Author Topic: My couple's gift this year will be ...  (Read 8859 times)

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mybetterself

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My couple's gift this year will be ...
« on: October 23, 2010, 11:32:55 AM »
Hello to so many wise women I have 'met' on these pages.  I have been reading your posts faithfully for the past month, and I admire your courage, your solutions, and your advice.  I have been inspired to register, with a registration name that is not reflective of who I am, but of whom I wish to become.

I am just-another-MIL with DIL problems.  Like so many of you, I have effectively lost my son.  I am not welcome in his house, due to the wishes of DIL.  I have gone through the try-to-buy-her-acceptance with unwanted gifts, have been rebuffed for years on this, and have finally come out the other side --- realizing it ain't gonna happen.  The realization came to me by reading all your wise and painful posts.  I now know that I need to give up that special mother-son relationship that many of us used to have, that we still yearn for.  I now know that I need to move on with my life, without DS.

I want to share with you my current plan.  Right now, it seems like a good idea.  But with so many experienced MILs on this forum, maybe you will tell me otherwise.  I want to appeal to my DS's better self.  I raised a gentle, caring son.  But he is now married to a selfish, immature, child.  I am quite sure I know why.  She is small, cute, and she has so many tons of money that my son's eyes are glazed over.

I do a lot of time-wasting on the internet.  A site I found this morning gave me the inspiration for a couple's Christmas gift.  The link to the charity video that inspired me is http://fora.tv//2009/11/06/Scott_Harrison_Water_As_Luxury for charity:water.  I am planning to copy this video to a CD, add a gift card (i.e. a charity gift in my DS and DIL name) and send that as a Christmas gift.  It is my hope that I can inspire DS (and perhaps DIL? Nah, not possible.) to open his heart to something bigger than his current situation.

I would be interested in your comments, especially those of you who have sent couple's gifts in the past.  Good idea or not?  Am I just kidding myself?  What couple's gifts have you given that were successes?  What do you plan to give this year?

Bless you all.
Hoping to become,
mybetterself

« Last Edit: October 24, 2010, 12:44:20 AM by mybetterself »

Offline luise.volta

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Re: My couple's gift this year will be ...
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2010, 11:51:15 AM »
Welcome MBS -  You are going to fit right in here, I can tell. I don't have much to offer regarding couples gifts. I sometimes help out during the year and I have to beg to be able to to do that. So, I say..."OK, so it's your Christmas present! " and then I'm stuck!

Long ago when my kids were young and we relocated, I asked the family to stop buying gifts and to pool our resources as a family charity donation...(I suggested a specific fund for needy children.) The result was a unanimous and resounding disinterest.

Maybe others here have had more positive experiences. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

Offline Pen

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Re: My couple's gift this year will be ...
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2010, 12:46:41 PM »
MBS, I'm glad you're here. DH & I were just now talking about a couples gift for DS & DIL. Some of the DILs here suggested it as a way to include a DIL who wasn't keen on receiving personal gifts from the ILs. I'm not sure which way we'll go yet, but we might give gift certs for tix to events they both enjoy.

We've given charity gifts in the past to friends and family but only as an addition to a gift basket or other item, for example a card showing a gift of honeybees tied to a jar of local, organic honey. I find people really don't know what to do with just the charity gift. (If you saw the autism fundraiser "Night of Too Many Stars" the comedian Ricky Gervais did a hilarious routine about receiving a gift of a goat for an African family after buying an expensive coffee maker for a friend.)

It's the holiday season! Away we go!
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

1Glitterati

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Re: My couple's gift this year will be ...
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2010, 02:13:48 PM »
Welcome MBS -  You are going to fit right in here, I can tell. I don't have much to offer regarding couples gifts. I sometimes help out during the year and I have to beg to be able to to do that. So, I say..."OK, so it's your Christmas present! " and then I'm stuck!

Long ago when my kids were young and we relocated, I asked the family to stop buying gifts and to pool our resources as a family charity donation...(I suggested a specific fund for needy children.) The result was a unanimous and resounding disinterest.

Maybe others here have had more positive experiences. Sending love...

