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Visit out of the blue

I have mixed feelings about people just dropping by our home.  Most of the time the folks that just stop by are friends that live nearby and drop by when they are visiting another mutual friend in the neighborhood.  Nothing is expected and nothing is awkward.

Last weekend we had surprise visitor from my former step-son.  I say "former" not because I stopped considering my step-sons from my first marriage family when we divorced, but to specify that I am not talking of Zach.  It is odd that I have been rather a permanent step parent since I was 18.  My first marriage (I only have two, don't panic) I was step-mom to two boys, full time, as their Dad had custody.  It was a very unpleasant situation.  The parents did not get along; in fact they actively fought and it was miserable.  I really do not feel like dredging all of it up but it involved courts both civil and criminal.  Looking back now I think that their mother was treated badly and even though she had made mistakes she was never allowed to move forward from those.

My former step-sons, TA and TJ were 6 and 8 when we married, and 25 and 27 when we divorced.  They stopped speaking to me.  Just flat stopped.  Didn't bother to check and see if I was ok.  Didn't call.  Didn't text.  I heard from their respective wives and others things they said about me, but never to me.  They had both been present when their dad cheated on me.  Visiting his mistress with their Dad, while we were married, and never telling me, but telling others.  They made me the subject of gossip but didn't give me the concern or courtesy to tell me what was going on.

TA, the oldest had reached out to me.  He was very honest and very clear in his apology and his wish to make amends.  TJ has not.

TJ showed up unannounced.  While the visit went nicely I am not comfortable with it as TJ is much like his father and for that I do not trust him.  I want to trust him.  I think of him as a 6 year old who couldn't say his "r".  But I remember also the pain he caused me.  The disrespect.  The meanness with which he treated me and his active role in the gaslighting and abuse that his father used against me.  I remember TJ shutting the door in my face when I was scolding him.  I remember the insults.

I do not know the path forward.  I want to forgive but I also do not want to be hurt again.  That is the risk isn't it in forgiving; if there isn't a change in behavior there isn't safety or trust.

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