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Old 02-14-2011, 06:57 PM   #1
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Karma and feeling guilty?

Many of us, including myself, have quoted karma as a way to make us feel better when someone does us wrong. I have often felt this way about my BIL and SIL (husband's brother and his wife).

My BIL is a nice guy and his wife and I get along for the most part, but I find them very disappointing when it comes to family responsibilities. For example, they live 5 hours from us and when we go to visit the in-laws, the BIL and SIL barely make time for us. They would rather attend parties and go out with their friends. It hurts, but we just accept it.

However, what is the most hurtful is that we have a 4 year old son and my BIL is my son's Godfather. My son has had stitches, a cast from a fractured leg, pneumonia, and even surgery, and neither my BIL nor SIL have ever called to see how he was doing. In fact, last year, they completely missed my son's 3rd birthday. No call, card, nothing. When we went out to visit my MIL and FIL a few months later at Christmas, it was then that my BIL and SIL gave my son "extra gifts" because they didn't do anything for his birthday. It really bothered my husband and I, but we didn't say anything. We are kind of used to being let down, and my husband and I always said, "some day they are going to learn the importance of family the hard way...."

I had surgery myself last month and not a call from my BIL or SIL to see how it went. My SIL sent me a text 11 days after my surgery to see how I was feeling. Gee...thanks. I was so irritated, I just told her I was still recovering and left it at that.

To go back a bit...they had a baby in Sept. '10. From the moment they had my nephew, I vowed that I would be an example and treat that baby how I want my son to be treated. I call to ask about the baby and they NEVER ask how we are or how my son is doing. NEVER! They have always been wrapped up in their world.

The past couple weeks have been a whirlwind. There is something developmentally wrong with the baby. He had an MRI and EEG this week and has to see a neurologist. He is 5 months old but clearly doesn't seem on par with other 5 month olds. They think there could be some kind of brain damage. It isn't looking good.

So I sit here and have such awful and mixed feelings. I want to have compassion, and I really do for that little baby. But then my twisted mind thinks, "karma" for my BIL and SIL and I feel guilty. You don't ever wish something like this on someone you care about.

My husband and I are in daily contact via email or texting with my BIL and SIL asking how the baby is. We also get updates from my MIL. When all of the baby news started a couple weeks ago, my SIL sent an email to my husband and I - didn't call us with the bad news, which really hurt us, but we understood it might have been hard to talk.

So, I am trying to have more compassion for my BIL and SIL. Am I a bad person to think KARMA when it comes to this? I feel I need to snap out of these feelings.

How do I let go of my anger and be there for that baby when they have never been there for us?
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Last edited by Belly Kelly; 02-14-2011 at 06:59 PM.

 
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Old 02-14-2011, 08:01 PM   #2
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Re: Karma and feeling guilty?

Give yourself a break. You are human. I don't for one second believe that you are glad your nephew (niece?) is possibly developmentally abnormal. But you do have these small thoughts of perhaps them being taught an important life lesson.

Of course it's not up to us to administer life justice. But it's also not productive to beat yourself up over some normal human feelings. All you need to do is acknowledge that you have these thoughts and that they may not be nice,but you aren't DOING anything about them. It's not like you are calling them saying "karma sucks, doesn't it??!!"

Be as you are being, supportive and caring toward the baby and the parents. You can do no more than that. And forgive yourself for being human.

 
Old 02-14-2011, 08:23 PM   #3
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Re: Karma and feeling guilty?

I would try and put the past behind you and forgive your SIL/BIL for their past social mishaps. Hopefully this situation with their baby will teach them more about the importance of family.

Since it your nature to be open and warm to your family, I would offer whatever you feel comfortable to them, but do not let their lack of response hurt you, in fact you might expect it. Depending on their reaction to your next outreach to them, you can tailor your next move.

Please do not burden yourself with guilt, you have done nothing wrong. They are the ones who have dropped the ball, putting the wall up between your families. Any feelings you have are natural, with the past disappointments they have created. Of course, there is no way in the world that you have anything to do with their sons medical issues, and you would never wish such a thing on anyone. Make peace with yourself over that.

Just take one thing at a time with them. If they change their selfish ways, then you can move on with them. If not, then all you can do is back up and don't allow them to hurt you anymore.

Since this is lifelong relationship, you have the gift of time to work this out. No need for any big decisions, only time will tell. We all wish the baby the best of health, and you the gift of self forgiveness.

 
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Old 02-14-2011, 08:40 PM   #4
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Re: Karma and feeling guilty?