I've given donations in the name of dh's uncle/aunt/family before.  He doesn't like it.  I dunno why.  He just doesn't.  I finally said...fine, the times we have to be around them for Xmas, they get nothing then.  I don't like them, I resent having to spend time with them and have my day just ruined, so they get nothing.  I think that's way more honest that spending money for a crappy gift they'll likely never use, that I'm ticked about having to spend money on in the first place.  At least when I gave donations in peoples names---someone got something worthwhile and useful.

mybetterself

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Re: My couple's gift this year will be ...
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2010, 03:07:59 PM »
1Glitterati,

Your response is especially interesting to me, because it is from the point of view of a DIL instead of a MIL.  You gave charity gifts and they were not appreciated.  Maybe they never are.  Maybe I need to rethink this idea.

You also said something that made me catch my breath: I don't like them, I resent having to spend time with them and have my day just ruined,    I am sure my DIL thinks exactly that about me.  So here is my question to you: Do you think a husband's relations with his family are important in any way?  From my point of view, I don't understand why my DIL doesn't think it in her best interest to allow DH a small amount of time with his family.  Seems to me DIL should never want to be in a position where husband is asked to choose between his family and herself.  For myself, I think that if I had hated my DH's family, nonetheless I would have stuffed it for the few days a year we saw them.  Stuffed it for my husband's sake, because his relations with his family are probably as important to him as mine are to me.  Not a good plan?  Do you ever worry that your actions may backfire someday?

Best wishes,
MBS


 

1Glitterati

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Re: My couple's gift this year will be ...
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2010, 03:55:00 PM »
1Glitterati,

Your response is especially interesting to me, because it is from the point of view of a DIL instead of a MIL.  You gave charity gifts and they were not appreciated.  Maybe they never are.  Maybe I need to rethink this idea.

You also said something that made me catch my breath: I don't like them, I resent having to spend time with them and have my day just ruined,    I am sure my DIL thinks exactly that about me.  So here is my question to you: Do you think a husband's relations with his family are important in any way?  With this particular uncle and aunt...NO.  No, I don't.  DH has never enjoyed being around them, and was forced to do so every Christmas.  A Christmas which uncle was allowed to rule over because he was the favored son.  We only went to Christmas at his grandmothers house because he felt it was an obligation.  After I came on the scene...I went for a few years, too.  After a while...I said I'm not going every year.  I refused to have my Xmas Day suck and suck hard.  From my point of view, I don't understand why my DIL doesn't think it in her best interest to allow DH a small amount of time with his family.  Seems to me DIL should never want to be in a position where husband is asked to choose between his family and herself.  For myself, I think that if I had hated my DH's family, nonetheless I would have stuffed it for the few days a year we saw them.  Depends on how they are and what they do.  Some people are merely annoying, while others are toxic.  Stuffed it for my husband's sake, because his relations with his family are probably as important to him as mine are to me.  Not a good plan?  Do you ever worry that your actions may backfire someday?  Nope.  No I don't.  As far as Xmas at grandmothers, grandmother has died.

DH sees his parents when he wants to.  They see the kids.  I see them every once in a while--although there was a period of several years I didn't even speak to them, much less see them.  I have stuffed things in the past in order to make things easier on my husband.  I'm sure I'll do it again in the future.  Sometimes though, it isn't worth stuffing it.  Not even for his feelings.

The thing I don't think my dh's parents have ever stopped to consider...is he DOESN'T LIKE SPENDING THE HOLIDAYS WITH THEM.  It's no fun.   Zero.   Zilch.  Nada.  We sit in a room and just look at each other.  It's so not fun that it's painful.  His parents also think he has all these happy memories of childhood holidays.  WRONG.  He resents like hell being drug all over the place and never, ever having any fun on any holiday because it was always, always, always about what other people wanted.  Sure...they thought they were doing the right thing by driving all over creation and back and never having having holidays in their own home.  Now...they suddenly think because their parents are dead and the kids are grown that the grown kids will fall all over themselves to have Xmas and other holidays in their home now.  That it is their turn.  Wrong.  If they wanted particular traditions...they should have made them.  Now is our time with our children.  Yes...we do thinks with the inlaws, but it's on our terms.  They had their turn.  It's ours now.  When the kids are grown and out of my house, it'll be their turn.


Best wishes,
MBS


 

Offline luise.volta

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Re: My couple's gift this year will be ...
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2010, 04:33:58 PM »
I can get that, G. There sure can be different perceptions of "Wasn't it lov-er-ly?"

I love lights twinkling all over the place, inside and out...but my kids have no tree, no tangible gifts and no decorations. They give each other big gifts for the house, etc.

