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I need some help getting over this.

Started by Scoop, August 08, 2011, 08:18:33 am

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Happy birthday Scoop!

I can't add much to the awesome advice you've already been given, but I can sympathize.  The first year DH and I were together, he knew I'd wanted a Coach bag (yes, I'm somewhat high maintenance.  What can I say?).  Without me knowing, (then) BF had everyone in my family "contributing to the cause" to get me a Coach bag for my birthday.  Yes, he's just wonderful. 

He also asked MIL and FIL if they would like to contribute, knowing they hadn't known me that long.  MIL/FIL contributed...and sadly that's where some of her beef with me started I guess.  When DH (then BF) gave me the bag, he stuffed it with birthday cards from everyone who contributed, including MIL/FIL.  I sent personally-written thank-you notes to each one.  But she began to use the "extravagant item" to make her case to the family that I was a "spoiled and entitled gold-digger, not worthy of her son." 

When I first heard about it, I just laughed it off, because I knew she didn't know me well or my family, or where I came from or my upbringing.  I can certainly say I wasn't "priviledged."  My mom waited tables in a BBQ joint, my dad in a factory, and I got my first job scooping ice cream when I was 14 and never stopped working since.  I worked my own way through college so my parents wouldn't have to get loans.  Now, I have my own business.  Yes, I do have a nice house.  I don't drive a Mercedes, but I do drive a nice, reasonable car.  I do have a few treasured pairs of designer shoes and handbags.  I worked my tail off for it!  But "spoiled?"  No.  Not unless I've spoiled myself.  DH doesn't buy those things for me, I do.

I spent the next year trying to prove myself to my then FMIL.  I invited her down to stay with us, when she visited, I took her to lunch, took her out to dinner, even once invited her out on "girls night."  Nothing changed her opinion of me, and she got nastier and nastier towards me.  Rumours, direct and indirect ugly comments, and she even invited DH to dinner without me one night, where she literally begged him to get rid of me.  She eventually gave him an ultimatum, her or me.   I knew all of this was happening, DH was honest with me and we began to talk about how we could handle it in the best way, as a team.  We went to counseling.  We're still married, and not in good contact with his parents.  DH's birthday is only 2 weeks before mine, and he got a new grill, 4-5 new polo shirts, 4-5 new pairs of dress pants, and lots of other stuff, including a $100 gift card to his favorite hunting store.  My, isn't that "extravagant."  her son deserved nice gifts (she spent more money on JUST the grill than what everyone had contributed for my bag, not just her part), but somehow I didn't deserve that?

There's much MUCH more to the story that got us to the "cut off" point, but 2 weeks after DH's birthday, she sent me a card and a check for $10 for my birthday.  I didn't cash it.  It was pretty clear to me (and our counselor) what she was doing, and she was being pretty clear with her intentions.  I instead sent the check back to her, with a hand-written thank-you card that read "thank you, but I can't accept this.  Your gracious love and acceptance is enough for me.  My cup overflows.  -xoxo, Belle."

LOL - Probably not the ideal way to go about it, but I got my point accross too.  :)   


Happy belated birthday, Scoop. I truly hope you don't let this woman's PA treatment of you define who you are or what you deserve. Give to whom you choose w/o keeping score or applying strings, and accept from those who give to you with love & gratitude. My new motto.

The gift situation can be so painful. Even though I know my DF & SM will not acknowledge me or my family it still hurts. SM always has to let us know that she spends a fortune on her own adult children and their spouses and children (trips overseas, guided tours, etc.) My DF acts as if he's clueless, but I know he's sharp enough to see the discrepencies. SM has never liked anything we've given her (she has returned several items to us in a box marked "junk"), and hides or gets rids of the gifts we've given DF. It's all so ridiculous.

I've started taking care of my own birthday (it's sporadically celebrated by my family & friends, never acknowledged by ILs or DF & SM) and now I look forward to my special day. Yes, it would be great if others feted me (DIL's FOO gets the royal treatment); I love to celebrate other's birthdays and don't understand why they don't feel the same about mine. But I'm not going to let that stop me - I go to the beach or into the city, have a nice lunch, buy something I've been desiring for awhile, etc. Sometimes a friend will come along (they don't have to know what I'm up to) and sometimes I go alone. Heaven!

Belle, way to deal with MIL's check. Wish I'd done that when SM & DF sent my DDD $5 for her 21st birthday after spending a fortune on SM's kids and GC.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


Belle parts of your story feel like I'm reading about my own life.  Premarital counseling was a lifeline for us.

To be fair, I don't think my MIL sent those bills to arrive on my birthday on purpose.  We got those regularly for a long time.

