Defending My Good Name

My daughter-in-law has told lies about me, disrespected my husband, and won’t let us speak to our grandchildren. My son totally believes what she says.

I cannot stop crying, and my heart is simply crushed. I realize that God knows the truth and knows what she is doing. I have been praying hard, but the hurt is very great. What can I do to open my son’s eyes without seeming as though I’m simply trying to cause problems?

Everyone has a right to her or his good name. That is clear, but there are usually several options about trying to do that. There are no guarantees that any option will succeed to the extent that you desire.

Select a falsehood she has told about you, one that your son may have the easiest time recognizing as not true. Bring this to his attention privately, perhaps in a call to his cell phone. If he ends up recognizing that the statement you selected is indeed false, then you are further ahead than before you made that phone call.

Although you might then mention that this is not the only false statement she has made about you, you should probably avoid the temptation to list all the similar statements of which you are aware.

Then ask if he knows what is driving such conduct on the part of your daughter-in-law. If you are seeking reconciliation, remember that you may need to admit one or two things you may have done that contribute to the current bad blood between you and your daughter-in-law.

As the older person, you may have to be content with knowing that the damage caused by her statements can never be completely undone. But you also cannot afford to put your life and happiness on hold until you receive an apology from her.

A separate phone call from your husband to your son might also help. May the Lord be your peace and your strength.

Saint Anthony Messenger magazine, America's number one Catholic publication


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