Last year I was trying to continue my care giving from my wheelchair and Christmas was just a blur. Not this year, nope! Out come the lighted snowman for the porch and all the rest of it...even though I'm now alone. On go the Christmas CDs, too.  ;D
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

1Glitterati

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Re: My couple's gift this year will be ...
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2010, 04:39:05 PM »
I can get that, G. There sure can be different perceptions of "Wasn't it lov-er-ly?"

I love lights twinkling all over the place, inside and out...but my kids have no tree, no tangible gifts and no decorations. They give each other big gifts for the house, etc.

Last year I was trying to continue my care giving from my wheelchair and Christmas was just a blur. Not this year, nope! Out come the lighted snowman for the porch and all the rest of it...even though I'm now alone. On go the Christmas CDs, too.  ;D

I like twinkling lights, too.  Dh honestly isn't much for them BUT he puts them up cause the kids go nuts over them.  He makes a real effort at Xmas...and it's hard for him.  He's never looked at Xmas as a fun holiday, but rather one of "man...I have to do this again" with a big sigh.  So...I really appreciate him trying for the kids.  He's determined that his kids won't feel the way he does.

As for the Xmas music...my mom has just given up any pretense and will listen to it year round.  I finally just programmed in We Wish You A Merry Xmas as her ringtone on my phone.

Offline luise.volta

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Re: My couple's gift this year will be ...
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2010, 04:57:49 PM »
Oh, that is SO funny!  ;D ;D ;D
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

kathleen

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Re: My couple's gift this year will be ...
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2010, 05:24:46 PM »
Dear MBS,

I was glad to read your post.  It is so well-written.

One issue that comes up repeatedly on this list is the issue of expectations.  This was something I had to identify in myself and come to terms with. 

If you can give this gift to your son and DIL and not want even an acknowledgement in return, then you can do exactly as you like with any gift you send.  If you can truly say, "I like this gift I am sending, it is meaningful to me, and I don't care what they think," then go ahead.  But I hope you will stop thinking in terms of gifts that were "successes."  In a case of a cutoff, gifts are rarely that.  Well, in my case, if I gave my DIL the keys to Buckingham Palace, it might constitute, in her eyes, a success.  Otherwise, forget it.  I watched her gift expectations escalate over the years.  I read the emails asking for money.  I can no longer meet her hopes.

(Your gifts cannot be message-making, for they will most likely be misinterpreted in this situation.)

I, however, from my side, cannot do something like that, give a gift with no hopes or expectations.  If I give a gift, it is in the hope of a relationship.  I have finally figured out that that is my wish, not the actual thank-you notes or the delight of watching someone enjoy something we have given, although those are wonderful, but the promise of an ongoing and deepening relationship around these rituals.  Rightly or wrongly, we connect in our society around birthdays and Christmases and anniversaries, weddings and Hanukah and christenings and showers and bar mitzvahs and religious holidays of every faith and description.  Gifts always are expected.  Adult children who don't acknowledge this, and prefer to use gift-giving as strategy, are shooting insults like arrows into the air, in my opinion and sad experiences.

The way I was raised, I do expect an acknowledgement of a gift. It was called courtesy, and it was to be extended to everyone, no matter how small the gesture or the gift.  I can't get over that early training.  I think it was right.  My husband and I gave our son and DIL a large down payment for a home, and were never invited to stay there.  I was roundly taken to the woodshed by some members on this list for thinking that we should have been invited to the home we enabled them to buy, even as dinner guests.  I was to have no expectations; a gift is not a true gift if you have expectations of some return; etc., etc., etc.  I don't believe this is realistic, or courteous, or kind.  And I especially don't believe it is courteous or kind to accept large expensive gifts of any ilk and shoot the giver down.  This is my opinion and no one else's.

The care and thought you are putting into this charitable gift indicates to me that you are hoping for some connection of some kind through this gift.
That, to me, is only normal.  But it may backfire, and at your stage in the relationships, in my opinion, you may be safer in acknowledging this.  You may create the wrong connection vis a vis:  a) no response at all (always feels intentionally insulting to me,) b) a hostile response as they may not like the charity you select, c) criticism for selecting a charity at all, instead of giving them a yacht.  If you are able to accept all the possibilities, then go ahead and send the gift.  You can then feel you did what you wished to do. That, at least, is worth something.