Before DH and I were married, he paid most of them them.  It's when we began merging our finances, planning for the wedding and building a life together, that he stopped paying the bills she gave him (many of them department store credit cards, not the light bill). That's exactly when she began calling me a gold digger to DH, his grandmother, Aunt, cousins, etc.  She'd say to anyone who listened that I was only with him for his money.  I was earning more than him at the time, but that was no one's business except ours. 

I think your returning the $10 check with a nice note is a way of acting "as if."  As if it were that way, with the idea being one day it may be that way.  It seems like a very high road, and I'm still trying to think how it wasn't an ideal way to keep your dignity.


Writing that note was hard for me, but I have often felt guilty about it...because it really was meant to be a jab.  It was the equivalent of me saying "keep your check you nasty viper.  If you can't be NICE, i don't want your stupid gift." 

That card, as "high road" as it sounded....REALLY stirred up that hornet's nest.  It infuriated her, and she tells everyone that I don't accept her gifts, "oh she's TRIED (*cry*) and TRIED (*tears*) to welcome me and sob sob sob, blah blah blah.  She's always the victim somehow.  She doesn't tell anyone all the things she's done, true to form.  She's cursed us, thrown things at us, broken into our home, called DSS and gave them a big lie about how our daughter "told her" we were abusing her (lol - she was only 13 months old at the time, hardly talking), and has even shown up at our daughter's school and gave the principal a "note from her parents" that it was ok for her to take her home (of course, it wasn't and the school called me to confirm).  All of her efforts to stop/destroy our marriage have been thwarted and its driving her bonkers. 

LOL - she absolutely hates me now, and finally I'm starting to find it quite comical.  Her drama is like a few bad episodes of "Bold & the Beautiful."  Sometimes we jokingly call her "Stephanie," you know, cause she's the hugely whacko and self-proclaimed "matriarch."  I even have one of her screaming tantrum fits on video.  She literally fell down in the yard chasing FIL and screaming at him and swinging at him.  She actually picked up the outside garbage can and threw it at him.  I dropped the camera I was laughing so hard.  I just keep it in a safe place.  You know, in case I ever need it.  :)

And she says I am "the devil, sent to destroy her family," which I find more amusing with each stunt she pulls. 


Belle - you're definitely NOT high-maintenance, you're just under-staffed!
I'm glad you sent the cheque back, and I don't think you were particularly rude about it either.

I hope that no one thought that this had any impact on my actual birthday!  We celebrated my birthday in that special mouse-themed-park and it was AWESOME.


Great that you had fun, Scoop, and didn't let it get to you. And Belle, you're a riot! The drama-queen has met her match! ROTFL!
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Wow, Belle, & you still have a sense of humor after all that?  Good for you...


Happy birthday, Scoop!  Pen, you're a class act...


Happy Birthday Scoop.   Thank God your value does not depend on the gifts you are given or who gives them to you.  You need nothing of her.   She is not worth your peace of mind.   It is only what/how  she is. 

I know we sometimes feel we are not acting maturely enough.....but we have feelings and cant avoid people hurting us.  From now on only focus on your family....and let the rest roll .  You are not obligated to pay any courtesy to her anymore.  Lets see what she feels when she hears about you buying gifts for other people or your family..... 
Sorry things arent better. 

Scoop....sometimes I am critized by friends and even family for always buying nice things for my dil.....I want her to feel that she is now my family.  My husband always gives $  to our children.....(grown up children of course)  on Xmas even if they are married or away.  My husband doesnt want to give money to our dil...because he says that she is not his daughter and he gives me money to buy her something nice.   So I just put some more money in and buy her something real nice and she is always happy with what we give her.  She stands up after opening her present and gives us a kiss.   
I dont regret it, she might not be my daughter or she might not feel like my daughter either, but making her feel valued in our family helps a lot in the relationship with her and with our grandchildren (which are the world to me).   

I tell you this because I cannot understand why your mil doesnt act at least with intelligence so that he can be part of his son's life.   Well, it is how it is.

Wishing you the best Scoop.

Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove:


Hey Scoop, I was just curious but did your DH notice or say anything to you?
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


Pam - I think his expectations must be much lower than mine, because no, he didn't notice or say anything.

The thing is, it's pretty 'usual' for us (and them) to 'save up' gifts and give them, in person, the next time we see each other (the reason we once received our Christmas presents from the IL's the following June).  So, to DH, the fact that they texted his phone on my birthday was enough.  If he thought about it at all, it was probably to think that they would catch me next time and then he dismissed it completely.  And he's not a scorekeeper to say "Oh you spent $400 on ME for my birthday, but you didn't get Scoop ANYTHING for her birthday?"  Maybe it's because he's the Golden One and was never the one who was slighted, so he doesn't look for it?  Who knows?

