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Am I being ungrateful?

(78 Posts)
MerryDickCrack Tue 29-Dec-15 00:31:36

My mother is staying. She's just stormed off to bed after I said that I don't like getting cheques for birthdays and Xmas and would prefer a gift with some thought even for a far less value.
Backstory, I got a cheque for my 40th birthday. A lot of money - £500 - but my exp had asked her to chip in instead with his gift, which was very generous (in hindsight it was guilt driven over ow). She refused insisting she had her own gift. It was a cheque. Nothing to open.
Every other birthday it's a cheque for £50. Xmas she gives me money to cover what I need to buy, in past it's been a tumble dryer, a dressing table, etc.
I'm a single parent. Dcs too small to buy me anything. I have a few lovely friends who get me bits to open but essentially I never get an actual gift which has required thought from anyone anymore and it hurts. Makes me feel worthless.
Despite working ft and being a single parent and running around most weekends for dm who complains if I don't that she is lonely and bored, this year and last few she's even given me money to get dcs gifts from her.
I am feeling upset...

buckingfrolicks Tue 29-Dec-15 00:41:55

I'm sorry you're feeling upset, and I don't blame you, tbh. It sounds as though your mother doesn't spend time on you, and it's the time that people put in to thinking about gifts that makes them valuable, not the monetary value.

It sounds like she's rather self-focussed, which with your busy life where you're not able to be self-focussed, must be very irritating indeed. It's all too easy to throw money at someone - far far harder to think about them, empathise with them, and care enough to take time out from thinking about oneself, to do that.

What do you give her? I'd be tempted to write a cheque for the same amount, in return...

Have a belated xmas gift from me flowers

FlatOnTheHill Tue 29-Dec-15 00:45:24

You are not ungrateful at all thanks

MerryDickCrack Tue 29-Dec-15 00:49:05

Thank you bucking. What a kind response. I'm just sat here worrying that I've upset her as she has been all over the place since dad died in the summer, but then so have I, he was my dad too, and it feels like I'm in some sort of inadvertent grief competition. Despite this, I still took trouble to shop and choose gifts for her that I thought she would like, as I do every year, wrap them etc.
if it was just this year I'd understand due to my dad passing, but it's been going on for years now.
I've tried so hard to be there for her this year, all I really wanted was a bunch of flowers or a bottle of perfume or something she'd actually chosen for me.
But you are right, she is self absorbed and selfish and I fall into a pattern of enabling that. Don't know what came over me to say something tonight to be honest. And yeah, cheque for her next birthday.

MerryDickCrack Tue 29-Dec-15 00:49:40

Thanks flat - means a lot to hear that.

BlueMoonRising Tue 29-Dec-15 00:50:28

I don't understand why you would say that so soon after the event. It's bound to be upsetting.

Much better to give some hints nearer your birthday, or be a bit blatant then - before the event rather than so soon after.

How would you feel if your mother criticised the gift you gave her?

TheCrazyDuchess Tue 29-Dec-15 00:51:09

Honest opinion I think you are being ungrateful. As a lone parent too in the long run the cash is a better gift choice.

As for feeling worthless...... wait until you get nothing from your mother or a anyone else for that matter to truly understand how worthless you could feel!

TheCrazyDuchess Tue 29-Dec-15 00:54:15

X post - your dad passed in the summer and mum is lonely..... and gives you cash for Xmas that you don't appreciate......
..... not too sure mums the selfish one here

MerryDickCrack Tue 29-Dec-15 00:54:23

Bluemoon my birthday is in 2 weeks - I think that probably is why I said something to be honest.
Duchess, sorry to hear you got nothing for Xmas flowers

MerryDickCrack Tue 29-Dec-15 00:57:35

My mum often does criticise the gifts I give, not always explicitly, but she will just put them away and never look at them again. Even so, I still try, she has money to buy whatever she wants so I think the thought is nicer. I really am doing cheques in future though.

TheCrazyDuchess Tue 29-Dec-15 00:57:40

Don't apologise I am totally fine with it.... it's one day in a year and I manage my expectations. If mum has been doing it for years why pick now to challenge her, her first Xmas without your dad???

TheCrazyDuchess Tue 29-Dec-15 00:59:41

I really don't understand this whole desire for people reciprocating in exactly the same fashion as the giver.