I have a different take on this than others, but I think you're being a little hard on them. Then again, people get mad at me for doing similar things - not calling people back within a day or two, not being there for every family event. It's not that my extended family isn't important to me, but I just don't talk to them that frequently, mostly over holidays. That's just how I am, I talk to people I'm really close with quite often, and talk to other people every once in awhile. It's probably something I need to work on because I think it comes off that I'm selfish, maybe I am, but I mean no harm. Other people that need more frequent contact might be hurt, but I mean absolutely nothing of it and still love everyone I'm friends with or am related to.

I think you have different expectations of family and you assume that you aren't as important to them when it may not be true at all. Them emailing about their baby instead of calling, that's something that just wouldn't hurt me and I wouldn't think anything of it. I guess that's just me. I know it's just your private thoughts and you would never act on them, but I think it's a stretch that their baby's brain damage is karma for them not contacting you often enough. I know you weren't being so literal with that, but that's making something about you that has nothing to do with you.

If it continues to bother you, do you think you might be able to discuss this with them? They probably have no idea that you get upset about this. I know I didn't before my one friend told me how much it bothered her that I didn't contact her more frequently. Again, I think it's just different styles, but they might be more self-absorbed than they should be.

P.S I do agree that more effort is warranted when it comes to your child having surgery or being ill.

Last edited by digmusic; 02-14-2011 at 08:48 PM. Reason: added something

 
Old 02-14-2011, 08:43 PM   #5
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Re: Karma and feeling guilty?

Those little thoughts that flash through your brain are normal.

I actually took a minute and went and read what the true definition of Karma is. I've often heard that the western culture uses it incorrectly to eastern beliefs. It appears it is basically the idea that a person's actions can trigger a chain of events of reactions. Think of it as cause and effect. But I think in other cultures it's considered at a higher level than this sort of thing. I don't think being ambivalent about one person's child means your child will suffer. As a matter of fact, that seems almost cruel. Shouldn't it be you who suffers, not an innocent 2nd party?

So it's interesting because with that understanding of "karma", I guess I do believe it happens. (Never thought I believed in karma before.) But like anything involved with faith of any kind, I don't think it's anywhere near as simple as we humans would like it to be. I know a lot of people who, if karma were that simple, would be disfigured shells of human beings living in empty refrigerator boxes by now. But they are not. They continue to flourish.

I don't know what the answer is as far as karma is concerned but I don't think you need to worry. I don't think you are being a terrible person for having the occasional "got ya!" thought and I don't think you will be bringing anything horrible onto your child/children for those momentary weaknesses.
More importantly, I hope this wakes these nimrods up to the world around them and brings them out of their me,me,me world. I actually suspect it might bo the opposite, but all you can do is continue to love the little fellow in the middle who didn't ask for any of this.

Good luck.

 
Old 02-15-2011, 05:19 AM   #6
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Re: Karma and feeling guilty?

Thanks everyone for your responses. I feel a lot better. I will admit that my disappointments have a lot to do with my expectations of family, Digmusic. You are right about that. However, I can almost bet that my SIL did not email HER side of the family with the news of the baby. She has two brothers and I am pretty sure they got the news first hand. My SIL also preaches that "family is important" but the truth is, her side of the family is important.

In any case, I hope this does bring our family closer together. Like I said, I can only be an example of how I want my son to be treated. I hope they eventually get that message. My BIL is my son's godfather so you would hope he would be more involved and care.

Thank you for your well wishes with the baby, writeleft and my open heart to forgiveness.
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Last edited by Belly Kelly; 02-15-2011 at 06:25 AM.

 
Old 02-15-2011, 08:23 AM   #7
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Re: Karma and feeling guilty?

your idea of setting an example of how the children should be treated is a nice idea.....however i think you're setting yourself up for disappointment. you simply need to lower your expectations of her. she's not going to behave the way you (or I) think is right.......she's a self-centered person who thinks the world revolves around her.....and it will get even worse now that she's got a sick kid....

 
Old 02-15-2011, 10:39 AM   #8
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Re: Karma and feeling guilty?

Rose, I have a feeling that you are right about being set up for disappointment. However, I am also not going to stoop to her level for the sake of my new nephew. I believe in trying to take the high road.

I dont call my SIL to ask about her anymore. I keep all conversations focused on my nephew.

You are right, she probably wont change, but some people do when hit with Karma. I know it had its effect on me many years ago and it forever changed me as a person. She could change, let's hope!
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Old 02-15-2011, 11:45 AM   #9
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Re: Karma and feeling guilty?