I got several backfired bullets to the heart before I declared bankruptcy in the gift-giving business to my son, GD and DIL.

There are many, many children and their spouses whose stories are told on this list who will find fault with absolutely anything their in-laws do.  If you do not send a Christmas gift, you may be criticized for not so doing.  If you send this charitable gift, they may find it disgusting and/or they may not agree with having a charitable donation in their names.  And so it goes.  The title for all of this is "You Can't Win."

I have a very close, very trusted, highly educated friend of decades since my youth who watched my departed son grow up.  When this whole cutoff thing began, she, a professional therapist, advised me to continue to send gifts to my granddaughter, no matter what.  I was to keep the lines open as much as possible, as, she assumed, someday my GD would see, through our gifts (attempts to continue a relationship with her) that we loved her, we were good people, not the monsters our son and DIL were no doubt portraying us as.  And we did so.  Gifts, gifts, gifts.  And then a thing was done that was so awful, so gross, and so cruelly wounding, so pointedly aimed at ridding themselves of us, that my friend finally said, "That's it.  These people don't want you in their lives, and their script about you is already being memorized by your granddaughter.  Stay away and send nothing more; it is all a waste." 

I have been far happier since that decision. My wonderful, loving friend was right.  It was a kind of closure, although I disliked pat words like that.  It was the resolution that would have been right years earlier.  You cannot force people to love or even care about you.  Bald truth.

This is not a situation where try, try again guarantees success. 

The gift thing is fraught with implications on all sides.  Before my DIL married my son, she sent a beautiful, hand-written thank you note on gorgeous stationery for the smallest gift from us, even for dinners at our house. I was mightily---fantastically---impressed with her beautiful manners and courtesy and thoughtfulness.  As soon as she nailed him, those thank-you notes not only stopped, but she began using the pointed lack of them as a weapon.  At the large birthday parties for our GD, mostly consisting of their friends and the massive number of her extended family members, for instance, she would stand there with her pen and note pad, writing down everything everyone else gave but us.  Then, everyone but us got a thank-you note.

At one point, I asked my son about a very expensive little outfit I had given my granddaughter.  Did she wear it?  Does she like it?  I asked hopefully, my eyes bright, I am sure, with wishful thinking.  I was so hoping she liked it and especially that her mother liked it.   This was his cold response:  "She has so many clothes and so many outfits that still have the tags on that she probably hasn't even worn it yet."   

Yes, I have stopped giving these people gifts.  Any amount I might have spent on them, I now spend on my husband, my other sons, or me.  Ingrates are no longer on my Christmas list.  We give gifts to give other people pleasure, and to get pleasure from their enjoyment.  We do not give gifts to receive rejection and pain in return.

My DIL often taught me the lessons of passive aggressive behavior.  I thank her for it today.  Now, instead of feeling I have to "do something" about the "situation," I can choose to do nothing.  Now, instead of trying to be "pro-active" with gifts or anything else, I just sit tight.  Maybe someday there will be a relationship.  Maybe not, but the ball's in their court.  No more gifts without acknowledgements.  No more large sums of money handed over for down payments.  Passive  aggressive is positive in many ways. I am thrifty and it is thrifty.  It saves on emotion, pain, worry, fear, grief, and dollars. 

At Christmas, I give the money to a Protestant social services organization in Iowa, money that otherwise would have gone to my son & his family for gifts.  This is an organization that saved the lives of children during the terrible Iowa floods of years past, not to mention innumerable other incredible feats of social conscience so dear to my heart.  I am not recommending this.  I just know what they do and it fits my concept of giving at Christmas.  I don't give in my son's name; I give in my name and my husband's name.  This money is truly well-spent.

And each year, I get long letters of appreciation from Iowa. I get booklets showing specific situations in which specific children and families have been saved from dire circumstances as part of a community of givers like us. I feel connected to these children in a way I don't and probably never will to my GD. And one year, my husband and I were invited to an honorary dinner because we had given them a certain sum of money.  A dinner!  I'd like to be able to say that once, just once, my son and DIL invited us to anything without her hundreds of family members present.

