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The Coolest Granny's Quick Tips: Do I have to tell people I have forgiven them?

By Makheni Zonneveld


This is the third of a monthly series on making this your best year ever. If you missed the first two please check them out. This month, I intended to write something on physical health but a reader asked a question as a reaction to the February episode titled ‘The Power Of A Mental Detox’, otherwise known as forgiveness. 


‘Coolest Granny, thank you for sharing Lisa’s story. I had heard sermons on forgiveness before but thought mine was a special case so I would just skip this forgiveness thing. I will not bore you with the details. The long and short of it is that I am in the middle of a divorce. My mother-in-law did everything in her power to ruin my marriage so she could have full control over her son’s money because he has a successful business. After reading about the power of an emotional detox, I chose to forgive her. I am relieved but would like to know if I am supposed to tell her I have forgiven her.’ Neo (Not her real name).


Thank you for your question Neo. I’m glad you did yourself this huge favour. You do not have to do anything. You have forgiven and you are healed. If telling her will help you in any way, by all means, tell her, as long as you realise that telling her is not a condition for your healing. It is also in your own interest to forgive your ex-husband and move on. One more favour you can do yourself is not to listen to well-meaning people who help you to hate the two of them and keep you up to date on his life. People think they are loyal and supportive when they tell you that his new girlfriend or wife is lousy or ugly or whatever negative label they can pin on her. That does not help you to move on.


The Coolest Granny's Quick Tips: Do I have to tell people I have forgiven them?

You do not say whether you have children with this man or not. If you don’t, you are very fortunate because you can forget that you ever made the mistake of getting married to a person who does not deserve you. If you have children with him, he remains their father and his mother remains their grandmother. Although it is easier to cut them out of the children’s lives, that is not the right thing to do. It is important for the children, to have a healthy relationship with their father, no matter what you feel about him. For their sake, you should remain civil to him and refrain from badmouthing him. Badmouthing him will not only harm the children but will also harm you because you will be dwelling on negativity


If the children are still minors or studying, they are entitled to financial support from their father. You should ensure a good settlement for the children. The decree should state clearly what amount he should pay in maintenance and how he should pay for their education. It sounds like his mother will get in the way because of her greed. If he does not comply with the maintenance order, please do not do what some women do. They say that their pride does not allow them to drag a defaulting father from court to court. Maintenance is the children’s right and your pride should not get in the way. You did not say in which country you are. I hope that where you are there’s a maintenance office where you can get help if he defaults. I hope that where you are the authorities do take the welfare of children seriously. Whatever happens between the two of you, the children’s welfare comes first. If you were financially dependent on him or you would be financially worse off after the divorce, he should pay alimony to make sure that the children continue to have the standard of living they are accustomed to.


Apart from your question, another question I get asked is whether you should wait for a person to apologise before forgiving. The answer is definitely, no. Waiting for an apology is putting yourself at the person’s mercy and giving him power over your life. Forgiveness has nothing to do with the other party but everything to do with you. I know that it is painful to have your pain unacknowledged. However, insisting on an apology hurts you and does not affect the other person at all. Even if the person adamantly says that he or she is innocent, you still deserve the healing and you do not have to force him to admit that he is wrong. I’m using the gender-neutral ‘he’ because the perpetrator does not have to be male just like in your case you were hurt by your mother-in-law. 


Neo, I hope that this answers your question. I’m glad you chose to forgive and heal and that you dared to ask. 


You too can follow in Neo’s footsteps:

  1. She applied what she learned. She took action after getting new insights. You get new insights and get reminded of what you already know, not only from this series but from the blogs by other contributors, the Africana Woman podcasts as well as all other good sources. You will only grow if you, like Neo, apply what you learn.

  2. She did not keep her question to herself. I hope that the response to her question will benefit others too and that you will ask your questions.  



To accompany you on your wellness journey, I answer your wellness questions and offer the following: 

- These monthly quick tips

- Wellness talks

- One-on-one wellness coaching( virtually)

- FHC free resources such as the emotional detox recording and the QuickStart Programme which is a free excerpt of the book Healthier and Slimmer 


Makheni Zonneveld AKA The Coolest Granny in Town, is an energetic 1953 vintage model. She is a speaker, wellness coach, storyteller and author. 



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The Coolest Granny's Quick Tips: Do I have to tell people I have forgiven them?

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Edited by Bwalya M Mphuka



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The Coolest Granny's Quick Tips: Do I have to tell people I have forgiven them?



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