I don't believe in karma in the sense you're getting at. There's no such thing as "wishing" bad things upon someone. If you do make such a wish and it comes true, it's merely a coincidence.

Similarly, people who do bad things are not "destined" for bad karma and bad things to happen to them. There's no fate, no destiny.

Life is a series of choices. All you can do is strive to make good, sound choices for yourself, your family and those around you. Be a good person. Whatever else happens is out of your control.

I don't know why your nephew is inflicted with this suspected developmental delay, but it's nothing you did, it's not "bad karma" for something they did.

I also have a really self-absorbed BIL and while I don't care all that much, it hurts my wife a lot when he never returns calls, misses our son's birthday, misses her birthday, decided at the last minute to not make it to Christmas with us (instead opting to spend it with a new girlfriend's family). It is what it is, though. You can't change people and I'm not going to lose a lot sleep over it. I know who I can count on when it really comes down to it.

 
Old 02-15-2011, 12:03 PM   #10
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Re: Karma and feeling guilty?

Hold on, does my original post infer that I wished for this to happen? Let me be clear, I am not wishing bad karma on them!!!
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Last edited by Belly Kelly; 02-15-2011 at 12:05 PM.

 
Old 02-15-2011, 04:30 PM   #11
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Re: Karma and feeling guilty?

There is not much left to say, I guess. However bad you feel about your BIL and SIL, I don't think you would have bothered to express your feelings if you hadn't found there is something seriously wrong with their baby. So, the baby's condition has been a trigger in some level. I even dare to think that you mostly came here to share your pain with us (small children should never go through this, right?) and ask what you can do for him. This is all right. I am not criticizing you. If you ask me, all you can do is to pray and to hope that they will find the right way to deal with their baby to make him as healthy as possible. Whatever they do, they will have to show a great deal of love for him.

Hugs from me. I think you are a very sensitive empathic person.

 
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Old 02-15-2011, 07:41 PM   #12
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Re: Karma and feeling guilty?

I have a similar but not so similar story if that makes sense. my brother and his girlfriend only talk about themselves, never ask how i am, only call me to talk about there problems, show no interest. i show great interest in my nephew and love him to bits and always care but when i lost my babies all i got was abusive texts off them because i didnt answer my phone as i was in a great deal of pain. so i can understand how you feel TOTALLY. although its harder for you because they wasnt there for you when your child was ill or needed support. i'm just saying i kind of understand the frustration as i am in a similar situation. some people in this world are VERY selfish. it sounds like these 2 people are just wrapped up in there own lives and self centred. if it was me i'd just ask how the baby is , not even bother asking how they are. why bother? not like there going to say ''hey im ok how are you'' is it. maybe they will realise but then again if it was me i'd of definately said something.

 
Old 02-16-2011, 07:21 AM   #13
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Re: Karma and feeling guilty?

I don't believe in Karma. I do believe in consequences. The fact that they don't talk to you enough or buy your son enough presents has nothing to do with the fact that their child is developmentally delayed. They are entriely unrelated. If she were smoking, drinking, or using drugs during her pregnancy then you may be able to say that the developmental delays were a consequence of that.

 
Old 02-16-2011, 12:50 PM   #14
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Re: Karma and feeling guilty?

The truth is, I can't stop thinking about the baby. I was even up at 4 a.m. and I couldn't sleep because it is something that really worries me.

trystme - I could care less how many presents they buy my son. A phone call on my son's birthday or after his surgery is what is important. Is that too much to ask of family? I don't know if you have kids or nieces/nephews, but my SIL often preaches that family is so important but doesn't put her words into action. So, I firmly believe that the hardships she is experiencing right now will help her realize who really is important in her life and who is there for her when she needs them.

And the opposite could be said, there are people who may drink or smoke during pregnancy and have perfectly healthy babies. So not all things have causes and effects. Karma can be good or bad. Whether we believe it or not, the issue is that my beliefs have me feeling a bit mixed up right now.
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Last edited by Belly Kelly; 02-17-2011 at 05:32 AM.

 
Old 02-16-2011, 01:19 PM   #15
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Re: Karma and feeling guilty?

I dont think we can always help how we feel, it just happens and some feelings cant be shifted yet. I understand where your coming from Belly Kelly. All i can suggest is just calling for an update on the baby, just try and put these feelings aside as much as possible and keep your main focus on the baby. I hope baby is ok. poor little sweetie x

 
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