So, for laughs, here's my list of the birthday gifts the IL's have given me.  (Note my birthday is mid-July and I've been with DH since 1997, and the IL's are not hurting for money - see above where they regularly spend big bucks on DH).

2010 - fashion jewelry necklace (not my style AT ALL), unwrapped, given in June, no call 'around' my birthday
2009 - a call to wish me happy birthday (on the wrong day), a fashion jewelry necklace, unwrapped, given at Thanksgiving
2008 - a call to wish me happy birthday (on the wrong day), a 'gift with purchase' cosmetic bag, unwrapped, given at Thanksgiving
2007 - no phone call, a home shopping network wind spinner thing, given (unwrapped, no card) in their driveway, as we were leaving, in June
2006 - "gift with purchase" purse given at Family Reunion in August, I actually liked it and used it but it fell apart within 6 mos, I should also note that others were given similar gifts as "goody bags", but mine was my birthday present
2005 - card, no gift - this was also the year the IL's spent at least $400 on DH's birthday and bought him a massaging chair, that we had to figure out how to get into our car to drive 4 hours to get home
2004 - 2 long, frilly, lacy, long sleeved nightgowns - MIL said she thought they would be good for nursing (I was pregnant) - they were  NOT nursing nightgowns, there was no access from the top, I don't know, was I supposed to stick the baby under there?  or use it as a tent?  I still don't know.  They got donated pretty fast.

Before that, I wasn't keeping track, so I don't remember.  I know I got a plant one year and cut flowers once.  I also received a beautiful cotton blanket once.  And one time they gave me cash to go to the casino, except I hate casinos and lost some of it so fast it made my head spin.  So I doubled my money by folding it in half and putting it BACK in my pocket and bought myself something really cool with it (that I have to this day).

Please note that I have always accepted their gifts graciously and thanked the IL's for them.  I've come to accept that MIL is really terrible at choosing gifts.  She buys 10 of the same thing and gives it to everyone (GMIL, aunts, her DD, me, one for herself, of course).   She has made zero effort get to know me and figure out what I actually might LIKE.

And yes, I know that it's wrong to keep score like this, to have a record of every "thing" MIL has done to me.  But I don't want to forget, I don't want to sweep it all under the rug and get smacked in the face the next time (been there, done that).  I don't want the day to come for DH to say "Why are you so angry at them?  What have they ever done to you?" and NOT have a list as long as my arm of all of the things I've "put up with" over the years.


I truly think most men don't pay attention to things like that.  I'm not dogging men, my now DH is very considerate and aware of me, but my XDH never thought to pay attention that he got a $150 shirt from an expensive store and mine was $3.99 from low end retailer with clearance tag still on.  (Yes Scoop, that's how my Ex-MIL rolled too, so I completely understand).  He would think of it as, he got a gift, I got a gift.  It wasn't the cost that ever bothered me, it was the idea that I was an afterthought.

I'm sorry she is treating you so unfairly and making you feel that way.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


Oh wow, your list is similar to mine Scoop lol.  Except for some reason I get a lot of tools too.  I finally came to the conclusion that MIL is buying gifts for who she wants me to be, not who I am.  I'm not much of a gift person but the entire shebang annoys me, it's like a game. 

I agree, a lot of men probably don't notice.  It just seems to me that it would be easy to say "why not call Scoop?" when they called him, on her birthday. 

People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


I think part of it is that she does the bare minimum, to make herself look good to DH.  It seems so PHONY to me, but he doesn't see it.  (I guess that's why it's called girl-bullying.)

So texting HIS phone to wish ME a Happy Birthday?  Hmmm.

Or the time she called our house in the middle of a weekday (we both have ALWAYS worked steady Days) to wish us a Happy Anniversary, but then called DH on his cell, to talk to him.  The first one was just for show "See, I call and they never call me back!"  And the second one was to an excuse to talk to DH.

Ah well, I do feel bad for her.  She *is* losing touch with her son and she doesn't have any idea why.


Scoop, I'm more upset that it appears she thinks you're a moron who doesn't know about gift w/purchase bags!  ;)

My SM is the same; If I get anything at all it's either re-gifted or gift w/purchase. She doesn't wrap either unless she uses the original wrapping that is usually all crumpled and torn. I'm guessing she thinks I'm an idiot who won't catch on, and because I never mention it to her she's probably feeling validated in her opinion of me. Or, she figures I'll catch on and get the message; either way, a win-win for her. Meanwhile I'm laughing at her antics as I head for Goodwill.

Can't speak for your MIL Scoop, but I'm pretty sure my SM is letting me know how she feels about me!
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb