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Am I Overthinking This One?

Started by kimmieg08, July 12, 2017, 06:17:04 am

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My husband and I have very different ways of interacting with our son and daughter-in-law.  Hubby is a non-confrontational, "go along to get along" type.  I, on the other hand, will share my feelings if I've been hurt or offended.  Because of this, I have often been labeled the bad guy.

This year for my birthday and Mother's Day, I received gifts from them on both occasions. The same was true for my husband, except his gifts cost three times more than the ones I received.  As I have always been careful about treating my children equally and spending equally on them, the discrepancy was blatantly obvious.  It's not just the dollar amount--His gifts were thoughtful and useful, while mine were things I neither wanted nor needed.

I'm wondering if this is a passive-aggressive move by the two of them.  My husband thinks that I'm reading too much into the situation.  However, I know that if I were to give my other children a gift costing $200 and this one a gift I spent $50, he would definitely notice.  Quite frankly, I'm hurt by the lack of consideration and thoughtfulness, given the efforts I make to be fair and equal with my children, as well as choosing a gift that is thoughtful and will bring joy to the recipient.

What's your take on the situation?


I had this happen to me when our son married.  My husband received expensive thoughtful gifts; mine (if there was one) was something grabbed at the last minute - often a regifted  item.  What was happening is that our thoughtful son was purchasing gifts for his father and our DIL was responsible for my (read female) gifts.  It hurt; but I was always grateful (which I think upset her as she seemed to be "looking" for a reason to devalue me).  Oh - the marriage did not last - her selfishness and self- centeredness extended to everyone - not just me.  I really would not discuss this with your son (he probably is not aware of the discrepancy is value).  Oh - I continued to treat our DIL well until the divorce;  after all, she was our son's wife and mother of our grandchildren.  It proved a wise decision after she "left".


I think jdtm has offered some great advice here, I don't think I would say anything  (in this case). My oldest son never gives me a gift for anything, period. Not even a fifty cent card. My youngest son gives me a gift at Christmas and no other time. They both do contact me to say happy birthday, mothers day, etc. Of course I always give them gifts on the proper occasions and there is very little gratitude, if any, for that or anything else that I do. It stinks to realize that the people you have sacrificed so much for and love so much just don't have it in their hearts to do the very small things that would make life so much better for us. I have given up believing that will ever change because they refuse to see the problems. So what I have done is allowed myself to realize that they are selfish people and I can't make them see that. That simple realization has helped me tremendously.


I'm not sure if this will be helpful in your situation, but I have decided this is how I handle gifts, after receiving things I never would have used or worn.  I told my AC that I do not need or want physical gifts anymore, and what I really value is time together with them.  My kids have taken us out to eat on certain occasions, but we have also just gathered at our house and cooked something nice together (like fondue or Chinese dumplings) and/or played some games.  That is more special to me than anything and costs nothing except some time.  Some special occasions have come and gone with nothing, but DH and I always try to make the day special.


I also think you should not bring up your hurt feelings about their gifts.  Instead, I would do my best to make family relations as warm and friendly as possible so that they continue to want that family tie and so that they don't have second thoughts, possibly walking on eggshells, worried because they have inadvertently done the wrong thing to hurt or offend you.  Take the high road, think the best of their intentions and be grateful for any gifts.  I myself can be really bad in trying to figure out appropriate gifts for some people, so I hope there is much grace when I don't give the right thing. 


Kim,I think I previously posted this somewhere else by mistake, but here is my take...

I think these kids all went to the same school of thoughtlessness. My son did the same at Christmas. However I am divorced from his father. At Christmas I got a cup. The ex got about $300 in gifts (maybe, probably, more). We were all together. I was so embarrassed. It was as if they all said out loud "we don't really like you, but we had to give you something since you are here, and we had this cup...."  Really what IS the message when your kids do something like that? My thoughts...Just keep putting that knife in my heart, sooner or later it will kill me and you will be happy. I do not do Christmas, birthdays, or any other days anymore.


We have some similar issues with gifts.  We either get nothing or some cheap meaningless gift.  All it says to us is "we're here with you so we had to do something."  My DIL apparently thinks that if you aren't going to see someone on a holiday or birthday, you don't have to give them a gift.  That may be true - it just isn't how I operate.  I always sent my MIL a gift for her birthday, Mother's Day, etc.  I always gave both my parents a gift for birthday, Mother's/Father's Day, Christmas.  That's just how I do things.  It hurts my feelings when they give us stuff that is meaningless or just given because they needed to cross us off their shopping list.  I know intellectually I need to get over it, but it's hard.  I've cut back on the amount I spend on them because of it.  My DH says we should just ignore them the way they ignore us.  What I'd really like is quality time spent with them and with our granddaughter, but that apparently isn't in the cards either.