Am I ruining presents? Help.(10 Posts)
I am awful at opening presents. It makes me feel insanely awkward.
I suppose the back story would be that I didn't get any as a child; we did Christmas and birthdays but not for us children. I had quite an abusive childhood and this was very minor in the scheme of things; but I think I got my first birthday presents at 15 from a friend's parents, and my first Christmas presents at 17 from current DP.
We've got into a bit of a pattern now; we spend Christmas with his parents and they know I struggle a bit; so they do taking it in turns etc but don't tend to put too much pressure on me, which is lovely. I do always find them and thank them; and they know I am grateful!
This year extended family are coming who won't know. I'm not sure if that'll mean there is less focus on me, as more people, or more. I love giving presents and fully engage with the rest of their traditions - but aibu to struggle with actually opening presents? It feels so alien.
(NB I'm 26 now so I really should be used to this... I'd opt out of presents if I could, and just buy them for others, but nobody was happy with that idea!)
I'm sorry to hear about your childhood. What a hard start you had. I'm glad to hear you've come to happier times. Could you ask to open them later, on your own? You could still thank everyone personally?
Oh, love, you need a bit of reprogramming! People give you gifts because they're thinking about you and want to share the Christmas cheer they feel with you. It means you mean something to them!
So try and see it as a gesture of thoughtfulness. Own your place in their hearts! You clearly deserve it!
Is that helpful? I hope so, because you're missing out in a lovely vibe and you don't need to miss out any more-you're an adult and (I presume and really hope) free from the horrors of your earlier years. You could always imagine its little you getting the gift? (Iyswim?)
No, yanbu. I find it uncomfortable opening presents in front of ppl, I think it's maybe because Im not convinced I will look appropriately appreciative . Maybe have a suitable comment ready for when you open a present might take some pressure off?
I find presents awkward and uncomfortable.
This is because a combination of (and please don't take this as me being grabby/selfish whatevs)
having a birthday so close to xmas I never actually got presents on my birthday because they we're 'joint' presents OR I got them on my birthday but had none to open at xmas.
no one really knows me well enough and tends to buy the obvious - choc I can't eat, toiletries I cant use etc- and I struggle with lying and HATE the thought of having to pretend I love something when I really don't because I just can't fake it that well.
I hate being the centre of attention.
Xmas brings up all kinds of shitty memories like the time I opened a gift labelled for me and it was taken off me because apparently it was for my sister.
So, are you ruining it? no. You're not. Your folks ruined the xmas/gift giving aspect for you. You're just trying to come to terms with cultural norms you weren't exposed to.
Its entirely normal even 10 yrs later to still struggle with some things. It often takes a long time for some of the seemingly smaller things to heal than the bigger ones.
Take a breather if you need to or become designated Tea maker/mince pie distributor so if it gets too much you can go make tea and hide in the kitchen. That's what I do!
FWIW my childhood was abusive too and 14/15 years later the tiny things still niggle and jump out the shadows like a stupid monster and one of them is gifts.
Think about why people have got you something.
They love you
The appreciate things you do for them
They want to make you happy
They care about you
Try to think of these things whilst opening your gift.
They will want you to like the gift...so tell them it's lovely, thank them and smile! Fake it till you make it and all that!
YANBU. It's totally understandable that it's uncomfortable for you.
It's not something you can just get over. It's very hard. You had a childhood of neglect, from the sounds of it. I just want to give you a hug, quite frankly.
This has brought a tear to my eye OP - I really feel for you.
I had an abusive childhood (in a different way to you) and find some things really difficult as a result. The way I try to deal with it is to either
A: imagine I am someone else - someone I know who had a bloody lovely childhood and has grown up with self esteem/boundaries etc.
B: Reach deep inside and be happy and do something nice for the little girl I was, who never had a childhood.
Sorry of this sounds odd to posters who had normal childhoods, but I think OP will know what I mean. I hope she does anyway!
Have a lovely Christmas OP and see how far you have come
I had sh*te Christmases as a child too, and used to hate them (and birthdays, and any other "occasion"). I particularly hated "surprises".
It took a while, but now I love them! i don't care what it is - a bar of chocolate, a pair of ear-rings - whatever - the fact that someone has thought of, and bought a gift for me is amazing! I think it comes down to self-esteem. I had never had a good opinion of myself, and it has taken a lot of years to build up myself-esteem.
But - you WILL get there!
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