that can be done about it.

"So, I'm not really sure what my point is other than people do crazy crap. For no reason other than what is inside their crazy heads at the time. It really stinks and vent away."

How do you let it go? You can't. It's there forever. Memories do not go away, thankfully. Take the memory of the things that were stolen, and the memory of them being stolen, and shelve them away inside, as we all do. Under "lessons...memories...good times..." whatever your filing system is. Know you are not alone. All of these women have similar stories. My horse story was just in sympathy about an animal, but had nothing to do with your situation. I'm sorry. I was just relating to the fact that memories of things/animals lost is painful.

I think we all feel your pain!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 9:51PM
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