It's called gratitude.  And I need to see it, or, I go away.  The bottom line is, I just don't like ungrateful people. I just don't want to be associated with them. I just don't want to be around them; they depress me; I don't want to spend my precious time with them.  I don't need booklets to be sent as expressions of gratitude from my son.  But I do need to feel that I am included in a meaningful way in the lives of people I love and give to in so many ways, mostly non-monetarily, and if I am not, I will now take my gifts elsewhere now.  And then, instead of anger and hurt, I can feel the satisfaction that a little girl in rural Iowa has a new dress to wear, a little girl whose closets aren't filled with new clothes with the tags still on them, so many price tags that her mother cannot possibly figure it all out.

All the best with this one; it's tough.

Kathleen

mybetterself

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Re: My couple's gift this year will be ...
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2010, 06:25:14 PM »
Dear Glitter,

Your post makes me feel sad.  Not because of what you said, but because of the memories it invokes.  Let me tell that story.

I adored my DH's parents.  Especially adored his father.  Also loved his mother.  But I did notice that there was one DIL (not me) who was the eternal target of MIL's anger/intolerance.  One year, the situation changed.  My sister-in-law was no longer the intolerable DIL; suddenly it was me!  My defense was to beg-off visits with his family.  DH took our children to visit his mother, and I stayed home - with the excuse that I had to work, or whatever other reason I could conceivably dig up.  I thought I was playing this pretty well.

But now it comes back to haunt me.  Recently DH started discussing the fact that I didn't like his mother.  My beg-offs were interpreted as not liking her.  (There was some truth there.  I might characterize it as being the new target, but in truth, I was avoiding her.)  I am not the type to defend myself verbally, so I remain silent and accept the criticism.

But now I really wish that I had 'stuffed it', and accompanied my DH and children on visits his mother.  I feel terribly guilty for letting my DH know about my uncomfortable situation.  If only --- if only I could back and do it again, I would visit MIL with everyone else, and make the best of the situation.  If only, if only --- I now wish that I had made a good effort to play nicely in an uncomfortable situation.  I really wish my husband were not able to accuse me of not liking his mother.  This is not because he holds it against me now, it is only because I really, really wish I could have been a better person.  For DH.  I love him so much, and he deserves better than I gave.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2010, 12:46:52 AM by mybetterself »

mybetterself

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Re: My couple's gift this year will be ...
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2010, 06:52:55 PM »
Dear Kathleen,

I admire your wish counsel.  You speak of expectations.  After my first post, I realized that I was trying to elicit a particular response from my son.  With my 'message-making', I was clearly interested in another method of control.  This makes me feel very ashamed, because I do want to become a better self.

I am really interested in your discussion about gift-giving and expectations.  Like you, I was raised to be gracious when given a gift, to appreciate the thoughtfulness of the giver, and to send a thank you. 

I have never thought about what I expect from gift-giving.  Just the idea that here is something to explore is inspiring.  I will need time to think about this and discover what my expectations are.  My first thoughts are that I want to give gifts because I dearly love my son, and I want him to be delighted by something from me.  Also, I don't want to leave out my DIL because I don't want to remind anyone of the conflict between me/DH and DIL.  But I am looking forward to going deeper into the meaning of gifting: what does it hold for me?

In the past, in giving gifts when I am not sure they will be appreciated, I have taken the 'local' approach.  I go to the local farmers market, or to local craft stores, and buy things from local craftsmen.  I buy things I love, things I would be very happy to have, things I am proud to give.  In that way, I spend my money in my own community.  If the gift turns out to be hated because of the giver, (as with DIL), no sweat.  I have done something good anyway.

Thank you for giving me so much to think about regarding gifting. 

Hoping to become,
mbs

 

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Re: My couple's gift this year will be ...
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2010, 07:04:59 PM »
Dear Glitter,

Your post makes me feel sad.  Not because of what you said, but because of the memories it invokes.  Let me tell that story.  I am sorry that it evokes sad memories for you. 

I adored my DH's parents.  Especially adored his father, who was a clergyman in another country.  Also loved his mother.  But I did notice that there was one DIL (not me) who was the eternal target of MIL's anger/intolerance.  One year, the situation changed.  My sister-in-law was no longer the intolerable DIL; suddenly it was me!  My defense was to beg-off visits with his family.  DH took our two children to visit his mother, and I stayed home - with the excuse that I had to work, or whatever other reason I could conceivably dig up.  I thought I was playing this pretty well.