Manage your expecta5

TheCrazyDuchess Tue 29-Dec-15 00:59:55


MerryDickCrack Tue 29-Dec-15 01:00:57

I don't know duchess, she was criticising my exp for asking for a contribution to my 40th gift and saying how great it was she refused and gave me money and I just said actually I would have preferred you to have contributed to the gift. I think I was kind of backed into a corner where if I agreed with her it would have been another cheque or a get your own and I'll reimburse you offer for my birthday in 2 weeks and I'm just feeling very touchy about it all.

buckingfrolicks Tue 29-Dec-15 01:03:20

It's also the OP's first xmas without her dad, Duchess. But it shouldn't be a grief competition, no, and I imagine that both parties are very sensitive and emotional this year.

But the OP said her mum always/usually gave cheques.

OP, it occurs to me that it may be that your mum believes that money is a good way of showing love and care- ask her about her own childhood, genuine curiosity is ideal here... you may find that her idea of heaven as a young mother, would have been extra cash just for her, she may think you are short of cash and that this is a dignified way of helping you out without 'charity', or something.

BackforGood Tue 29-Dec-15 01:04:39

Well, in your last post, you have just explained exactly why it doesn't make sense to buy something for people that you think they will like. Time and time again, you are wasting your money on her.

My mum often does criticise the gifts I give, not always explicitly, but she will just put them away and never look at them again. Even so, I still try, she has money to buy whatever she wants so I think the thought is nicer

Why do you think it's ok for you to do what you think best when giving to her, even though you are clearly not getting it right most of the time. Her way, you can get whatever it is you want to treat yourself to.

I much prefer cash/chq to some random "thing" I don't want.

BackforGood Tue 29-Dec-15 01:05:12

ok, x-posted.... now 'last but one post' grin

TheCrazyDuchess Tue 29-Dec-15 01:05:51

Do you think, in the grand scheme of things, that this is bigger than the gift??

Maybe some underlying resentment or your grief making you falling out with your matter because you want some sort of emotional reaction from your mother that proves that she cares for you on a deeper level

n.b. total arm chair psychology aided by a butt load of bacardi

Katarzyna79 Tue 29-Dec-15 01:06:13

i don't rarely get presents so don't expect them.

But i can see why you're upset, money seems to be thrown at you. i used to get offended when my parents would give me a few hundred for my kids and us adults to spend once a year. i felt like i was a beggar but i overlooked it because their hearts were in the right place. it was easier for them mum rarely went out due to her ill health and never as far as town. dad was housebound.

I think your mum has her heart in the right place even if it may appear like shes being selfish and thoughtless. if she dint think of you at all she wouldn't give you anything including cash gifts.

MerryDickCrack Tue 29-Dec-15 01:07:54

Thanks bucking. She knows I'm stony broke, £15,000 in debt without the mortgage so money is a drop in the ocean and just goes on bills, she does know that. When she was a New mother she was able to not work, live in a nice detached home, new car, 2 foreign holidays every year, etc. she's not worked since she was 33. She seems to think I'm choosing to work ft, be a lone parent in debt with a crumbling house and no holidays - no desire to help me in that way.

TheCrazyDuchess Tue 29-Dec-15 01:08:23

You are right bucking it's OPS first Xmas without dad

Merry - what would dad have got you??

I hope that's not an insensitive question.

I lost my dad in September, but we was no contact for years. I get grief manifesting in different ways xxx

TheCrazyDuchess Tue 29-Dec-15 01:10:29

What would you like from mum?

MerryDickCrack Tue 29-Dec-15 01:11:21

Dad had dementia so he didn't even know it was Xmas last year. Prior to being ill, he would have got me nothing, left it entirely to mum, without comment or input. Always, all my life.
In fact last 20 years I've had to get her a gift from him as well.

MerryDickCrack Tue 29-Dec-15 01:13:59

Duchess you are right, I just want some care on a deeper level. I don't car about the actual gift, I really don't, it'd just be nice if, for eg, she got me some nice face cream with a note to say this is to pamper yourself because you are working too hard.
I'm crying now

TheCrazyDuchess Tue 29-Dec-15 01:19:39

: ( it's a really tough time. This is a good thing. I think you have given yourself an opportunity to speak to mum and tell her that.

I don't think she will be upset once she understands the significance to you.

I totally feel for you, really I do. But when you feel ready, really speak to your mum.

You are both grieving and need each other xxxxx

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