But now it comes back to haunt me.  Recently DH started discussing the fact that I didn't like his mother.  My beg-offs were interpreted as not liking her.  (There was some truth there.  I might characterize it as being the new target, but in truth, I was avoiding her.)  I am not the type to defend myself verbally, so I remain silent and accept the criticism.  I'm sorry that's where it's ended up.  In my case, I spent many years caring deeply for my inlaws, several years honestly hating them to the core for something that happened, and now we have moved to indifference.  I've made some big accommodations in seeing them recently because it does mean something to my husband.  I have been clear though---I will never love or trust his parents again.  I can't be any more up front than I already have been.  If it bothers him, then it bothers him.  I will not be abused for anyone.

But now I really wish that I had 'stuffed it', and accompanied my DH and children across the pond to visit his mother.  I feel terribly guilty for letting my DH know about my uncomfortable situation.  If only --- if only I could back and do it again, I would visit MIL with everyone else, and make the best of the situation.  If only, if only --- I now wish that I had made a good effort to play nicely in an uncomfortable situation.  I really wish my husband were not able to accuse me of not liking his mother.  Maybe this is a generational thing...but so what if you didn't like his mother?  I don't get why that's such a crime.  Honestly...it sounds like you were still socially polite and never griped at him for visiting or taking the children.  Why can't that be enough.  This is not because he holds it against me now, it is only because I really, really wish I could have been a better person.  So many times, I think being the better person is code for being a doormat for other people to wipe their feet on.  And when I say that I am not saying only dils can be doormats.  Anyone can be a doormat...dil, mil, spouse, parent, etc.  For DH.  I love him so much, and he deserves better than I gave  I love my dh very much too.  Frankly...I think he and my inlaws are lucky I've gotten to the point I've gotten to..

And yes...I do realize that I will likely sound cold to many of the mils on this board.  I'm okay with that.  I'm okay with where I'm at and who I am.  I don't feel guilty for any of the choices I've made in regards to my inlaws and the relationship I had with them then or now.  I do have some regrets about how I handled things during the blowup.  I'm sorry that I didn't stand up for myself sooner and I'm sorry I wasn't more forceful in taking the problem directly to them as opposed to nearly destroying my marriage over it.  I have forgiven them in the sense of I don't carry around the huge amounts of bitterness and anger I used to have (I still have some that crops up from time to time).  I had to do it so I didn't lose myself.  They see the gk's more now, and they see their son more now.  They see me only on very special occassions.  I'm satisfied with that.  I'll never trust them again, and I'll never love them again.  I'm socially polite, wish them no harm, and tolerate them.  That's the utmost I can do.

1Glitterati

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Re: My couple's gift this year will be ...
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2010, 07:07:05 PM »
I also think I need to apologize.  I think I have hijacked your thread.  That was not my intent.

I think the family gift is a lovely thought and gesture.  I don't know that it will be perceived that way...but I think it's lovely.  Even if they hate it, even if you only do it for yourself to say that you sent a gift, there are real, live, people in need who benefit from your generosity.  THAT is a good thing, no matter the thought behind it or what they think of it.

Sadandalone59

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Re: My couple's gift this year will be ...
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2010, 07:37:00 PM »
Your stories hit home with me.  I used to love the holidays.  Lots of family and no one cared what they got as gifts.  It was spending time together.  Now I dread the holidays.  If I am invited to join my DIL and her family I am treated like an outsider and don't belong there.  I always invite them here but of course they don't come.  I buy things for my granddaughter and leave receipts in box so she can return them for something else but she doesn't even do that.  They get shoved in the closet and never worn or played with.  I have even done just the gift card way and still I never know if she uses it or not.  I am not a big fan of gift cards as it seems impersonal.  I like picking out gifts but don't know if I want to put myself through that again this year.  It hurts really bad.  Why would a DIL want to alienate her husband's family?  I just don't get it.  I was raised where Christmas eve was with my Mom's family and Christmas day was with my Dad's.  It seemed to work out well although it may have been cause they lived fairly close.  There is so much stuff in that closet that I spent good money on yet they always seem to need money.  I don't get it.  I so badly want a relationship with my son and grandbaby and even her.  We used to have a good relationship before the baby came and then suddenly I was thrown aside.  I wish I knew why.  Although I have a hard time sucking it up I would just to get that relationship back with my son and grandbaby.  How sad to hear the stories of other wonderful mothers and grandmothers who are hurt and in pain too.  But at leaset I don't feel so alone anymore.